All the news from Grand National Day 2017

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

 

 

 

GOING NEWS ON GRAND NATIONAL DAY MORNING

 

 

The going remains:-

Grand National Course – Good, Good to Soft in places

Mildmay and Hurdle Courses – Good

 

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said at 8.30am: “All the courses had up to five millimetres of watering last night until 11.00pm when the grass started to freeze. We are just finishing off the watering this morning.

 

“I have so far left the going descriptions the same as yesterday but I will review them when I finish my course walk later this morning.

 

“The bends have been moved in so we are on the inner lines on the Mildmay and the Hurdle Courses, so there is fresh ground on the inner of both courses.

 

“We are forecast a dry sunny day, with temperatures of up 17 degrees Celsius, after a frosty start.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S1.

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

Do you share your birthday with a Grand National runner?

 

February

4 Drop Out Joe (2008)

17 Cause Of Causes (2008)

22 More Of That (2008)

24 One For Arthur (2009)

 

March

2 Vieux Lion Rouge (2009)

5 Definitly Red (2009)

5 Houblon Des Obeaux (2007)

11 Lord Windermere (2006)

13 Raz De Maree (2005)

20 Le Mercurey (2010)

22 Goodtoknow (2008)

22 Shantou Flyer (2010)

26 Stellar Notion (2008)

28 The Young Master (2009)

30 Vicente (2009)

31 Thunder And Roses (2008)

 

April

1 La Vaticane (2009)

3 Blaklion (2009)

5 Just A Par (2007)

5 Saint Are (2006)

7 Tenor Nivernais (2007)

12 Cocktails At Dawn (2008)

15 Double Shuffle (2010)

15 Pleasant Company (2008)

18 The Last Samuri (2008)

22 Rogue Angel (2008)

23 Bishops Road (2008)

24 Highland Lodge (2006)

26 Saphir Du Rheu (2009)

 

May

3 Ballynagour (2006)

6 Wounded Warrior (2009)

12 Perfect Candidate (2007)

12 Regal Encore (2008)

12 Gas Line Boy (2006)

13 Roi Des Francs (2009)

18 Wonderful Charm (2008)

20 Doctor Harper (2008)

 

June

3 O’Faolain’s Boy (2007)

4 Ucello Conti (2008)

 

August

30 Measureofmydreams (2008)

 

 

S2.

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

Is it in the stars? Grand National runners star signs

 

Aquarius

Feb 4 Drop Out Joe

Feb 17 Cause Of Causes

 

Pisces

Feb 22 More Of That

Feb 24 One For Arthur

Mar 2 Vieux Lion Rouge

Mar 5 Definitly Red

Mar 5 Houblon Des Obeaux

Mar 11 Lord Windermere

Mar 13 Raz De Maree

Mar 20 Le Mercurey

 

Aries

Mar 22 Goodtoknow

Mar 22 Shantou Flyer

Mar 26 Stellar Notion

Mar 28 The Young Master

Mar 30 Vicente

Mar 31 Thunder And Roses

Apr 1 La Vaticane

Apr 3 Blaklion

Apr 5 Just A Par

Apr 5 Saint Are

Apr 7 Tenor Nivernais

Apr 12 Cocktails At Dawn

Apr 15 Double Shuffle

Apr 15 Pleasant Company

Apr 18 The Last Samuri

 

Taurus

Apr 22 Rogue Angel

Apr 23 Bishops Road

Apr 24 Highland Lodge

Apr 26 Saphir Du Rheu

May 3 Ballynagour

May 6 Wounded Warrior

May 12 Perfect Candidate

May 12 Regal Encore

May 12 Gas Line Boy

May 13 Roi Des Francs

May 18 Wonderful Charm

May 20 Doctor Harper

 

Gemini

June 3 O’Faolain’s Boy

June 4 Ucello Conti

 

Virgo

Aug 30 Measureofmydreams

 

S3.

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

NON-RUNNERS TODAY (up to 9.30am)

 

3.40pm          BETWAY HANDICAP CHASE          

No 6  THOMAS BROWN (Self Certificate (Not Eaten Up))

No 18  MAN WITH VAN (Going)

 

4.20pm          RYANAIR STAYERS LIVERPOOL HURDLE

No 10           THE NEW ONE (Self Certificate (Not Eaten Up))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S4.

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

JOCKEY REPLACEMENT IN GRAND NATIONAL

 

Aidan Coleman will ride Tenor Nivernais in the Randox Health Grand National. He replaces Liam Treadwell, who is injured after falling at the first fence in the Randox Health Topham Chase yesterday (Friday, April 7).

 

Treadwell, who won the Randox Health Grand National in 2009 on Mon Mome, was taken to hospital on Friday.

 

Venetia Williams, trainer of Tenor Nivernais, said last night: “Liam was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and has let me know that unfortunately, he is out for Saturday.

 

“They are keeping him in overnight and he says there is no way he’s going to be able to ride.

 

“The plan is for Aidan Coleman to ride Tenor Nivernais.”

 

Daryl Jacob, who fell at the third fence in the same race with Ballykan, will have to pass the doctor this morning before he can take up his ride on Ucello Conti.

 

Jacob, who won the Randox Health Grand National in 2012 aboard Neptune Collonges, said yesterday: “I’m fine – 100%. I’ll have to pass the doctor but that won’t be a problem.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S8.

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

90th ANNIVERSARY OF AUNTIE AT AINTREE

Gary Flintoff, the horseracing and football producer at BBC Sport, talked about the BBC’s continuing role at Aintree, as the corporation celebrates its 90th year of broadcasting on the world’s biggest chase, today’s Randox Health Grand National.

Flintoff said: “This is the 90th anniversary of the BBC at Aintree. We first broadcast from here in 1927 and I would like to think that I am just continuing the story and taking it forward.

“Saturday is Randox Health Grand National day all day for us. The Radio 5 live breakfast show will be doing their usual bits and pieces from the course with Cornelius Lysaght. Danny Baker’s show (9.00am – 10.30am) will feature jockey Andrew Thornton, who will be playing the sausage sandwich game with Danny.

“Colin Murrays Fighting Talk (10.30am – 11.30am) comes live from the Mountford Hall in Liverpool city centre, and they are doing a Randox Health Grand National-themed programme.

“5 live Sport will go on air at 11.30am and there will be the usual mix of sport, with obviously a lot of football as well.

“Eleanor Oldroyd will present the coverage with Cornelius alongside and John Hunt in the commentary box, who I think of in the same way as Peter Bromley – a magnificent painter of pictures using words. John is a fabulous voice on the radio and will really bring the race to life and make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

“The beauty of the day for us is that the Randox Health Grand National is at the perfect time, 5.15pm. Charlotte (Green) will have read the classified football results and then it is all about the race.

“It is a peak time for Radio 5 live with people coming out of the (football) grounds and wanting to know the scores while in their cars.

“As to myself and my role, I will be sat in a big silver truck at the back of the broadcasting compound. Everyone talks in my ear and I tell Phil, who is my chief engineer and drives the desk with all the faders, who to go to next.

“In radio you are called a producer, while in television you would be the director. We don’t have directors in radio because we are a much smaller team so I produce and direct.

“This will be my fourth year here with Radio 5 live but before that I used to work with BBC Radio Merseyside and I would come to Aintree on and off during my seven years there.

“Red Rum [this year is the 40th anniversary of his third triumph in the Randox Health Grand National] was one of my sporting heroes when I was growing up. I was three in 1977 but growing up in the 80s, Red Rum really meant something.

“The other horse that springs to mind is Many Clouds. We spoke to so many people around Many Clouds before he ran and after he won; Oliver (Sherwood, trainer), Lisa who looked after him and not to forget Trevor (Hemmings) who owned him, as well as many others. Having been born in Co Durham, I have a soft spot for Durham Edition (1988: 2nd, 1989: 5th, 1990: 2nd, 1991: 6th).

“This year I think Definitly Red is very interesting; to be a red horse in the city of Liverpool, and with Vieux Lion Rouge in there as well, there will be a lot of Liverpool fans around the country who will be thinking Liverpool, red, it all makes perfect sense. There has probably been a bit of influence already in the betting with people going on those two horses.

“The Danny Cook (Definitly Red’s jockey) story is intriguing, to think of where he was two years ago to where he could be at the end of Saturday. It would be a great rise back to the top of his sport.

“The thing about the National is that anyone can win it. When you think of Foinavon, he should never have won but then there was the most astonishing pile-up and he came round the outside and the rest is history.

“The thing is it [the Randox Health Grand National] continues and history is made year after year.

“Being part of the BBC there is always a pressure to do things properly. To get it right, both personally and professionally. We [the BBC] have been doing it for 90 years and you would like to continue in the tradition of doing it properly.

“I think the key thing for us is that we are self-sufficient. We could have cut back and had only one commentator and done it from the television but we still have people at the Canal Turn, the far side and the near side of the course. Because if, and I am sure it will never happen, the pictures disappeared, we would still be able to cover the race. As a national broadcaster, I think that is the way it should be.

“Even though we don’t have the TV rights anymore, we will reach 500 million people (via BBC 5 live & BBC World Service) on Saturday.

“As a broadcaster, we are still here after 90 years. It is really nice to be involved in that sort of legacy.”

 

 

S5.


 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

WILL A TEENAGER WIN THE RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL?

 

Three teenage jockeys will line up in the Randox Health Grand National today.

 

The youngest is Jack Kennedy, who doesn’t turn 18 until April 22. Kennedy has made a real name for himself in Ireland this winter, and is currently second behind Ruby Walsh in the Irish Jump jockeys’ championship with 64 winners (as of April 5).

 

Kennedy, who was a successful pony racer, works for trainer Gordon Elliott, for whom he has ridden three Grade One winners. The 17-year-old scored his first Cheltenham Festival victory last month on the Elliott-trained Labaik in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He rides Roi Des Francs for Elliott in the Randox Health Grand National.

 

Like Kennedy, Harry Cobden will ride in his first Grand National on Saturday. The 18-year-old, who turns 19 on November 5, has ridden 55 winners so far this season (as of April 5) and is leading the British conditional jockeys’ title. Cobden is attached to champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard and rode his first Grade One winner on Nicholls’ Irving in the Stan James Fighting Fifth Hurdle in November. He is on board the Nicholls-trained Just A Par in the Randox Health Grand National this year. Just A Par was bought for £100,000 by owner Richard Thompson at the Goffs UK Sale after racing on Thursday evening at Aintree. Cobden enjoyed success over the Grand National fences yesterday, when partnering Ultragold to victory in the Randox Health Topham Chase.

 

The trio is completed by Sean Bowen, who turns 20 on September 5. The son of trainer Peter Bowen has already had two Randox Grand National rides, and both completed the course: Mon Parrain was 11th in 2015 and Just A Par finished 15th last year.

 

Bowen has ridden 76 winners going into Saturday, and is currently 10th in the British Jump jockeys’ title race. Most of his big wins to date have come from Paul Nicholls, for whom he rode Just A Par to take the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2015. He has the ride on Le Mercurey, trained by Nicholls, in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National.

 

The youngest jockey to win the Randox Health Grand National was Bruce Hobbs, who was just 17 when he took the race aboard Battleship in 1938.

 

Noel Fehily is the oldest jockey riding in this year’s Randox Health Grand National at the age of 42, which he reached on December 24. Fehily comes to Aintree fresh from an excellent Cheltenham Festival where he won the Stan James Champion Hurdle with the Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D’Air and the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase aboard Special Tiara. He has had 14 previous rides in the Grand National and has finished fifth in the race twice (Risk Accessor, 2006; Rocky Creek, 2014). This year he rides the well-fancied Blaklion, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies.

 

The oldest jockey to win the Randox Health Grand National was Dick Saunders, who was 48 when he rode Grittar to victory in 1982.

 

S6.

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

COULD THERE BE A FIRST WELSH WINNER THIS CENTURY?

 

One For Arthur would be the first Scottish-trained winner of the Randox Health Grand National since Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, won the 1979 race. Rubstic is the only Scottish winner of the race.

 

Rebecca Curtis would be the first Welsh trainer to take the race since Kirkland, trained by Freddy Lort-Phillips, in 1905. Curtis’ two runners are Shantou Flyer and O’Faolain’s Boy.

 

Nigel Twiston-Davies will join seven other trainers in producing three Randox Health Grand National winners (the most recent of which was Tim Forster in 1972, 1980 and 1985) if Blaklion wins.

 

Jim Culloty is the only trainer in this year’s race to have ridden the winner (Bindaree in 2002). If Lord Windermere wins, he will join a select band of five since 1900 to have done both (Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter).

 

Leighton Aspell (Lord Windermere) and Ruby Walsh (Pleasant Company) have the best record of current jockeys with two wins apiece. Both have rides in this year’s race and could join the team of six (Tom Olliver, Tommy Pickernell, Tommy Beasley, Arthur Nightingall, Jack Anthony and Brian Fletcher) to win three times.

 

There are two amateur jockeys riding in this year’s race – Sam Waley-Cohen (The Young Master) and Jamie Codd (Cause Of Causes). The last amateur to win the Randox Health Grand National was Marcus Armytage, who took the 1990 race on Mr Frisk.

 

Katie Walsh (Wonderful Charm) is the only female jockey riding in this year’s Grand National – and bids to be the first ever to win it. She achieved the best placing to date by a woman when finishing third on Seabass in 2012.

 

There have been 16 Irish-trained winners since 1900, including Rule The World in 2016. Eleven Irish-trained horses will line up for this year’s race (Roi Des Francs, Wounded Warrior, Cause Of Causes, Ucello Conti, Pleasant Company, Lord Windermere, Measureofmydreams, Raz De Maree, Stellar Notion, Rogue Angel and Thunder And Roses).

 

There are nine trainers with runners this year who have already won the race. Kim Bailey (The Last Samuri) trained Mr Frisk to capture the 1990 contest; Jonjo O’Neill (More Of That) won with Don’t Push It in 2010; Paul Nicholls (Saphir Du Rheu, Wonderful Charm, Le Mercurey, Vicente and Just A Par) took the 2012 renewal with Neptune Collonges; Gordon Elliott (Roi Des Francs, Cause Of Causes, Ucello Conti) scored with Silver Birch in 2007; Venetia Williams (Tenor Nivernais, Houblon Des Obeaux) won the 2009 running with Mon Mome; Nigel Twiston-Davies (Blaklion) was victorious in both 2002 with Bindaree and 1998 with Earth Summit; David Pipe (Vieux Lion Rouge, Ballynagour, La Vaticane, Doctor Harper) won in 2008 with Comply Or Die; Willie Mullins (Pleasant Company) triumphed with Hedgehunter in 2005; Mouse Morris (Rogue Angel, Thunder And Roses) saddled 2016 hero Rule The World.

 

S7.


 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

GRAND NATIONAL LANDMARKS

 

David Mullins aims to become the first jockey since Leighton Aspell (Pineau De Re, 2014 and Many Clouds, 2015) to ride back-to-back winners of the race. Mullins partnered Rule The World to victory in last year’s renewal. He rides Stellar Notion this time around.

 

12-year-old Raz De Maree, trained by Gavin Cromwell, would become the oldest horse since Amberleigh House in 2004 to win and just the fourth 12-year-old victor in the last 30 runnings.

 

11-year-olds have won three of the last five runnings of the race, courtesy of Neptune Collonges (2012), Auroras Encore (2013) and Pineau De Re (2014). Ballynagour, Highland Lodge, Lord Windermere, Saint Are and Gas Line Boy seek to add to that record.

 

No seven-year-old has won the race since 1940 (Bogskar). Double Shuffle, Le Mercurey and Shantou Flyer are the seven-year-olds who line up this year.

 

The David Pipe-trained La Vaticane attempts to become the first mare since Nickel Coin in 1951 to win the race.

 

Saphir Du Rheu and La Vaticane attempt to become the first greys since Neptune Collonges in 2012 and just the fourth grey overall to win.

 

Nine-year-olds have a good record, winning 45 of the 169 runnings of the Randox Health Grand National in which the winner’s age was recorded. In this year’s event 16 of the 40-runner field are nine-year-olds.

