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Wednesday, January 30, 2013





The 166th running of the world’s greatest chase, the John Smith’s Grand National, has attracted a high-class entry of 84, an increase of two on the 2012 figure.


With a prize fund of £975,000, the John Smith’s Grand National remains the most valuable jump race in Europe and among the richest in the world.


The Aintree contest will take place over the new distance of four miles, three furlongs and about 110 yards on Saturday, April 6, with the start moved closer to the first fence. The maximum permitted field is 40 runners, with up to four reserves on standby.


Seven-time champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls landed his first John Smith’s Grand National in dramatic fashion last year when Neptune Collonges got the better of Sunnyhillboy by a nose in the closest finish ever seen to the great race.


Neptune Collonges was retired following his famous victory but Sunnyhillboy (20/1 with Betfred, official betting partner of the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National) could bid to go one better. The 2012 third and fourth, Seabass (20/1) and Cappa Bleu (25/1), are both entered again.


Trainer Evan Williams, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, has confirmed Cappa Bleu is on course for a second tilt at the John Smith’s Grand National.


The lightly-raced 11-year-old encountered trouble in running last year and his trainer believes the experience will have stood him in good stead ahead of this year’s renewal.


Williams commented: “The John Smith’s Grand National has been the plan for Cappa Bleu ever since he crossed the line last year.


“He ran a very promising race last year. He got a few bumps along the way and was lucky to stand up with some loose horses and fallers around him. I thought he did incredibly well to finish as close as he did.


“He is a very unexposed horse and his inexperience probably caught him out last year, but hopefully he will benefit from that this time around.


“Everything has been very good with him since his comeback at Carlisle (second of five in November) and, given the way the weather has been, I am delighted we managed to get the run into him when we did.


“Since he ran, it has been very wet and very heavy ground doesn’t suit him. When he encountered that for the first time in the Welsh National in 2011, it took me a long time to get him back after that.


“I didn’t want to run him in that sort of ground again this season because I want to get him to Aintree as fresh as I possibly can.


“He holds entries this weekend but he will be entered everywhere as I am very keen to get another run or two into him before Aintree. I will give him every opportunity to run but, as I have said all season, if the ground is very heavy, he won’t run.”


Cappa Bleu is one of eight entries trained in Wales, along with recent Welsh National second Teaforthree (Rebecca Curtis), Always Waining, who has won the last three runnings of the John Smith’s Topham Chase over the Grand National fences, Gullible Gordon and Mumbles Head (all with Peter Bowen) and 2011 Scottish Grand National winner Beshabar, Saint Are and Tartak (all with Tim Vaughan).


The only horse trained in Wales to win the John Smith’s Grand National was Kirkland way back in 1905.


Nicholls has four chances to gain a second John Smith’s Grand National this year, headed by Tidal Bay (20/1). The 12-year-old has been revitalised since joining the Somerset handler and landed the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, Ireland, over Christmas. Nicholls could also be represented by What A Friend (25/1) and Harry The Viking (25/1), who are both part-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as Join Together (20/1), who was second over the famous fences in the Betfred Becher Chase in December.


Jonjo O’Neill, who went so close with Sunnyhillboy last year having trained Don’t Push It to win in 2010, has five entries in 2013. In addition to Sunnyhillboy, the Gloucestershire-based handler could also be represented by the multiple Grade One scorer Albertas Run, Cheltenham Festival winner Alfie Sherrin, Lost Glory and Mister Hyde.


The name McCain is synonymous with the John Smith’s Grand National, with the late Ginger McCain sending out the great Red Rum to three Grand National victories in the 1970s followed by Amberleigh House in 2004 and his son Donald enjoying success with Ballabriggs in 2011. Ballabriggs, sixth in 2012, is one of five entries for Donald McCain this year along with Across The Bay, Cloudy Lane, who has run three times in the John Smith’s Grand National and won the John Smith’s Fox Hunters over the big fences last season, Fabalu and Weird Al.


The progressive Wyck Hill, successful on four of his last six starts, comes from the stable of David Bridgwater. As a jockey, Bridgwater finished second in the 1996 Grand National on Encore Un Peu.


There are a total of 32 Irish-trained entries, with Ireland’s champion jump trainer Willie Mullins having seven hopefuls, more than any other handler. The Mullins septet includes the leading contenders Prince De Beauchene, a winner over the Mildmay course at the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting and On His Own, who was still travelling well in third when falling at Becher’s on the second circuit of last season’s John Smith’s Grand National. The duo are the 16/1 joint favourites with Betfred. Mullins saddled Hedgehunter to land the Aintree showpiece in 2005.


