All the news from Grand National Thursday 2019




Randox Health Grand National – the 40 declared runners today plus the four reserves & all jockeys

Grade 3 handicap chase, £1 million total prize fund. Aintree, 5.15pm Saturday, April 6, 2019. 4m 2f 74y over the Grand National fences. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, prior to March 19 have started in a steeple chase during the current season and been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase with an official distance description of two miles seven and a half furlongs’ or more at any time during the horse’s career, Horses must also be allotted a rating of 125 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 10. Horses who 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 10 would merit a minimum rating of 125. 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 10. 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 29, entries revealed January 30 (112 entries – 2 not qualified), weights revealed February 12, first scratchings deadline February 26 (100 remained), second scratchings deadline March 19 (84 remained – 3 not-qualified, 2 subsequently scratched), five-day confirmations April 1 (69 confirmations, 1 subsequently scratched – Sandymount Duke), final declarations 10am April 4.g Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves. Weight Raised 4lb on Monday, April 1 First rating given is at the weights’ launch on February 12, followed by the current rating with the difference in brackets. Horses run off of the weights they were allotted on February 12, with no penalties.


  Horse Age Wgt Rtg Owner Trainer/Jockey
1) ANIBALE FLY (FR) TS 9 11-10 164 172(+8) J P McManus Tony Martin IRE/Barry Geraghty
2) VALTOR (FR) 10 11-06 160 160(=) Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob
3) TIGER ROLL (IRE) BL, TS 9 11-05 159 167(+8) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Davy Russell
4) OUTLANDER (IRE) 11 11-04 158 157(-1) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Keith Donoghue
5) DON POLI (IRE) P 10 11-03 157 150(-7) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Mr Patrick Mullins
6) GO CONQUER (IRE) TS 10 11-03 157 157(=) Paul & Clare Rooney Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies
7) MALA BEACH (IRE) 11 11-02 156 155(-1) Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE/Mr Jamie Codd
8) MINELLA ROCCO (IRE) 9 11-01 155 152(-3) J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill/Richie McLernon
9) LAKE VIEW LAD (IRE) 9 11-01 155 158(+3) Trevor Hemmings Nick Alexander/Henry Brooke
10) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) 11 11-01 155 155(=) Malcolm Denmark Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend
11) BALLYOPTIC (IRE) 9 11-01 155 152(-3) Mills & Mason Partnership Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy
12) DOUNIKOS (FR) 8 11-00 154 154(=) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Jack Kennedy
13) RATHVINDEN (IRE) 11 11-00 154 162(+8) Ronnie Bartlett Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh
14) ONE FOR ARTHUR (IRE) TS 10 11-00 154 154(=) Two Golf Widows Lucinda Russell/Derek Fox
15) ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE) P 9 10-13 153 153 (=) Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson
16) WARRIORS TALE TS 10 10-13 153 151(-2) Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden
17) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 11 10-12 152 151(-1) J P McManus Anthony Honeyball/Mark Walsh
18) MAGIC OF LIGHT (IRE) P 8 10-11 151 149(-2) Ann & Alan Potts Limited Jessica Harrington IRE/Paddy Kennedy
19) A TOI PHIL (FR) TS 9 10-11 151 151(=) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Denis O’Regan
20) JURY DUTY (IRE) TS 8 10-11 151 157(+6) Sideways Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE/Robbie Power
21) NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE) P 10 10-10 150 148(-2) Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE/Mark Enright
22) MONBEG NOTORIOUS (IRE) V 8 10-10 150 150(=) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Sean Bowen
23) RAMSES DE TEILLEE (FR) TS 7 10-09 149 154(+5) John White & Anne Underhill David Pipe/David Noonan
24) TEA FOR TWO 10 10-09 149 149(=) Jane Williams & Len Jakeman Jane Williams/Lizzie Kelly
25) MALL DINI (IRE) TS 9 10-08 148 148(=) Philip Reynolds Patrick Kelly IRE/Sean Flanagan
26) STEP BACK (IRE) P 9 10-07 147 147(=) Cracker and Smodge Partnership Mark Bradstock/Nico de Boinville
27) ULTRAGOLD (FR) TS 11 10-07 147 146(-1) Brocade Racing John Romans Terry Warner Colin Tizzard/Tom O’Brien
28) BLOW BY BLOW (IRE) BL, TS 8 10-06 146 143(-3) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/Andrew Ring
29) UP FOR REVIEW (IRE) 10 10-06 146 146(=) Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE/Danny Mullins
30) SINGLEFARMPAYMENT H 9 10-06 146 145(-1) Neal Griffith & Heather Haddock Tom George/Paddy Brennan
31) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) TS, P 10 10-06 146 142(-4) Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent David Pipe/Tom Scudamore
32) VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 10 10-06 146 140(-6) Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE/Rachael Blackmore
33) VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE) 9 10-04 144 149(+5) Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith/Danny Cook
34) GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE) TS 10 10-04 144 144(=) Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/J J Slevin
35) LIVELOVELAUGH (IRE) 9 10-04 144 143(-1) Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/David Mullins
36) WALK IN THE MILL (FR) 9 10-04 144 142(=) Baroness Harding Robert Walford/James Best
37) FOLSOM BLUE (IRE) TS, P 12 10-04 144 142(=) Core Partnership Gordon Elliott IRE/Luke Dempsey
38) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE) 10 10-03 143 144(+1) Stuart Coltherd Stuart Coltherd/Sam Coltherd
39) BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) P 14 10-03 143 143(=) Adrian Butler & Stephen O’Connor Gordon Elliott IRE/Robert Dunne
40) JOE FARRELL (IRE) 10 10-02 142 145(+3) Mark Sherwood, Nigel Morris & Rebecca Curtis Rebecca Curtis/Adam Wedge


40 runners

21 Irish-trained



R1) JUST A PAR (IRE) BL 12 10-02 142 142(=) Mark Scott James Moffatt/
R2) THE YOUNG MASTER P 10 10-02 142 142(=) Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
R2) ISLEOFHOPENDREAMS 12 10-02 142 142(=) Kilbroney Racing Willie Mullins IRE/
R4) EXITAS (IRE) 11 10-02 142 140(-2) Phil Middleton, Mark Lowther Phil Middleton/




47) RED INFANTRY (IRE) 9 10-02 142 140(-2) Rob Little Ian Williams/
48) SHANTOU VILLAGE (IRE) 9 10-02 142 140(-2) Jane Gerard-Pearse Neil Mulholland/
49) COGRY 10 10-00 140 140(=) Graham and Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies/
50) FACT OF THE MATTER (IRE) 9 10-00 140 140(=) The Sandylini Racing Partnership Jamie Snowden/Jamie Bargary
51) OUT SAM 10 10-00 140 138(-2) Danny Charlesworth Gordon Elliott IRE/
52) MR DIABLO (IRE) 10 9-13 139 139(=) Aidan Glynn Philip Dempsey IRE/
53) IMPULSIVE STAR (IRE) 9 9-13 139 139(=) Robert Waley-Cohen & Men Holding Neil Mulholland/
54) KINGSWELL THEATRE 10 9-13 139 137(-2) John J Murray Michael Scudamore/
55) CAROLE’S DESTRIER 11 9-12 138 143 (+5) Carole Skipworth Neil Mulholland/
56) MILANSBAR (IRE) 12 9-12 138 135 (-3) Robert Bothway Neil King/
57) BORICE (FR) 8 9-11 137 137(=) Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott IRE/
58) MEASUREOFMYDREAMS (IRE) 11 9-11 137 136(-1) Tom Howley Jnr/Mouse O’Ryan/Dave McDonnell Gordon Elliott IRE/
59) SPLASH OF GINGE 11 9-11 137 134(-3) John Neild Nigel Twiston-Davies/
60) ZIGA BOY (FR) 10 9-11 137 130(-7) Axom LI Alan King/
61) HIGHLAND LODGE (IRE) 13 9-09 135 135(=) Cheveley Park Stud James Moffatt/
62) CALL IT MAGIC (IRE) 9 9-09 135 135(=) Zorka Wentworth Ross O’Sullivan IRE/
63) KILCREA VALE (IRE) 9 9-09 135 132(-3) Alan Spence Nicky Henderson/
64) LOOKING WELL (IRE) 10 9-07 133 142(+9) David Wesley Yates Nicky Richards/
65) POTTERS CORNER (IRE) 9 9-06 132 145(+13) All Stars Sports Racing & Jonathan Davies Christian Williams/
66) MORNEY WING (IRE) 10 9-03 129 130(+1) The Steeple Chasers Charlie Mann/
67) RATHLIN ROSE (IRE) 11 9-02 128 127(-1) Fergus Wilson David Pipe/
68) SCOIR MEAR (IRE) 9 9-01 127 138(+11) J P McManus Thomas Mullins IRE/

 68 remining entries SANDYMOUNT DUKE (IRE) scratched

30 Irish-trained






The Virtual Grand Nationalunique Grand National race returns to ITV this weekend


Tiger Roll is set to defend his unique position as the first ever horse to do the ‘double’ by winning The Virtual Grand National and hours later claiming victory in The Randox Health Grand National, both at Aintree and both over the most famous jumps on the planet.


The ‘Tiger’ claimed success in the 2018 races in almost identical circumstances – a close finish on the virtual outing, driven by sophisticated CGI technology and algorithms – and then in a dramatic photo finish on Grand National Day.


‘The result was unbelievable’ said Virtual Race commentator Stewart Machin, who will return for a third year running to call the 2019 Virtual Grand National on ITV;


‘Is this every punters dream – to tell the world hours in advance who will win?’


‘The winner of the first ever Virtual Grand National, Cause of Causes in 2017, came second in the real race hours later and almost won both races, but Tiger Roll was exceptional in the real and virtual worlds and it was uncanny how close the computer came to getting the finish so correct’.


‘We’re now keen to see if the simulation can continue its remarkable run fora third year straight and attempt to show the experts how it’s done once again’


Nick Luck once again hosts the sixty-minute special from the innovative Carm Productions led by former Granada Executive Rob McLoughlin.


The broadcast will also feature The Grand National Race of Champions as 40 legends of the past compete over Becher’s Brook, The Canal Turn and Valentine’s in a race which could only happen in the virtual world.


The field features favourites or joint favourites – a position – which doesn’t always guarantee success and will include the Aintree favourite Red Rum beaten in last year’s battle by L’Escargot.


The Virtual Grand National and

Race of Champions have been developed with Inspired Entertainment’s Manchester based animation team. They use past form, the views of a panel of experts and the going and weather conditions to assess the likely outcome, but the computer makes the final decisions.


‘Last year’s result was breathtaking’ said Steve Rogers of Inspired, ‘We were in disbelief for days afterwards. The races stand out on their own as sport and entertainment even without the extra ingredient of attempting to tell the nation where their favourite may finish.’


‘In 2017 the algorithm came up with six of the top ten finishers and the runner-up in the real race won The Virtual Grand National. In 2018 it selected six of only 12 finishers and the winner’.


Richard Pitman, Aintree personality and near-winner on Crisp, will be alongside Alice Plunkett of ITV Racing as Nick Luck guides viewers through this unique TV format.


The 2019 Panel of Experts includes Bob Champion who famously won on Aldaniti, winning trainer Lucinda Russell, winning jockey Liam Treadwell and Lydia Hislop, who has pitted her knowledge against the computer for the past three years.


The broadcast music legend (TOTP, The White Room; The Tube; Bowie at the Beeb) Chris Cowey directs for the third year with award winning Mark Alderton producing.


