04.04.11 - THE GRAND NATIONAL
65 AIMING FOR JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL GLORY
DON’T PUSH IT HEADS 65 AIMING FOR JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL GLORY
Don’t Push It, who famously gave owner J P McManus, trainer Jonjo O’Neill and jockey Tony (A P) McCoy a first victory in the John Smith’s Grand National 12 months ago, heads the 65 contenders going forward at today’s five-day confirmation stage for the 2011 renewal of the world’s greatest chase at Aintree on Saturday, April 9.
This year’s race, run over four and a half miles and 30 fences, is due off at 4.15pm and boasts record prize money of £950,000.
There were no surprise withdrawals today and Don’t Push It continues to head the weights on 11st 10lb, meaning that any raising of the weights looks highly unlikely. The McManus/O’Neill combination could also be represented by Quolibet (10st 8lb) and Can’t Buy Time (10st 4lb).
The John Smith’s Grand National is the most obvious omission from the CV of champion trainer Paul Nicholls and the Somerset handler still has four to choose from headed by What A Friend (11st 6lb), who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and finished an excellent fourth in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out. The Tother One (11st), 2009 Irish Grand National winner Niche Market (10st 13lb) and Ornais (10st 4lb) complete the Nicholls quartet.
Irish-trained horses have done spectacularly well in the John Smith’s Grand National in recent years, accounting for six of the 12 winners since 1999. A total of 20 Irish-trained horses remain engaged in this year’s contest including The Midnight Club (10st 13lb), the current 8/1 favourite with totesport, official betting partner of the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting. The 10-year-old is trained by Willie Mullins, who sent out Hedgehunter to victory in 2005, and is the likely mount of Ruby Walsh, who is the winning-most current jockey in the John Smith’s Grand National following his two previous triumphs aboard Papillon (2000) and Hedgehunter (2005). Mullins could also be represented by Dooneys Gate (11st 4lb), ridden by the trainer’s amateur rider son Patrick, Arbor Supreme (10st 3lb), Our Monty (10st 3lb) and Pomme Tiepy (9st 9lb), though the last named is very unlikely to get a run as the maximum field is 40.
Other prominent Irish-trained contenders include Oscar Time (10st 9lb), who could give the Waley-Cohen family a dream double following Long Run’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup victory last month, the 2010 Irish Grand National heroine Bluesea Cracker (10st 4lb) and Becauseicouldntsee (10st 8lb), who is trained by his owner Noel Glynn with the assistance of Jason Titley, rider of 1995 National hero Royal Athlete. Gordon Elliott, handler of the 2007 winner Silver Birch, is set to be represented by Backstage (10st 12lb), who was going well when unseating his rider at the 20th fence last year and has won his latest two outings in point to points.
It is 32 years since a Scottish-trained horse won the Grand National (Rubstic, 1979) and 50 years since a grey was successful (Nicolaus Silver, 1961). A horse out to buck both these trends is the Lucinda Russell-trained Silver By Nature (10st 12lb), who warmed up for Aintree with success in the totesport.com Grand National Trial at Haydock Park on February 19.
McCain is a surname synonymous with the John Smith’s Grand National, with Ginger McCain having sent out the legendary Red Rum to three victories (1973, 1974 and 1977) and added a fourth with Amberleigh House (2004). His son Donald has a live contender this year with Ballabriggs (11st), winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010 and runner-up to Skippers Brigg (10st 2lb) at Kelso last time out.
Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful current trainer in the John Smith’s Grand National, having sent out Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) to success. In 2011, the Gloucestershire handler has a quartet to choose from including last year’s fifth Hello Bud (10st 5lb), who has already won over the National fences this season having taken the totesport.com Becher Chase in November. If successful, Hello Bud would be the first 13-year-old to prevail since Sergeant Murphy in 1923. Other runners from the Twiston-Davies yard could include Grand Slam Hero (10st 7lb), Roll Along (10st 7lb), who carries the colours of Bryan Burrough, owner of 1983 victor Corbiere, and Ballyfitz (9st 9lb).
Another previous winner among those going forward is Comply Or Die (10st 8lb), triumphant in 2008 for trainer David Pipe. Comply Or Die was also runner-up in 2009 and 12th in 2010.
A pair of John Smith’s Grand National regulars set to line up again on Saturday are State Of Play (10st 6lb), who finished fourth in 2009 and third in 2010 and Big Fella Thanks (11st 1lb), who was sixth in 2009 and fourth last year. Character Building (10st 4lb), seventh last year, is due to run again with amateur Nina Carberry booked to take the ride on the grey for the second year in succession.
