Seabass will have plenty of lead in his saddle when the field for Grand National lines up in 17 days time. The defection yesterday of top weight Albertas Run means the weights are likely to rise a couple of pounds, which would take Seabass up to 11-4.
But the main reason for the amount of lead making up the weight is that Katie Walsh is highly likely to ride the horse, as she did last year when the pair finished in third place. Walsh is 10/1 to become the first woman to ride the winner of the National.
Perhaps the one thing that could stop her taking the mount would be one of the Willie Mullins pair On His Own and Prince De Beauchene not running, in which case there would be the possibility of her brother Ruby swapping to Seabass.
That’s how father Ted saw things. He said, “I would say Katie is highly likely to ride Seabass. I’d imagine Ruby will ride one of Willie’s at the top of the market, so unless something happens to them, Katie will be on Seabass.”
Katie Walsh wasn’t taking anything for granted, although she was clearly delighted at the confidence her father placed in her. She explained, “Obviously, Ruby has a few of Willie Mullins’ to choose from and hopefully they will get them there sound. I won’t believe it for real until it happens, but were I to get the ride then I would be mad excited and really looking forward to it,”
Last year Seabass carried 10-12, so will have at least six pounds more this time, which led the trainer to say that the horse has more on his plate if he is to win. He reckoned there was more to do in the final fortnight before the race. “I’d say he was on a par with how he was at this stage last year, but I think he will need to improve as he’s on a mark of 154 now. In saying that, the first time he ran off that mark was in the Bobbyjo at Fairyhouse and I thought he ran well.”