Another Irish trainer to have previously sent out the winner of the John Smith’s Grand National is Ted Walsh, who was triumphant with Papillon in 2000. He has two strong contenders this year, including last year’s third Seabass, ridden by his amateur rider daughter Katie, and Colbert Station (20/1), who entered the reckoning for the John Smith’s Grand National when taking a valuable handicap chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.


Gordon Elliott enjoyed a dream start to his training career when Silver Birch collected the 2007 John Smith’s Grand National and his six entries this year include the high-class Jessies Dream, who has not been seen out since finishing second in the 2011 Grade One RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival behind the Jessica Harrington-trained Bostons Angel.


The last two winners of the Irish Grand National - Organisedconfusion (2011) and Lion Na Bearnai (2012) - are also engaged, while leading owner J P McManus has seven possibles spread across five trainers.


There is one entry from France, experienced chaser Odysseas, who is trained by Yann Porzier.


Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful current trainer in the John Smith’s Grand National, having enjoyed two successes with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002). He has four entries this year, headed by the 2010 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander (25/1), who made an excellent return to action on Saturday, January 26 following nearly two years when just touched off in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham.


David Pipe, who saddled Comply Or Die to win the John Smith’s Grand National in 2008, also has four to choose from including the talented performer The Package, while Venetia Williams, trainer of the shock 100/1 winner Mon Mome in 2009, has three possible starters - Katenko, the winner of his last two races, Summery Justice and Pentiffic.


It is 23 years since Kim Bailey landed the Grand National with Mr Frisk and the trainer has one entry this year, The Rainbow Hunter, successful on two of his last three starts.


Weights for the John Smith’s Grand National are framed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, and will be revealed at the annual John Smith’s Grand National launch on Tuesday, February 12.


The John Smith’s Grand National is the only race in the calendar where the handicapper is permitted to use his own discretion and judgment, rather than relying on central ratings.


John Baker, North West Regional Director, Jockey Club Racecourses, commented: “It is very satisfying to see the number of entries for the John Smith’s Grand National has been maintained.


“Interest in the great race clearly remains as strong as ever among owners and trainers.


“The quality of the entries also shines through with multiple Grade One winners Tidal Bay and Albertas Run, while the Irish-trained contingent looks very powerful.


“Everyone now eagerly awaits the unveiling on the weights on Tuesday, February 12.”




16/1 On His Own, Prince De Beauchene; 20/1 Colbert Station, Join Together, Katenko, Seabass, Sunnyhillboy, Tidal Bay; 25/1 Beshabar, Cappa Bleu, Harry The Viking, Imperial Commander, Roberto Goldback, Roi Du Mee, Teaforthree, The Package, What A Friend; 33/1 Across The Bay, Albertas Run, Alfie Sherrin, Ballabriggs, Balthazar King, Big Fella Thanks, Bostons Angel, Frisco Depot, Lambro, Lion Na Bearnai, Organisedconfusion, Oscar Time, Outlaw Pete, Romanesco, Saint Are, Tofino Bay, Weird Al, Wyck Hill; 40/1 Call The Police, Jessies Dream, Little Josh, Lost Glory, Magnanimity, Mister Hyde, Planet Of Sound, Quel Esprit, Quiscover Fontaine, Quito De La Roque, Tarquinius; 50/1 Always Waining, Any Currency, Auroras Encore, Becauseicouldntsee, Bob Lingo, Chicago Grey, Cross Appeal, Forpadydeplasterer, Joncol, Mr Moonshine, Ninetieth Minute, Pandorama, Problema Tic, Quinz, Rare Bob, Shakervilz, Summery Justice, Swing Bill, Tartak, The Rainbow Hunter, Treacle; 66/1 Backstage, Calgary Bay, Cloudy Lane, Midnight Chase, Odysseas, Pearlysteps, Pentiffic, Poker De Sivola, Soll, Viking Blond; 100/1 Fabalu, Gullible Gordon, Major Malarkey, Matuhi, Mortimers Cross, Mumbles Head, Tatenen.       


¼ 1-2-3-4 - All Quoted 


John Smith's Grand National Specials


9/4 Irish-trained winner

4/1 Willie Mullins-trained winner

6/1 Andrea & Graham Wylie-owned winner

6/1 Paul Nicholls-trained winner

12/1 Barry Geraghty-ridden winner

12/1 Female-ridden winner

12/1 AP McCoy-ridden winner

12/1 Ruby Walsh-ridden winner

16/1 Donald McCain-trained winner


Win Only - Singles Only





9/4 Irish-trained horse to win Grand National

4/1 Willie Mullins to train Grand National winner

6/1 Andrea & Graham Wylie to own Grand National winner

6/1 Paul Nicholls to train Grand National winner

12/1 Barry Geraghty to ride Grand National winner

12/1 Female Ridden to ride Grand National winner

12/1 Tony McCoy to ride Grand National winner

12/1 Ruby Walsh to ride Grand National winner

16/1 Donald McCain to train Grand National winner


Win only. Singles only.