Creator of the concept Rob McLoughlin (VGN created with Inspired Entertainment) is Executive Producer with John Moulson and Peter Eaton, whose family won the 2004 Grand National with Amberleigh House, is the Programme Consultant.






Betway extends Grand National Festival sponsorship for a further five years


Betway has agreed to extend its deal as Aintree’s official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival for a further five years.


The leading online bookmaker signed a three-year-deal back in 2017 and today announces that it has agreed to a further five years as the historic meeting’s official betting partner, taking its support up until at least 2024.


Races sponsored by Betway at the Randox Health Grand National Festival include the Betway Bowl, Betway Aintree Hurdle, Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle, Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase, Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle and the Betway Handicap Chase, all of which are aired live on ITV.


Betway has been the official sponsor of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival since 2015 and currently sponsors several prominent Jump and Flat races in both the UK and Ireland.


Anthony Werkman, Betway CEO, said: “The Randox Health Grand National Festival is a fantastic event and we couldn’t be happier with how the last two years have gone.


“The racing over the three days is of the highest quality and we are delighted to be continuing our involvement for a further five years.


“With massive crowds on the racecourse and a huge TV audience, the Grand National Festival is one of the biggest occasions in the sporting calendar and one that we are thrilled to be a part of.”


Dickon White, Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses North West, added: “We are thrilled that Betway will be extending its sponsorship at the Randox Health Grand Festival for a further five years.


“Over the past three seasons, Betway has brought tremendous energy and enthusiasm to its role as official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival and we look forward to continuing to work alongside all the Betway team.”



























1:45pm £75,000 Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)  2m 4f 

1 Mohaayed ts, p 7 11 12 Dan Skelton Mrs June Watts Bridget Andrews

2 Brio Conti (FR)  8 11 7 Paul Nicholls The Gi Gi Syndicate Harry Cobden

3 Kobrouk (FR)  8 11 2 Nicky Henderson Mr and Mrs J. D. Cotton Nico de Boinville

4 Canardier (FR) h 7 11 1 Dermot Anthony McLoughlin Ireland Slattery Bloodstock Ltd Barry Geraghty

5 Mister Fizz p 11 11 0 Miss Imogen Pickard Mrs Margaret J. Wilson Lee Edwards

6 Sternrubin (GER) p 8 10 13 Philip Hobbs Mr Terry Warner Tom O’Brien

7 Mont des Avaloirs (FR)  6 10 12 Paul Nicholls Mrs Johnny de la Hey Lorcan Williams (5)

8 Knight In Dubai (IRE) ts 6 10 11 Dan Skelton Mr & Mrs Ben Houghton Harry Skelton

9 Mount Mews (IRE)  8 10 10 Donald McCain Mr Trevor Hemmings Brian Hughes

10 Point of Principle (IRE)  6 10 9 Tim Vaughan Oceans Racing Charlie Price (7)

11 Project Bluebook (FR)  6 10 8 John Quinn Mr John P. McManus

12 Wait For Me (FR)  9 10 7 Philip Hobbs Mr Andrew L. Cohen Richard Johnson

13 Push The Tempo (IRE) h 6 10 6 Robert Stephens Castle Farm Racing Ciaran Gethings

14 Three Musketeers (IRE) p 9 10 5 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mr Frank McAleavy

15 Brecon Hill (IRE) ts 6 10 5 Sarah Humphrey The Brecon Hill Partnership Sean Bowen

16 Joke Dancer  6 10 5 Sue Smith Mrs Aafke Clarke Danny Cook

17 Esprit du Large (FR)  5 10 5 Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker Adam Wedge

18 Tedham  5 10 4 Jonjo O’Neill Mr M. Tedham Nick Scholfield

19 Admiral Barratry (FR) p 6 10 4 Lucy Wadham Forster, Pepper and Summers Leighton Aspell

20 Caltex (FR)  7 10 3 Henry Oliver Mr Mark Dunphy Jeremiah McGrath

21 Doctor Dex (IRE)  6 10 0 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke

22 Landsman (IRE) ts 6 10 0 Tim Vaughan Mr D. W. Fox Alan Johns


2:20pm £100,000 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 103y 

1 Aramon (GER)  6 11 4 W. P. Mullins Ireland Supreme Horse Racing Club/Michael Songer R. Walsh

2 Felix Desjy (FR) h 6 11 4 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud

3 Itchy Feet (FR)  5 11 4 Olly Murphy Kate & Andrew Brooks Gavin Sheehan

4 Precious Cargo (IRE)  6 11 4 Nicky Henderson Mr T. Barr Nico de Boinville

5 Rouge Vif (FR) h 5 11 4 Harry Whittington Kate & Andrew Brooks Daryl Jacob

6 Sofia’s Rock (FR) ts 5 11 4 Dan Skelton Mezzone Family 1 Harry Skelton

7 Southfield Stone  6 11 4 Paul Nicholls Mrs Angela Hart & Mrs Angela Yeoman Harry Cobden

8 Winston C (IRE)  5 11 4 Harry Fry Mr Charles Wentworth Sean Bowen


2:50pm £100,000 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 210y 

1 Chris’s Dream (IRE)  7 11 4 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Robcour Rachael Blackmore

2 Crucial Role  7 11 4 Dan Skelton Mr D. W. Fox Harry Skelton

3 Drovers Lane (IRE)  7 11 4 Rebecca Curtis Hyde Hill Moran Outhart and Trembath Sean Bowen

4 Lostintranslation (IRE)  7 11 4 Colin Tizzard Taylor & O’Dwyer Robbie Power

5 Mr Whipped (IRE) p 6 11 4 Nicky Henderson Grech & Parkin Nico de Boinville

6 Topofthegame (IRE) ts 7 11 4 Paul Nicholls Mr Chris Giles & Mr&Mrs P K Barber Harry Cobden

7 Top Ville Ben (IRE) h 7 11 4 Philip Kirby Harbour Rose Partnership Sean Quinlan


3:25pm £250,000 JLT Chase (Registered As the Melling Chase)(Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y 

1 God’s Own (IRE)  11 11 7 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Paddy Brennan

2 Hell’s Kitchen h,ts 8 11 7 Harry Fry Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

3 Min (FR)  8 11 7 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci R. Walsh

4 Politologue (FR) h,ts 8 11 7 Paul Nicholls Mr J. Hales Harry Cobden

5 Top Notch (FR)  8 11 7 Nicky Henderson Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

6 Waiting Patiently (IRE) p 8 11 7 Ruth Jefferson Mr Richard Collins Brian Hughes

7 Woodland Opera (IRE) bl,ts 9 11 7 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Mrs T.K. & Diana Cooper/Mrs C.A. Waters Robbie Power


