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What A Friend 15lb well in for the National says handicapper

| 22.03.2011

What A Friend may be a market mover in the Grand National betting, but he will have to make history if he is to become the Grand National winner.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has never saddled the winner of the Grand National in 48 attempts and considering his status as the reigning and four-time champion trainer, that’s some statistic.

What A Friend is the second of two leading fancies that Nicholls saddles in the 2011 Grand National and plenty of punters believe the Sir Alex Ferguson-trained eight-year-old has a great chance after backing him into 14/1 from 20/1.

Niche Market is the other leading fancy who will run in the National out of the Ditcheat yard –Nicholls holds five more entries although three of those runners are doubtful – and he is available at 16/1.

What A Friend will only run in the Grand National if the ground is on the good side but with his handicap rating about to go up following his fourth place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Nicholls is keen on taking his chance.

The Grand National weights were declared in February and What A Friend will carry 11st 6lb.

However the last horse to carry more than 11st 6lb to victory in the Grand National was Red Rum (11st 8lb) back in 1977 although Don’t Push It carried 11st 5lb to victory last year.

The final 40-runner field for the Grand National will be declared 48 hours before the race but Ladbrokes are offering ante-post betting on the Grand National, allowing punters to place a bet on the Grand National at any time.

One horse that punters should be looking at is State Of Play (25/1) who has placed in his last two Nationals and will carry 5lbs less than last year when he finished third.

A £20 stake on State Of Play winning the Grand National would return £520. New customers can sign up here to get £60 in free bets.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.