 

Rebecca Curtis, Kerry Lee and Lucinda Russell could become just the fourth female trainer to saddle the winner of the Randox Health Grand National, joining Jenny Pitman (Corbiere 1983 and Royal Athlete 1995), Venetia Williams (Mon Mome 2009) and Sue Smith (2013 Auroras Encore). Curtis saddles Shantou Flyer and O’Faolains Boy, Lee has Bishops Road and Goodtoknow and Russell runs One For Arthur in the race.

 

Venetia Williams would become the joint winning-most female trainer of all time if Houblon Des Obeaux or Tenor Nivernais wins today, joining Jenny Pitman (Corbiere 1983 and Royal Athlete 1995) with two wins. Williams saddled 100/1 shot Mon Mome to victory in the 2009 renewal.

 

Amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen seeks his seventh winner over the Grand National fences but this would be his first win in the £1-million contest itself. He finished second on Oscar Time in 2011 and partners The Young Master this time.

 

Five winners were bred in France (Alcibiade 1865, Reugny 1874, Lutteur III 1909, Mon Mome 2009 and Neptune Collonges 2012). 12 of this year’s field were bred in the country (Saphir Du Rheu, Roi Des Francs, Wonderful Charm, Tenor Nivernais, Le Mercurey, Vieux Lion Rouge, Ucello Conti, Houblon Des Obeaux, Saint Are, Vicente, Raz De Maree and La Vaticane.

 

The Charlie Longsdon-trained Drop Out Joe is bidding to become the first horse to win the Randox Health Grand National on his first run that particular year since Drogheda’s 1898 victory.

 

Miinnehoma was the last Grand National winner to have less than 10 chase starts before the contest. The Willie Mullins-trained Pleasant Company has had just six chase appearances.

 

S9.

 

The Mouse Morris-trained duo Rogue Angel and Thunder And Roses, would become the first horses since Numbersixvalverde to win both the Irish and Aintree Grand Nationals.

 

Leighton Aspell (Lord Windermere) and Ruby Walsh (Pleasant Company) are both bidding for a third victory and would become only the seventh riders in the race’s history to achieve this feat. George Stevens holds the overall record with five successes.

 

Owner Trevor Hemmings, successful with Hedgehunter in 2005, Ballabriggs in 2011 and Many Clouds in 2015, is attempting to become the only owner to win the race for a fourth time. His runner this year is Vicente. The three other owners to have won the race three times are James Machell, Sir Charles Assheton-Smith (previously Charles Duff) and Noel Le Mare.

 

Nigel Twiston-Davies, successful with Earth Summit and Bindaree, is bidding to become the eighth trainer to win the race three times. His runner this year is Blaklion.

 

Trainers with runners seeking a second win are Kim Bailey, Gordon Elliott, Mouse Morris, Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill, David Pipe and Venetia Williams.

 

Jim Culloty attempts to become the sixth-winning trainer since 1900 to have previously ridden a Grand National winner. Culloty, successful on Bindaree in 2002, saddles Lord Windermere.

 

Lord Windermere is attempting to become only the third horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. Previous horses to achieve the feat are Golden Miller and L’Escargot.

 

The Last Samuri attempts to become the first runner-up to go on and win the next year since Red Rum in 1976-1977. The only other horse to have done this is Cloister in 1891-1892.

 


 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

SAINT THE PUNTERS’ SAVIOUR?

 

Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, reports an unprecedented spread of business on this year’s Randox Health Grand National, with nearly every horse in the race being backed.

 

The betting firm has been happy to push most of the Grand National field out in price, despite paying out on the first six home to a quarter of the odds, and spokesman Alan Alger reckons this year’s race looks one of the most competitive ever.

 

“There are no real Grand National movers so far this morning and we’ve been happy to push most of the horses out in the betting instead!” said Alger.

 

“At the moment, we are 12/1 the field and there are nine horses between that price and 20/1. It’s one of the most competitive Grand National betting heats of all time and any one of these nine horses could go off favourite at 5.15pm”

 

Betway has cut the price of one horse though and the Tom George-trained Saint Are has come into 28/1 (from 33/1) as each-way punters get stuck into Davy Russell’s mount.

 

“Saint Are finished second behind Many Clouds in 2015 and was pulled up behind Rule The World last year, though many put that poor run down to the soft ground he encountered and he has a live chance back on good ground,” continued Alger.

 

 

 

Randox Health Grand National – Betway bet: 12/1 Definitly Red; 14/1 Blaklion, Vieux Lion Rouge; 16/1 More Of That, One For Arthur, Pleasant Company, The Last Samuri; 18/1 Cause Of Causes, Ucello Conti; 20/1 Saphir Du Rheu, The Young Master; 22/1 Rogue Angel, Vicente; 28/1 Highland Lodge, Saint Are, Thunder And Roses; 33/1 Double Shuffle, Raz De Maree; 40/1 Houblon Des Obeaux, Just A Par, Lord Windermere, Measureofmydreams, Perfect Candidate, Stellar Notion, Wonderful Charm; 50/1 Cocktails At Dawn, Drop Out Joe, Le Mercurey, O’Faolains Boy, Regal Encore, Shantou Flyer, Tenor Nivernais, Wounded Warrior; 60/1 Bishops Road, Doctor Harper, Roi Des Francs; 66/1 Ballynagour, Gas Line Boy; 80/1 Goodtoknow; 100/1 La Vaticane.

 

¼ 1-2-3-4-5-6

 

 

S12.

 

BETWAY NATIONAL SPECIALS

 

Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, is betting on a whole host of specials ahead of the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree this afternoon.

 

Paul Nicholls, who trains five horses in the big race (Saphir Du Rheu, Wonderful Charm, Le Mercurey, Vicente and Just A Par) is a 6/1 shot to train the winner, while Gordon Elliott, who won the Randox Health Grand National back in 2007 with Silver Birch, is a 7/1 shot to train the winner (Elliott saddles Roi Des Francs, Cause Of Causes and Ucello Conti).

 

Betway is also betting on the winning owner, winning distance, the age of the winner, the weight carried by the winner and the starting price of the winner, among other special bets.

 

Randox Health Grand National: Winning Trainer – Betway bet: 6/1 Paul Nicholls; 7/1 Any female trainer, Gordon Elliott; 10/1 David Pipe; 20/1 Tom George; 25/1 Noel Meade; 28/1 Venetia Williams; 33/1 Rebecca Curtis; 40/1 Kerry Lee.

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: Winning Owner – Betway bet: 13/2 J P McManus; 11/1 Gigginstown House Stud.

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: Winning Distance – Betway bet: 7/4 4 to 8 lengths; 7/4 Over 8 lengths; 7/4 Under 4 lengths.

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: Age of Winner – Betway bet: 5/4 Seven or Eight; 5/4 Nine; 4/1 10 or over.

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: Weight carried by Winner – Betway bet: 8/15 11st or less; 6/4 Over 11st.

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: Where will the winner be trained? – Betway bet: 4/11 UK; 2/1 Ireland

 

Win Only

 

Randox Health Grand National: SP of Winner – Betway bet: 13/8 16/1 to 25/1; 7/4 Bigger than 25/1; 2/1 4/1 or less.

 

Win Only

 

PUNTERS GET STUCK INTO CONSTABLE

 

 

Although the majority of bets placed today will be on the Randox Health Grand National, there is still plenty of business being done on the other six races on the card at Aintree this afternoon and Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, reports good money for a number of horses.

 

The best-backed horse of the day outside of the Randox Health Grand National comes in the closing Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (6.15pm). There has been significant support for the Evan Williams-trained John Constable with Betway and the six-year-old has been backed at all rates down from an initial 10/1 to his current price of 11/2.

 

In the opening Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm), bottom-weight No Hassle Hoff has consolidated his position at the head of the market and the Dan Skelton-trained gelding is now 7/2 favourite (from 9/2) with Betway.

 

There has been some interesting each-way support for Cultivator in the Grade One Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2.25pm) and punters clearly think that Nicky Henderson’s good form at this meeting (three winners and five second places so far) will continue, backing the six-year-old into 16/1 (from 22/1).

 

In the Betway Handicap Chase (3.40pm), Potters Legend, the mount of dual Randox Health Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell, has been well-backed and is now 9/1 (from 10/1) with Betway.

 

 

 

Betway Market Moves

 

1.45pm – The Gaskells Handicap Hurdle: 7/2 (from 9/2) No Hassle Hoff

 

2.25pm – The Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle: 16/1 (from 22/1) Cultivator

 

3.40pm – The Betway Handicap Chase: 9/1 (from 10/1) Potters Legend

 

6.15pm – The Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle: 11/2 (from 10/1) John Constable

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

WARM DAY & WELFARE MEASURES

 

Temperatures on a bright sunny day are expected to be around 17 degrees Celsius this afternoon and could even reach 20 degrees Celsius.

 

Aintree Racecourse prioritises horse welfare above all else, with a raft of measures introduced over the years.

 

One of the most important is the wash-down area, which is there to cool horses after a race. It has large cooling fans, cold water sprays and buckets of cold water to throw over horses. The intention is to bring down a horse’s temperature back to normal as quickly as possible.

 

John Baker, Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses North West, said: “It is forecast to be a warm afternoon and therefore racegoers should not be surprised if jockeys dismount on the course after the Randox Health Grand National and buckets of water are thrown over the horses as they are led to the wash-down area.

 

“This is a normal procedure, rather than being exceptional, and hopefully everyone will recognise that the horses are always our top priority.

 

“This may mean that one or two of the first four horses, who normally come into the winner’s enclosure, may not do so as cooling down continues.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

BAKER REFLECTS AND LOOKS FORWARD

 

John Baker, Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses North West, is looking forward to today’s big race after a brilliant first two days of the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival.

 

A string of high-class performers have already been in action this week including a handful who have doubled up after victories at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

 

“It’s been a superb week so far,” said Baker. “The racing has been top-class and it has been great to see some of those Cheltenham horses come here and do so well.

 

“Might Bite was fantastic, Buveur D’Air was a real highlight and it was great to see Defi De Seuil do the unbeaten seven over hurdles.

 

“From a racing perspective, we’ve been absolutely delighted. The races over the Grand National fences have been tremendous spectacles. The course has ridden really well and we’re in great shape with the ground.”

 

The sold-out signs are up at Aintree ahead of today’s eagerly-awaited 170th running of the Randox Health Grand National.

 

“It’s a sell-out today and the weather’s set fair so everyone should have a great time,” continued Baker. “The atmosphere has been brilliant over the first two days. The people of Liverpool yesterday were extraordinary. It was all good-natured and they had a fantastic time. It’s been a tremendous first two days and it’s where we want to be in the build-up to the National.

 

“We work on it year round but there’s a real feelgood buzz when you turn up here and look at those great green fences in front of the stands.”

 

Randox Health, the Northern Ireland medical diagnostics company founded by Dr Peter FitzGerald, is backing the race for the first time in a five-year sponsorship deal.

 

“Randox has been a brilliant sponsor,” continued Baker. “They’ve tried a few new things, entertained some guests this week and it’s been a great first year for them. I know they’re really looking forward to the race. Dr FitzGerald even bought a horse at the Goffs UK Sale after racing at Aintree on Thursday – that’s how much they are embracing the race! Over the next four years, I think they are going to take the race to another level.”

 

And who is the Aintree supremo picking for the big race itself?

 

“The Randox Health Grand National is wide open – you could pick 39 horses and still not back the winner. But my son is called Joe so I’ve got to go for Drop Out Joe!” added Baker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

MANY CLOUDS INDUCTED INTO AINTREE LEGENDS HALL OF FAME

 

The 2015 Randox Health Grand National winner Many Clouds was inducted into the Aintree Legends Hall of Fame this morning.

 

Many Clouds, trained by Oliver Sherwood, owned by Trevor Hemmings and ridden by Leighton Aspell, carried second top-weight of 11st 9lb to victory over Saint Are and Monbeg Dude on April 11, 2015.

 

He returned to run in the 2016 race, finishing 16th behind Rule The World. But he scored another Aintree victory in December 2016, winning the Betfred Lotto ‘£100k Chase Giveaway’ Chase over the Mildmay Course impressively by three and a half lengths, with Aspell once more in the saddle.

 

Tragically, his next race was to be his last. Many Clouds put up a stunning performance at Cheltenham in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase in January to beat the Stayers’ Hurdle and King George VI Chase hero Thistlecrack by a head in a thrilling finish. The 10-year-old son of Cloudings collapsed and died of a pulmonary haemorrhage after the race.

 

In total, Many Clouds won 12 races, including the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

 

His owner – for whom Many Clouds was a third Randox Health Grand National winner – trainer, and jockey were present to see a plaque commemorating Many Clouds achievements unveiled in McCoy’s Bar at Aintree today, as was his groom, Chris Jerdin.

 

The ceremony was conducted by Aintree’s chairman, Rose Paterson.

 

Hemmings said: “Many Clouds gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. To beat Thistlecrack was a phenomenal effort. He was a very special horse and we will never forget him.”

 

Aspell said: “His Grand National win was one of the greatest days of my life – he gave us all a lot of great days.”

 

KATIE WALSH WILL RIDE IN GRAND NATIONAL

 

Katie Walsh has passed the doctor at Aintree and will ride in today’s Randox Health Grand National.

 

The jockey, the only female rider in the race, suffered a badly bruised arm when being unseated from Distime at the third fence in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase on Thursday (April 6).

 

She was taken to hospital but released that evening.

 

Walsh, who achieved the highest Grand National placing by a female jockey when she finished third on Seabass in 2012, will be aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained Wonderful Charm in the showpiece race at 5.15pm today.

 

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

UPDATED GOING NEWS AT 11.15AM

 

 

The going has changed from first thing this morning to:-

Grand National Course – Good to Soft, Good in places (from Good, Good to Soft in places)

Mildmay Course – Good, Good to Soft in places (from Good)

Hurdle Course – Good (remains the same)

 

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said at 11.30am: “We completed the watering programme, which started after racing yesterday, this morning and the going changes reflect the five millimetres of water applied.

 

“There is fresh ground on the inside of both the Mildmay and Hurdle Courses.”

 

KATIE WALSH PASSED FIT TO RIDE

 

Katie Walsh, who takes the ride on Wonderful Charm, a 40/1 chance with Betway, in the Randox Health Grand National, has been passed fit to ride.

 

Walsh had a fall at the Chair on Distime in the Randox Health Fox Hunters’ Chase on Thursday, Grand Opening Day, and was taken to hospital by ambulance. A scan and x-rays showed heavy bruising to an arm but no break and the 32-year-old jockey was given the all clear this morning by the on-course doctor.

 

Walsh commented: “He [the on-course doctor] said I was all good to go just now (11.00am).

 

“Bad news spreads well but the scan and the x-ray were all clear so I am good to go. There isn’t too much swelling as I got on top of it nice and early.

 

“I am really looking forward to my ride in the Randox Health Grand National. He is a good jumper and will definitely get the trip and the ground will suit.

 

“It is the [Randox Health Grand] National so you never know what will happen but I am really looking forward to it.”

 

PARADE OF GRAND NATIONAL WINNERS

 

The annual parade of former Randox Health Grand National winners was led by a very relaxed Bindaree, who strode around the Aintree paddock in front of a large crowd.

 

The 2002 winner, who lives in happy retirement at his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’s yard in Gloucestershire, was led up by Rachael Phillips.

 

Next came an excited Amberleigh House, who took the 2004 Randox Health Grand National for the legendary Ginger McCain. He lives at Lisa Williamson’s base at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre in Cheshire and still enjoys being exercised, as well as accompanying some of Williamson’s horses to the races. He was led up by Hazel Roberts.

 

Hedgehunter gave trainer Willie Mullins victory in the 2005 race. He lives at his owner Trevor Hemmings’ stud on the Isle of Man with his best friend Ballabriggs, from whom he is inseparable. Hedgehunter was led up by Jenny McKenna.