The official elimination order, as decided Phil Smith, Head of Handicapping at the British Horseracing Authority, is as follows (maximum 40 runners)
39) ARBOR SUPREME,
40) OUR MONTY,
41) ROYAL ROSA,
42) SKIPPERS BRIG,
43) GOLDEN KITE,
44) ALWAYS WAINING,
45) PUTNEY BRIDGE,
46) BELON GALE,
48) LE BEAU BAI,
Latest prices from totesport:
8/1 The Midnight Club
11/1 Backstage, What A Friend
12/1 Oscar Time
14/1 Ballabriggs, Big Fella Thanks, Don’t Push It
16/1 Arbor Supreme, Niche Market, Silver By Nature
25/1 Becauseicouldntsee, Bluesea Cracker, Character Building, Hello Bud, Junior, Majestic Concorde, State Of Play, West End Rocker
33/1 Calgary Bay, Chief Dan George, Comply Or Die, Giles Cross, I’moncloudnine, In Compliance, Merigo, Northern Alliance, Or Noir De Somoza, Our Monty, Skippers Brig, Vic Venturi
40/1 Ballyfitz, Killyglen, Surface To Air, The Tother One, Tidal Bay
50/1 Belon Gale, Can’t Buy Time, Dooneys Gate, Galant Nuit, Golden Kite, King Fontaine, Ornais, Quolibet, Saddlers Storm
66/1 Always Waining, Ambobo, Grand Slam Hero, Le Beau Bai, Pomme Tiepy, Roll Along, Royal Rosa, Sagalyrique, The Sawyer, Toby Jug, Treacle,
100/1 Askthemaster, Duers, Faasel, Piraya, Putney Bridge, Regal Heights, Santas Son, Starzaan, Thats Rhythm
A quarter the odds 1,2,3,4
BETTING LATEST - SILVER TRIMMED AS 65 LEFT IN GRAND NATIONAL
The Midnight Club heads the market at 8/1 with Aintree’s official betting partner totesport after a total of 65 horses were declared at today’s five-day stage for the John Smith’s Grand National.
Backstage and What A Friend are next in the market at 11/1 with Oscar Time a 12/1 shot. Synchronised’s absence means that 16/1 shot Arbor Supreme – also in the ownership of JP McManus – is almost guaranteed a run as the highest-rated horse on 10st 3lb.
Silver By Nature has been cut to 16/1 (from 18/1) for the race despite conditions set to be fair on the run-up to Saturday’s big race.
The Midnight Club has also been trimmed to 2/1 (from 9/4) to be sent off favourite for the race after punters were keen to back him to head the betting at the off. What A Friend is a 4/1 shot to go off jolly whilst Backstage and Don’t Push It are next in the market at 11/2.
“It’s going to take some serious money to usurp The Midnight Club as favourite over the next few days but whilst he’ll more than likely head the market on the morning of the race, that's not a cast-iron guarantee that he’ll be sent off the National jolly,” said totesport spokesman George Primarolo.
John Smith’s Grand National: Who Will Start Favourite? - totesport bet: 2 (from 9/4) The Midnight Club, 4 What A Friend, 11/2 Backstage, Don’t Push It, 7 Ballabriggs, Oscar Time, 16 Big Fella Thanks, 20 Bluesea Cracker, Niche Market, Silver By Nature, 25 Becauseicouldntsee.
Win Only – Others On Request. Dead-heat rules apply for joint or co-favourites
The going at Aintree on Monday afternoon, April 4, was:
MILDMAY & HURDLE COURSES: Good, Good to Soft in places (from Good)
GRAND NATIONAL COURSE: Good to Soft, Good in places (Good, good to soft in places)
Andrew Tullouch, Aintree’s Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing, commented at 4.45pm today: “We had three millimetres of rain overnight and have seen generally overcast and drizzly conditions today, which produced around another millimetre of rain. This has helped to maintain the ground in its current condition and all courses are looking in great shape.
“Conditions are predicted to be pretty much the same again tomorrow, with overcast and drizzly conditions early on giving way to brighter weather in the afternoon. From Wednesday onwards, we should see drier and brighter weather.
“With drying conditions forecast for later in the week, we will monitor the situation closely and will water if necessary.”