4:05pm £140,000 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5f 19y 

1 Janika (FR)  6 11 12 Nicky Henderson Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

2 Double Shuffle (IRE)  9 11 8 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke

3 Sub Lieutenant (IRE) ts 10 11 5 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Rachael Blackmore

4 San Benedeto (FR) ts, p 8 11 4 Paul Nicholls Mr P. J. Vogt Nick Scholfield

5 Cadmium (FR)  7 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Supreme Horse Racing Club/K. Sharp

6 O O Seven (IRE) bl 9 11 1 Nicky Henderson Mr Christopher Hanbury Nico de Boinville

7 Adrien du Pont (FR) ts 7 11 1 Paul Nicholls Mrs Johnny de la Hey Harry Cobden

8 Peregrine Run (IRE) bl 9 11 1 Peter Fahey Ireland Mr V. Byrne Barry Geraghty

9 Activial (FR)  9 11 0 Tom George Mr R. S. Brookhouse Tom Scudamore

10 Mercian Prince (IRE)  8 10 10 Amy Murphy Mr Paul Murphy Jack Quinlan

11 Woods Well (IRE) p 8 10 6 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud

12 Born Survivor (IRE)  8 10 6 Dan Skelton Mrs G. Widdowson & Mrs R. Kelvin-Hughes Harry Skelton

13 Ballyhill (FR)  8 10 6 Nigel Twiston-Davies S Such & CG Paletta Sam Twiston-Davies

14 Bigmartre (FR) p 8 10 6 Harry Whittington Mr P. J. Dixon Leighton Aspell

15 Flying Angel (IRE) v,ts 8 10 6 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr R. J. Rexton Tom Bellamy

16 Fact of The Matter (IRE) ts, p 9 10 4 Jamie Snowden The Sandylini Racing Partnership Gavin Sheehan

17 Doitforthevillage (IRE) ts 10 10 4 Paul Henderson The Rockbourne Partnership Tom O’Brien

18 Polidam (FR)  10 10 4 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede

19 Indian Temple (IRE) p 10 10 0 Tim Reed Mr Ken Huddleston Harry Reed (3)

20 Henryville  11 10 0 Peter Bowen Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Robert Dunne

21 Divine Spear (IRE)  8 10 0 Nicky Henderson Middleham Park Racing LXII James Bowen

22 Voix d’Eau (FR) ts, p 9 10 0 Lucinda Russell Mr J Fyffe & Mr Gerry McGladery Callum Bewley

23 Call It Magic (IRE) bl 9 10 0 Ross O’Sullivan Ireand Mrs Z. Wentworth Mark Enright

24 Dimple (FR)  8 10 0 Sandy Thomson D&D Armstrong Ltd Sean Quinlan

25 Highland Lodge (IRE) p 13 10 0 James Moffatt Cheveley Park Stud Henry Brooke

26 Equus Secretus (IRE)  7 10 0 Ben Pauling The Bourtoneers Jamie Moore

27 More Buck’s (IRE) ts 9 10 0 Peter Bowen P Duffy, D Semmens, V Williams & M Bowen Sean Bowen

28 Forest des Aigles (FR) ts 8 10 0 Lucinda Russell Mr & Mrs Raymond Anderson Green Derek Fox

29 Beau Bay (FR) h,ts 8 10 0 Dr Richard Newland Mr Peter Green & Dr RDP Newland Charlie Deutsch

30 Kilcrea Vale (IRE) p 9 10 0 Nicky Henderson Mr A. D. Spence Jeremiah McGrath


4:40pm £100,000 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m 149y 

1 Ardlethen (IRE)  6 11 4 Dan Skelton Mike and Eileen Newbould Harry Skelton

2 Arthur Mac (IRE)  6 11 4 Henry Oliver The Vacuum Pouch Company Limited Liam Heard

3 Champ (IRE)  7 11 4 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

4 Champagne Well (IRE)  6 11 4 Fergal O’Brien The Bolly Champagne Crew Paddy Brennan

5 Dallas des Pictons (FR)  6 11 4 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud

6 Downtown Getaway (IRE)  6 11 4 Nicky Henderson T. F. P. Nico de Boinville

7 Emitom (IRE)  5 11 4 Warren Greatrex The Spero Partnership Ltd Gavin Sheehan

8 Go Another One (IRE) ts 7 11 4 John McConnell Ireland Ms Caroline Ahearn Richard Johnson

9 Kingsplace (IRE)  7 11 4 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr R. J. Rexton Sam Twiston-Davies

10 Lisnagar Oscar (IRE)  6 11 4 Rebecca Curtis Racing for Fun Sean Bowen

11 The Captains Inn (IRE)  5 11 4 Ben Pauling The Megsons Daryl Jacob

12 Trevelyn’s Corn (IRE) ts 6 11 4 Paul Nicholls Chris Giles Harry Cobden

13 Walk Away (IRE)  6 11 4 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Robcour Robbie Power


5:15pm £45,000 Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2)  2m 209y 

1 Ebony Jewel (IRE)  5 11 4 N. W. Alexander Mrs Lynne Maclennan Lucy Alexander

2 Malystic  5 11 4 Peter Niven Clova Syndicate and Mrs J A Niven Henry Brooke

3 Master Debonair  5 11 4 Colin Tizzard The Gosden Mob & Sprayclad UK James Bowen

4 McFabulous (IRE)  5 11 4 Paul Nicholls Giraffa Racing Harry Cobden

5 Montego Grey (FR)  5 11 4 Dan Skelton Dick and Mandy Higgins Harry Skelton

6 Onthefrontfoot (IRE)  5 11 4 Donald McCain Duncan, Dunnington, Nicholls & Shaw Brian Hughes

7 Sidi Ismael (FR)  5 11 4 Keith Dalgleish Straightline Bloodstock Billy Garritty

8 Thebannerkingrebel (IRE)  6 11 4 Jamie Snowden Sir Chips Keswick Gavin Sheehan

9 The Cob (IRE)  5 11 4 Ben Pauling Mrs Sophie Pauling Nico de Boinville

10 Santa Rossa (IRE)  5 11 1 Dermot Anthony McLoughlin Ireland Mrs P. J. Conway Mr Finian Maguire

11 Adjourned  4 10 12 Kim Bailey The Jury David Bass

12 Blackhillsofdakota (IRE)  4 10 12 John Halley Ireland Mr Josh Halley Rachael Blackmore

13 Book of Invasions (IRE)  4 10 12 John Ryan Mr Gerry McGladery Paddy Brennan

14 Dewcup (IRE)  4 10 12 T. M. Walsh Ireland Mr M. A. Ryan R. Walsh

15 Hazm (IRE)  4 10 12 Tim Vaughan Mr Paul Syson Alan Johns










3:40pm £180,000 Ryanair Stayers Hurdle

(Registered As The Liverpool Hurdle)(Grade 1) 3m 149y


1 Agrapart (FR) 8 11 7 Nick Williams Gascoigne, Brookes & Barker Lizzie Kelly


2 Clyne 9 11 7 Evan Williams Mr David M. Williams Adam Wedge


3 If The Cap Fits (IRE) p 7 11 7 Harry Fry Paul & Clare Rooney Sean Bowen


4 Kilbricken Storm (IRE) bl,ts 8 11 7 Colin Tizzard A Selway & P Wavish Harry Cobden


5 Lord Napier (IRE) ts, p 6 11 7 Peter Bowen Mr F. Lloyd James Bowen


6 Nautical Nitwit (IRE) p 10 11 7 Philip Kirby Birrafun 2 Thomas Dowson


7 Sam Spinner p 7 11 7 Jedd O’Keeffe Caron & Paul Chapman Joe Colliver


8 Sykes (IRE) 10 11 7 Nicky Martin Bradley Partnership Matt Griffiths


9 The Worlds End (IRE) 8 11 7 Tom George McNeill Family Paddy Brennan


10 Unowhatimeanharry ts, p 11 11 7 Harry Fry Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty


11 West Approach 9 11 7 Colin Tizzard John and Heather Snook Tom Scudamore


12 Wholestone (IRE) 8 11 7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob


13 William Henry (IRE) p 9 11 7 Nicky Henderson Walters Plant Hire Ltd Nico de Boinville


14 Apple’s Jade (FR) ts 7 11 0 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud


15 Roksana (IRE) 7 11 0 Dan Skelton Mrs Sarah Faulks Harry Skelton













Randox Health Grand National to enjoy truly worldwide broadcast exposure


The £1-million Randox Health Grand National, from Aintree Racecourse in the UK, will enjoy truly worldwide TV exposure on Saturday, April 6, as befitting the most famous Jump race in the world.


Racecourse Media Group (RMG), the British-based media rights organisation, which produces and distributes top-class horseracing, will deliver full global coverage of this amazing spectacle.


The Randox Health Grand National, which will see 40 runners take on 30 unique fences in the four-and-a-quarter mile marathon, has attracted broadcasters from all corners of the globe.


Broadcasters in North and South America, plus the Caribbean, include: TVG (US); Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, HPI (Canada); ESPN (Latin America, Caribbean) and SportsMax (Caribbean).


Africa is served by Super Sport (sub-Saharan Africa) and Tellytrack (South Africa), while Australasia is covered by Sky Thoroughbred Central (Australia) and Trackside (New Zealand).


European broadcasters include: National Sports Channel (Russia); ITV and Racing TV (UK, Republic of Ireland); Virgin Media 1 (Republic of Ireland); SilkNet (Georgia); Arena Sport 1 & 2 (Slovakia and Czech Republic) and TV Sports (Norway, Sweden, Denmark).


Seventeen countries in the Middle East and North Africa region will be served by live coverage from Dubai Racing Channel, while Our Sport will broadcast the event live in China. The race will also form part of the Green Channel’s international horseracing programme, seen in Japan.


In addition, the race will be available live on selected aircraft (from 11 airlines) and ships (from nine cruise lines) on Sport 24.


CNN will cover the race for its World Sport programme, CNN International’s flagship sports news programme, which reaches over 378 million households, while Trans World Sport, the leading global sports magazine programme, will offer the fixture added exposure via its household reach of 326 million.


Coverage of the race will be widely available to news outlets across the world via SNTV, the leading sports news video agency, which delivers to 180 territories around the world.


More than 20,000 British troops and personnel serving overseas will be able to enjoy ITV’s coverage of the Randox Health Grand National via BFBS, who provide media services to the UK Armed Forces, which means the race will be broadcast over 16 time zones including the Middle East, Brunei, Germany, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Falklands, Canada South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya, as well as on Royal Navy ships at sea.


RMG will also make the fixture available in nearly 20,000 betting shops across around 40 countries and via circa 40 online bookmakers, which will be streaming the race. RMG’s TV channel, Racing TV, will also show the race in 9,000 pubs and clubs in the UK and Ireland.


Radio listeners will enjoy live coverage in the UK courtesy of BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT, while Racing TV Radio, which syndicates audio on behalf of Aintree Racecourse, will distribute to regional, national and international news stations.







About Racecourse Media Group (RMG)

RMG is the holding company responsible for a range of media rights management businesses, including Racing TV (Pay TV channel, showing racing from 61 racecourses in Britain and Ireland), Racing TV International (international betting operator service) and Racecourse Data Company (licensing and control of Pre-Race Data). For more information, please visit


For media inquiries please contact:                

Seb Vance, RMG Director of Communications and International TV Distribution

T: +44 7810043040 E:











At 11.40am on the first day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, Aintree’s Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch changed the official going description to:


Grand National Course: Good to Soft (from Good to Soft, Soft in places Canal Turn)


Mildmay & Hurdle Courses: Good to Soft, Good in places (from Good to Soft)


Tulloch said: “There’s quite a strong, cold breeze out there, and it was dry overnight.”


Earlier he had discussed advances in course preparation this year, saying: “We have a pop-up irrigation system, which we will use if we need to.


“If we are on the easy side of Good for the Randox Health Grand National on Saturday or if it is Good to Soft, or around that area, that would be great.


“We have now also put a bigger run-off area for the horses between fences one and four. Loose horses occasionally rejoin the field, but with this change we are able to keep loose horses separate from the field.


“We also have jockey course walks for guys who have never ridden over the Grand National fences or have only ridden over them once or twice. This year, with [former jockeys] Brian Harding and Carl Llewellyn, those are mandatory.


“That is an invaluable experience and I think Brian is walking the course with 18 jockeys who are riding in the Foxhunters’ Chase at the moment.


“It is all a learning curve. We’re very happy with the improvements we have made and we are leaving no stone unturned as regards horse welfare.”









Bookmakers have reported brisk business in the betting offices ahead of day one of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.


There are four G1 events on Grand National Thursday with superstars La Bague Au Roi, Buveur D’Air and Faugheen set to warm up punters on a cold day at Liverpool.


In the opening race of the meeting, the £100,000 G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase (1.45pm 2m 3f 200y), the Warren Greatrex-trained La Bague Au Roi bids to maintain her unbeaten record over fences under Richard Johnson. The eight-year-old daughter of Doctor Dino captured the G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase over three miles at Kempton on Boxing Day, defeating subsequent RSA Chase victor Topofthegame and followed that up with a game success in the G1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown (2m 5f). She is the well-backed 6/4 market leader from 15/8 with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.


Cheltenham Festival winners Band Of Outlaws and Pentland Hills go head-to-head in a cracking renewal of the G1 £100,000 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (2.20pm) over two miles. The former, trained by Joseph O’Brien, ran out an impressive winner of the G3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, while Nicky Henderson’s Pentland Hills produced a striking performance in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle. However, Band Of Outlaws’ stable companion, Fakir D’oudairies, a creditable fourth in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, is the market mover, constricting in price to 100/30 from 4/1 with Betway.


A small but select field of six run in the £200,000 G1 Betway Bowl (2.50pm) over an extended three miles with the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup third (Bristol De Mai), fifth (Clan Des Obeaux) and sixth (Elegant Escape) among the sextet. The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy unseated his rider at the first fence in Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event, but has been backed to make amends today. He is the strongly supported 15/8 favourite from 5/2 with Betway.


A mouth-watering clash between former Champion Hurdle winners Buveur D’Air and Faugheen takes place in the £250,000 G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm) over two miles and four furlongs. Buveur D’Air, trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by J P McManus, fell at the third flight in this year’s renewal of the two-mile hurdling showpiece, but is a solid 10/11 favourite to make amends in today’s contest, a race he won in 2017 under regular pilot Barry Geraghty. The Willie Mullins-trained Faugheen finished a fine third in the G1 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and has attracted each-way money into 11/2 from 13/2 with Betway.


The first race over the Grand National fences takes place at 4.05pm with the £45,000 Randox Health Foxhunters Chase (2m 5f). John O’Shea’s Road To Rome was fourth in the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase over an extended three and a quarter-miles and he is the 100/30 favourite from 4/1 with Betway.


In the £90,000 G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase, top-weight Diego Du Charmil, beaten by the mighty Altior on his last two starts is a 7/1 chance from 9/1 with Betway for the two-mile contest under Harry Cobden.


The £45,000 G2 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mare’s Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.15pm) looks a tricky puzzle for punters to solve, but the unbeaten Minella Melody has been the subject of a monster gamble for Henry de Bromhead and amateur rider Mr Patrick Mullins. A 12-length winner at Gowran Park on his debut under Rules, the five-year-old son of Flemensfirth is the 7/4 favourite from 9/2 with Betway.


Betway Market Movers:


1.45pm G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase – La Bague Au Roi (6/4 from 15/8)

2.20pm G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle – Fakir D’oudairies (100/30 from 4/1)

2.50pm G1 Betway Bowl – Kemboy (15/8 from 5/2)

3.25pm G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle – Faugheen (11/2 from 13/2)

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunter Chase – Road To Rome (100/30 from 4/1)

4.40pm G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase – Diego Du Charmil (7/1 from 9/1)

5.15pm G2 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mare’s Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – Minella Melody (7/4 from 9/2)




The Gordon Elliott-trained Tiger Roll (Davy Russell/11st 5lb) is the 4/1 favourite for the Randox Health Grand National with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, after a maximum field of 40 was declared this morning for the world’s greatest chase, run at 5.15pm on Saturday. Only the Willie Mullins-trained Pairofbrowneyes, a 22/1 shot, was taken out of the race at the 48-hour declaration stage. Jessica Harrington’s Sandymount Duke came out of the race earlier in the race.


