Friday, March 30, 2012

Taaffe sticks with Lynch for Treacle National bid

Tom Taaffe's in-form Treacle, currently a best priced 20/1 shot for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on April 14, will be partnered by the talented Andrew Lynch in the big race after the Irish handler secured the services of one of the most sought after of local jockeys for his live big race contender, writes Elliot Slater.

Lynch has only partnered the 11-year-old on one previous occasions and that was on his penultimate start where the pair appeared to get along very well together in finishing three-quarters-of-a-length second to Cross Appeal in the highly valuable Paddy Power Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival in December. Since then Treacle has again proved himself to be at the top of his game when belying his 33/1 starting price to run on well into third place in the Grade 1 Hennessy Gold Cup back at Leopardstown in February, behind Willie Mullins' Quel Esprit, another who might very well take his chance at Liverpool in 'the world's greatest steeplechase'. Those looking at betting for Grand National need to bear this in mind.

The gelded son of Zaffaran had struggled to make the step up to the higher echelons since breaking through into the big time back in 2009 when landing the valuable Munster National Handicap chase off a mark of 122, but this term things seem to have clicked into place for the stayer who is now entering the veteran stage of his career. Anyone following the Grand National odds should remember this.

Handed a mark of 145 for the Aintree marathon and a racing weight of a handy 10st 8lbs, Treacle has emerged as one of the leading Irish contenders this season and unlike many of his compatriots is perfectly capable of holding his own on decent ground, even though the majority of his best racecourse efforts have come with some give under foot.

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