Ted Walsh reports last year's third Seabass to be bang on course for the John Smith's Grand National - but with a weight that has the trainer puzzled.
Seabass is among a strong Irish entry of 31 for the Aintree spectacular on April 6 and has been set to carry 11st 2lb in the weights published today, with Lexus Chase hero Tidal Bay on top with 11st 10lb.
Tidal Bay has an official BHA handicap mark of 171, but has been rated as though he is 162 in the Grand National, for which weights compiler Phil Smith has discretion.
Walsh, speaking before seeing the full list of weights, said: "I don't know how Seabass can get over 11st this year if Tidal Bay is rated 171 and my horse is rated 154. Whatever Phil Smith does, he does, and I can't change it. You don't have to be a great mathematician to subtract 54 from 71."
Seabass returned to the racecourse for the first time since his gallant Aintree effort to run a staying-on second over two miles in a hurdle race at Fairyhouse last week.
Walsh went on: "Seabass will run somewhere in the next three weeks to a month. There is just over seven weeks to Liverpool so I would like to get a run into him. The Bobbyjo Chase at Naas and the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton are possible targets."
Walsh, who won the National in 2000 with Papillon, said of his other entry Colbert Station: "Like Seabass, Colbert Station will possibly have one more run. I have no idea where as he only recently ran. I would also be looking at running him in three weeks to a month, which will be ideal for the National."
The JP McManus-owned Colbert Station won a valuable handicap chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and followed up over hurdles at Punchestown, ridden on both occasions by Tony McCoy on testing ground.
Walsh said: "I wouldn't be worried about the ground for Colbert Station as it is never anything worse than good jumping ground at Aintree. He has 10st 6lb in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton and is 3lb higher in England than he is in Ireland, which makes him worse off with Seabass in England."
Seabass was ridden by Walsh's daughter Katie last year, when she achieved the highest finishing place yet by a lady rider in the National. His son Ruby would appear to have a number of choices, while McCoy is retained rider for McManus.
30 November 2015Jim Dreaper excited by Becher Goon show at Aintree
Violet Dancer hot to trot at Plumpton
Bobs Worth camp consider return to hurdling
Nicky Henderson sidesteps Tingle Creek with Sprinter Sacre
Vroum Vroum Mag revved up for possible Huntingdon raid
Jim Dreaper excited by Becher Goon show at Aintree
Un De Sceaux heads Tingle Creek field for Willie Mullins
Leopardstown target for Noel Meade's Monksland
Road To Riches and Apache Stronghold to duck Durkan, says Noel Meade
Willie Mullins pleased by Annie Power recovery progress
Aintree play down Crabbie's sponsorship speculation
Nicky Henderson sidesteps Tingle Creek with Sprinter Sacre
Victoria Pendleton eager for further point-to-point experience
Mouse Morris outlines Leopardstown Christmas option for First Lieutenant
Nicky Henderson's Whisper set for a break following Newbury disappointment
Gitane Du Berlais outgunned by Emily Gray at Carlisle
No More Heroes a cut above at Fairyhouse for Gordon Elliott
Sizzling Arctic Fire shows Grace under pressure at Fairyhouse
Victoria Pendleton fails to complete on first ride over fences
Long Dog's day as Willie Mullins duo has licence to thrill in Royal Bond
Rashaan stars for Colin Kidd at Fairyhouse
David Pipe keen on Kempton run for Un Temps Pour Tout
Dan Skelton outlines Baradari Leopardstown option
Noel Fehily pays tribute to Rock On Ruby
29 November 2015Ascot option for Harry Fry's Thomas Brown
Victoria Pendleton makes point-to-point debut in Devon
Andrew Lynch maps out Zabana chase return
Emma Lavelle mulling Shotgun Paddy Welsh National prep
Trip To Paris unplaced as Shonan Pandora claims Japan Cup victory
Plans fluid for Victoria Pendleton point-to-point debut
Thistlecrack too sharp for Long Distance big guns at Newbury
Alan King bowled over by Hennessy hero Smad Place
Wakanda note perfect in Newcastle Rehearsal
Identity Thief delivers KO blow in Fighting Fifth at Newcastle
Micky Hammond on the mark with Caraline at Newcastle
Arctic Fire searching for big-race success in Hatton's Grace Hurdle
Long Dog and Bachasson primed for Royal Bond showdown at Fairyhouse
Former jockey Darren Egan denies stopping horses in BHA corruption case
28 November 2015Thistlecrack goes the Distance at Newbury
Willie Mullins hands Gitane Du Berlais Carlisle assignment
Tea times it right at Newbury for Evan Williams
Simply Wings out to soar at Newbury in Sir Peter O'Sullevan memorial
Bobs Worth back at Newbury in attempt to regain Hennessy crown
Lamar hangs on for fast-track qualifier win at Wolverhampton
Three Musketeers adds name to illustrious Newbury honour roll
Bryan Cooper has a go with Heroes at Fairyhouse
Identity Thief faces acid test in Fighting Fifth
Kasakh Noir puts down early Cheltenham marker with Newbury success
Warren Greatrex backs Cole Harden to go the Distance at Newbury
Harry Fry calls time on Rock On Ruby career due to injury
Willie Mullins says Wicklow Brave is fighting fit for Newcastle date
27 November 2015Doncaster stewards hand out fourteen-day ban for rider John Kington
Funeral details announced for Pat Eddery
Niall McCullagh issues upbeat injury prognosis
Sean Bowen cleared for Newbury return
Ed Dunlop seeking Japan Cup solace with Trip To Paris
Paul Nicholls has Saphir Du Rheu sparkling for Newbury Hennessy bid
Native River leaves owner 'speechless' with Newbury triumph
Sternrubin leads Newbury rivals a merry dance
Ubak out to defy long absence in Newbury highlight
Winning start over fences for Shaneshill at Thurles
Modus 'getting there' in maintaining unbeaten record over hurdles at Newbury
Stuart Edmunds issues Chepstow warning for Wolf Of Windlesham
Charlie Longsdon's Pendra could enter Grand National equation