Balthazar King can break the hearts of sporting romanticists everywhere by winning the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
Seldom has the great race revolved solely around one horse, or, rather, one man.
Tony McCoy will attempt to sign off in the most stylish way possible when Shutthefrontdoor vies for a unique piece of history.
Jonjo O’Neill’s staying chaser is a worthy favourite, make no mistake, and it is not just pure idealism which has seen him thrust towards the summit of the betting.
But unless you have been shrewd enough to take a chunk of the nice prices on offer a few months ago, he is surely too short in the market for a race of this capricious ferocity.
A little further down the betting, seemingly having gone unnoticed by most ante-post punters, is Balthazar King.
He might not possess the same unexposed profile of Shutthefrontdoor, nor is he anywhere near as big a crowd-puller as the favourite.
That should not in any way be a derogatory claim, though, as Philip Hobbs’ 11-year-old ticks virtually all of the boxes of a National winner.
Alvarado finished fourth last season and can be relied upon to give each-way backers a good spin for their dough, perhaps even going one place better.
He has specifically only had one run this term and races off a similar sort of weight as last year.
Irish challenger Spring Heeled, a Cheltenham Festival winner last season, has similarly been preserved with this day in mind and can dispel concerns about his trainer’s lean spell by completing the minor positions.
Aintree: 1.30 Parlour Games, 2.05 Un De Sceaux, 2.50 Cole Harden, 3.25 Vino Griego, 4.15 1 BALTHAZAR KING (NAP), 2 Shutthefrontdoor, 3 Alvarado, 4 Spring Heeled, 5.10 Lightening Rod, 5.40 Sea Pride.
Chepstow: 1.20 Quebec, 1.55 Russborough, 2.30 Misteray, 3.05 Creepy, 3.45 Sea Wall, 4.50 Gunna Be A Devil, 5.25 Robert’s Star.
Lingfield: 1.15 Fire And Passion, 1.50 Light Rose, 2.25 Bushephalus, 3.00 Gold Trail, 3.40 Lexington Times, 4.45 Bravo Echo, 5.20 Tilstarr, 5.55 Understory.
Wolverhampton: 5.50 Maison Brillet, 6.20 Olivers Mount, 6.50 Shingle, 7.20 Delizia, 7.50 The Dapper Tapper, 8.20 Santefisio, 8.50 Cape Victoria.
Double: Balthazar King and Cole Harden.
Newcastle: 1.40 Ajmal Ihsaas, 2.15 Bold Spirit, 2.45 Farlow, 3.15 Mica Mika, 3.55 Certification, 5.00 Pressure Point, 5.35 Chilworth Bells, 6.05 Risk ‘N’ Reward.
* See The Star today for a two-page pinstickers guide to the National.