Baie Des Iles slashed to 16-1 to make Grand National history for Katie Walsh
A Grand National gamble on Katie Walsh's mount Baie Des Iles built up a head of steam on Tuesday afternoon, and Ross O'Sullivan's grey mare ended the day as short as 16-1.
A mere seven-year-old, but proven in soft ground and almost guaranteed to stay, Baie Des Iles was a 50-1 shot at the end of last week and still widely available at 33-1 on Tuesday morning, but punters clearly fancy her to make Walsh a first female winner of the Randox Health-sponsored spectacular as she ended the day no bigger than 20-1, and with no sign of the gamble slowing.
SkyBet are joint shortest at 16-1, and spokesman Michael Shinners spelled out the attraction. He said: "The combination of a mare, who is grey, with a very good lady jockey, and trained by the jockey's husband, means Baie Des Iles is going to continue to catch the punters' eye.
"She's been the best backed horse in terms of bets since we went six places on Monday and there is real momentum behind her. The 50-1 that she was on Friday is long gone, and she's currently our worst result."
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes, who reported support too for Bryony Frost's mount Milansbar, said: "It's the ultimate girl power pairing. Walsh came so close to winning the Grand National back in 2012 [third on Seabass] but this year there is a real belief that she can go all the way and create history.
"Baie Des Iles is ticking all the boxes as far as punters are concerned. She'll love the ground and the more it rains the more money we'll see in her favour."
Coral reported money too for The Dutchman, who was cut to 25-1 (from 33-1), and cut Timico Gold Cup third Anibale Fly to 9-2 (from 7-1) in betting on who will start favourite.
Riding arrangements have been confirmed for several outsiders, including Adrian Heskin for the twice-placed veteran Saint Are, Sean Quinlan for Beeves and Jamie Bargary for Double Ross. However, champion jockey Richard Johnson is currently without a ride for the second successive year.
Johnson, who finished second on What's Up Boys in 2002 and on Balthazar King in 2014, confirmed: "We've got nothing at the moment and we're just waiting to see if something comes up. Unfortunately none of my trainers has anything for the race, so it's just a case of wait and see."
Paul Nicholls hopes to have two runners, but he has one eye on the weather with Vicente, for whom Nick Schofield has been booked.
Nicholls, who reckons he has plenty of nice runners at the meeting, several of whom skipped Cheltenham, said: "Warriors Tale will definitely run but if it kept on raining and was very soft Vicente would wait for Ayr.
"I'd love to win the Scottish National three times with him, but Vicente has the profile to win a National and I'll leave the decision to Trevor [Hemmings, owner]."
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