A thrilling head winner of the 2018 renewal of the world’s richest chase at 10/1, Tiger Roll is bidding to become the first horse since Red Rum (1973, 1974 & 1977) to win multiple renewals of the four and a quarter-mile handicap chase. He enjoyed a fourth victory in at the Cheltenham Festival last month with a second success in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, a career-best performance which has left him officially 8lb well-in for the Aintree showpiece.  The shortest-priced favourite in the history of the Grand National was Golden Miller who was a 2/1 shot in the 1935 renewal.


Sneaking in at number 40 on the list is Rebecca Curtis’ 2018 Scottish National winner Joe Farrell (10st 2lb), who has been the subject of a major gamble this week, constricting in price to 14/1 with Betway from 33/1. Set to be partnered by Adam Wedge, the 10-year-old son of Presenting was second on his latest start in a handicap chase at Newbury in March.


Owner Trevor Hemmings has already tasted Grand National success three times through Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015). Hemmings, bidding to become the most successful owner of all-time this year, will be triple-handed in this year’s renewal. His triumvirate is headed by Vintage Clouds (Sue Smith/Danny Cook 10st 4lb, 12/1) and Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander/ Henry Brooke/, 11st 1lb, 14/1) who both performed well when second and third respectively in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, which left them 5lb and 3lb well-in for Aintree. Hemmings’ trio is completed by Warriors Tale (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden, 10st 13lb, 40/1), winner of the Betway Grand Sefton over the Grand National fences in December.


Britain’s three-time champion Jump jockey Richard Johnson has yet to win the Randox Health Grand National. He is set to partner Rock The Kasbah (Philip Hobbs, 10st 13lb) who captured the G3 Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November. The nine-year-old son of Shirocco was sixth on his latest outing in handicap company at Cheltenham in December, but is a 14/1 shot from 25/1 with Betway. He will be Johnson’s 21st ride in the Randox Health Grand National, a new record for a jockey in the race.


Top-weight Anibale Fly (Tony Martin/Barry Geraghty, 11st 10lb, 10/1) finished third to Tiger Roll last year and was a staying-on second in Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event, the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, on his latest start. He has attracted solid each-way support in the build-up to the 2019 edition and is the 10/1 joint-second favourite along with the Willie Mullins-trained Rathvinden (Ruby Walsh, 11st, 10/1), a facile winner of the G3 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February on his seasonal debut and officially 8lb well-in.


Others towards the top of the market include Mall Dini (Pat Kelly/Sean Flanagan, 10st 8lb, 16/1) who remains a maiden over fences after 14 chase starts, last year’s second Pleasant Company (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend, 11st 1lb, 16/1) and Bet365 Gold Cup scorer Step Back (Mark Bradstock/Nico de Boinville, 10st 7lb, 20/1).


Betway’s Alan Alger said: “Tiger Roll remains a very solid favourite for the Randox Health Grand National. I expect him to probably drift a little bit in the build-up to the race as the money comes for horses elsewhere. “Joe Farrell has just sneaked into the race at number 40 on the card. He has been very well-backed of late. Richard Johnson is aiming to win the race for the first time and he rides Rock The Kasbah, who has also been supported into 14/1 from 20/1. Jury Duty has also been backed this morning into 16/1 from 22/1.”


Betway is paying out on the first six home for each-way purposes in this year’s Randox Health Grand National (one fifth the odds).


Randox Health Grand National – Betway bet: 4/1 Tiger Roll; 10/1 Anibale Fly, Rathvinden; 12/1 Vintage Clouds; 14/1 Lake View Lad, Joe Farrell, Rock The Kasbah; 16/1 Jury Duty, Mall Dini, Pleasant Company; 20/1 Step Back; 25/1 Ballyoptic, Minella Rocco, Noble Endeavor, Ramses De Teillee, Walk In The Mill; 28/1 Dounikos, General Principle, One For Arthur; 33/1 Captain Redbeard, Ultragold, Up For Review; 40/1 Folsom Blue, Go Conquer, Monbeg Notorious, Valtor, Vieux Lion Rouge; 50/1 Don Poli, Mala Beach, Singlefarmpayment, Valseur Lido, Warriors Tale; 66/1 A Toi Phil, Bless The Wings, Blow By Blow, Livelovelaugh, Magic Of Light, Outlander, Regal Encore, Tea For Two.**1/5 1-2-3-4-5-6**




If tomorrow’s Aintree card is the hors d’oeuvres for racing’s most spectacular sporting banquet, today’s amuse-bouche is a palate pleaser to whet the appetite.


Britain’s racing press has licked its pens, previewing Aintree’s four Grade One races, a 27-runner tingler over the famous spruce fences, a tricky handicap chase and 20-runner bumper this afternoon. If any tipster can nail that particular seven-race accumulator they deserve to be made editor.


‘Jump racing chart-toppers take to the iconic stage for day one of the Grand National meeting’ is the Racing Post’s way of teeing up the first shots, while ‘Do it Mai way’ is The Sun’s opening headline along a column by tipster Steve Jones, who sides with Bristol De Mai in today’s G1 Betway Bowl Chase. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey is perfect eye candy for picture editors, and features frequently across the racing pages. A worms-eye view of him and jockey Daryl Jacob graces The Sun’s ‘Favourite’ pullout, while the Daily Star’s ‘Grand National Thursday’ special is headlined ‘That’s Mai boy’. It’s ‘Mai day’ in the Daily Mail, but Neil Randon of the Daily Express steers readers towards rival runner Clan Des Obeaux.


The same horse is napped by The Guardian’s Greg Wood and tipped by Jon Freeman in the i, although his racing column leads on the chances of Buveur D’Air, favourite for the G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle. Paul Kealy of the Racing Post believes his stablemate, Verdana Blue, will cause an upset again, as she did when beating him in Kempton’s G1 Christmas Hurdle.


La Bague Au Roi, who runs in the opening G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase, is another popular choice with the press – and also with champion jockey Richard Johnson, who rides her today. In his Betway column in The Sun he ‘writes’: “I’m hoping to have at least one Grade 1 win in the Bague this afternoon.” That’s Dickie in rich tabloid vein, not dissimilar to the Daily Star headline of ‘Support La Bague lady’.


If any paper could be expected to go large on Aintree’s opening day action it is the Liverpool Echo, which places the tips of Chris Wright on its front cover. He naps the Cheshire-trained Road To Rome in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase. The paper’s eight-page ‘Aintree special’ includes a spread entitled ‘27 reasons [why] the Grand National is the greatest racing event in the world’. Some imagination is needed to work out why flip-flops make no.22 on the list, and it is a pity that Bryony Frost is no.8 when she is injured and misses the race. At around 6pm on Saturday evening someone is bound to say, ‘The Echo tipped Bryony Frost and I never heard her mentioned once’.


The build-up to Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National is gathering pages – the Daily Star and Daily Mirror advertise their inside coverage on their outside covers, telling readers of ‘Free Aintree pullouts’ and informing them of ‘Big race sweepstake kits’. Kemboy, a runner in the Betway Bowl Chase, features in a photo on the Daily Mirror’s front cover, and its tipster, Newsboy, admits ‘I’m mad about the Boy’. Rob Wright of The Times is also in the Boy band of backers.


Some writers begin coverage of Saturday’s £1-million Randox Health Grand National. The Daily Mirror’s David Yates chats to Robert Walford and James Best, the trainer and jockey of Walk In The Mill, who won December’s Becher Chase at Aintree, while Paddy Von Behr of The Times takes Tea For Two with that horse’s rider, Lizzie Kelly. Bidding to become the first female jockey to win, Kelly admits that as a child she wanted other women to fail so she could make the historic breakthrough.


Liam Treadwell’s victory in the big race 10 years ago has a special place in its history because he won on a 100/1 shot. Mon Mome became one of just five winners at that price, and it seems even Treadwell was shocked, as he tells Marcus Armytage in The Daily Telegraph. Recalling his path to victory and giving a fascinating insight to the rhythm of riding among 40 horses over steeplechasing’s biggest fences, he tells Armytage: “There was no thought process about winning. It was ‘Get over the first and at least then I will have been involved’.”


Similar thoughts will consume numerous jockeys at 5.15pm on Saturday.








Newmarket trainer Amy Murphy scored her first Grade One winner when 4/1 shot Kalashnikov, ridden by Jack Quinlan, won the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase by a length and a quarter from 7/4 favourite La Bague Au Roi.


Murphy said: “Unbelievable! I am hugely proud of our team. We only have 10 jumpers, so to produce a horse like that – I’m delighted for them. To have three runners here today… I couldn’t do any of it without them behind me.


“What a ride from Jack. He rode him like he was the best horse in the race and pounced late. I promise you – I know I bang on, but this horse is top-class and we’ve seen that today. We’ve had a couple of things go wrong this season but today he at his very best.


“It couldn’t have gone better at the start of the season [he won his first two novices’ chases] and then we had Sandown [he was beaten 19 lengths by Glen Forsa when odds-on favourite] and then Cheltenham [he unseated Jack Quinlan at the sixth fence when badly hampered in the Arkle], but this is a great way to finish the season. It’s great to get my first Grade One winner for my father [Paul, who owns Kalashnikov].


“I think I lost my shoes twice out there but somehow I’ve survived!”


Quinlan’s delight as Kalashnikov delivers him a first  Grade 1


Jack Quinlan enjoyed a career-first G1 win when landing the Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase on his regular ride Kalashnikov, on whom he won last year’s G3 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.


There were a couple of minor frights for Kalashnikov, who had unseated Quinlan when badly hampered at the sixth fence in Cheltenham’s Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase, but he was strong from the second last, where he had put down, and scored by a length and a quarter from favourite La Bague Au Roi.


Quinlan, who is 28 and a son of Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Noel Quinlan, said: “I’m lost for words really. You work all your life for this. This makes all the mornings and late nights worthwhile.”


He added: “We were obviously gutted after Cheltenham, though it was too far out to know how he would have done, but he travelled and jumped so well up to that point, which he hadn’t done at Kempton and Sandown.”


Asked about the step up in trip, he replied: “I was one hundred percent happy to step, especially on a flat track. We stuck to two miles at Cheltenham, but coming here the flat track and two and a half miles really suited him.


“He ran a blinder in the Supreme last year when just touched off by Summerville Boy, then his first two chase starts against lesser opposition were good, but there’s no getting away from it, he was disappointing at both Kempton and Sandown despite finishing second in Grade 1s. That’s the real him today.”


In reference to the jumping, he said: “He knew where he was going to take off at the first, and he’s fine when he gets in short, so I was happy with him there, but then two out at the ditch I gave him a squeeze and he pout down, but otherwise he was very good.”




Warren Greatrex was magnanimous in defeat following 7/4 favourite La Bague Au Roi’s second-placed finish to 4/1 shot Kalashnikov in the opening race of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase.


La Bague Au Roi made most of the running in the two mile and four furlong event, but was outbattled in the home straight by Kalashnikov, who scored by a length and a quarter and provided Amy Murphy with a first G1 success.


Greatrex said: “Richard Johnson just said she didn’t run with her usual zip. From four out, he was trying to press on and when you usually do that she is away and gone. However, today Richard just felt he couldn’t get her going. She was just a bit flat today.