7 Entries

Willie Mullins IRE (2005 Hedgehunter)


6 Entries

Gordon Elliott IRE (2007 Silver Birch)


5 Entries

Donald McCain (2011 Ballabriggs)

Jonjo O’Neill (2010 Don’t Push It)


4 Entries

Paul Nicholls (2012 Neptune Collonges)

David Pipe (2008 Comply Or Die)

Nigel Twiston-Davies (2002 Bindaree, 1998 Earth Summit)


3 Entries

Peter Bowen

Philip Hobbs

Dessie Hughes IRE

Tim Vaughan

Venetia Williams (2009 Mon Mome)


2 Entries

Noel Meade IRE

Sue Smith

Tom Taaffe IRE

Ted Walsh IRE (2000 Papillon)


1 Entry

Kim Bailey (1990 Mr Frisk)

David Bridgwater

Mick Channon

Tom Cooper IRE

Rebecca Curtis

Henry Daly

Tom George

Tom Gibney IRE

Noel Glynn IRE

John Halley IRE

Jessica Harrington IRE

Nicky Henderson

Jo Hughes

Martin Keighley

Charlie Longsdon

Martin Lynch IRE

Arthur Moore

Neil Mullholland

Tom Mullins IRE

Ferdy Murphy

Colm Murphy IRE

John Needham

Paul Nolan IRE

Yann-Marie Porzier FR

Richard Rowe

Evan Williams



Class 1, Grade 3, £975,000 total prize fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 6, 2013, four miles, three and a half furlongs. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 18, 2013, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and which are allotted a rating of 120 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 10, 2013. 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 120. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 10, 2013. At the handicapper's discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. The British Horseracing Authority has modified Rule (F)42.2.1 for the purposes of this race, such that racecourse performances up to and including Sunday, February 12, may be taken into account. A novice horse shall only be qualified to run in this race if it has run a minimum of three times in chases in Great Britain, Ireland or France in accordance with Rule (F)42.5. Highest weight 11st 10lb - no penalties after publication of the weights. Entries closed January 29, entries revealed January 30 (84 entries), weights revealed February 12, first scratchings’ deadline February 26, second scratchings’ deadline March 19. Five-day confirmation stage April 1, final declaration stage 10.00am, April 4. Maximum field size of 40, plus four reserves. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, January 28.


Form  Horse    Age Owner     Trainer

P3-1120 ACROSS THE BAY (IRE) 9 Scotch Piper Syndicate   Donald McCain

P12/123- ALBERTAS RUN (IRE)  12 Trevor Hemmings   Jonjo O'Neill

0513-30 ALFIE SHERRIN  10 J P McManus    Jonjo O'Neill

044001- ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 12 Mr & Mrs Peter James Douglas  Peter Bowen

3-614U4 ANY CURRENCY (IRE) 10 Cash Is King    Martin Keighley

2-U0P45 AURORAS ENCORE (IRE) 11 D Pryde, J Beaumont & D P van der Hoeven Sue Smith

P/5000/P- BACKSTAGE (FR)  11 MPR & Capranny Syndicate  Gordon Elliott IRE

121/46-P BALLABRIGGS (IRE)  12  Trevor Hemmings   Donald McCain

P0F1-12 BALTHAZAR KING (IRE) 9 The Brushmakers   Philip Hobbs

2F-63PP BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 10 Noel Glynn    Noel Glynn IRE

1/U121/5- BESHABAR (IRE)  11 Middleham Park Racing X & Ann Burrows Tim Vaughan

440/-U31 BIG FELLA THANKS  11 Crossed Fingers Partnership  Tom George

051130  BOB LINGO (IRE)  11 J P McManus    Tom Mullins IRE

P-06F22 BOSTONS ANGEL (IRE) 9 Elder Scouller    Jessica Harrington IRE

5110-P4 CALGARY BAY (IRE)  10 Camilla Radford   Mick Channon

234-F21 CALL THE POLICE (IRE) 10 DD Racing Syndicate   Willie Mullins IRE

P//1334-2 CAPPA BLEU (IRE)  11 William & Angela Rucker  Evan Williams

2B-0U63 CHICAGO GREY (IRE)  10 John Earls    Gordon Elliott IRE

40//2161- CLOUDY LANE  13 Trevor Hemmings   Donald McCain

413-521 COLBERT STATION (IRE) 9 J P McManus    Ted Walsh IRE

1P-4PP0 CROSS APPEAL (IRE)  7 John Corr    Noel Meade IRE

120-25F FABALU (IRE)   11 Tim Leslie    Donald McCain

64-2P15 FORPADYDEPLASTERER (IRE) 11 Goat Racing Syndicate   Thomas Cooper IRE

21B-4FP FRISCO DEPOT  9 Waley-Cohen, Burke, Broughton, Broughton Charlie Longsdon