 

He was followed by Silver Birch, whose 2007 Randox Health Grand National success put trainer Gordon Elliott on the map. He is spending his retirement at his owner Brian Walsh’s home in County Kildare, but returns to Elliott’s yard annually to prepare for this parade.

 

Don’t Push It was on his toes, looking delighted to be back at the scene of his 2010 triumph. He lives at owner J P McManus’s stud, Martinstown, in County Limerick, where he is allowed to indulge his love of apples and carrots.

 

Next came the handsome Ballabriggs, Donald McCain’s 2011 winner, only a few yards behind his field companion at Trevor Hemming’s stud, Hedgehunter. He was led up by Maureen Callow.

 

The snowy-white Neptune Collonges walked round the parade ring quietly, led up by Tim Wilkins. The Paul Nicholls-trained 2012 Randox Grand National hero is used to making public appearances and yesterday morning visited the patients at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

 

Aurora’s Encore followed him. The 2013 winner still lives at his trainer Sue Smith’s yard, enjoying a happy retirement. Described as “quite a character”, he jig-jogged alongside handler Reece Jarosiewicz.

 

Pineau De Re, who took the 2014 Randox Health Grand National for trainer Dr Richard Newland, has an active post-racing life, hunting and doing some dressage and showjumping – as well as a publicity shoot for the British Open Golf Championship. He was led up by Carolyn White, who performed the same task when he won in 2014.

 

Finally – and looking ready for another shot at the race this year – came 2016 winner Rule The World. He lives at his owner Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud in Ireland, but rejoined his trainer Mouse Morris to prepare for this important parade.

 

ARTHUR LOOKING TO BE NUMBER ONE IN NATIONAL

 

The Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur bids to make history in today’s Randox Health Grand National (5.15pm) by becoming the first Scottish-trained winner of the £1-million contest since Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter won the race in 1979.

 

An impressive winner of the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick in January, the eight-year-old son of Milan finished a creditable fifth in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences in December and will be ridden by Derek Fox.

 

The Irish-bred gelding is 16/1 with Betway for the Randox Health Grand National.

Russell said this morning: “He is in great heart and he has a great attitude – he loves his racing.

 

“We were beaten by Vieux Lion Rouge in the Becher Chase so I imagine he is a danger, but the danger is luck and we just want him to have a clear round.

 

“I’d loved to do it for Scotland and for the team here who work in all weather and at all times so it would be great if he won.

 

“It’s a great thrill to have a horse in a race of this standard.”

 

Teenage jockeys Jack Kennedy (17) and Harry Cobden (18), have their first rides in the Randox Health Grand National this afternoon. Kennedy partners the Gordon Elliott-trained Roi Des Francs in the world’s most famous chase and is hopeful of a good run from the 60/1 shot.

 

Kennedy said: “Hopefully, we will have a clear run round and it would be nice if he could run well – we will hope for the best.

 

“It’s great to get the opportunity and I’m very grateful to Gordon and the O’Learys [owners] for the chance.

 

“Roi Des Francs jumps fairly well, he has schooled well over the same style fences. I’d be more worried about the horses around me than my own lad, so hopefully I get a clear run.”

 

Harry Cobden tasted success in his first race over the Grand National fences aboard Colin Tizzard’s Ultragold in the Randox Health Topham Chase at Aintree yesterday.

 

He partners Paul Nicholls’ Just A Par (40/1), who was sold at the Goffs UK sale for £100,000 on Thursday. He will run in the name of Richard Thompson, son of Patricia and David Thompson.

 

Cobden said: “Just A Par’s in very good form at the moment. He jumps well and he got round last year. With a bit of luck, he should run well.

 

“It was amazing to ride over these fences. I didn’t realise how good it was until yesterday. I’ve had a great first experience, so hopefully today will go as well.”

 

GERAGHTY HOPING THAT CAN DELIVER MORE IN RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL

 

Barry Geraghty is looking forward to the prospect of riding the Jonjo O’Neill-trained More Of That in today’s Randox Health Grand National (5.15pm).

 

Sixth in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out, the 2014 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle winner has been inconsistent over fences.

 

However, Geraghty, retained rider for owner J P McManus, believes the nine-year-old son of Beneficial is capable of running a big race in the £1-million contest.

 

More Of That is a 16/1 shot with Betway for the Randox Health Grand National.

 

McManus also owns Cause Of Causes (18/1) and Regal Encore (50/1) in the world’s most famous chase and Geraghty admitted it had been a difficult decision choosing between the trio.

 

Geraghty said this morning: “It wasn’t an easy choice. More Of That was a high-class hurdler and he had good form as a novice chaser.  He jumps well and I just thought if he was to reproduce his best form, he could be well in.

 

“Cause Of Causes is high enough in the ratings for a horse that won the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Would he have won one of the handicaps at Cheltenham? Maybe not.”

 

Regarding More Of That’s run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which he was beaten nine and three-quarter lengths, Geraghty continued: “I was hoping for a better run.

 

“He ran well up to a point in the Gold Cup. You would have loved to have seen him make the shake-up.

 

“I think if he is going to have the class to win a race like this, he has to be a little bit better than his last run.

 

“He popped over these type of fences nicely. He is a full brother to Eastlake (2016 Topham winner) who is brilliant. That doesn’t guarantee he is going to be brilliant, but he has a very similar approach to a fence. He is very laid-back and measures his fences – I’m looking forward to him.

 

“I think I have a good ride in the race, if you think you have a good jumper that is always a help.”

 

Geraghty won the Randox Health Grand National aboard Monty’s Pass in 2003 and he added: “There is nothing better. You travel the world and someone always asks you whether you have won the Grand National. It is something noticed the world over.”

 

Daryl Jacob fit to ride in Randox Health Grand National

Daryl Jacob, who had a fall in yesterday’s Randox Health Topham Chase and was stood down for the rest of the day, passed the doctor at noon today and is therefore fit to ride Ucello Conti in the Randox Health Grand National.

 

DEFINITLY RED LOOKS TO LIGHT UP LIVERPOOL

 

Danny Cook is relishing his ride aboard 12/1 favourite Definitly Red, trained by Brian Ellison, in today’s Randox Health Grand National (5.15pm).

 

An impressive 14-length winner of the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time, the eight-year-old son of Definite Article has been strongly supported in the betting since that victory, and is effectively 10lb well in on official ratings.

 

Cook said this morning: “Definitly Red has got a great chance. We all fancy him strongly. If he can do what we know he can do, he should give his true running.

 

“He is an incredible horse for me to ride. He has got unlimited potential so he has a massive chance. I’m trying to play it down, but we all hope he can win.

 

“I’m taking everything one step at a time and just trying to keep my feet on the floor. If it does happen and we win, I’ll enjoy it.”

 

Cook has had an occasionally-troubled career and was banned from riding for six months in 2015 after testing positive for cocaine. Thus, a success in the world’s most famous chase would be a significant milestone for the Romford-born rider.

 

He continued: “Winning the Grand National would be massive for me. It would be a dream come true and I would feel that I would have accomplished a lot if I did win the race.

 

“It would be a big deal for me personally.”

 

LION LOOKS TO ROAR IN RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL

 

Tom Scudamore is looking forward to his ride on Vieux Lion Rouge in today’s Randox Health Grand National (5.15pm).

 

Trained by David Pipe, the eight-year-old son of Sabiango was seventh in the £1-million contest last year, beaten 48 lengths behind Rule The World, but is unbeaten in two starts this season.

 

A short-head winner over the Grand National fences in the G3 Becher Chase at Aintree in December, the French-bred gelding stayed on gamely in the Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Haydock last time to score by three and a quarter-lengths.

 

Vieux Lion Rouge is a 16/1 shot with Betway for the world’s most famous chase.

 

Scudamore, whose grandfather Michael won the 1959 renewal of the race aboard the Willie Stephenson-trained Oxo, said: “I think Vieux Lion Rouge will be ok with both the ground and trip. Ground-wise, he is very versatile and the ground doesn’t really matter to him.

 

“He has won novice chases last summer so he won’t be bothered about how the ground is.

 

“He has a touch of class as well. He was able as a younger horse to run against some very good horses as a novice over two miles and two and a half-miles.

 

“He still does have a question to answer over his stamina but I think running over this trip is less of a problem this year than it was last year.

 

“If you look at the way he has seen out his races this year, he looks like he is all about stamina.

 

“When he won the Becher Chase, he pulled it out of the bag [short-head winner] and in the Grand National Trial at Haydock last time over three and a half-miles, the further he went, the better he was and by the time he got to the finishing line, he wasn’t stopping.”

 

NONE BIGGER FOR NEWSPAPERS

 

Anyone walking past newspaper stands this morning will be in no doubt that Randox Health Grand National Saturday has arrived.

 

The Liverpool Echo felled trees in its bid to lead the coverage, opening with a wrap-around special dedicated to yesterday’s Ladies Day, and opening with ‘Cheers to the ladies of Aintree’. The news pages of the same paper shout ‘Centre of the World’, while its page 2 begins ‘One magnificent day’ followed by the sub-headline ‘600m viewers around the world . . . £550m in bets . . .’

 

Countless shots of happy young racegoers are liberally spread across today’s press, but the Liverpool Echo reminds us that Aintree is not ageist, with a full report on yesterday’s Ladies Day Style Award won by Faith Amond, 64, who left with a £35,000 car.

 

Giving readers the winner of the £1m Randox Health Grand National tests the tipsters once again, although the words of Pleasant Company’s trainer, Willie Mullins, writing in his weekly Racing Post column, are as good as a professional analyst’s view. He writes: “Luck still plays a huge part in the race, but we couldn’t be happier with our horse.”

 

The Liverpool Echo’s Chris Wright naps Definitly Red (presumably hoping not to offend the paper’s Everton fans), although the headline on his tipping page – ‘Supasundae on a super Saturday at Aintree’ – is a tip for Jessie Harrington’s runner in the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle.

 

Saphir Du Rheu is Marlborough’s tip for the big race in The Daily Telegraph, while Ucello Conti and Saint Are are the suggestions of Tom Segal, Pricewise in the Racing Post – he had already advised More Of That at 33/1, and the horse is now less than half those odds.

‘The Lion King?’ is the Daily Mail’s headline about Sam Turner’s tip for Vieux Lion Rouge, while his colleague, Marcus Townend, delves into the world of Scotland’s hope, One For Arthur. Townend reminds readers that 1979 winner Rubstic is the only Randox Health Grand National victor from o’er the border, although he concedes Scottish “challengers have been harder to spot than a golden eagle over Loch Lomond”. The story of the horse and owners ‘The Golf Widows’ makes page 8 of The Daily Telegraph.

 

Welsh winners are pretty rare, too, but that does not stop Charlie Atkin of i tipping Pembrokeshire-trained O’Faolains Boy, while Chris Goulding of the Daily Express interviews Carl Hinchy, who owns Shantou Flyer, a stablemate of O’Faolains Boy in the yard of Rebecca Curtis.

 

‘Roar power’ is The Sun’s headline above Templegate’s column and his tip for Vieux Lion Rouge, who is also the choice of the Daily Star’s Patrick Weaver, while Newsboy, aka Dave Yates of the Daily Mirror, says Vicente can bring up a record fourth winner of the race for owner Trevor Hemmings. Rogue Angel is Rob Wright’s tip in The Times, a paper which manages to get Definitly Red’s jockey, Danny Cook, to get to the bottom of being a jockey. Marc Aspland’s large-scale photo shows Cook astride a horse, naked but(t) for his body protector, and answering a Q&A on life in the saddle.

 

The Guardian’s Chris Cook tips Lord Windermere, writing, “a review of his efforts this season suggests he has another big prize in him.” The same paper’s Greg Wood analyses the racing world according to Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief who owned last year’s winner, Rule The World. O’Leary has five Randox Health Grand National runners this year, all outsiders, but as Wood points out, “their combined odds are roughly 10/1 – about the same chance, in other words, as the favourite”.

 

To the winner the spoils, the rest can go home and kick the stable door, which it seems Kim Bailey did 12 months ago when The Last Samuri was second. Quoted by Steve Jones in The Sun, Bailey says: “I could hardly speak for two days.”

 

Photos of Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Sam Quek, an Aintree ambassador who joined racegoers yesterday, features prominently, and the Daily Express, handing over most of pages 2 and 3 to a day at the races, headlines its spread, ‘Stunner Sam is a leading lady at Aintree’.

 

A group of male racegoers dominate The Guardian’s pictorial tribute to Ladies Day, while writer Bel Mooney, who the Daily Mail points out ‘grew up in Liverpool’ takes a wry look at the occasion. Saying she ‘loves the swagger of the Aintree ladies’, she describes getting into a hotel lift with her husband on Ladies Day, to be joined by “a posse of frightening females”. She adds: “My other half didn’t know where to look – or rather he did. Towering heels hoicked those magnificent melons right next to his nose.”

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL WINNERS SO FAR

 

Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 6

1:45pm – Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

Flying Angel: Owner-R J Rexton, Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies, Jockey-Noel Fehily, SP-5/1, Distance-1l

 

2:20pm – Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

Defi Du Seuil: J P McManus, Philip Hobbs, Barry Gergahty 4/11F, 1½l

 

2:50pm – Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)

Tea For Two: Jane Williams & Len Jakeman, Nick Williams, Lizzie Kelly, 10/1, nk

 

3:25pm – Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)

Buveur D’Air: J P McManus, Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty, 4/9F, 5l

 

4:05pm – Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase

Dineur: Gwilym J Morris, Mickey Bowen, Mr James King, 16/1, 1¾l

 

4:40pm – Betway Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

Double W’s: Wharton & Wilson, Malcolm Jefferson, Brian Hughes, 8/1, 1l

 

5:15 – Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)

Dame Rose: Carl Hinchy, Richard Hobson, Alain Cawley, 14/1, ½l

 

Ladies Day, Friday, April 7

1:40pm – Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

Rather Be: Matt & Lauren Morgan, Nicky Henderson, Jeremiah McGrath, 10/1, ½l

 

2:20pm – Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

Pingshou: Ann & Alan Potts, Colin Tizzard, Robbie Power, 16/1,4½l

 

2:50pm – Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

Might Bite: The Knot Again Partnership, Nicky Henderson, Nico de Boinville, 8/13F, 2l

 

3:25 – JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)

Fox Norton: Ann & Alan Potts, Colin Tizzard, Robbie Power, 4/1, 6l

 

4:05pm – Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

Ultragold: Brocade Racing J P Romans Terry Warner, Colin Tizzard, Harry Cobden, 50/1, 1l

 

4:40pm  – Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

The Worlds End: McNeill Family, Tom George, Adrian Heskin, 3/1, ½l

 

5:15 – Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)

Lalor: D G Staddon, Richard Woollacott, Richard Johnson, 33/1, 2 ½l

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FIRST FOUR

 

As a precautionary measure and due to the warm weather, the Aintree Racecourse Executive has decided in the interests of horse welfare that the first four horses home in the Randox Health Grand National will be dismounted on the course and then proceed to the wash-down area to cool down prior to entering the winner’s enclosure.

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

FOUNTAINS WINDFALL LANDS THE PRIZE

 

11/1 shot Fountains Windfall, trained by Anthony Honeyball, produced an excellent front-running performance to win the G3 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle, the first race on Randox Health Grand National day.

 

Keen throughout the extended three mile contest under David Noonan, the seven-year-old son of Passing Glance was 10 lengths clear entering the home straight and was not for catching in the closing stages as he kept on well to score by eight lengths.

 

The well-backed No Comment (5/1), trained by Philip Hobbs, was second, with Tim Vaughan’s Dadsintrouble (16/1) three-quarters of a length behind in third. Dan Skelton’s No Hassle Hoff (4/1 favourite) was a further four lengths back in fourth.

 

A delighted Honeyball said: “We have always thought three miles and good ground would suit Fountains Windfall. He has literally never had those conditions from start to finish except when he won his bumper.

 

“I didn’t mind him being in front but he did look to be doing plenty.

 

“It didn’t look like he was giving himself a chance but once he was that far ahead, I think David [Noonan, jockey] thought he just had to kick off the bend and make the best of his way home.