For further information, please contact Emma Owen, Aintree's Marketing and PR Manager, on 0151 522 2906 or 07917 266511 or e-mail email@example.com
THE 2011 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL
Class 1, Grade 3, £950,000 total Prize Fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 9, 2011, four miles and four furlongs. For six-year-olds old and upwards which are allotted a rating of 110 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 13, 2011. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at February 1, 2011, may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances to February 13, 2011, would merit a minimum rating of 110. To qualify horses must have run at least three times in Steeple Chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Turf Authority up to and including February 13, 2011. At the Handicapper's discretion such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. No penalties after publication of the weights. Highest weight 11st 10lb. Entries closed February 1, entries revealed February 2 (102 entries, 3 subsequently scratched), weights revealed February 15, first scratchings deadline March 1 (82 remained), second scratchings deadline March 22 (74 remained). Five-day confirmation stage April 4 (65 five-day confirmations), final declaration stage 10.00am, April 7 - maximum field size of 40, plus 4 reserves. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, April 3. WITH CORRECT NUMBERING & ORDER OF ELIMINATION
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer/Probable Jockey
1) P1-P000 DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) 11-11-10 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Tony McCoy
2) 04-3226 TIDAL BAY (IRE) 10-11-09 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/Brian Hughes
3) 211-524 WHAT A FRIEND 8-11-06 Ged Mason & Sir Alex Ferguson Paul Nicholls/Daryl Jacob
4) 1B-0044 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 11-11-06 Seamus Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE/Andrew Lynch
5) U62/1-31 MAJESTIC CONCORDE (IRE) 8-11-05 Dr Ronan Lambe Dermot Weld IRE/Robbie McNamara
6) 42F14 OR NOIR DE SOMOZA (FR) 9-11-05 Filsal Stadeg Racing David Pipe/Tom Scudamore
7) 1F24-41 DOONEYS GATE (IRE) 10-11-04 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE/Mr Patrick Mullins
8) 14-2F44 BIG FELLA THANKS 9-11-01 Crossed Fingers Partnership Ferdy Murphy/Graham Lee
9) 205-244 THE TOTHER ONE (IRE) 10-11-00 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls/Mr Ryan Mahon
10) 111-112 BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 10-11-00 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain/Jason Maguire
11) 3133-21 THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (IRE) 10-10-13 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh
12) 20P-F50 NICHE MARKET (IRE) 10-10-13 Graham Regan Paul Nicholls/Harry Skelton
13) 121-001 SILVER BY NATURE 9-10-12 Geoff Brown Lucinda Russell/Peter Buchanan
14) 0BP-500 BACKSTAGE (FR) 9-10-12 MPR & Capranny Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE/Paul Carberry
15) 11-053F CHIEF DAN GEORGE (IRE) 11-10-12 Maurice Chapman Jimmy Moffatt/Paddy Aspell
16) 4-56242 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 8-10-10 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight/Hadden Frost
17) 2P-2536 KILLYGLEN (IRE) 9-10-10 David McCammon Stuart Crawford IRE/Robert Power
18) 152-263 OSCAR TIME (IRE) 10-10-09 Robert Waley-Cohen/Sir Martin & S Broughton Martin Lynch IRE/ Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
19) 10-1131 QUINZ (FR) 7-10-08 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson
20) 500423 NORTHERN ALLIANCE (IRE) 10-10-08 Irish Rover Syndicate Tony Martin IRE/Barry Geraghty
21) 2212-42 BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 8-10-08 Noel Glynn Noel Glynn IRE/Davy Russell
22) 000-06P COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) 12-10-08 David Johnson David Pipe/Timmy Murphy
23) F-FF25P QUOLIBET (FR) 7-10-08 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill/Mark Walsh
24) 1FP10P GRAND SLAM HERO (IRE) 10-10-07 Walters Plant Hire Ltd Nigel Twiston-Davies/Aidan Coleman
25) 6/454-P6 ROLL ALONG (IRE) 11-10-07 Bryan & Philippa Burrough Nigel Twiston-Davies/????
