John Smith's Grand National

Montjeu’s son, 200/1: can he win the National?

John Smith’s Grand National* entry, Our Monty has been trading at around 200/1 on Betfair these past few days and that is way too big in my opinion.

UPDATE: Our Monty caught a foot infection and has now been withdrawn from the race:

got into the race and is now (Wednesday) around 75/1 and still good value in my opinion.

A maximum of 40 runners will line up for the big race next Saturday and Our Monty is number 48 on the list so he needs a few withdrawals to get a run.  One horse, Our Monty’s stablemate, Ballytrim has already been taken out of the race (lame) and, sadly, One Cool Cookie – alongside Our Monty in the weights with 10stone 3lbs – suffered a fatal accident on the gallops.

So Our Monty needs six horses above him in the weights to come out at the next declaration stage – noon on Monday 4th April – to be sure of a run. Doubtless there will be some defectors on Monday and, possibly, between Monday and Saturday; the key will be whether those withdrawn are above him in the weights and, therefore, before him in the queue awaiting a chance to run. Four reserves will be chosen and they will wait in the wings in case a horse is withdrawn late in the week.

The good news is that trainer Willie Mullins is reported today as saying the horse will be left in till the final stages to face the ballot for a place in the line-up. If Our Monty is unsuccessful in that ballot, bets on him are void and his supporters get their money returned.

Mr Mullins said in his Racing Post column last weekend that he believed Our Monty had been overlooked and that the horse was very well. If he makes it to the post  on Saturday, it will be Our Monty’s first run since 15th November 2009 when he won the Paddy Power.com Cork Grand National. Here’s his form comment for that victory:

Settled in mid-division on inner, mistake 6 out, smooth progress to track leader entering straight, switched left to stands’ side and disputed 3 out, led next, cruised clear before last, very easily (op 2/1 tchd 11/4

The quote from jockey David Casey after that race was:

“I’d have no problem riding him over any trip. He could make an Irish National horse.”

Our Monty’s next outing after Cork was to be in the Coral Welsh Grand National. He was as short as 8/1 for that before being withdrawn.

I don’t know why the horse has been off so long – I suspect a tendon injury has kept him out.  However, Mr Mullins said last week that the horse is very well and they simply ran out of time in trying to find a prep race for him this season.

Our Monty’s full form panel appears at the foot of this article.  He has won and been placed on the Flat. Over jumps he’s won at 2miles 1furlong and at 3m 4f. He has victories on good to firm ground and on heavy.  Such versatility can be the sign of a very decent horse.

Our Monty joined the Mullins yard in late 2009 and is unbeaten in three runs since, winning each easily. He’s not that big but jumps well.  He fell first time out over fences but in four subsequent ‘chasing runs he has made just one mistake.  The trends boys will tell you that a horse with just five steeplechasing runs is one to avoid due to the experience needed in the National, and there’s plenty evidence to support that theory.  But  I never let trends put me off if the value is there.

Ruby Walsh is understandably committed to The Midnight Club and David Casey rides Arbor Supreme. If Our Monty gets in, he’ll make a  fine ‘spare’ ride and spark a few big dreams for some surprised jockey.

If Our Monty does not get into the National, watch out for him wherever he appears next.  He has an entry in Friday’s John Smith’s Topham Chase and has also been entered for the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 23rd.

If you can get on at odds above 25/1 for the National with a guarantee of money back if he is balloted out, you will have had value.  Taking the current huge prices available on the betting exchanges (Our Monty can be backed place only at what, in my opinion, should be his win price, around 24/1) is a no-brainer.

Good luck

*I get no payment or reward for anything that features here.  I mention sponsor’s names whenever I can because I believe they deserve support from anyone publishing articles about racing.


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