 

“This horse has a good constitution. He is a good galloper and his wind is good. He can maintain a gallop but I didn’t quite know he could do that.

 

“We had him in the Grade One [G1 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle] yesterday but he is only rated 137. It was probably right to run in the handicap because had he finished third yesterday he would have gone up quite a bit. As it happened, he is going to go up quite a bit for today but at least we have got a nice handicap win into him.

 

“I don’t know what we will do next season. We will have to see what the handicapper does. We could try the hurdle route for a couple of runs, although he will make a lovely chaser as well.

 

“I think we’ll see what the handicapper does and see what’s about for him. He will make a lovely chaser in time.”

 

Regal Encore is Honeyball’s first runner in the Randox Health Grand National (5.15pm) and he believes the gelding has a good chance in the £1-million contest.  Betway make him a 66/1 shot for the world’s oldest race.

 

Honeyball continued: “I think he has got the class, he just needs like a lot of them, a good and economic clear round. There’s nothing in the race to be scared of but we don’t want blunders or bad luck. It’s just a roll of the dice, but if everything went well through the race, he is good enough to be there at the end.

 

“His attitude is great. He is like a young horse. His form has been in and out this year but he has had a little bit of bad luck.”

 

NOONAN BLAZES HIS WAY TO A WINDFALL

 

 

David Noonan will have his first ride in the Randox Grand National later this afternoon on Ballynagour, and he couldn’t have started the day in finer style. He won the Gaskells Handicap Hurdle, the first race of Randox Health Grand National Day, with an enterprising ride on Fountains Windfall.

 

Trained by Anthony Honeyball, seven-year-old Fountains Windfall was 10 lengths clear of the field approaching the third-last hurdle, and won by eight lengths at odds of 11/1.

 

Noonan said: “We jumped off nice and positive, and although there were plenty of front-runners we jumped the first well and landed in front, and he settled, so I thought I could take the bull by the horns, use his jumping and I knew he would appreciate the drying ground.

 

“For a competitive handicap with a lot of runners I thought maybe I wouldn’t have it as free as I did, but thankfully we got the fractions right and he’s run out a game winner in the end. His jumping took him there and I was able to take advantage of the lead that I had. It was either going to work out or it wasn’t, but thankfully it did today. He galloped all the way to the line. He was third in a handicap at Sandown on soft ground, but he moves well and the better ground was always going to be a help.”

 

Asked about his forthcoming Randox Health Grand National chances, he replied: “I think the ground and the time of year is key to Ballynagour; he’s won at Cheltenham when the spring is coming, and I know his recent form figures might not be the most encouraging, but he is a class horse and class is permanent, I think. I would like to think he gets a clear round.

 

“I got a chance to ride in the Topham yesterday [on Father Edward] – it was my first time over the fences – and finished ninth. The horse jumped well, so that was a nice way to whet my appetite.”

 

COMMENT ON SECOND

 

Trainer Philip Hobbs feels there could still be better to come from 5/1 chance No Comment after the six-year-old finished eight lengths runner-up to front-running Fountains Windfall in the opening Gaskells Handicap Hurdle.

 

“It was a good a race and we won the race we were in!” said Hobbs. “He stays well which is a big plus. He’s not run that much so hopefully he’s still improving. Punchestown could be a possibility for him.”

 

VAUGHAN LOOKING TO THE FUTURE WITH DADS

 

Trainer Tim Vaughan was delighted with the performance of Dadsintrouble, who finished third in the Gaskells Handicap Hurdle at Aintree this afternoon.

 

The 16/1 shot didn’t stand a chance of beating the eight length winner Fountains Windfall but he stayed on strongly to claim third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up No Comment.

 

The seven-year-old had finished down the field in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Vaughan revealed after the race that that particular race was his second preference, having failed to make the cut for the Pertemps Final.

 

“I’m delighted with him – he’s run another big race,” said the trainer.

 

“He wasn’t at his best at Cheltenham but I actually would have preferred it if he had got into the Pertemps.

 

“He’s got a cracking pedigree and stays very well. I would have preferred a bit more cut in the ground but he’s done himself justice.

 

“He’ll head out into the field now for his summer break and then we’ll go three miles over fences with him next season. He’s one to look forward to.”

 

1.45pm Gaskells Handicap Hurdle 3m 149y

 

1 FOUNTAINS WINDFALL (The Fountains Partnership) Anthony Honeyball 7-10-12 David Noonan 11/1

2 No Comment (J P McManus) Philip Hobbs 6-10-12 Barry Geraghty 5/1

3 Dadsintrouble (Paul Bowtell) Tim Vaughan 7-10-08 Alan Johns (3) 16/1

4 No Hassle Hoff (Jacky Allen) Dan Skelton 5-10-09 Harry Skelton 4/1 Fav

 

Distnaces: 8, ¾, 4

 

Tote Win: £13.00 Places: £3.50; £2.10; £4.30; £1.60 Exacta: £100.40

 

GOING AFTER THE FIRST

 

David Noonan, rider of the 11/1 winner Fountains Windfall, said: “Good ground, but there is a bit of moisture in it.”

 

Barry Geraghty, jockey of eight-length second No Comment, said: “On the slow side of good. Beautiful ground.”

 

Alan Johns, on board third Dadsintrouble, said: “Good.”

 

Harry Skelton, partner of fourth No Hassel Hoff, said: “On the slow side.”

 

Leighton Aspell, on board Briery Queen, said: “It is good on the hurdle course.”

 

Jamie Bargary, partner of Splash Of Ginge, said: “Good.”

 

Harry Cobden, on board Morello Royale, said: “It is on the slow side of good.”

 

Richard Johnson, partner of For Good Measure, said: “Good.”

 

Mr Alex Ferguson, jockey of Leoncavallo, said: “Good.”

 

Will Kennedy, rider of Mr Mcgo, said: “Lovely good ground.”

 

Jonathan, Moore, jockey of Joe Farrell, said: “Good.”

 

Richie McLernon, on Doesyourdogbite, said; “It is a touch dead.”

 

Aidan Coleman, on board Forthefunofit, said: “It is on the slow side.”

 

Stan Sheppard, on board Zarkandar, said: “It’s on the slow side of good.”

 

Brian Hughes, partner of Desert Cry, said: “It’s on the slow side of good and pretty similar to yesterday. It’s safe.”

 

Paddy Brennan, rider of Barney Dwan, said: “It’s very safe ground, drying up all the time, but I’d say it’s pretty good ground at the moment.

 

Noel Fehily, jockey of Whataknight, said: “It’s the same as yesterday – beautiful ground.”

 

Leighton Aspell, on board Briery Queen, said: “It’s good on the whole.”

 

Tom O’Brien, partner of Golden Doyen, said: “It’s good ground.”

 

Sean Bowen, rider of Rons Dream, said: “It’s good ground.”

 

Mr JJ O’Neill, rider of Holywell, said: “It’s drying like mad and will probably for the rest of the day, but it’s good ground.”

 

Kevin Dowling, rider of The Tourard Man, said: “It’s on the slow side of good.”

 

Richard Johnson, partner of For Good Measure, said: “It’s good.”

 

Sam Twiston-Davies, rider of Duke Street, said: “It’s good ground and drying out all the time.”

 

Richie McLernon, who partnered Doesyourdogbite, said: “I thought it was a touch on the dead side.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

ALL POWER TO POTTS AND TIZZARD AS FINIAN’S OSCAR ADDS TO THE TALLY

 

 

Finding winners at Aintree’s Randox Health Grand National Festival now has clear guidelines – back Colin Tizzard’s runners.

 

The West Country trainer saddled a big-priced treble yesterday, and added to his total for the meeting when Finian’s Oscar, the 3/1 favourite, won the Grade One Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, beating Captain Forez (14/1) and Messire Des Obeaux (7/2) by three lengths and three and a quarter lengths.

 

Finian’s Oscar was also another success for owners Ann and Alan Potts and jockey Robbie Power, who was appointed their retained jockey at the start of this week. The Pottses and Power had a Grade One double yesterday with Fox Norton and Pingshou – Finian’s Oscar was bought for the couple at Tattersalls Ireland’s Cheltenham Sale in November by the former jockey Tom Malone, who is now a bloodstock agent. The price was £250,000.

 

Tizzard had to withdraw the winner from the Cheltenham Festival following a minor setback. He said of today’s run: “He was just lobbing along and was some way back at one stage, but Robbie’s got a head on him and brought him through at the right time. Perhaps that’s why he’s a good horse because he doesn’t do too much early on, but he won it like the good horse we hoped he would be.

 

“Robbie had the horse under him – he had to ask him, but goodness, didn’t he find. He’s a beautiful horse.

 

“I would be pretty sure he will chase next year. He is entered at Punchestown, but it’s all down to Alan as to what we do. Good horses don’t come along very often and perhaps he’s done his job – he’s unbeaten this year and we can enjoy him until next season. He looks as though he jumped those hurdles quite high and he’s won a point-to-point [in Ireland] so everything is in front of him at the moment.

 

“Robbie came down last week to look at all the Potts’ horses [in his yard] and he jumped this horse over hurdles twice, just to get a feel for him.”

 

OSCAR STEALS THE SHOW AT AINTREE

 

Alan Potts’ decision to appoint Irish rider Robbie Power as his retained rider has paid handsome dividends at this year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival, as the owner, jockey and trainer Colin Tizzard, recorded their third Grade One victory of the meeting in these colours, courtesy of 3/1 favourite Finian’s Oscar’s game success in the G1 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle.

 

Always travelling comfortably throughout the extended three mile contest, the five-year-old son of Oscar made stealthy headway to challenge for the lead in the home straight, and after winging the final hurdle, stayed on strongly to score by three lengths.

 

Dan Skelton’s Captain Forez (14/1) stayed on well to finish second, with a further three and a quarter-lengths back to Messire Des Obeaux (7/2) in third.

 

Pingshou (G1 Crabbie’s Top Novices Hurdle) and Fox Norton (G1 JLT Melling Chase) were successful for Potts yesterday and he said: “Cheltenham was fantastic and then we have come straight here and it is the same.

 

“In fairness, it’s how we spend our money, it isn’t how we earn it – we are engineers. We live a fairly quiet life on our farm apart from when we go racing.”

Potts appointed Power after they teamed up to win the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup with Sizing John at last month’s Cheltenham Festival and Potts was evidently delighted with how things have panned out at Aintree.

 

He continued: “He [Power] is absolutely brilliant. We’re delighted with him. He thinks he has died and gone to heaven. We are also very happy with Colin Tizzard and Jessica [Harrington, Sizing John’s trainer].”

 

2.25pm Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle 2m 4f

1 FINIAN’S OSCAR (Ann & Alan Potts) Colin Tizzard 5-11-04 Robbie Power 3/1 Fav

2 Captain Forez (John Hales) Dan Skelton 5-11-04 Harry Skelton 14/1

3 Messire Des Obeaux (Simon Munir & Isaac Souede) Alan King 5-11-04 Daryl Jacob 7/2

 

Distances: 3, 3¼

 

Tote Win: £3.30 Places: £1.70; £4.10; £1.70 Exacta: £48.90

 

OSCAR HAS THE POWER

 

A dream start to Robbie Power’s new job as first rider to owners Alan and Ann Potts continued when Finian’s Oscar (3/1 Fav) claimed the Grade One Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle.

 

It was a third top-level success at Aintree this week for Power, who reflected:  “Finian’s Oscar is a very good horse. This is the best ground he has raced on and he was a bit green the whole way. He took a while to find his feet, but I knew turning in that I had loads of horse underneath me.

 

“It has been unbelievable week. Barry Geraghty has just handed me the leading jockey armband which I have never worn before.

 

“It has been a good start. It’s three out of three for this meeting, it has been fantastic!

 

“Raw ability has got him through today.  He was jumping up in the air and he had never gone that sort of pace before. He was so green and I spent the first mile of the race trying to get him to travel.

 

“He came through in the straight and he jumped the last well but then he had a good, old look up at the stands and idled a bit. He has an awful lot to learn.

 

“I know he had won the Tolworth  but maybe it wasn’t the strongest Tolworth of all time but that was a proper race today. There is a lot to look forward to with him.”

 

Of whether Regal Encore could maintain his dazzling run of winners in the Randox Health Grand National, Power added: “We will certainly be trying our best.”

 

Alan Potts added: “Cheltenham was fantastic and then we have come straight here and it is the same. In fairness, it is how we spend the money, not how we earn it. We are engineers. We live a fairly quiet life apart from when we go racing.

 

“Robbie Power is absolutely unreal. We are delighted with him. I think he thinks he has died and gone to heaven.

 

“I can’t believe everything is going so perfectly. We have fantastic team in place now with our four trainers and our jockey. We’ve got the future in front of us and can enjoy it.”

 

FOREZ A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW

 

Trainer Dan Skelton was delighted with the performance of Captain Forez, who finished the three-length runner-up behind 3/1 favourite Finian’s Oscar in the Grade One Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree this afternoon.

 

The 14/1 shot was nursed into the race by jockey Harry Skelton and the pair stayed on strongly to claim second after the last.

 

Skelton revealed that he purposely hadn’t been hard on Captain Forez this season and that the best was yet to come from the five-year-old, who has yet to win a race.

 

“The trip really helped him,” said the trainer.

 

“Next year we’ll go for a little novice hurdle and then Graded races all the way through. We might even end up going to the Cheltenham Festival and then back here. He’ll then be a chaser in time. We’ve looked after him this year – we’ve not slung it all at him.

 

“We’ve allowed him time to become the best horse he can be and he’s still a work in progress. He jumped great, apart from one where he was a bit 50/50 at it, and this is why I want another year hurdling with him. I want him to know everything he can about the job, so then we’re a healthy novice chaser.

 

“We’ve got a plan for him and, with a bit of luck, it will all come off.”

 

IT’S CHASING NEXT FOR MESSIRE

 

Messire Des Obeaux finished third behind Finian’s Oscar and Captain Forez in the Grade One Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at odds of 7/2. He was six and a quarter lengths behind the winner.

 

The five-year-old, who won the Grade One Betfred Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year’s Eve, is trained by Alan King and ridden by Daryl Jacob.

 

King said: “We’re happy enough. I thought, looking in the paddock, that they were the nicest bunch of horses I’ve seen in a race for a long time; serious quality. This was a top-class race and he’s run very well.

 

“That will be him finished now for the season and he’ll go chasing in the autumn.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

SAN WINS AT EXPENSE OF SAM

 

San Benedeto was the thrilling head winner of an eventful running of the Grade One Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase for trainer Paul Nicholls at Aintree this afternoon.

 

The 4/1 shot looked booked for third as the field headed towards the final fence and, when leader (and stablemate) Politologue and Forest Bihan jumped the fence in unison, jockey Nick Scholfield must have thought his chance had gone.

 

However, in an astonishing turn of events, the Sam Twiston-Davies ridden grey stumbled three strides after the fence and crumpled to the ground, leaving the eventual runner-up Forest Bihan clear of the field.

 

Scholfield never gave up though and conjured up a withering run from the six-year-old and the pair stayed on strongly to snatch an unlikely victory in the shadows of the post, with the 6/5 favourite Charbel a further 13 lengths back in third.

 

Nicholls looked visibly shell-shocked after the race and couldn’t quite believe what he had just seen.

 

“He was so unlucky there – he just stumbled!” said the exasperated trainer.

 

“San Benedeto will never get another chance to win a Grade One like that but, looking at it, Politologue was desperately unlucky not to win.

 

“That why you have a first reserve in races like this though. He’s been an amazing horse – he only won last Sunday (at Ascot in a handicap chase) and sometimes fortunes favour the brave.

 

“How unlucky was Politologue though? He absolutely winged the last and then just stumbled. John (Hales – owner) is obviously disappointed but, on that showing, he looks a two miler so we’ll sit down and see what John and Sam think.

 

“He gallops and jumps and two miles will probably be his job next year. It’s nice to have Grade One winner and a Grade One winner here though.”