“La Bague Au Roi has had an amazing season. She’s won two G1s and a G2 in five starts, so we’re delighted.


“Of course it is disappointing not to win today for the team and the owners, but credit must go to Amy and Kalashnikov – today is their day.


“I think her first target next season will be the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.”


Johnson commented: “La Bague Au Roi ran really well again and we can take nothing away from the winner who probably appreciated the step up in trip.”


The Gordon Elliott-trained Mengli Khan (7/1) was a further length and three-quarters back in third. His jockey Jack Kennedy added: “Mengli Khan ran a cracker. He walked into the third last which took the stuffing out of him a little bit.


“He probably wouldn’t have beat the winner, but he’s run well.”


1.45pm Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)


1 Kalashnikov (Paul Murphy) Amy Murphy 6-11-04 Jack Quinlan 4/1

2 La Bague Au Roi (Mrs Julien Turner & Andrew Merriam) Warren Greatrex 8-10-11 Richard Johnson 7/4 fav

3 Mengli Khan (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-04 Jack Kennedy 7/1


6 ran

Distances: 1¼, 1¾

Tote Win: £4.80 Places: £2.20, £1.60 Exacta: £12.00




Trainer Gordon Elliott will make history with a record 13 runners in Saturday’s £1-million Randox Health Grand National.


He wasted no time in getting into Aintree’s winner’s enclosure today when Mengli Khan, who he trains for Gigginstown House Stud, finished third in the G1 Devenish Manifesto Novices’ Chase. Ridden by Jack Kennedy, the gelding finished one and a quarter lengths and one and three-quarters of a length behind winner Kalashnikov (4/1) and La Bague Au Roi (7/4f).


Elliott said of Mengli Khan: “He ran well, but just missed [made an error] at the third-last which didn’t help. He will go to Fairyhouse [April 21] for the [G1] Ryanair [Gold Cup] Chase.”


Tiger Roll, who won last year’s Randox Health Grand National and is favourite to land back-to-back runnings, could become Elliott’s third winner of the big race, Silver Birch having been the first in 2007.

He said of Tiger Roll: “He’s been a horse of a lifetime. He’s in great form and he travels over tonight. I wouldn’t want to see too much more rain – I don’t want it to be too testing. We’re looking forward to it.


“The way he won the [G2] Boyne Hurdle and at Cheltenham [Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase] suggests he’s better than ever and we’re very lucky to have him. His form looks better than ever, but this is his toughest test of the season. It’s the Grand National and I’m under no illusions, but if he wins it will be a great story. Since Cheltenham we’ve just tipped away with him – that was the main target, but the National was in our thoughts, too.”

When Bristol De Mai came out of the race earlier this week the weights went up 4lb, meaning Tiger Roll, who is small in stature, now carries 11st 5lb. Elliott said: “It is what it is – every horse has gone up 4lb. It’s not what I wanted, but that’s the way it is.


“He’s a gentleman of a horse, but he’s a boyo as well, and he’s not a child’s pony.


“I’m lucky to have 13 runners – that’s not pressure, it’s a pleasure. But you need a lot of luck in the National. We’ll enjoy the day. Martin Pipe [his former boss] had 10 runners one year and I told him I would declare 11 just to beat him! We’ve put 13 in in case anything happens to one or two!


“Of the other runners, Jury Duty is in good form and won well at Down Royal last time out, A Toi Phil is an outsider with a chance and Dounikos jumps and stays well. Don Poli and Outlander are selling tonight [at Goffs UK Aintree Sale in the winner’s enclosure after racing] and I’m hoping they sell well and their new owners leave them with us – they are both Grade One horses and they have served us well.


“I’ve won the Grand National twice and they were two of the best days of my life. It would be amazing to do it three times.”




Following the running of the first race, the going has changed to:


Mildmay & Hurdle Courses: Good to Soft (from Good to Soft, Good in places)


Grand National Courses: Good to Soft, Soft in places, Canal Side (from Good to Soft)




Jack Quinlan, rider of the 4/1 winner Kalashnikov, said: “It is good to soft.”


Richard Johnson, partner of the one and a quarter-length second La Bague Au Roi (7/4 favourite), said: “It is good to soft and getting slower all the time.”


Jack Kennedy, jockey of third-placed Mengli Khan, said: “It is dead.”


Sean Bowen, partner of Bags Groove (fourth), said: “It is on the slower side of good.”


Harry Skelton, jockey of Spiritofthegames (fifth), said: “Soft.”


Jonathan Burke, on board Glen Forsa, said: “Good to soft.”








Pentland Hills (11/4) backed up his win in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with a game success in the G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle, the second race of the Randox Health Grand National Festival


Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville, the four-year-old son of Motivator, travelled with menace throughout the two-mile contest and responded willing in the closing stages to master long-time leader Fakir D’oudairies (5/2), trained by Joseph O’Brien and partnered by Mark Walsh, to score by a neck.


Pentland Hills, formerly trained on the Flat by Chris Wall, is unbeaten over hurdles for the Seven Barrows maestro, having also captured a maiden hurdle at Plumpton in February on his first start for the Lambourn handler.


Pentland Hills is the latest horse since Defi Du Seuil in 2017 to win both the JCB Triumph Hurdle and G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.


Britain’s champion Jump trainer said: “Pentland Hills has had has three races in not much more than five weeks but he was tough there – he travelled well through the race and had a battle on, but he toughed it out. I am thrilled with him and he has been an absolute star all the way through.


“He made a right mess of the first at Cheltenham, when I thought Nico was going to come out through his ears. I thought ‘Henderson, you are an idiot, you cannot run a horse at Cheltenham with only one run under his belt – that’s was happens with no experience’ and actually he was brilliant from then on. He was so quick and clean through today as well.


“What about running him on the Flat because he is awfully well-handicapped? I don’t know – I would like to treat him as a proper hurdler and I would be pretty sure that we will put him away.


“You know what it is like for these four-year-olds coming into their second season. How many times have we seen the winner of the Triumph Hurdle or this race – we won here with dear We Have A Dream last year and sadly we lost him this week – and you never know who goes on. Some can and sometimes they just find that second year terribly difficult.


“I can’t say that Pentland Hills is not a Champion Hurdle horse – I would love to think he is – and I think there must be improvement in him as well with a summer out. It’s a matter of whether we treat him as a jumper but it must be tempting to have one look at the Flat with him, although I am a jumps trainer.”


Henderson also provided an update on Randox Health Grand National contender Valtor (11st 6lb), who will be partnered by Daryl Jacob in the world’s greatest chase. He added: “Valtor is in good form and enjoyed jumping the Grand National fences the other day in Lambourn. He went up 16lb winning at Ascot on his debut for us and that is not how you win a Grand National!”


Pentland Hills is a 12/1 shot with Betway, 16/1 with Betfair and 20/1 with William Hill for next year’s Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.


Fakir D’oudairies earned a quote of 25/1 for the Champion Hurdle with William Hill.




Nico de Boinville expressed his delight after the Nicky Henderson-trained Pentland Hills followed up his Triumph Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival with victory in a second Grade One, the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.


The Motivator-sired Pentland Hills was having only his third race over hurdles. He beat the Joseph O’Brien-trained Fakir D’Oudairies by a neck at odds of 11/4.


De Boinville said: “It was a great performance. Although we’ve gone a good gallop, it still got a bit messy in mid-field and he’s really toughed it out. I probably went a bit early – that last hurdle is a furlong and a half back [from the winning post] and you really don’t want to be in front until after it. But what a gutsy horse he is, and what a great bit of training. Three runs, three wins and two Grade Ones in five weeks.


“After Plumpton I thought he was a really nice type; he really took me. I thought that was my best chance of the week coming here. He was so slick; I was really delighted and we’ll have to be thinking the Champion Hurdle way now.


“The rain has got into the ground and it is soft now, I would say, definitely very soft on a Flat horse like this.”


Asked for his thoughts on his Randox Health Grand National ride, Step Back, de Boinville said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve got a pretty awful record in the race – two rides and I’ve come down at the first fence on both occasions. If you can’t be happy on a [Mark] Bradstock-trained horse round here, you’ll never be happy. He’s in good order, so fingers crossed for the Bradstocks.”


No excuses from McManus camp as Fakir D’Oudairies runs his heart out


Jockey Mark Walsh had no complaints after the Joseph O’Brien-trained Supreme Novices’ Hurdlle fifth Fakir D’Oudairies (11/4) made JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills (5/2) work hard for his neck success.


Walsh said: “I’ve no excuses – he’s run his heart out. We had the run of the race and we were just beaten by a better horse on the day. I was delighted with him.”


Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, echoed those sentiments when he said: “He ran a blinder and there were no excuses. The first two were clear and look like two good juveniles.”


Paul Nicholls, trainer of the third home Christopher Wood (10/1), said: “He ran really well – it is a shame the rain came as he would be better on better ground.


“I wouldn’t mind coming back next year and perhaps have the chance to take them on again on better ground.


“This is only his third ever run. He is in the novice handicap at Sandown at the end of the season, and it is worth quite a lot of money. 


“He will be a better horse next year when he has had a bit more time.”


Jockey Harry Cobden, added: “He ran a blinder – though he didn’t really want the rain, but it is what it is. He will be a lovely horse next year.”


The O’Brien-trained favourite Band Of Outlaws (9/4) finished only fifth, beaten 11 lengths.


2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)


1 Pentland Hills (Owners Group 031) Nicky Henderson 4-11-00 Nico de Boinville 11/4

2 Fakir D’Oudairies (J P McManus) Joseph O’Brien IRE 4-11-00 Mark Walsh 5/2

3 Christopher Wood (Sharon Kinsella) Paul Nicholls 4-11-00 Harry Cobden 10/1


9/4 fav Band Of Outlaws (5th)

 9 ran

Distances: nk, 6

Tote Win: £3.30 Places: £1.40, £1.30, £1.60 Exacta: £10.20













Willie Mullins took the G1 Betway Bowl for the first time since Florida Pearl scored for him in the £200,000 contest in 2002 with Kemboy, ridden by Ruby Walsh.


The syndicate-owned seven-year-old unseated his jockey at the first fence in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, but gained plenty of compensation here. The 9/4 favourite beat Clan Des Obeaux by nine lengths in an impressive performance.


Mullins said: “He never put a foot wrong from what I could see, but they are awful conditions. I was worried when we have had a race on the chase track already that it would have opened the ground and might not have suited Kemboy, but it looked like he had no problems seeking out that trip and further.


“You have days of good luck and bad luck. We had bad luck at Cheltenham and things worked our way today.


“We haven’t been too hard on him this year – that was only his second run really since Christmas – and he will go to Punchestown. I thought the Savills Chase [which he won at Leopardstown in December] was going to be his big day, and he was just unlucky at Cheltenham.
“I think that he is a horse who could go on further than Punchestown. I would like to travel him abroad – I think he goes on good ground – and I would like to maybe take him to America later in the season. We will see.”


2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)


1 Kemboy (Supreme Horse Racing Club & Brett T Graham & K Sharp) Willie Mullins IRE 7-11-07 Ruby Walsh 9/4 fav

2 Clan Des Obeaux (Mr & Mrs Paul Barber, Ged Mason & Sir Alex Ferguson) Paul Nicholls 7-11-07 Harry Cobden 11/4

3 Balko Des Flos (Gigginstown House Stud) Henry de Bromhead IRE 8-11-07 Rachael Blackmore 20/1


6 ran

Distances: 9, hd

Tote    Win: £2.50     Places: £1.90, £1.80 Exacta: £8.50




Ruby Walsh, who has twice been leading jockey at the Randox Health Grand National Festival (2003, 2008), rode his first winner at this year’s meeting when Kemboy won the G1 Betway Bowl Chase.

