National Hope Grey Springs Red Mills Chase Shock

Chicago Grey Grand National

The talented staying chaser Chicago Grey sprang a very big surprise at Navan on February 19 when proving too good for classy opposition in the Grade 2 Red Mills Steeplechase and has subsequently been slashed to 20/1 (from 33’s) to follow up on the first Saturday in April in the John Smith’s Grand National , writes Elliot Slater.

Expected to struggle to stay in touch with his three rivals in the two-and-a-half mile Navan contest, and with the heavy ground seemingly all against him having shown his best form in previous years on a sound surface, Gordon Elliott’s 25/1 shot was never far from the pace under Davy Condon and could be spotted going as well as anything at the third from home.

The odds-on favourite Rubi Light was the first beaten and struggling before the home turning, while second-favourite Hidden Cyclone was well beaten and behind when falling at the last, leaving Chicago Grey to fight it out with Foildubh, the latter battling well but unable to hold the powerful finish of his 10-year-old rival who came away in the last 100 yards to score by two-and-a-half lengths.

A delighted Elliott put the improved form of the 2011 National Hunt Chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival down to a wind operation earlier in the season and is now eagerly looking forward to having another crack at the John Smith’s Grand National, a race in which Chicago Grey had no luck at all in 2012 when brought down at the fifth fence but whom is attracting nterest from punters over at

A horse who stays well yet has the gears to win against smart opposition over a distance two miles shorter than the Grand National, the grey son of Luso clearly has plenty going for him, especially if there is a decent surface at Aintree allowing the winner of seven of his 35 career starts to show his very best form.

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