 

SCHOLFIELD SCORES ON SAN BENEDETO

 

San Benedeto overhauled Forest Bihan a stride before the finishing line to win the Grade One Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase by a head.

 

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old benefited from the dramatic way his stable mate Politologue tripped and fell a stride after the final fence when in the lead.

 

San Benedeto, a 4/1 shot, was ridden by Nick Scholfield, who said: “My fellow always comes late anyway, but Sam [Twiston-Davies, who was riding Politologue] looked like he was going to win but took a stride and fell, and we were left there. I was going to go for a run down the inside but that door shut so I switched out and, to be fair, San Benedeto put his head down and kept going. He’s had a lot of racing and he tries, so he deserves a Grade One win.

 

“It’s only six days since he won at Ascot, and he was running at Sedgefield at the beginning of the season, so he’s come a long way to win a Grade One. He loves his racing, fortunately.

 

“It is great for Paul [Nicholls]. It has probably been a tough enough week so hopefully this will cheer him up.”

 

FALL NO HELP TO FOREST

 

A fall by Politologue at the final fence when he was upsides with Forest Bihan saw a radical change to the G1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase.

 

Left in front, Forest Bihan (6/1) looked sure to score but lost out in the shadow of the post to a late lunge from San Benedeto (4/1).

 

Brian Ellison, trainer of the runner-up, felt Politologue’s fall did his runner no favours.

 

He said: “Brian (Hughes) said the horse just pulled up when he hit the front. I think if the grey hadn’t fallen it would have helped us. It would have given us something to battle against.

 

“But Forest Bihan is a talented horse and he will go for the better races next season and chase some prize money.”

 

MISTAKE MATTERED FOR CHARBEL

There was to be no consolation win for the Kim Bailey-trained Charbel following his luckless run at last month’s Cheltenham Festival.

 

On that occasion he was in contention for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy, and putting it up to favourite Altior, when falling two from home. Today he was made the 6/5 favourite for the G1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase, but after leading the field he made a mistake in the back straight and was struggling from that point.

 

Ridden by David Bass, he eventually came in 13 lengths behind runner-up Forest Bihan.

Bailey said: “He made a mistake at the wrong time and could never really get going after that. He landed slightly sideways and you have to jump every single fence spot on in races of this standard.

 

“I don’t think Cheltenham left a mark – he jumped every other fence fine, but who knows, it’s a $100,000 question. He has an entry at Punchestown, but we’ll see how he comes out of this race before making a decision. I wouldn’t have thought it very likely he’ll go there.”

 

3.00pm Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase 2m

1 SAN BENEDETO (Paul Vogt) Paul Nicholls 6-11-04 Nick Scholfield 4/1

2 Forest Bihan (Phil Martin) Brian Ellison 6-11-04 Brian Hughes 6/1

3 Charbel (Julie & David Martin) Kim Bailey 6-11-04 David Bass 6/5 Fav

 

Distances: hd, 13

 

Tote Win: £4.30 Places: £1.80; £2.40 Exacta: £21.50

 

 

 

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

RELENTLESS ROLL CONTINUES FOR POTTS, POWER AND TIZZARD

 

The unstoppable force emerging from Colin Tizzard’s stable produced the winner of the Betway Handicap Chase, as 10/1 shot Sizing Codelco completed a 43/1 double for the yard on Randox Health Grand National Saturday.

 

It was also a double for jockey Robbie Power and owners Ann and Alan Potts – how they must all regret not having a Randox Health Grand National runner, because right now they could run a mule and win.

 

After Sizing Codelco had powered away from his rivals in the home straight, beating Rightdownthemiddle, Starchitect and Potters Legend by 18 lengths and six lengths, Tizzard said: “Some times you cannot believe what happens in racing!

 

“I entered him for this race and Alan said ‘Well . . . he didn’t run very well at Cheltenham’, but I had made a mess-up of the job. He was second to Top Notch without blinkers on, the next time we ran him with blinkers on, then we put cheekpieces on and so today I decided to take them all off again, and it seemed to work.

 

“He obviously sulked in them [headgear] and it took me two races to realise that, and, in addition, he’s come in his coat and he’s obviously an all-right horse.

 

“What can you say about Robbie Power at the moment? He’s doing things on horses which we haven’t seen much lately. He’s brave, he’s asking horses to jump – every jockey looks good when they are winning, but I’ll be happy to put him up a few more times.”

 

Power said: “It’s full credit to the team – Joe [Tizzard’s son], Colin and all the staff at the yard. They do a fantastic job.

 

“This horse ran a stinker at Cheltenham, and to get him back fresh and well for here is a great performance. Joe fancied the horse, and said ‘get him into a rhythm and into his own space’. We largely managed to do that, and he stays forever.

 

“He’s a big coward and if he gets crowded he sulks a bit, so I just kept looking for space and he responded.”

 

Power and Potts team up with the Jessie Harrington-trained Supasundae in the next race, the Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle, and the jockey partners the Anthony Honeyball-trained Regal Encore in the Randox Health Grand National.

 

CODELCO PRODUCES SIZING PERFORMANCE

 

10/1 shot Sizing Codelco ran out an impressive winner of the Listed Betway Handicap Chase, to provide trainer Colin Tizzard, jockey Robbie Power and owners Alan & Ann Potts, with a 43/1 double on the third and final day, Grand National Day, of the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival.

 

The eight-year-old son of Flemensfirth showed a potent turn of foot in the home straight and after winging the last, kept on well under Power to score by 13 lengths from Gordon Elliott’s Rightdownthemiddle (16/1) in second.

 

David Pipe’s Starchitect (5/1) was eight lengths behind in third, with a further five lengths back to the well-backed 9/2 favourite Potters Legend, trained by Lucy Wadham, in fourth.

 

As well as Finian’s Oscar’s victory in the G1 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree this afternoon, the triumvirate were also successful with Pingshou (G1 Crabbie’s Top Novices Hurdle) and Fox Norton (G1 JLT Melling Chase) at Aintree yesterday, whilst Tizzard also claimed the Randox Health Topham Chase with Ultragold, taking his tally to five winners at Aintree this week.

 

Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin, said: “It’s amazing. We were having a quiet time but what a week it has been. Down the back straight, he was seeing lovely strides on this horse.

 

“Robbie grabbed hold of him, he is quite a laid-back horse and he is strong. We’ve got no issues with Robbie being Mr. Potts’ retained jockey!

 

“It’s been a brilliant few days. We have had an amazing season but we didn’t have a winner at Cheltenham so it’s important to get wins at these major meetings. This has just topped off what has been an incredible year.

 

“The horses have been on the go all season and the horses are enjoying the sun on their back and the good ground.

 

“It’s a big team effort, there is a lot of hard work but we have had a fantastic season. We work hard and we have to enjoy these days.”

 

3.40pm Betway Handicap Chase 3m 210y

1 SIZING CODELCO (Ann & Alan Potts) Colin Tizzard 8-11-03 Robbie Power 10/1

2 Rightdownthemiddle (R P Gilbert) Gordon Elliott IRE 9-11-01 Jack Kennedy 16/1

3 Starchitect (Paul & Clare Rooney) David Pipe 6-11-07 Tom Scudamore 5/1

4 Potters Legend (Mrs J May) Lucy Wadham 7-11-04 Leighton Aspell 9/2 Fav

 

Distances: 13, 8, 5

 

Tote Win: £13.80 Places: £3.20; £3.80; £2.00; £1.90 Exacta: £311.40

 

GROUND THE KEY TO MIDDLE

 

Jockey Jack Kennedy was satisfied with the performance of 16/1 shot Rightdownthemiddle, who finished the 13-length runner-up behind Sizing Codelco in the Betway Handicap Chase at Aintree this afternoon.

 

The Gordon Elliott-trained nine-year-old had pulled up on heavy ground at Naas last time out and Kennedy felt the better ground was the reason for the improvement shown in this race.

 

“He’s run well – I’m satisfied with that,” said the jockey.

 

“The trip is fine for him – I think the better ground has suited him well. He struggled on the heavy ground the last time and I don’t think it helps him.”

 

Elliott agreed with Kennedy’s assessment.

 

“There’s no stopping Colin Tizzard!” said the trainer

 

“The ground was bottomless last time and he couldn’t go through it but he has run a blinder today. He could go to Punchestown and might be a horse for the Galway Plate.”

 

5/1 shot Starchitect was a further eight lengths back in third and trainer David Pipe was happy with his run.

 

“He ran well – he travelled and jumped, and just plugged on at the same pace.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

KING CALLS YANWORTH RIGHT

 

A relieved Alan King greeted Yanworth as he returned after winning the Grade One Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle under Barry Geraghty.

 

The J P McManus-owned seven-year-old disappointed when favourite on his last outing for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, finishing seventh.

 

The step up to three miles appeared to suit him today, and Yanworth, the 9/4 favourite, came home a length clear of Supasundae.

 

“It’s been a tough couple of festivals,” admitted King. “I didn’t bring a huge team up here to Aintree, and we’ve had four third placings.

 

“I am relieved more than anything. I am delighted with him. We hoped three miles would suit but he had never been that far before. It was a long run-in and he has pulled it out.

 

“He won a Christmas Hurdle and a Kingwell, so we had to go [to the] Champion Hurdle but it didn’t work. It was a brave call, going straight to three miles from two miles. I wasn’t confident today, I must admit, but we got away it.”

 

YAN SHOWS HIS WORTH FOR GERAGHTY

 

Jockey Barry Geraghty was delighted that Yanworth (9/4 Fav) put a below-par performance at Cheltenham last month behind him when capturing the Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle.

 

The seven-year-old swooped late to hold off Supasundae by a length and claim the Grade One prize.

 

“Yanworth fumbled the third last,” said Geraghty. “I just didn’t want to commit because I didn’t want to land in front and he made a mess of it. He recovered quickly and was good at the last.

 

“Maybe the trip found him out in Cheltenham but I would say he is better than that. He probably underperformed as he got very warm beforehand. He is a middle-distance stayer really.

 

“This a lovely race to win.”

 

SUNDAE FINISHES SUPA SECOND

 

Jessica Harrington was delighted with the run of Supasundae (5/1), who finished a creditable length second to 9/4 favourite Yanworth in the G1 Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle.

 

Jockey Robbie Power and owners Alan & Ann Potts have registered four winners at this year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival, but the seven-year-old son of Galileo could not add to that tally despite battling on gamely behind Alan King’s tenacious winner.

 

9/1 shot Snow Falcon, trained by Noel Meade and who travelled ominously well into the race, finished three-quarters of a length behind in third.

 

Supasundae did not return to the winners’ enclosure and instead headed straight to the wash down area after the race. Harrington reported her charge to be fine however.

 

She said: “He was just a bit warm. He got warm beforehand and then Robbie took the saddle off and thought he was warm also after the race. He was absolutely fine and pulled up grand.”

 

This was a superb run from the gelding, just 24 days after his Coral Cup victory at the Cheltenham Festival and Harrington was pleased that the horse had also handled the step up in trip.

 

She continued: “It was an unbelievable run. He kicked the third last out – Robbie didn’t lose much momentum but it must have taken something out of him.

 

“To come back after running his heart out at the Cheltenham Festival – it was a quick enough gap between the two races. It’s ok when you’re only going down the road, but he has had two strange journey’s to different stables.

 

“That’s him for the year. He won’t go to Punchestown. He has proved that he is probably a G1 horse. He gets three miles, which gives you plenty of options of where to go and what we can do with him.”

 

Reflecting on potential plans for next season, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer remarked: “We’re going to see if he jumps fences. He has the stamp of a chaser. I’m not sure if a Galileo will win over fences but I’ve got to break the mould. He jumps hurdles very well. He jumps them rather than hurdles them but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

 

Robbie Power, Supasundae’s jockey was narrowly denied a five-timer at the meeting. He added: “He’s fine. The horse is 100% and he is just gone down to the cooling area. It’s a hot day but he’s good. He has run a cracker in his first run in a G1.”

 

4.20pm Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle 3m 149y

1 YANWOTH (J P McManus) Alan King 7-11-07 Barry Geraghty 9/4 Fav

2 Supasundae (Ann & Alan Potts Partnership) Jessica Harrington IRE 7-11-07 Robbie Power 5/1

3 Snow Falcon (Patricia Hunt) Noel Meade IRE 7-11-07 Sean Flanagan 9/1

 

Distances: 1, ¾

 

Tote Win: £3.10 Places: £1.50; £1.90; £2.70 Exacta: £16.20

 

ROYAL ASCOT A POSSIBLE FOR SNOW FALCON

 

Three horses pulled clear as the Ryanair Stayers’ Liverpool Hurdle headed to a conclusion, but it was Yanworth, the 9/4 favourite, who came out on top.

 

The second and third horses, Supasundae (5/1) and Snow Falcon (9/1) lost little in defeat, as they went down by one length and three-quarters of a length to the Alan King-trained winner. On their previous starts, Supasundae won Cheltenham’s Coral Cup, while Snow Falcon was fifth in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle, and today he reversed places with Cole Harden, who was fourth on that occasion.

Noel Meade, the trainer of Snow Falcon, said: “It was a good run and we have to be happy. It would be nicer to win, but we were beaten and there are no excuses. He ran a good race, jumped great and I thought we might do it going to the last.

 

“I don’t think he liked the ups and downs of Cheltenham – he’s had a little trouble with his back throughout his life, and the ups and downs perhaps didn’t suit, but he jumped and travelled much better today. He got into the race very easily today.

 

“He might go to Punchestown for the Stayers’ Hurdle there, but I had always hoped he would go for the Ascot Stakes over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot. I’d have to make sure he could get into it, but he’s probably borderline – I’d like to give him a run before that, but I’d also like to give him a bit of a break, so it’s going to be difficult to get everything done.

 

“He’s been a good servant, he’s taken us to some good places, and he’s still young.”

 

Sean Flanagan, who rode Snow Falcon, said: “I thought he was going to pick them up, but it wasn’t to be. He was flat out early on, but jumped really well and battled on.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

2017 Randox Health Grand National – Full Result

Grade 3 handicap chase, £1 million total prize fund. Aintree, 5.15pm Saturday, April 8, 2017. 4m 2f 74yds over the Grand National fences. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 20 have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a steeple chase with an official distance description of’ two miles seven and a half furlongs’ or more and which are allotted a rating of 120 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 12. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 12would merit a minimum rating of 120. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 12. At the Handicapper’s discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. Entries closes January 31, entries revealed February 1 (110 entries, Otago Trial (IRE) subsequently scratched), weights revealed February 14, first scratchings deadline February 28 (95 remained), second scratchings deadline March 21 (79 remained), five-day confirmations April 3 (70 confirmations), final declarations 10am April 6. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.