Walsh, who rides Rathvinden in Saturday’s £1-million Randox Health Grand National – like Kemboy, that horse is trained by Willie Mullins – said: “It felt really smooth – he was in a great rhythm and eyeing the fences up in his own stride. We didn’t go a great gallop, but the ground is getting slow and he just jumped and travelled and it was always comfortable. I didn’t do very much, I just sat there and let him do it.


“He appeared to have a great chance in the [Magners] Cheltenham Gold Cup [unseated at the first] on form, but it didn’t happen. That’s just racing for you. He bounced out of that race in good form and Willie decided to bring him here. It’s great for the owners [Supreme Racing/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp] who are a huge syndicate and get a great enjoyment out of it. It’s big days like this you are in it for, and, while it’s a pity the sun isn’t shining, they won’t mind the rain.


“It’s lovely jumping weather. I love riding horses on slower ground – it’s so enjoyable. I was in my element out there – I’d call it yielding. Kemboy once won a slow-ground hurdle at Limerick and Cadmium, who won the other division, runs in tomorrow’s Topham Chase. They have been two very lucky horses for their owners.”


Of Mullins’s big-race contenders, Walsh chose Rathvinden this morning. He said: “I had him in mind for a long time. He won a four-miler at Cheltenham, yet he’s won over shorter distances. He has a nice weight of 11st and he’s a nimble little horse.”




The going has been changed on all courses to SOFT after the third race.





Kemboy put the disappointment of a first-fence fall behind him in the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with a sensational performance in the £200,000 G1 Betway Bowl over three miles and a furlong at Aintree today.


Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, Kemboy, the 9/4 favourite made most of the running and ran on strongly in the closing stages to win by nine lengths.


King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux (11/4) kept on gamely in the closing stages to finish second for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden, a head in front of 20/1 shot Balko Des Flos, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore.


Ditcheat handler Nicholls said: “Clan Des Obeaux ran well. We were very concerned before the race with all that rain as he does prefer better ground.


“Clan Des Obeaux has stayed on strongly close home. He has had a long old season and with the winner falling at the first in the Gold Cup, he was always going to come into this race fresher.


“The ground has gone against him, but you cannot do anything about that. He has just been beaten by the better horse on the day.


“Harry did say he might be slightly better going right-handed, so we might consider that.


I’m sure we’ll aim him for the same sort of races next year and the King George will be one of his biggest targets as he loves it round there.


“He goes OK left-handed and he’s ran really well at both Cheltenham and Aintree, but he does seem to be better at tracks like Ascot and Kempton.


“Clan Des Obeaux has had a great season winning a King George and a Denman Chase along with being fifth in the Gold Cup – he won’t run again this season.”


Tom O’Brien aboard Elegant Escape (sixth), said: “It just didn’t happen, Cheltenham just left its mark.”




Punchestown could beckon for Balko Des Flos (20/1) after the 2018 Ryanair Chase winner returned to somewhere near his best in third behind impressive nine-length winner Kemboy (9/4), losing second to Clan Des Obeaux (11/4) only in the shadows of the post after blundering at the last.


Trainer Henry De Bromhead said: “That was much more like it. The bit of ease in the ground helped him and he ran really well, although we probably need to work a bit on his jumping.


“I’m delighted to see him run like that. That mistake at the last cost him second, but obviously he’d never have troubled the winner.”


Reflecting on earlier disappointments this season, he added: “It’s mainly that he’s been sore. Running on real good ground at home has been killing him, and at Cheltenham he was very sore behind.


“We’ve just had no run at all with him this season, but he’s a very good horse and he’s shown he’s coming back to himself. If he’s okay he’s entitled to go to Punchestown. Why not?”


Jockey Rachael Blackmore added: “That was a lot better. The mistake at the last probably cost us second but he ran back to the old horse he was.”











The Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae captured the £250,000 G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle in attritional conditions at Aintree.


Ridden by Robbie Power, the nine-year-old son of Galileo kept on gamely in the closing stages to deny 5/6 favourite Buveur D’Air, trained by Nicky Henderson and partnered by Barry Geraghty, who was hampered by the fall of the Willie Mullins-trained Melon (8/1) three flights from home.


Supasundae was second in the two mile and four furlong event in 2017 and 2018, so Harrington was delighted that the gelding had finally landed the G1 event.


She said: “We didn’t come into this race with Supasundae with great confidence after what happened at Cheltenham. That was the first bad race he ran for us and I just don’t know what went wrong there. All I could put it down to was sticky ground and he just didn’t like it.


“However, today he kept coming back and finding for pressure. This trip is probably his best as he doesn’t seem to get three miles.


“Supasundae’s been second in this race twice and it was great for him to finally win today.


“He will definitely go to Punchestown. I will make up my mind at some point about whether he goes over two miles or three miles, but he’ll be put in both races.”


Supasundae is a 20/1 shot for the G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.


3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)


1 Supasundae (Ann & Alan Potts Limited) Jessica Harrington IRE 9-11-07 Robbie Power 15/2

2 Buveur D’Air (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson 8-11-07 Barry Geraghty 5/6 fav

3 Ch’Tibello (The Can’t Say No Partnership) Dan Skelton 8-11-07 Harry Skelton 14/1


7 ran

Distances: 1¼, ½

Tote Win: £8.60 Places: £2.70, £1.40 Exacta: £15.50




Robbie Power was full of praise for Supasundae (15/2) after the 2017 and 2018 runner-up took the notable scalp of dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air (5/6) in the Betway Aintree Hurdle, scoring by a length and a quarter after being left on front sooner than ideal.


Power, who won Champion Hurdles of his own on the nine-year-old in Ireland last year, at Leopardstown and Punchestown, said: “Supasundae is very tough. He has won three G1s now and never gets the credit he deserves.


“He is just a really good horse, but he races lazily and does nothing flashily. Even at home he wouldn’t beat an 85-rated horse, but he’s very consistent and has run one bad race in the last two years, and that was at Cheltenham last time.


“Jessie was giving out about him after that, but he will always pull one out the bag, this fella. I was actually quite comfortable turning in. Buveur D’Air looked flat to the boards and I was flat to the boards to be fair, but I knew Supasundae would keep finding.”


Power has enjoyed tremendous good fortune at Aintree over the years, for it was his Grand National win on Silver Birch in 2007 ythat put him on the map and he enjoyed a Grade 1 treble at the meeting two years ago, in all three of them wearing the same Ann & Alan Potts silks carried by Supasundae.


He added: “I was disappointed when Melon fell because it left me in front way too soon, and he does not do a stroke in front this lad. I know he won two Grade 1s over two miles last year but this two and a half miles is probably his ideal trip. The ground was a bit soft in Cheltenham and the strongly-run three miles was a bit far for him.”



It’s been an unlucky season for top-class hurdler Buveur D’Air, who had to accept the runner-up position in today’s G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle.


Mugged by his stablemate, Verdana Blue, in Kempton’s G1 Christmas Hurdle, he then fell in the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and was not helped today when Melon fell three hurdles out and slightly impeded him and third-placed Ch’tibello. In rain-softened ground he then had a slog with the last-named horse and eventual winner Supasundae (15/2), who found enough reserves of stamina to last home by one and a quarter lengths. Buveur D’Air (5/6f) finished half a length ahead of Ch’tibello who was stepping up in class after winning Cheltenham’s Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle.


Buveur D’Air’s trainer, Nicky Henderson, said: “He’s done nothing wrong and run another great race. It was a tough race to see it out in that ground and I thought he stayed well.


“Tactically it was a funny race and it got a bit messy. Melon didn’t help us when he fell and that gave Supasundae a run on us. It’s great for Jessie [Harrington, trainer of the winner] and we’ll fight another day.


“I’d like to see the race again – Barry [Geraghty] said he had Melon covered and then he went and Supasundae came at us. You can get checked in races and I’m not making excuses.


“Things haven’t worked out and he’s not had a very lucky year. It hasn’t quite lived up to our hopes.


“He might go to Punchestown, but I’ll talk to J P [McManus, Buveur D’Air’s owner] and see what he thinks, but it will be May and the decision will be ground dependent.”


Dan Skelton, trainer of Ch’Tibello, said: “It was a great run. We tried to challenge up the inner and didn’t quite have enough to go through there, and switched wide, and we tried the whole way up the straight to get past Buveur D’Air and couldn’t.


“We’ve run a great race, a career best.  He enjoys softer ground nowadays and obviously two and a half miles holds no fears. He’s been magic for us in the spring, so that will be it now and we’ll look after him.”




Owner Rich Ricci provided an update on Willie Mullins’ superstar Faugheen, after he was pulled up by Ruby Walsh in the £250,000 Betway Aintree Hurdle, which was won by the Jessica Harrington-trained Supasundae.


Ricci said: “Faugheen is fine, which is the most important thing, and that’s great. Ruby just said he didn’t seem to be himself.


“I know he lost his position there coming round the bend. Unfortunately, he just didn’t for whatever reason bring his A game.


“Maybe we’ll find something out when he’s scoped and looked after, but the horse is fine. He’s been such a wonderful horse; Ruby did the right thing in pulling him up. We’ll have to see what happens and what comes out of it.


“Punchestown is only three weeks away – if he’s alright, we want to give him one more run for his Irish fans, but we’ll have to see.


“He’s a horse who was unfortunately robbed of some of his best years by injury, but that happens in racing, you can’t complain about it. He’s been a wonderful horse and is a lovely fella.”


Walsh commented: “Faugheen just wasn’t going. He jumped away down over the first but, by the time we faced across the bottom, he was lifeless.


“He really backed off the third last and couldn’t hold his position passing the stands. Melon and Buveur D’Air were running over me.


“He is fine and sound but just didn’t feel right and the safest thing to do then is pull up.”










A former polo groom who begged her boss to allow her to train a point-to-pointer paid him back in spades when saddling Top Wood to win today’s Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase in his colours.g


The boss in question, Johnny Weatherby, chairman of racing administrators Weatherbys, and The Queen’s representative at Ascot, was at Aintree to witness his Top Wood, trained by Kelly Morgan and ridden by Tabitha Worsley, land the £45,000 race.


Top Wood (14/1) who has been placed in the two most recent runnings of the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, brought his stamina to bear when rallying after the Elbow to regain the lead from runner-up Burning Ambition (11/2) and win by two lengths. A further 11 lengths back in third was Road To Riches (20/1).


Morgan, who is based at a yard owned by Weatherby near Oakham in Rutland, is the sister of another licensed trainer, Laura. Their brother, Tommy, is a talented trainer of pointers, while their father, Kevin, also trained.


The winning trainer had barely any sleep last night after it was discovered Top Wood suffered a stone bruise yesterday – her night-time vigil involved bathing his foot in buckets of ice.


She said of Top Wood: “People have called him a monkey in the past, but he’s not. He’s incredibly brave and really stuck his neck out today. I could barely watch the finish. He jumped the first two and got into a bit of a rhythm – he’s the type of horse who you know early in a race how he’s going, and if he’s jumping and travelling he will be hard to beat.


“Straight after Cheltenham we decided to come here. He’s 12 now so what did we have to lose? When it started raining today everyone was running from it, but I was virtually dancing in it. He loves the soft ground and the more rain that fell, the more I felt he could go well.


