Soft Ground a must for National Fancy, Monbeg Dude

A wet winter and testing ground would be the ideal combination for the Michael Scudamore-trained Monbeg Dude, whose connections are already dreaming of a crack at the 2014 John Smith’s Grand National with their stable.
> Last season, the eight-year-old provided Scudamore with his biggest success to date when ploughing through desperately testing ground at Chepstow in early January to land the Coral Welsh National, racing to victory at odds of 10/1.
> He arrived fast and late to break the heart of the always prominent Teaforthree in the dying strides, scoring by half-a-length under a brilliant ride from the mercurial Paul Carberry.
> Monbeg Dude had previously shown his love for a stamina test and deep ground when landing the Grade 3 Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November, again battling through runners at massive betting odds of 25/1.
> Following his Welsh National success, the gelded son of Witness Box ran third in Haydock’s Grand National Trial, but any plans to run in the Aintree Grand National were shelved for a year after he was pulled up when sent off at odds of 40/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
> The 2014 Grand National at Aintree – ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’ – is expected to be the main target for Monbeg Dude this time around, and his training programme will be geared to a crack at the showcase Liverpool contest.
> On decent ground, it would be fair to say that Scudamore’s charge will likely find the pace too sharp for him. However, if there has been plenty of rain in the build-up to the big event, Monbeg Dude, a horse with seemingly limitless stamina, will be the subject of many racing betting tips and his current odds of 33/1 will be but a distant memory.

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