 

1) ONE FOR ARTHUR (IRE) (TS) 8 10-11 Two Golf Widows Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox 14/1

2) CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) (TS, CP) 9 10-13 J P McManus Gordon Elliott IRE/Mr Jamie Codd 16/1

3) SAINT ARE (FR) (Bl, TS) 11 10-10 David Fox Tom George/Davy Russell 25/1

4) BLAKLION 8 11-01 Simon Such & Gino Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies/Noel Fehily 8/1 Fav

5) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) (Visor) 11 10-07 The Three Graces Ian Williams/Robert Dunne

6) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) (CP) 8 10-12 Professor Caroline Tisdall & John Gent David Pipe/Tom Scudamore

7) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) (TS) 11 10-10 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE/Leighton Aspell

8) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) (TS) 9 10-13 J P McManus Anthony Honeyball/Robbie Power

9) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) (Hood) 9 10-12 Malcolm Denmark Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh

10) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) (CP) 10 10-12 Jennifer Blackwell Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch

11) BALLYNAGOUR (IRE) (Hood, TS) 11 10-11 Allan Stennett David Pipe/David Noonan

12) LE MERCUREY (FR) (Bl, TS) 7 11-00 Patricia Thompson Paul Nicholls/Sean Bowen

13) GOODTOKNOW (Bl) 9 10-07 Burling Daresbury MacEchern Nolan Potter Kerry Lee/Jake Greenall

14) JUST A PAR (IRE) (Bl) 10 10-09 Paul Barber & the late Graham Roach Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden

15) LA VATICANE (FR) (Bl, TS) 8 10-06 Ms Maria Bukhtoyarova David Pipe/Richie McLernon

16) THE LAST SAMURI (IRE) 9 11-10 Paul & Clare Rooney Kim Bailey/David Bass

17) TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 10 11-01 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams/Aidan Coleman

18) ROI DES FRANCS (FR) (Bl) 8 11-03 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Jack Kennedy

19) WONDERFUL CHARM (FR) (TS, CP) 9 11-02 Robin Geffen & Sir John Ritblat Paul Nicholls/Ms Katie Walsh

 

F 1) VICENTE (FR) (Hood) 8 10-10 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls/Brian Hughes

F 1) COCKTAILS AT DAWN  9 10-08 Robin Geffen & Sir John Ritblat Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville

F 6) THE YOUNG MASTER (CP) 8 10-13 Dajam & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

UR 6) RAZ DE MAREE (FR)  12 10-09 James Swan Gavin Cromwell IRE/Ger Fox

PU BEF 9) DEFINITLY RED (IRE) 8 10-12 Phil Martin Brian Ellison/Danny Cook

HMP & UR 9) THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE) (TS, CP) 9 10-07 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE/Mark Enright

UR 11) SAPHIR DU RHEU (FR) 8 11-05 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls/Sam Twiston-Davies

PU BEF 13) STELLAR NOTION (IRE) 9 10-09 Roger Brookhouse Henry de Bromhead IRE/David Mullins

UR 15) MEASUREOFMYDREAMS (IRE) (CP) 9 10-09 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE/Donagh Meyler

UR 22) UCELLO CONTI (FR) (TS) 9 10-12 Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott IRE/Daryl Jacob

PU BEF 27) SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) (TS) 7 11-05 Carl Hinchy Rebecca Curtis/Jonathan Moore

PU BEF 27) PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE) (Ch P)  10 11-05 ISL Recruitment Fergal O’Brien/Paddy Brennan

PU BEF 29) DOCTOR HARPER (IRE) (Bl, TS) 9 10-06 The Johnson Family David Pipe/Conor O’Farrell

PU BEF 29) WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE) 8 11-02 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE/Sean Flanagan

PU BEF 29) DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE) (Hood) 7 10-12 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George/Adrian Heskin

PU BEF 30) HIGHLAND LODGE (IRE) (CP) 11 10-11 Patricia Thompson James Moffatt/Henry Brooke

PU BEF 30) BISHOPS ROAD (IRE)  9 10-10 Alan Halsall Kerry Lee/Jamie Moore

PU BEF 30) DROP OUT JOE (Ch P) 9 11-01 The Jesters Charlie Longsdon/Tom O’Brien

PU BEF 30) MORE OF THAT (IRE) (Ch P) 9 11-06 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill/Barry Geraghty

PU AFTER 30) O’FAOLAINS BOY (IRE) 10 10-11 Trembath, Hyde, Outhart & Hill Rebecca Curtis/Paul Townend

PU AFTER 30) ROGUE ANGEL (IRE) (Bl, TS) 9 10-08 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE/Bryan Cooper

 

Distances: 4½, 3¾, ½, 8, 10, 1, nk, hd, 14, 2¾, 1¼, 3½, 3½, 6, 7, 6, 7, 11

 

Time: 9m 00.30s

 

Tote Win: £14.70 Places: £3.60, £4.70, £8.40, £3.50 Exacta: £330.50

 

 

 

 

S50.

 

       RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

RUSSELL DOES SCOTLAND PROUD

One For Arthur’s win in the Randox Health Grand National was the second for Scotland – Rubstic’s victory in 1979 was the first.

 

The 14/1 chance was trained in Fife by Lucinda Russell, ridden by Derek Fox and owned by Two Golf Widows – Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson.

 

Russell, who is assisted by her partner, former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, said: “It means everything, of course it does! It’s incredible. I’m just so proud of the horse. He jumped fantastically and Derek gave him a great ride.

 

“He’s done us proud and he’s done Scotland proud, and he’s done everyone at the yard proud.

 

“Derek is amazing –I know he’s a horseman and everything, but his timing is fantastic as well, and the self-confidence he has is brilliant. He had him jumping brilliantly.

 

“Before the Melling Road, I turned to the owners and shouted, ‘We’re going to win the National!’ With a horse like that and a jockey like that, what could be better? It was a bold call but it was right.

 

“It’s really funny how everything has gone right. The preparation for the horse, everything – when we worked out what training he was going to have, we built in an extra week for something to go wrong, like losing a shoe. He did lose a shoe, but the farrier got up early on Saturday morning to put it back on. Everything’s gone so smoothly, including winning the race! It’s dreamlike.”

 

Asked what the victory meant for her yard, she said: “I always say, it’s fine, I’m the figurehead and I’m saying what’s going on, but it’s everyone back at home – from our farrier to our vet, who is here by one of the fences – we’ve got a great team and long may it continue. And the support we’ve had from the other owners – it can be hard when everyone is talking about the one horse, but hopefully we can continue to give them winners.

 

“Scu is wearing his dad’s [the late Michael Scudamore, who won the Randox Health Grand National in 1959 on Oxo] tie, so I think that brought us some luck. I’m delighted for Scu – without him I couldn’t do it.”

 

CODD PROUD OF CAUSES

 

A ‘disappointed’ yet proud Jamie Codd finished a creditable four and a half-lengths second aboard 16/1 chance Cause Of Causes in the Randox Health Grand National.

 

Always travelling well, Gordon Elliott’s charge made stealthy headway entering the home straight to challenge for the lead but was unable to match the finishing speed of the winner One For Arthur, who stayed on powerfully in the closing stages.

 

Amateur rider Codd said: “He’s a fantastic little horse. He’s not that big and to do what he has done today is great. The winner has done it quite well in the end but my horse has galloped all the way to the line.

 

“He is a little star, he is great for the yard and to finish second in the Grand National and be a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner is incredible. He minds me, he is an idle horse but to be fair to him, he kept finding.

 

“If you have a willing partner you will always going to be there on the day – disappointed but he has run a great race.”

 

Davy Russell had a good spin on 25/1 shot Saint Are who finished a staying-on third, three and three-quarter lengths behind Cause Of Causes.

 

Russell commented: “He just went through a flat patch. He was a bit slow at the last with a circuit to go. When we came around the bend, he came alive again.

 

“They quickened away from Becher’s and I just couldn’t go with them as I would have had to take him off the bridle too early so I left him off with the hope that he would pass tired horses and that happened.

 

“At any stage, I didn’t think I was going to win it but I was riding for my best position and I think I achieved that.”

 

Noel Fehily, rider of fourth-placed Blaklion, added: “He gave me a great ride, he jumped brilliantly but he just tied up a bit from two out.”

 

Robbie Dunne, rider of fifth-placed Gas Line Boy, said: “He ran well. Probably didn’t get home. I was travelling really well turning in and perhaps I would not have won but if I had held him onto a bit longer, I might have finished third. He has run a cracker. I had a lovely passage down the middle and I followed Blaklion [fourth]. I was always happy with where I was. He got in deep at a few fences but he has run well.

 

“He’s run a super race. It’s disappointing to finish second but he has run a belter. He is great little horse, I’m delighted with him. The winner had too much for me on the way to last but it was a great spin.”

 

Sam Twiston-Davies, rider of Saphir Du Rheu, said: “He fell at the ditch but we were going fine at the time.”

 

Brian Hughes, on board Vicente, said: “I fell at the first so there’s not a lot more I can say. It was all ok up to then!”

 

Danny Cook, rider of Definitly Red, commented: “The tack slipped round his belly and there was nothing else I could do from there. He was juming and he got into a real nice rhythm. I thought I was going to have a nice spin round as he took to the fences, but it is just one of those things.”

 

Barry Geraghty, rider of More Of That, said: “He was never really travelling. He faded out of it but he jumped like a stag.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

ARTHUR IS NUMBER ONE IN GRAND NATIONAL

Lucinda Russell became the fourth woman to trainer the winner of the Randox Health Grand National as 14/1 shot One For Arthur registered a four and a half-length success in the world’s most famous chase.

 

Ridden by Derek Fox, the eight-year-old son of Milan found plenty for pressure in the closing stages to register a decisive victory.

 

The gelding also became just the second Scottish-trained winner in the race’s history.

 

16/1 chance Cause Of Causes was second, with a further three and three-quarter lengths to Saint Are (25/1) in third. The well-backed 8/1 favourite Blaklion was half-a-length further back in fourth.

 

A delighted Russell said: “It’s just amazing. Everyone kept saying beforehand that the worst question a journalist can ask you is “how would it feel to win the National?” and you think “Oh for goodness sake, what would it mean?” – it means everything, of course it does.

 

“I am so proud of the horse. He jumped fantastically and I thought Derek gave him a great ride. He has done us proud, he has done Scotland proud and he has done everyone at the yard proud.

 

“Before the Melling Road, I was up with the owners and we just shouted: “We’re going to win the National!” With a horse like that and a jockey like that, what could be better? Derek is great at getting these horses to finish strongly and I knew that he would stay, so maybe it was a bit bold but it was right.

 

“It’s really funny how everything has gone right. The preparation for the horse – when we worked out what training he was going to have, we built in an extra week for something to go wrong like lose a shoe.

 

“We did lose a shoe but the farrier got up early on a Saturday morning and put it back on. Everything has just gone so smoothly, including winning the race.

 

“I always say that it’s fine, I am the figurehead and I am saying what is going on, but actually it is everyone back home who have done so much, from the farrier getting up on a Saturday morning to out vet coming here. We have got a fantastic team behind us and it is great – long may it continue.

 

“Also the support we have had from other owners. It’s hard when everyone is talking about one horse but hopefully we can continue to keep the winners coming for everyone.

 

“Peter is wearing his dad’s tie, so that has brought us some luck. I am delighted for the team and, without him, I couldn’t do it.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

FOX LANDS NATIONAL

 

Jockey Derek Fox made sure his race to get fit for this year’s Randox Health Grand National was not in vain as he steered the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur to a four and a half-length success in this year’s big race.

 

The 14/1 shot jumped like a stag for his young jockey on the second circuit and gave Fox his first winner since he was injured following a fall from Ryalex (also trained by Russell) in a novice chase at Carlisle on March 9.

 

Fox broke his left wrist and his right collarbone in the fall and this was only his sixth ride since returning from injury at Carlisle on Wednesday (April 5).

 

The Sligo-born jockey couldn’t believe he’d just won the National shortly after the race.

 

“It’s unbelievable!” exclaimed Fox.

 

“He’s won it so easily. The only concern I had was that he’d be too slow and get too far back – it’s tricky to win a National if that happens as you need more things to go your way but he jumped so well.

 

“After we gone one circuit, I was thinking ‘I can’t be going as well as I am’ as we were so near the leaders. He jumped all the way down the back – he was going so well that I thought I might take him a bit wider as he was making two or three lengths with every jump.

 

“As we crossed Valentine’s, I was closing and closing and thought I might be there too soon. For a brief moment, I took a small pull on him. He’s the gamest horse I’ve ever ridden and he galloped all the way to the line.

 

“I’d just like to thank Jack Berry House for getting me back after the injury a few weeks ago. I fractured my wrist and dislocated my shoulder. I kept the wrist out of plaster and I asked the doctor if I’d be able to ride in the National. He smiled at me and said ‘well at least it’s a race that you’re unlikely to fall off in!’ He did say that if I kept it out of plaster and worked hard, then I should have some sort of chance of being fit.

 

“If it wasn’t for Jack Berry House though, I never would have got back in time so I’d like to thank them, the owners and Lucinda (Russell – winning trainer) and Scu (Peter Scudamore, Russell’s partner and former champion jockey) for putting me on the horse. Some might have thought I wasn’t fit enough but they kept the faith. Big thanks to everyone. It’s an amazing feeling – it’s better than I thought it would ever have been.

 

“I was so determined to get back. Luckily, I’ve had a great partnership with the horse all year and he’s obviously just an improving horse. I’m very lucky to have got the ride on him in the first place – I can’t believe it.

 

“I couldn’t ask to work for nicer people. Lucinda is one of the best trainers around – especially when it comes to training staying chasers. She’s primed him for this race and thought he’d improved 10lb from his last run – which I didn’t think was possible but who am I to say any different?

 

“Scu is a great help as well – the jockey coaching he gives me is amazing.

 

“It’s a dream come true. Not everyone can be champion jockey as it’s a very tricky thing to be but this race just gives a standard jockey like me a chance to shine on the big stage.

 

“I’m not quite sure just what I’ve achieved yet but all I can say is that it’s an amazing feeling. I was so lucky on the way round – everything didn’t go smoothly. He went through gaps, jumped around horses and got bumped and bashed but just kept going. I can’t really describe the feeling.

 

“I thought when I jumped the water jump that I might have a chance and then I had a moment to settle myself on the way down to the second circuit. I was just thinking ‘here we go again’ – he just jumped so well I probably finished up in front sooner than I really wanted to.

 

“I hurt my wrist in a heavy fall on March, 9 at Carlisle in a novice chase which was just four weeks ago. The recovery all comes down to Jack Berry House and the fitness instructor, physio and all the staff were so helpful. I can’t thank them enough.

 

“I hadn’t sat on a horse for three weeks so for Lucinda and Scu to put me on and keep the faith in me. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had – there’s not too many chances to ride a horse like that. It’s an unbelievable feeling – I can’t describe it.

 

“Lucinda’s horses couldn’t have been in better form over the past couple of weeks so, every time she was having a winner, I kept thinking ‘I should have been on that!’ but then I was thinking ‘how am I going to feel if I don’t get back for the National?’ so I was very determined but I had great support and was in the hands of the right feeling.

 

“I couldn’t believe I was coming to win the National in the final strides. You see the footage of horses like Many Clouds and you never think it’s going to happen to you. It’s just better than I thought it could be.

 

“Lucinda did say it was the best she’d ever had him and I’ve never felt him ride so well.

 

“I wanted to be a bit nearer the front earlier on in the race but, after we’d gone a circuit, he started taking me back into the race again. He just started to jump and travel and then and, the more horses were making mistakes, the better he was jumping.

 

“He took me there so easily and, three out, I couldn’t believe how well I was going. I was thinking that I was going too good to be true at the Melling Road but he’s a good horse. He was so impressive at Warwick the last time and Lucinda and Scu thought this was the race to go for. They’ve done very well not to run him for 11 weeks and have him fit enough for this race.

 

“My uncle Mark Michael McNiff trains in Sligo and taught me everything I know about racing. He’s taught me all I know since a very early age – he got me into racing and got me going. He’s very helpful to speak to and always rings me after racing. He’s very good for advice and very blunt – he’s quite difficult to please!

 

“It’s amazing though – there’s loads of good lads that never get the opportunity to ride a big winner so I do appreciate exactly what this means.”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 ‘THIS IS A FAIRY TALE,’ SAYS SCU

 

Former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, partner of and assistant to Randox Health Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell, proclaimed his delight after the race, saying: “It’s a good result for the race – I would say that, wouldn’t I, but sometimes fairy tales happen and this is one.

 

“People have been so kind, and it is fantastic. People say my family haven’t got a great record round here, but Dad [Michael Scudamore, winner of the 1959 race on Oxo] won the National, I won Grand Nationals with Nige [trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, who Scudamore assisted] and Tom [Scudamore’s oldest son and a successful professional jockey] has won round here, so it has been a fantastic place for us.

 

“Someone asked me the other day if I would swap a championship for a National – I’d never do that, the championship meant so much – but this, for us, people battling along… There are times when you think, ‘why do I do this? Why did I be champion jockey and come back and expose myself as a trainer?’ when things aren’t going well.

 

“We changed some things round at Christmas-time and it worked.”

 

SCUDAMORE: ‘IT IS VERY SATISFYING’

 

Peter Scudamore, the former champion jockey and assistant to his partner, Randox Health Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell, said: “It is very satisfying. The horse [One For Arthur] looked well in the paddock and I felt that we had done everything we possibly could to get this horse here.