“We got to know Tabitha two years ago when she took a spare ride for us on Decade Player at High Easter and won on him. I’d looked her up and thought she looked like a good rider and our association has grown from there. Today I just said ‘get a good start, let him pop away and see if he’s enjoying it’.


“He’s such a strong traveller, but everybody seemed to think we were mad to drop him down in trip. I never had that in mind and pointed out that he seems to get everything off the bridle at Cheltenham. He travels that strongly and he’s not a slow horse – the only question was whether he would take to the fences. The other horse [Burning Ambition] came to him, but I knew our horse would be as brave as a lion and wouldn’t go down without a fight.


“I started at Johnny’s seven years ago as a part-time polo groom. At that time Johnny had a few pointers with a guy just up the road and one day I said to him, ‘Can I train a couple – why can’t I have a couple at home?’. He laughed and put it off for a year, then one day he said, ‘You can train and ride old Valance, and I’ll have a bit of fun with that,’ and it went from there. He won first time out with me on board – that was about five years ago.


“We have just five horses in, all owned by Johnny. I took out a full licence in October.”


Weatherby said: “It’s unbelievable – that was a fantastic training performance by Kelly, and Tabitha gave him a great ride.”





Tabitha Worsley enjoyed a dream first ride over the Grand National fences when partnering last month’s Cheltenham Festival third Top Wood (14/1) to success in the prestigious Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase less than 18 months after breaking her back in a fall in a handicap hurdle at Ludlow.


Worsley, who is 24 and has had 26 winners in point-to-points and 14 now under Rules since cutting her teeth on the pony racing circuit, still has rods in her back and shoulder but they are clearly no hindrance and her rallying two-length win on the Kelly Morgan-trained winner came only 24 hours after she had won a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen for the trainer’s sister Laura Morgan.


She said: “I got back from breaking my back about three months after the Ludlow fall and I was due to ride in a handicap chase here on National day last year but then broke my collar bone about a week before. So last year wasn’t my year, but this year certainly is.”


Worsley, who is the fifth female rider to win the Foxhunters’ and walked the course in the morning with former jockey Brian Harding, added: “The rods will probably stay in forever, but they don’t stop me. They were always quite upbeat after my injury, and although they said it would be six months I worked towards three months.


“It’s unbelievable to win here, and so good to reward them (the Morgan sisters and owner Johnny Weatherby) for sticking by me through all my injuries. To reward them on a stage like this is really special.”


Of Top Wood, she said: “He gave me a dream ride, and although Burning Ambition went past me quite quickly I could feel him start to fight again, then once he got rolling I was always confident he would get back to him.


“He’s a little legend. He’s not very big but he has a lot of heart. He’s a game little horse and he’s a nippy little horse. You don’t get too many feelings like that. There’s only the Cheltenham race that’s bigger (for an amateur).”




Connections of 11/2 shot Burning Ambition, second in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase by two lengths to Top Wood, were delighted with the Scorpion eight-year-old’s performance.


Trainer Pierce Power said: “Hats off to the winner – he was top-class. But we are thrilled with our lad. He took to it great, jumped brilliantly. This is more his thing – a flat track – than Cheltenham [he finished eighth in the 2018 Foxhunter there], and we’ve had a great day out, which is what is most important!”


Power is first cousin to jockey Robbie Power, who collared the previous race, the Betway Aintree Hurdle, aboard Supasundae.


Pierce Power said: “I’d say that’s our biggest problem next year, keeping Burning Ambition out of the Topham – Robbie wants him for the Topham!”


Derek O’Connor, rider of Burning Ambition and winner of the 2018 Randox Health Foxhunters’ on Balnaslow, said: “The winner is a worthy winner. We passed him on the Elbow and he fought back and won the race fair and square. They are nice, low-key connections who won the race and that’s what this race is about – it’s not about the big, flash trainers; it’s for small, hard-working, country trainers and that’s what they are.


“Burning Ambition will be some horse around here next year. It’s his first time here – he’s still a baby. If everything’s right and we are back here next year, I’ll be looking forward to riding him again.”


Third was 20/1 chance Road To Riches, trained by David Christie and ridden by owner David Maxwell.


Maxwell said: “Road To Riches jumped like a buck. It was a great performance and he just kept on finding for me. He made one mistake, but he regained his stride and kept galloping all the way to the line.


“It was a great thrill and, for a 12-year-old, that was a great run.”


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

2m 5f 19y


1 Top Wood (FR) v,ts 12 12 0 Kelly Morgan Mr Johnny Weatherby Miss Tabitha Worsley 14/1

2 Burning Ambition (IRE) 8 12 0 Pierce Michael Power Ireland

Tynan/MacLennan/Carthy/Shanahan/Magnier Mr Derek O’Connor 11/2

3 Road To Riches (IRE) ts, p 12 12 0 D. M. Christie Ireland Mr David Maxwell Mr David Maxwell 20/1

4 Coastal Tiep (FR) p 7 12 0 S. R. B. Crawford Northern Ireland Jetmac Syndicate Mr B. G. Crawford 50/1

5 Road To Rome (IRE) 9 12 0 J. J. O’Shea Mr Graham William Briscoe Mr Sam Waley-Cohen 11/4 Fav

6 Sir Jack Yeats (IRE) bl 8 12 0 Richard Spencer GOWING’S ELEVEN Mr James King 16/1

7 Greensalt (IRE) ts 11 12 0 W. H. Easterby Mrs Sarah Easterby Mr William Easterby 25/1

8 Kruzhlinin (GER) 12 12 0 Gordon Elliott Ireland Paul & Clare Rooney Mr Barry O’Neill 12/1

9 Balnaslow (IRE) p 12 12 0 Graham John McKeever Ireland Margaret A. Simpson Mr M. J. O’Hare 25/1

10 Just Cause (IRE) 9 12 0 J. P. Owen Mr T. C. O. Gredley Mr Jack Andrews 100/1

11 Never Complain (IRE) ts, p 11 12 0 Mrs F. Marshall Glebe House Racing Club Mr Charlie Marshall 100/1

12 Mr Mercurial (IRE) ts 11 12 0 Will Ramsay Mr Will Ramsay Mr Will Ramsay 33/1


PU BEF 2 OUT Asockastar (IRE) p 11 12 0 Daniel John Bourne Mr Daniel John Bourne Mr P. W. Mullins 50/1

PU 5 Bear’s Affair (IRE) 13 12 0 Philip Rowley Mr G. B. Barlow Mr Alex Edwards 25/1

PU 2 OUT Champagne West (IRE) ts, p 11 12 0 T. M. Frost Knowle Racing Stables Limited Miss Lilly Pinchin 50/1

PU 14 Crazy Jack (IRE) p 11 12 0 Mrs A. R. Hewitt Mrs Denise Butler Mr Gillon Crow 66/1

PU 2 OUT Dineur (FR) ts 13 12 0 Mickey Bowen Mr Gwilym J. Morris Mr Peter Bryan 33/1

PU 2 OUT Gallery Exhibition (IRE) ts 12 12 0 P. W. Mason Somerset Racing Mr Guy Disney 100/1

UR 15 Mr Mix (FR) 8 12 0 S. C. Robinson S C Robinson & Mrs C Gilsenan Mr Stuart Robinson 20/1

PU 2 OUT Numbercruncher (IRE) 13 12 0 David O’Brien Mr David O’Brien Mr Theo Gillard 100/1

PU 7 Pass The Hat ts 12 12 0 Miss Sarah Rippon Ms S. K. Baharuddin Miss Sarah Rippon 40/1

FELL 10 Seefood (IRE) 12 12 0 Justin Landy Mr I. P. Crane Miss Charlotte Crane 16/1

PU 2 OUT Shantou Magic (IRE) 12 12 0 Will Ramsay Mr Will Ramsay Mr Nick Phillips 100/1

PU 2 OUT Shimla Dawn (IRE) 11 12 0 Mrs C. Drury Mr Paul Drury Miss Emma Todd 66/1

UR 14 Starkie ts 12 12 0 Anthony Ward-Thomas Mr Anthony Ward-Thomas Mr Martin McIntyre 100/1

PU 7 Ucello Conti (FR) ts 11 12 0 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Mr J. J. Codd 4/1

PU 11 Wonderful Charm (FR) ts, p 11 12 0 Paul Nicholls RJH Geffen, Sir J Ritblat, R Waley-Cohen Mr William Biddick 16/1

TIME: 5m 45.70s

DISTANCES: 2, 11, 4, 6, 9, 2¼, 23, 27, 8, 3, 22

TOTE WIN: £16.50 PLACES: £4.90; £2.40; £5.50


The Worshipful Company of Farriers in conjunction with the Aintree Executive and The Jockey Club created a best-shod award in 2016 for each of the three races over the Grand National fences – the first time such an award had ever been presented on a racecourse in the world.


The award is in recognition of the farrier’s skill in shoeing and preparation of the horse’s feet, all of which contributes to the welfare of the horse which to everyonr in the racing industry is of the utmost priority:


The winner of this prestigious award for the 2019 Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase is

15 Never Complain

OWNED BY; The Glebe House Racing Club

FARRIER; James Hayter (co-owner)

TRAINER; Mrs F Marshall









Trainer Henry de Bromhead was “absolutely delighted” with the performance of 11/2 Moon Over Germany, who made most of the running to land the G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase under Rachael Blackmore.


The eight-year-old son of Germany jumped with aplomb throughout the two-mile contest and produced a superb leap at the last to seal a bloodless 10-length victory over the Philip Kirby-trained Lady Buttons, the 5/1 favourite.


De Bromhead said: “Moon Over Germany had a couple of nice runs at home but, to be honest, he had been disappointing. I think, like a lot of ours, he has just struggled on better ground but has encountered soft ground today. He was obviously off a good mark because of it!


“We loaded the horses hoping that we would get a bit of ease in the ground, so it’s fantastic to get it, and it’s great for Philip and Anne Reynolds.


“I am delighted for Rachael. We are very lucky to be associated with her and very lucky to have her riding most of our horses.


“Hopefully, he could head to Punchestown and we will see. We enjoy today anyhow and it’s fantastic to get back here.”




Rachael Blackmore scored her first Randox Health Grand National Festival success when 11/2 chance Moon Over Germany, trained by Henry de Bromhead, won the G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase comfortably by 10 lengths from 5/4 favourite Lady Buttons.


Blackmore said: “He was very impressive. He galloped and jumped and made it very easy for me. It’s fantastic for [owner] Philip Reynolds and his family, and it’s fantastic for me to get one here.


“The rain definitely helped his chances a little bit, I think. Some of his form on better ground hasn’t been great, so maybe the rain today was the deciding factor. He travelled and he jumped, and over that kind of trip [two miles], that’s what it’s all about.”


Asked about her Randox Health Grand National ride, Valseur Lido, Blackmore replied: “I’m really looking forward to him. It’s a race where if you aren’t in it, you can’t win, so I’m looking forward to it.


“Keith Donoghue said he got a great spin off him last year and he’s carrying less weight this year [10st 6lb, whereas he carried 10st 13lb when finishing eighth in 2018 under Donoghue], so you never know.”




Lady Buttons, sent off the 5/1 favourite in the Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap, found one to good in Moon Over Germany (11/2), who came home 10 lengths to the good.


Jockey Thomas Dowson, reported: “She travelled and jumped great but has just bumped into a better, younger horse.


“She ran off a mark off 149 and ran really well. She was fourth at the Festival and she has won four before that. I don’t know where she will go now but she has run well all season.”