26) 0/144/P3- STATE OF PLAY 11-10-06 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams/Paul Moloney
27) 11-11P5 KING FONTAINE (IRE) 8-10-06 Trevor Hemmings Malcolm Jefferson/Denis O’Regan
28) U-3431U IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 11-10-05 Westerly Breeze Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE/Leighton Aspell
29) 005P-1P HELLO BUD (IRE) 13-10-05 Seamus Murphy Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies
30) P/00-11P WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 9-10-05 Barry Winfield & Tim Leadbeater Alan King/Robert Thornton
31) 200010 SANTA'S SON (IRE) 11-10-05 Douglas Pryde & Jim Beaumont Howard Johnson/Jamie Moore
32) C21-046 BLUESEA CRACKER (IRE) 9-10-04 J P McManus James Motherway IRE/Andrew McNamara
33) 01050 THAT'S RHYTHM (FR) 11-10-04 Don't Tell Henry Martin Todhunter/James Reveley
34) P2/111/-0 SURFACE TO AIR 10-10-04 Tim Urry Chris Bealby/Tom Messenger
35) P-234PP PIRAYA (FR) 8-10-04 Terry Neill David Pipe/Johnny Farrelly
36) 6F-0P5P CAN'T BUY TIME (IRE) 9-10-04 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Richie McLernon
37) 0-30563 CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE) 11-10-04 Patricia Thompson John Quinn/Miss Nina Carberry
38) 15/1P/-52 ORNAIS (FR) 9-10-04 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield
39) U2U-0P2 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 9-10-03 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE/David Casey
40) 013111- OUR MONTY (IRE) 8-10-03 Colland Sand & Gravel Ltd Willie Mullins IRE/Ms Katie Walsh
41) P5U-42P ROYAL ROSA (FR) 12-10-03 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/Paul Gallagher
42) 313-011 SKIPPERS BRIG (IRE) 10-10-02 Ashleybank Investments Limited Nicky Richards/Dominic Elsworth
43) 210010 GOLDEN KITE (IRE) 9-10-02 Dr Anthony Calnan Adrian Maguire IRE/Shane Hassett
44) 006004 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 10-10-02 Mr & Mrs Peter James Douglas Peter Bowen/???
45) 321112 PUTNEY BRIDGE 9-10-01 Louise Goldsworthy Keith Goldsworthy/???
46) 4/22-1PP BELON GALE (IRE) 8-10-01 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/???
47) 402P-02 FAASEL (IRE) 10-10-01 Jim Ennis David Pipe/???
48) 02043P LE BEAU BAI (FR) 8-10-01 Glass Half Full Richard Lee/???
49) D61-0F0 MERIGO (FR) 10-10-01 Raymond & Anita Anderson Green Andrew Parker/???
50) 6-02162 ASKTHEMASTER (IRE) 11-10-00 Carrolle Wall Robert Tyner IRE/???
51) 11P61/0/- STARZAAN (IRE) 12-10-00 Ben Arbib Hughie Morrison/???
52) 123-P22 GILES CROSS (IRE) 9-10-00 KCMS Partnership Victor Dartnall/???
53) 1U0-660 SADDLERS STORM (IRE) 9-10-00 Billy Moffett/R T & J McLoughlin Tony Martin IRE/???
54) 1-PP11P SAGALYRIQUE (FR) 7-9-13 Sir Robert Ogden Donald McCain/???
55) U0-6042 AMBOBO (USA) 11-9-13 Deirdre Brassil Martin Brassil IRE/???
56) 241P64 DUERS (IRE) 9-9-13 Kate Kelly/Kate Ronan Paul Magnier IRE/???
57) 11120-P TOBY JUG 10-9-13 Paul & Caron Chapman & Sarah Humphrey Sarah Humphrey/???
58) 131-321 JUNIOR 8-9-12 Middleham Park Racing LI David Pipe/???
59) 064260 THE SAWYER (BEL) 11-9-12 David Fear Bob Buckler/???
60) 2613-PP GALANT NUIT (FR) 7-9-12 David Parry Ferdy Murphy/???
61) 044522 BALLYFITZ 11-9-09 Fred & Wayne Mills Nigel Twiston-Davies/???
62) F4-5365 POMME TIEPY (FR) 8-9-09 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/???
63) 24U344 I'MONCLOUDNINE (IRE) 8-9-09 Fred Matthews Neil Mulholland/???
64) 116PP-P TREACLE (IRE) 10-9-04 Bjorn Nielsen Tom Taaffe IRE/???
65) P23221 REGAL HEIGHTS (IRE) 10-9-02 Janet Heler Tom George/???
The order of elimination was decided this afternoon by Phil Smith, Head of Handicapping at the British Horseracing Authority.
The declared runners will be known on Thursday morning and there will be four reserves which have to be utilised by Friday morning.
65 five-day confirmations 20 Irish-trained
The nine horse who did not go forward at today’s five-day stage were Midnight Chase, Synchronised, Scotsirish, Notre Pere, Ballytrim, Nedzer’s Return, Frankie Figg, One Cool Cookie and Dev.