|The Tother One could be Nicholls' National dark horse|
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls' one glaring omission from an otherwise glowing National Hunt CV is the absence of the John Smith's Grand National from his list of big race wins, a fact he is as determined as ever to remedy at Aintree on April 9, writes Elliot Slater.
With most of the media attention centring around the obvious chances of Nicholls' What A Friend and Niche Market, and the unfortunate injury to another planned contender Tricky Trickster that has ruled him out of the contest, it would be easy to overlook the chance of another Ditcheat inmate The Tother One, a horse with plenty of ability who invariably jumps well, looks a more than likely stayer, and has a definite touch of class about him.
On offer at a range of odds spanning 25/1 to 50/1, The Tother One ran a little below-par last time out at Cheltenham in January when only fourth of the five runners to stable companion Neptune Collonges in the Grade 2 Argento Chase. Prior to that effort there had been every indication that the Graham Roach-owned gelding remains as good as ever when he ran a fine race to finish a staying-on fourth to Diamond Harry in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November and anyone looking to place a horse racing bet would have been impressed by that effort.
Probably just in need of the run on his prior outing, (his first of this term) when runner-up to Nacarat in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October, The Tother One has been allotted a racing weight of 11 stone exactly and runs off an 8lb lower mark than when a strong finishing fifth to Chief Dan George in the William Hill Chase at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival.
No jockey booking has yet been confirmed for the 10-year-old, but with Ruby Walsh set to choose between Niche Market and The Midnight Club, and Daryl Jacob already confirmed for What A Friend, Sam Thomas, Nick Scholfield or even Harry Skelton could be likely contenders for the ride on a horse with a definite Grand National pedigree.