Jonjo O’Neil, trainer of the third, 14/1 chance Champagne At Tara, commented: “He ran a great race. I thought the ground would be too soft but he handled it OK. He is in the handicapper’s grip unfortunately – that is his limit. The handicapper has got it right unfortunately for the horse!”




4.40pm Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)


1 Moon Over Germany (Philip Reynolds) Henry de Bromhead IRE 8-10-07 Rachael Blackmore 11/2

2 Lady Buttons (Jayne Sivills) Philip Kirby 9-11-03 Thomas Dowson (3) 5/1 fav

3 Champagne At Tara (J P McManus) Jonjo O’Neill 10-10-09 Jonjo O’Neill (3) 14/1


13 ran

Distances: 10, 1¾

Tote    Win: £6.70     Places: £2.40, £1.80, £3.60  Exacta: £41.90




The Patrick Kelly-trained Mall Dini has been ruled out of the £1-million Randox Health Grand National after picking up a leg injury.


Owner Philip Reynolds, speaking after Moon Over Germany’s victory in the G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Handicap Chase, said: “Mall Dini has a leg injury and will not run at Aintree on Saturday.”


Just A Par (10st 2lb), trained by James Moffatt, is the first reserve and will now take his place in the line-up.









Alan King accepted at the start of the Randox Health Grand National Festival that The Glancing Queen was probably his only serious chance, but he was very sweet indeed upon her and she did not disappoint.


A good fifth against the males at Cheltenham last month, The Glancing Queen (5/1) proved different class back against her own sex, and although the winning margin over 6/4 favourite Minella Melody was only two and a quarter lengths she could be named the winner starting up the straight.


King said: “She’s class, and it was her or nothing this week I think, although I’ll have a good team going up to Ayr next week. She’s a gorgeous mare and she seemed to come out of Cheltenham well so we came here. I adore her. She’s seriously good and she travelled the whole way.”


He added: “It’s no secret that this year my novice hurdlers are pretty ordinary but I think we’ve had 12 individual bumper winners and there’s lots to look forward to. She’s very much top of the pile, and she’s already a point-to-point winner. She jumps, don’t worry about that.”


“She’s finished now and I imagine she’ll go down the mares’ route next season, although she might take the boys on at some stage.”


Jockey Wayne Hutchinson was having what might be his only ride of the three-day Festival, but if that proves the case he will be more than happy to settle for the one impressive winner.


He said: “I won’t lie – I did strongly fancy her. She’s pleased us with everything she’s done and is just a lovely straightforward mare. She’s a class horse and there’s plenty to look forward to.”


He added: “She has done really well through the season and has real strong form. She ran a mighty race to finish fifth at Cheltenham and just got trapped behind horses turning in.


“I thought she would handle the ground and that her ability would see her through, and it has.”




The 6/4 favourite in the closing race on the opening day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, Minella Melody, came home a two and a quarter-length second to The Glancing Queen (5/1).


She did nonetheless please her trainer Henry de Bromhead, who said: “I am delighted- a lovely run. The winner probably beat her fair and square and we are delighted with her run.”


Asked if he would run Minella Melody at Punchestown de Bromhead replied: “We will see what we do next, it is open to discussion.”


David Dunsdon was the owner and rider of third-placed Daylight Katie (12/1), who was a further neck away.


He said: “She got a bump turning out of the back straight and it must have cost us three lengths. That meant we were a little bit further back than ideal as we turned in. I think that probably cost us second place, but I’m still delighted because I would like to breed from her one day and she now has some black-type.


“Gordon (Elliott, trainer) always thought she was a nice mare and she won a point-to-point. I’m looking forward to running her over hurdles because I think they will help her to relax a bit more. We’ll see how she comes out of this race, and I’ll talk to Gordon, but she could run at Punchestown.”


















Andrew Tulloch, Aintree’s Clerk of the Course, discussed the ground and the day’s sport after racing on day one of the 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival.


He said: “It’s been great. We started on really nice ground; the forecast wasn’t quite right and we got spiralling showers which then rotated round us all day. But the ground has held up really well. It’s proper soft ground at the moment, but that, hopefully, should be nearly the last of the rain. There may be a few showers around but it should be a lot drier for the rest of the meeting.


“That means the going will be on the easier side, certainly through tomorrow, and we’ll just have to wait to see what Saturday brings for Randox Health Grand National day – we’ll have to see how much it dries out tomorrow.


“We’re on to fresh ground [tomorrow]. All the rail will be moved in tonight; a good four yards on all the bends.”


Asked to nominate a personal highlight of the day, Tulloch replied: “Everyone has ridden really well and really sensibly today, and the amateurs in particular. It’s a big responsibility riding over the Grand National fences, and it was a joy to watch the horses in the Randox Health Foxhunters’ jumping those big fences and their jockeys riding so sensibly.


“Credit to everyone in the sport, amateurs and professionals, for demonstrating the care and attention that goes into it all, which, in the conditions, is very heart-warming.”




Dickon White, Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses North West, reflected on a thrilling first day of action at the 2019 Randox Health Grand National Festival.


White said: “Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, it’s been an incredible day’s racing, probably highlighted by the incredible ride Tabitha Worsley gave the winner of the Foxhunters’, Top Wood.


“The Foxhunters was an incredible race to watch with fantastic horsemanship under difficult conditions out there.


“It was ladies day all over again really with Amy Murphy landing her first G1 win with Kalashnikov which was a great story and Rachael Blackmore winning on Moon Over Germany.


“From our perspective, it was great to see such high-quality action. The weather was not overly kind to us, but we’ll live to fight another day.


“It’s great to see that horses who ran at Cheltenham have come to run at Aintree and performed really well with Pentland Hills obviously winning the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and now the Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle here, whilst Top Wood won the Foxhunters’ and ran well at Cheltenham.


“It’s obviously ideal to have the four-week gap between Cheltenham and Aintree, but the three-week gap we’ve had still shows that it can be done.


“Friday’s racing looks another incredible card with plenty of runners and I’m sure the Liverpudlians will come and enjoy another great spectacle on Ladies Day.


“The final field for the Randox Health Grand National has been revealed and it looks another top-quality renewal.


“There is the Tiger Roll story, the Trevor Hemmings story and plenty more exciting tales to tell.


“It is also interesting that James Moffatt’s horse Just A Par will now run for a trainer who has been such a great supporter for Aintree and owner Mark Scott, who runs a taxi company in Liverpool. It will be great to see them have a runner with Just A Par.


“There is always a story around the Grand National and this year’s looks to be as exciting as ever.”




Randox Health Grand National runners Don Poli and Outlander were sold at this evening’s Goffs Aintree Sale.


10-year-old Don Poli, a multiple G1 winner, was sold to North Yorkshire-based trainer Philip Kirby for £170,000. Kirby was due to run Blaklion in the £1-million Randox Health Grand National before the recently-purchased horse was ruled out of the race through injury. Blaklion was owned by Darren Yates and Don Poli will run for the same owner on Saturday.


The underbidder on Don Poli was Tom Malone for Paul Nicholls.


Kirby said: “Obviously, we bought Blaklion to run for Darren in the Grand National. He wanted a runner and fair play to him, he has stumped up the money to have another runner in the race. I think the ground will be in his favour as he appreciates soft ground, so hopefully he runs well.


“It’s nice to have good owners who believe in us and are willing to pay significant sums of money for these horses. He will be transferred into our name and run for us in the Grand National.”


Fellow G1 scorer Outlander was purchased for £165,000 on behalf of Phil Cunningham’s Rebel Racing by J D Moore. He will run in Richard Spencer’s name.


Moore, a bloodstock agent, said: “Outlander will run on Saturday in trainer Richard Spencer’s name on behalf of Rebel Racing.


“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to run in the race. A lot of people spend a lot of money on horses and never get to run in the Grand National.


“Outlander could run in the French Gold Cup at Auteuil after this race and could also run at the Cheltenham Festival in the Cross Country Chase next year.


“The Rebel Racing lads are delighted to have a runner in the race and we’re looking forward to it.”


Both horses change trainers and will now run in their new owners’ respective colours.


The two horses were previously owned by Gigginstown House Stud and trained by Gordon Elliott, who now has 11 2019 Randox Health Grand National runners rather than 13.




Mr Patrick Mullins was suspended for two days, on dates to be notified to him by the Head Office of the British Horseracing Authority, for failing to obey the Stewards’ instruction to attend a pre-race Jockeys’ briefing.







Scotty Brand Leading Jockey Award



Jockey                                                           1st                              2nd                             3rd

Rachael Blackmore                                1                           –                            1

Nico de Boinville                                    1                           –                            –

Wayne Hutchinson                                 1                           –                            –

Robbie Power                                       1                           –                            –

Jack Quinlan                                         1                           –                            –

Ruby Walsh                                          1                           –                            –

Miss Tabitha Worsley                             1                           –                            –

Harry Cobden                                       –                            1                           1

Thomas Dawson                                    –                            1                           –

Barry Geraghty                                     –                            1                           –

Richard Johnson                                    –                            1                           –

Mr Patrick Mullins                                   –                            1                           –

Mr Derek O’Connor                                –                            1                           –

Mark Walsh                                          –                            1                           –

Mr David Dunsdon                                 –                            –                            1

Jack Kennedy                                       –                            –                            1

Mr David Maxwell                                  –                            –                            1

Jonjo O’Neill Jr                                      –                            –                            1

Harry Skelton                                        –                            –                            1                                         






TRM Ireland Leading Trainer Award


Trainer                                                          1st                              2nd                             3rd

Henry de Bromhead IRE                         1                           1                           1

Nicky Henderson                                   1                           1                           –

Jessica Harrington IRE                            1                           –                            –

Alan King                                             1                           –                            –

Kelly Morgan                                        1                           –                            –

Willie Mullins IRE                                   1                           –                            –

Amy Murphy                                          1                           –                            –

Paul Nicholls                                         –                            1                           1

Warren Greatrex                                    –                            1                           –

Philip Kirby                                           –                            1                           –

Joseph O’Brien IRE                                –                            1                           –

Pierce Power IRE                                   –                            1                           –

Gordon Elliott IRE                                   –                            –                            2

David Christie IRE                                  –                            –                            1

Jonjo O’Neill                                         –                            –                            1

Dan Skelton                                          –                            –                            1



TRM Ireland Leading Owner Award


Owner                                                            1st                              2nd                             3rd

Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsey & Murray           1                           –                            –

Paul Murphy                                          1                           –                            –

Owners Group 031                                 1                           –                            –

Ann & Alan Potts Ltd                              1                           –                            –

Philip Reynolds                                      1                           –                            –

Johnny Weatherby                                 1                           –                            –

Supreme Racing Club/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp 1                    –                            –

J P McManus                                         –                            2                           1

Mr K Alexander                                     –                            1                           –

Mr & Mrs Paul Barber/Ged Mason/Sir Alex Ferguson –               1                           –

Jane Sivills                                           –                            1                           –

Mrs Julien Turner & Andrew Meriam          –                            1                           –

Tynan/MacLennan/Carthy/Shananhan/Magnier –                      1                           –

Gigginstown House Stud                         –                            –                            2

The Can’t Say No Partnership                  –                            –                            1

Coldnell Ltd                                          –                            –                            1

Sharon Kinsella                                     –                            –                            1

Mr David Maxwell                                  –                            –                            1




Did you like this? Share it:

© 2019 Racenews · One Bird Design · RSS Feed · Log in