 

“I was worried about the ground – if you had said to me an hour before the race, ‘you could take him home now because the ground is too fast’, I would have put him in the lorry and taken him home.

 

“Lucinda and I fight like cats and dogs to do this together. It’s not me and it’s not her. It’s lovely to give a young man like Derek [Fox, rider of One For Arthur] the opportunity – he is a very, very good horseman. He was hurt [he broke his wrist and his collarbone a month ago] and Jack Berry House got him back. It’s a great advert for Jack Berry House and they must be as delighted as I am that he has won.

 

“Sometimes loyalty is still a great thing and I was very pleased that we stuck by Derek and he won the National. It is a great thrill. I don’t like the word small but we are not one of the more fashionable places and, from about Christmas-time, I felt confident that things were going well.

 

“There were times before Christmas when I thought: ‘I have been champion jockey, why am I exposing myself to this poor humiliation?’ We changed a few things at Christmas-time and it has picked up again.

 

“This is granddad’s lucky tie. I don’t usually believe in things but there must be something in it. I would wear lucky underpants if I thought they did any good!”

 

 ‘ARTHUR HAS GIVEN US SUCH A WONDERFUL JOURNEY’

 

Randox Health Grand National winner One For Arthur is owned by Belinda McClung and Deborah Thomson, who call themselves Two Golf Widows.

 

Belinda McClung said: “I can’t believe it. It has been an amazing day. One For Arthur cruised that race and Derek [Fox] rode him so well. I am a bit lost for words, really.”

 

Deborah Thomson said: “I thought this morning, ‘it’s baking hot and at Warwick [where he won the Betfred Classic Chase in Janury] he preferred the soft’. I said there is no pressure now because is not going to win on that ground. I must say though, he has showed his class today.

 

“We have had horses before with Lucinda [Russell, winning trainer], and Lucinda and Peter [Scudamore] were thinking of getting another horse. We decided to have a horse together and that is when we found Arthur. We didn’t realise we had just bought such an amazing horse, but he has given us such a wonderful journey.

 

“The husbands are here today – they were not going to miss out!”

 

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL 2017

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL WINNER FACTFILE

14/1 One For Arthur (IRE) 8-10-11 – WINNER

 

Breeding: b g Milan – Nonnetia (Trempolino)

Breeder: J P Dwan

Born: February 24, 2009

Owner: Two Golf Widows

Trainer: Lucinda Russell

Jockey: Derek Fox

Form: 22/33111P/1335243-1511

* Won the 2017 Randox Health Grand National at 14/1.

*The second only Scottish-trained winner of the Randox Health Grand National after Rubstic (1979).

*Impressive winner previously of the G3 Classic Chase over three miles and five furlongs at Warwick on January 14, 2017, scoring by six lengths from Goodtoknow.

*Shaped with promise over the Grand National fences when a staying-on fifth, beaten only three lengths, behind Vieux Lion Rouge in Betfred Becher Handicap Chase in December, 2016.

*Began this season with six-length success in a three and a quarter mile handicap chase at Kelso in October, 2016.

*Winning Irish point-to-pointer who made £60,000 at a sale at Cheltenham Racecourse in December, 2013.

*Has never fallen or unseated his rider. Failed to complete one race when pulled up.

*Jockey Derek Fox won a battle to get fit in time to have his first and winning ride in the Randox Health Grand National.

Race record: Starts: 19; Wins: 7; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £638,938

 

Two Golf Widows

The Two Golf Widows are Belinda (Bel) McClung (husband Fraser) and Deborah (Debs) Thomson (partner Colin Dempster). McClung hails from Ancrum near Jedburgh, while Gullane-based Thomson is originally from near Kelso. The pair went to school together and then met up again later in life. They got into racehorse ownership together as they wanted an activity they could enjoy when their husband/partner played golf. As the Two Golf Widows, they have won six races in the last three years, all provided by One For Arthur, though they also own Templenaboe who is just starting out on his racing career. Thomson also has other horses with Russell, including four-time winner Big River, who runs in the name of Two Black Labs, named after her Labradors, Bolly and Krug, Alizee De Janeiro, who has been successful three times, and five-time scorer Kris Cross, her first horse. Memorably, One For Arthur, Big River and Alizee De Janeiro all won on the same afternoon at Kelso, Saturday, October 24, 2015. McClung, who also used to have horses as Belinda Wares including No Deal, has been a steward at Ayr, Kelso and Musselburgh Racecourses. Thomson said: “I have been a lucky owner, with quite a few wins. My partner Colin and I have had great fun with Lucinda and Scu. One For Arthur is the best horse I have been involved with and we are keeping our fingers crossed that he gets to Aintree for the Randox Health Grand National. It is a dream to have a horse run in the Grand National. We have got the dream and we will just have to see what happens on the day.”

Randox Health Grand National Record: 2017 ONE FOR ARTHUR WON

 

Lucinda Russell (Kinross, Tayside)

Born: June 24, 1966 Background: Lucinda Russell gained a degree in psychology at St Andrews University, having enrolled on the course in order “to get me away from horses.” She had enjoyed a successful career as an eventer and at bringing on horses to Badminton standards and selling them on. She did well as a point-to-point trainer and won on one of her three rides in that sphere, but she recalls that it was a two-horse race. She trained a hunter chase winner with Gunmetal Boy at Kelso on April 5, 1993. After a brief career in marketing, she took out a full trainer’s licence in August, 1995, and the following month she saddled her first winner with her first runner, Fiveleigh Builds at Perth in September, 1995. Her father Peter is chairman of Ian Macleod Distillers which produces Isle of Skye Scotch Whisky and Glengoyne Single Malt Whisky. Russell was formerly married to leading three-day eventer Magnus Nicholson and she is assisted by her current partner, legendary Jump jockey Peter Scudamore, the eight-time champion jockey who came closest to winning the Grand National when third on Corbiere in 1985 from 12 rides in the race. Her best season came in 2013/2014 with 66 successes and she is on the 39-winner mark (up to March 30) this season. Big-race wins: Classic Chase (2017 One For Arthur), Grand National Trial (2015 Lie Forrit, 2010 & 2011 Silver By Nature), Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2012 Brindisi Breeze), Premier Kelso Hurdle (2012 Tap Night, 2011 Bold Sir Brian), Randox Health Grand National (2017 ONE FOR ARTHUR WON)

Randox Health National Record: 1996 Greenhill Raffles (14th), 2005 Strong Resolve (17th), 2011 Silver By Nature (12th), 2017 ONE FOR ARTHUR WON

 

Derek Fox

Born: May 14, 1992 Background: Sligo-born Derek Fox began his career in Ireland, riding primarily for Mark McNiff and Noel Kelly, who provided Fox with an early career highlight when his Charlie’s Vic was partnered by the jockey to success in the G3 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Chase at Limerick in 2013. Fox’s success on Charlie’s Vic caught the eye of trainer Lucinda Russell and he subsequently made the move to Scotland, riding his first winner for Russell aboard The Friary at Hexham on November 8, 2013. He was appointed Russell’s stable jockey in April, 2016. Fox picked up a 20-month ban for drink-driving in 2015 after being found nearly three times over the legal limit. He broke his left wrist and his right collarbone in fall at Carlisle on March 9. After undergoing intensive rehabilitation at the Injured Jockeys Fund Jack Berry House in Malton, North Yorkshire, Fox returned to race-riding with two mounts for Russell at Carlisle on Wednesday this week, proving his fitness to ride in Saturday’s big race. Big-Race Wins: Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Chase (2013 Charlie’s Vic), Classic Chase (2017 One For Arthur), Randox Health Grand National (2017 ONE FOR ARTHUR WON)

Randox Health Grand National Record: 2017 ONE FOR ARTHUR WON

 

MORE PLACED QUOTES IN RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL

 

Trainer Gordon Elliott said: “Cause of Causes has ran his heart out again and we are delighted with him. We couldn’t be happier.”

 

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner J P McManus, said: “It was a fabulous run and Cause Of Cause just found one too good – there’s not a lot more to say. We’ve been happier with him this year and you’d have to be delighted. That’s it for the season.”

 

Tom George, trainer of third Saint Are, said: “I was thrilled with him. Davy (Russell) said the horse was never properly taking him but he just hung on in and hung on in. He was always going to stay. Davy was very brave going where he went at Becher’s Brook, we saved a lot of ground and that probably helped us get a couple of places closer.

 

“He loves the place, he’s got a great record here and we’ve trained him for today and I’m very proud of him.”

 

Davy Russell added about Saint Are: “Good honest horse. He took all the chances and he needed to take them. He loves it here and Tom had him in perfect condition for the race.”

 

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of fourth Blaklion, said: “We thought he’d won three out but he just ran out of puff. Never mind. He’s all right. He jumped lovely, everything went great. Well done to Peter (Scudamore), I’m delighted for them.

 

“We were just cantering along so Noel (Fehily) had to go. He jumped perfectly, everything went perfectly through the race but we didn’t win. It’s very sad but where else to you go to get £44,000 for coming fourth?”

 

Noel Fehily, rider of Blaklion, added: “He gave me a great ride, he jumped brilliantly but he just tied up a bit from two out.”

 

Sam Twiston-Davies, rider of Saphir Du Rheu, said: “He fell at the ditch but we were going fine at the time.”

 

Brian Hughes, on board Vicente, said: “I fell at the first so there’s not a lot more I can say. It was all ok up to then!”

 

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

PLACED AND UNPLACED JOCKEYS’

 

 

Mr Jamie Codd, on the second Cause Of Causes, said: “He is a great little horse to do what he has done there. He is incredible. It was just unfortunate that there was one two good for us today. Second in a Randox Grand National and he is only 16 hands. I am delighted – a little bit disappointed but delighted.”

 

Davy Russell, on third Saint Are, said: “I had to take all the chances. I needed every inch. I wanted him on the bridle for as long as possible. A couple of them passed me at the third last but I still had to wait because of the way he finishes his races. If I had taken him off the bridle there I wouldn’t have finished. I was good over the last two and the horses in front got quite tired. He ran on well. It was my best experience of the race.”

 

Noel Fehily, on the fourth Blaklion, said: “It was a great ride and he jumped well. Just ran out off puff two out.”

 

Robert Dunne, fifth on Gas Line Boy, said: “He ran a cracker and jumped great. We got a lovely passage all the way. Perhaps I wouldn’t have won it but if I had sat a little bit longer we might have been third. I thought after we jumped the second last I thought we were going to win. He ran well and it was great to get a ride in the race.”

 

Tom Scudamore, sixth on Vieux Lion Rouge, said: “I got a great run but the petrol emptied.”

 

Leighton Aspell, seventh on Lord Windermere, said: “I got a really great ride. He misbehaved before the race but once the race got off he was a really good ride. We started from the back and improved and improved. It was just from two out that we ran out of stamina.”

 

Robbie Power, eighth on Regal Encore, said: “Absolutely brilliant. He jumped like a buck all the way and run a blinder.”

 

Ruby Walsh, ninth on Pleasant Company, said: “He ran well.”

 

David Noonan, 11th on Ballynagour, said: “It was my first experience of the race. I couldn’t have asked for a better spin. We jumped well and travelled, he is a bridle horse but from two out the tank Was very empty. He was very willing for me.”

 

Sean Bowen, 12thon Le Mercurey , said: “He jumped round and he jumped well. I was flat out all the way.”

 

Jake Greenall, 13th on Goodtoknow, said: “He jumped fantastically well, better than a normal fence. He almost travelled to well for the first circuit. We had a breather going out onto the second [circuit] he jumped right at the Canal Turn, bumped into another horse, and I nearly came out the side. After that he stuck it out.”

 

Harry Cobden, 14th on Just A Par, said: “We completed and he jumped well. He didn’t really travel well early on because they went fairly fast. He was always struggling [with the pace] but we got round.”

 

Richie McLernon, 15th on La Vaticane, said: “She got round and completed but got a bit tired after the third last. Gave me a great spin.”

 

David Bass, 16th on The Last Samurai, said: “He’s run well again and has given me a good spin. I would say the weight, and that it is quite warm, has gone against him. He has run his normal honest race. We can try again next year.”

 

Jack Kennedy, 18th on Roi Des Francs, said: “I got a great spin, he just got tired.”

 

Ms Katie Walsh, 19th on Wonderful Charm, said: “He ran well and we finished! He jumped super.”

 

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen, fell at the sixth on The Young Master, said: “He just didn’t get high enough and fell.”

 

Mark Enright, hampered and then unseated at the ninth on Thunder And Roses, said: “A loose horse fell in front of me and just bumped me and I fell off. He was in a nice rhythm.”

 

Paddy Brennan, pulled before the 27th on Perfect Candidate, said: “It was a good ride but he was always lacking a gear to keep up with the race. Round here you have got to travel. Then I made a bad mistake and I pulled him up.”

 

Conor O’Farrell, pulled up before the 29th on Doctor Harper, said: “I don’t think my lad enjoyed it. He was never really that enthusiastic taking on his jumps. I’ve jumped him round but at the end he got a bit tired.”

 

Sean Flannagan, pulled up before the 29th on Wounded Warrior, said: “I have gone the shortest route all the way. I have jumped really well but he just run out of gas at the end.”

 

Adrian Heskin, pulled up before the 29th on Double Shuffle, said: “I got a great ride of him and he might be a horse for next year.”

 

Barry Geraghty, pulled up before the 30th on More Of That, said: “I had a good ride but he just faded out from four out. I was going backwards rather than forwards.”

 

Bryan Cooper, on Rogue Angel, said: “I had a good ride.”

 

David Bass, 16th on The Last Samuri, said: “I had another great spin on him – I would say the weight, and the fact it was a little bit warm played against us. But he tried his heart out, as always, and we’ll come back again.”

 

Jonathan Moore, pulled up Shantou Flyer before the 27th, then said: “A loose horse turned me sideways as I landed, and for whatever reason he flipped his palate and started gurgling. Whether it was impact from the loose horse or not I don’t know, but he must have the heart of a lion to have gone on as long as he did. I pulled him up when it was better to be safe than sorry.”

 

Aidan Coleman, 17th on Tenor Nivernais, said: “I got round and he gave me a fantastic ride. He needs softer ground and wasn’t quite quick enough early on, but he chipped away and got into, but just wasn’t quite quick enough.”

 

Tom Scudamore, who was sixth on Vieux Lion Rouge, said: “I had a great ride, I just wasn’t good enough. From the second-last he was running out of puff, but he’s run a stormer and I couldn’t have asked for more.”

 

Charlie Deutsch, whose first Grand National ride came on Houblon Des Obeaux, finished 10th, then said: “The race went really well, he jumped very well, but it was all happening a bit quick. He stayed on and I had a great spin. It was brilliant, better than I had imagined.”

 

David Noonan, 11th on Ballynagour, said: “He jumped well, took to the fences well, jumping economically and sensibly, and he travelled until two out, but I was on empty from there. He completed the course and is fine, but he knows he’s had a race.”

 

Paul Townend, who pulled up O’Faolains Boy after the last, said: “He didn’t quite get home, but I got a super ride off him. I pulled up after the last, but he took me a long way. I had a pretty good run round – as good as you can expect in a National.”

 

Henry Brooke, pulled up Highland Lodge before the last. He said: “I looked after him when he got tired, and he was fine after getting some water on him. I rode him to keep out of trouble and had a good spin.”

Leighton Aspell, seventh on Lord Windermere, said: “Once I eventually got him to the start he gave me a lovely ride. He got me into a nice position, but I haven’t quite seen out the four and a quarter miles. He jumped really good.”

 

David Mullins, last year’s winning jockey, rode Stellar Notion, who pulled up at the 13th. He said: “I jumped the first six and thought it was going to be as easy as last year, but horses can make fools of you.”

 

Bryan Cooper, pulled up Rogue Angel after the last, having made much of the early running. He said: “I had a great spin on him, it was deadly, but he just didn’t see out the trip. He won the Irish National making the running so that was the plan.”

 

Nico De Boinville, fell at the first on Cocktails At Dawn. He said: “He jumped the fence well, but just didn’t get his landing gear out.”

 

Mark Enright, hampered and unseated at the ninth on Thunder And Roses, said: “I went at Valentine’s first round – he gave me a good spin to that point. A loose horse fell in front of me, and as he came up I was knocked out the saddle. It was unfortunate.”

 

Robbie Dunne, fifth on Gas Line Boy, said: “I finished fifth and he travelled really well. If I’d waited a bit longer I might have been third, but at that stage I was just thinking about winning. That’s my second National ride and I was third last year, so I’ve been lucky.”

 

Jake Greenall, 13th on Goodtoknow, said: “He gave me a great spin, but he jumped right at the Canal Turn and I nearly came out the side door, which knocked his rhythm a bit. He had a breather and jumped fantastically all the way. It was a great experience.”

 

Richie McLernon, 15th on La Vaticane, said: “I completed, and she gave me a lovely ride. She settled away, followed them round, jumped super and did her best – she was competitive to the third-last, and then she got a bit tired.”

 

Conor O’Farrell, who pulled up Doctor Harper before the 29th, said: “He just wasn’t really in love with it, and I can’t be sure he really took to the place. It was a combination of things, and he got tired, but he’s pulled up fine.”

 

 

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

CHESTERFIELD LANDS THE FINALE

 

Chesterfield ran out the five-length winner of the final race of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle, at Aintree this afternoon.

 

The 8/1 shot travelled kindly for his young jockey Daniel Sansom and the conditional was quick to thank connections for giving him the opportunity to ride at a big meeting.

 

“I feel very, very privileged and a massive thanks to the boss and the owners for letting me ride him,” said Sansom.

 

“The race panned out perfectly. I had an ideal position down the rail – it was a bit bump and squeeze down the back – and he came alive when he turned in. He just galloped the whole way to the line. Originally, I went to Philip Hobbs after the racing school but Seamus (Mullins – trainer) was keen to get me going with my amateur licence. I only turned conditional eight months ago and it has just been progressing, progressing and progressing. Seamus places so much confidence in you. He doesn’t over-complicate with his instructions but gives you bare minimum details.”

 

Trainer Seamus Mullins was quick to praise former trainer John Ferguson, who used to train Chesterfield.

 

“To be fair, John Ferguson has been very good – he gave us all the details of the horse, his injuries and all the treatments that he has had done. We brought him along very slowly. All of his runs have been spaced out very well and the aim was to try and get into one of the handicap hurdles at Cheltenham.

 

“We didn’t quite make that but thank God we didn’t because we came here with a very fresh horse. They have done a beautiful job with the ground. I have walked the course twice today but, after the three-mile hurdle, I felt that the ground was safe and we said that we would take our chance.

 

“Daniel is a good lad. He served his time with Philip Hobbs for four years after leaving school and his father was friendly with my farrier. He used to come to me every summer to ride out when he was on his holidays from Philip. Philip had a lot of people ahead of him so I told him to come to me and we will have a go. We started off point-to-pointing and he excelled very quickly. I thought that this fellow will go alright, so I got him a conditional licence and he has gone from strength to strength. That’s his fifth winner and he has just lost his right to claim 10lb with that win. I asked him last week how many more he could ride with his 10lb claim – he said one, so I told him I might have a plan.

 

“We have had our ups and downs but the bottom thing is that you have somebody good to work with. The natural talent is there and you can nurture all the other rough edges. I think this lad will go places.”

 

 

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

 

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE WINNER

 

One For Arthur became only the second winner of the Randox Health Grand National to be trained in Scotland. The first was Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter, in 1979.

Lucinda Russell was one of three women trainers with runners in the race, and she became only the fourth woman to train the winner, following Jenny Pitman, who won it in 1983 and 1995, Venetia Williams, who trained the 2009 winner, and Sue Smith who won it in 2013. Jenny Pitman’s first winner, Corbiere, was out of luck when trying to win the race for a second time, although he was third in 1985 when ridden by Lucinda Russell’s partner, the eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore.

 

One For Arthur was Russell’s fourth runner in the race dating back to 1996, and the first to reach the top four, but they have all completed the course.

Irishman Derek Fox joins a growing list of riders to win the world’s greatest steeplechase at the first attempt. His fellow countryman, David Mullins, did likewise on Rule The World last year. Like Rule The World, One For Arthur began his racing career in Irish point-to-points.

One For Arthur’s winning time was 9m.00.30s – he scored by four and a half lengths.

An eight-year-old, he became the fourth horse of that age to win the race in the past 30 years.

He is the shortest-priced winner of the race since Ballabriggs also won at 14/1 in 2011.

He carried 10st 11lb – the last time that weight was carried to victory was by Red Marauder in 2001.

One For Arthur is the first winner of the race to be sired by Milan, a St Leger winner who stands at Coolmore’s Grange Stud.

 

The winning groom is Jaime Duff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

Racing UK Leading Jockey Award – final standings

 

Jockey                                                 1st                               2nd                              3rd

Robbie Power                                       4                                  1                                  -

Barry Geraghty                                     3                                  3                                  -

Brian Hughes                                       1                                  3                                  -

Noel Fehily                                           1                                  1                                  -

Jeremiah McGrath                                1                                  1                                  -

Adrian Heskin                                       1                                  -                                   1

Nico de Boinville                                   1                                  -                                   -

Alain Cawley                                         1                                  -                                   -

Harry Cobden                                       1                                  -                                   -

Derek Fox                                            1                                  -                                   -

Richard Johnson                                   1                                  -                                   -

Lizzie Kelly                                            1                                  -                                   -

Mr James King                                      1                                  -                                   -

David Noonan                                       1                                  -                                   -

Daniel Samson                                     1                                  -                                   -

Nick Scholfield                                      1                                  -                                   -

Paddy Brennan                                     -                                   2                                  -

Aidan Coleman                                     -                                   2                                  -

Harry Skelton                                       -                                   1                                  2

Davy Russell                                         -                                   1                                  1

Harry Bannister                                                -                                   1                                  -

Mr Jamie Codd                                     -                                   1                                  -

Bryan Cooper                                       -                                   1                                  -

Jack Kennedy                                       -                                   1                                  -

Danny Mullins                                       -                                   1                                  -

Mr Derek O’Connor                               -                                   1                                  -

Wayne Hutchinson                               -                                   -                                   2

Daryl Jacob                                           -                                   -                                   2

Alan Johns                                            -                                   -                                   2

Gavin Sheehan                                     -                                   -                                   2

David Bass                                           -                                   -                                   1

Charlie Deutsch                                                -                                   -                                   1

Sean Flanagan                                      -                                   -                                   1

Mr Noel George                                                -                                   -                                   1

Jonathan Moore                                               -                                   -                                   1

Joshua Moore                                       -                                   -                                   1

Connor O’Farrell                                   -                                   -                                   1

Tom Scudamore                                  -                                   -                                   1

Sam Twiston-Davies                             -                                   -                                   1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S65.

 

 

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Leading Trainer Award –

final standings

Name                                                 1st                              2nd                             3rd

Colin Tizzard                               5                           1                           -

Nicky Henderson                          3                           5                           1

Malcolm Jefferson                        1                           2                           -

Philip Hobbs                                1                           1                           -

Tom George                                1                           -                            3

Alan King                                    1                           -                            3

Nigel Twiston-Davies                     1                           -                            1

Mickey Bowen                             1                           -                            -

Richard Hobson                            1                           -                            -

Anthony Honeyball                        1                           -                            -

Seamus Mullins                            1                           -                            -

Paul Nicholls                                1                           -                            -

Lucinda Russell                            1                           -                            -

Nick Williams                               1                           -                            -

Richard Woollacott                        1                           -                            -

Gordon Elliott IRE                         -                            2                           -

Dan Skelton                                -                            1                           2

Henry de Bromhead IRE                -                            1                           -

Brian Ellison                                -                            1                           -

Kevin Frost                                 -                            1                           -

Jessica Harrington IRE                   -                            1                           -

Emma Lavelle                              -                            1                           -

Graham McKeever IRE                  -                            1                           -

Fergal O’Brien                             -                            1                           -

Joseph O’Brien IRE                       -                            1                           -

Jonjo O’Neill                                -                            1                           -

Warren Greatrex                         -                            -                            2

Tim Vaughan                               -                            -                            2

Kim Bailey                                  -                            -                            1

Rebecca Curtis                            -                            -                            1

Oliver Greenall                             -                            -                            1

Patrick Griffin IRE                        -                            -                            1

Noel Meade IRE                           -                            -                            1

Gary Moore                                -                            -                            1

David Pipe                                  -                            -                            1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S66.

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Leading Owner Award –

final standings

 

Name                                                 1st                              2nd                             3rd

Ann & Alan Potts                          4                           1                           -

J P McManus                               3                           4                           1

Brocade Racing, J Romans Terry Warner  1                           -                            -

Carl Hinchy                                 1                           -                            -

McNeil Family                              1                           -                            -

Matt & Laura Morgan                    1                           -                            -

Gwilym Morris                             1                           -                            -

Rob Rexton                                 1                           -                            -

D Staddon                                  1                           -                            -

The Fountains Partnership              1                           -                            -

The Knot Again Partnership            1                           -                            -

The Rumble Racing Club                1                           -                            -

Two Golf Widows                         1                           -                            -

Paul Vogt                                    1                           -                            -

Wharton & Wilson                         1                           -                            -

Jane Williams & Len Lakeman         1                           -                            -

Trevor Hemmings                        -                            2                           -

Jean Bishop                                -                            1                           -

Mrs K Exall                                 -                            1                           -

Kevin Frost                                 -                            1                           -

Gigginstown House Stud                -                            1                           -

Richard Gilbert                             -                            1                           -

Chris Giles                                  -                            1                           -

Mrs M Hagan                               -                            1                           -

John Hales                                  -                            1                           -

Fitri Hay                                     -                            1                           -

Phil Martin                                  -                            1                           -

F Murphy & A McManus & T Grant   -                            1                           -

Sandy & Caroline Orr                    -                            1                           -

The Pick ‘N’ Mix Partnership           -                           1                           -

Walters Plant Hire Ltd          -                            1                           -

Simon Munir & Isaac Souede -                            -                            2

Trish Andrews                             -                            -                            1

James Beaumont & Douglas Pryde  -                            -                            1

Paul Bowtell                                -                            -                            1

Crossed Fingers Partnership           -                            -                            1

C Edwards, D Futter, A Rushworth  -                            -                            1

David Fox                                   -                            -                            1

Galloping On The South Downs P’ship  -                            -                            1

Tom George                                -                            -                            1

Patricia Hunt                               -                            -                            1

International Plywood Ltd               -                            -                            1

Robert Kirkland                            -                            -                            1

Julie & David Martin                      -                            -                            1

D Mercer                                    -                            -                            1

Paul & Clare Rooney                     -                            -                            1

Simon Such & Gino Paletta             -                            -                            1

The Albatross Club                       -                            -                            1

The Risk Takers Partnership           -                            -                            1

Wynnstay Wanderers                    -                            -                            1

 

S67.

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AINTREE, GRAND NATIONAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 8

 

TODAY’S STEWARDS’ REPORTS

 

 

Race 1 – 1:45pm.

GASKELLS HANDICAP HURDLE (Grade 3)

The Stewards noted that RONS DREAM, trained by Peter Bowen, would wear a hood in the Parade Ring.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of SPLASH OF GINGE, unplaced, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, found it to have lost its left hind shoe.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of LEONCAVALLO (IRE), unplaced, trained by Ben Pauling, found it to have lost its left hind shoe.

 

Race 2 – 2:25pm.

BETWAY MERSEY NOVICES’ HURDLE (Grade 1)

David Bass, the rider of LE BREUIL (FR), which pulled up, reported that the gelding stopped quickly. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of LE BREUIL (FR) failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Nico de Boinville, the rider of LOUGH DERG SPIRIT (IRE), which pulled up, reported that the gelding hung right. The Stewards ordered LOUGH DERG SPIRIT (IRE) to be routine tested.

 

Race 3 – 3:00pm.

DOOM BAR MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE (Grade 1)

The Stewards considered the running of CHARBEL (IRE) ridden by David Bass and trained by Kim Bailey, which finished third of four finishers. The Stewards noted the trainer’s explanation that the gelding made a mistake as the race was developing. They ordered CHARBEL (IRE) to be routine tested.

 

Race 4 – 3:40pm.

BETWAY HANDICAP CHASE (Listed Race)

The Stewards noted that OUR KAEMPFER (IRE), trained by Charlie Longsdon, would wear earplugs which would be removed at the start.

The Stewards considered the apparent improvement in form of the winner, SIZING CODELCO (IRE), ridden by Robbie Power and trained by Colin Tizzard, compared with its previous run at Cheltenham on 16 March 2017 where the gelding finished fifteenth of twenty-four beaten by 51 lengths. They noted the trainer’s representative could offer no explanation for the gelding’s improved form other than their horses appear to have hit form. They ordered SIZING CODELCO (IRE) to be routine tested.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of KNOCK HOUSE (IRE), which pulled up, trained by Donald McCain, found it to have bled from the nose. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of POTTERS LEGEND, placed fourth, trained by Lucy Wadham, found it to have lost its left hind shoe.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of RUBEN COTTER (IRE), which pulled up, trained by Mark McNiff, found it to have lost its right hind shoe.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE), which pulled up, trained by Rebecca Curtis, found it to have lost its right hind shoe.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of I JUST KNOW (IRE), which pulled up, trained by Sue Smith, during routine testing, found it to have twisted its left fore shoe.

 

Race 5 – 4:20pm.

RYANAIR STAYERS LIVERPOOL HURDLE RACE (Grade 1)

The Stewards noted that PUFFIN BILLY (IRE), trained by Oliver Sherwood, would wear earplugs which would be removed at the start.

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Barry Geraghty, the rider of the winner, YANWORTH, from approaching the last hurdle. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip above the permitted level and with excessive force. The Stewards suspended Geraghty for 4 days as follows: Saturday 22 to Tuesday 25 April 2017.

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Robbie Power, the rider of SUPASUNDAE, placed second, from approaching the last hurdle. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Power for 2 days as follows: Saturday 22 April and Sunday 23 April 2017.

The Stewards noted that SUPASUNDAE, placed second, trained by Mickey Bowen, did not enter the winner’s enclosure on veterinary advice.

Gavin Sheehan, the rider of COLE HARDEN (IRE), which pulled up, reported that the gelding hung left throughout.

 

Race 6 – 5:15pm.

RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3)

Due to the warm weather conditions, the Stewards gave permission for the first four finishers in the Grand National to be dismounted and unsaddled so that they could be cooled off before reaching the Winner’s Enclosure.

The Stewards noted that THE YOUNG MASTER, trained by Neil Mulholland, would wear a hood in the Parade Ring, and LA VATICANE (FR), trained by David Pipe, would wear earplugs.

The Stewards heard a report from the Starter that David Bass, Barry Geraghty, Jonathan Moore, Paddy Brennan, Jack Kennedy, Sean Flanagan, Ms K. Walsh, Noel Fehily, Sean Bowen, Mr S. Waley-Cohen, Mr J.J. Codd, Robbie Power, Danny Cook, Daryl Jacob, A.P. Heskin, Charlie Deutsch, R. Walsh, Derek Fox, David Noonan, P. Townend, Henry Brooke, Davy Russell, Harry Cobden, Donagh Meyler, G.N. Fox, David Mullins, B.J. Cooper, Mark Enright, Robert Dunne, Jake Greenall, and Richie McLernon had approached the tape before the flag was raised. The Stewards forwarded the matter to the Head of the British Horseracing Authority for it to be considered at a later date.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of DOCTOR HARPER (IRE), which pulled up, trained by David Pipe found it to have bled from the nose.

 

Race 7 – 6:15pm.

PINSENT MASONS HANDICAP HURDLE (CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ AND AMATEUR RIDERS’ RACE)

Nothing to report

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