0/44-060 GULLIBLE GORDON (IRE) 10 Yeh Man Partnership   Peter Bowen

112P-P0 HARRY THE VIKING  8 Sir Alex Ferguson, Ged Mason, R Wood & P Done Paul Nicholls

51U/1P/-2 IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE) 12 Our Friends in the North  Nigel Twiston-Davies

30/1122/- JESSIES DREAM (IRE) 10 David Johnson    Gordon Elliott IRE

11P3-02 JOIN TOGETHER (IRE) 8 Ian Fogg & Paul Barber   Paul Nicholls

20-3523 JONCOL (IRE)   10 Kay Browne    Paul Nolan IRE

4-F0211 KATENKO (FR)  7 A Brooks    Venetia Williams

01236-1 LAMBRO (IRE)  8 Byerley Thoroughbred Racing  Willie Mullins IRE

10511-P LION NA BEARNAI (IRE) 11 The Lock Syndicate   Tom Gibney IRE

6P00-1F LITTLE JOSH (IRE)  11 Tony Bloom    Nigel Twiston-Davies

011611  LOST GLORY (NZ)  8 J P McManus    Jonjo O'Neill

PP-5220 MAGNANIMITY (IRE)  9 Gigginstown House Stud  Dessie Hughes IRE

4P2P-26 MAJOR MALARKEY (IRE) 10 Baker, Dodd & Cooke   Nigel Twiston-Davies

030U-06 MATUHI   10 Willsford Racing Incorporated  David Pipe

310-3P4 MIDNIGHT CHASE  11 Lady Clarke    Neil Mulholland

04-1311 MISTER HYDE (IRE)  8 Bensaranat Club & W McLuskey Jonjo O'Neill

1P-2215 MORTIMERS CROSS  12 John Needham    John Needham

0-23602 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) 9 Sue Smith    Sue Smith

1133FP MUMBLES HEAD (IRE) 12 Karen Bowen    Peter Bowen

1F-3F60 NINETIETH MINUTE (IRE) 10 Dermot Cox    Tom Taaffe IRE

33F425 ODYSSEAS (FR)  10 Mrs Jean Porzier   Yann Porzier FR

4P1/B1F- ON HIS OWN (IRE)  9 Andrea & Graham Wylie  Willie Mullins IRE

F5U-540 ORGANISEDCONFUSION (IRE) 8 Grace Dunlop    Arthur Moore IRE

632/4-4U OSCAR TIME (IRE)  12 Robert Waley-Cohen/Sir Martin & Simon Broughton Martin Lynch IRE

05r316  OUTLAW PETE (IRE)  9 J P McManus    John Halley IRE

11/P10/-0 PANDORAMA (IRE)  10 R J Bagnall    Noel Meade IRE

30/F2PP- PEARLYSTEPS  10 The Glazeley Partnership  Henry Daly

0-00016 PENTIFFIC (NZ)  10 P Sinn, P Lawrence, L Sutcliffe, M Smith Venetia Williams

5/230-53 PLANET OF SOUND  11 Charles Lloyd-Baker   Philip Hobbs

(0)6U1/-50 POKER DE SIVOLA (FR) 10 David Johnson    Ferdy Murphy

351/51-1 PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) 10 Andrea & Graham Wylie  Willie Mullins IRE

1211-5F PROBLEMA TIC (FR)  7 Jo Tracey    David Pipe

F1113-0 QUEL ESPRIT (FR)  9 Red Barn Syndicate   Willie Mullins IRE

131P/PP- QUINZ (FR)   9 Andrew Cohen    Philip Hobbs

4010F-6 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 9 J P McManus    Willie Mullins IRE

13-3361 QUITO DE LA ROQUE (FR) 9 Gigginstown House Stud  Colm Murphy IRE

053B0-6 RARE BOB (IRE)  11 D A Syndicate    Dessie Hughes IRE

000-1U3 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 11 Simon Munir    Nicky Henderson

511112  ROI DU MEE (FR)  8 Gigginstown House Stud  Gordon Elliott IRE

U1F102 ROMANESCO (FR)  8 Annie Flora Joan Bowles  Gordon Elliott IRE

4U01-F4 SAINT ARE (FR)  7 David Fox    Tim Vaughan

1//11113- SEABASS (IRE)  10 Gunners Syndicate   Ted Walsh IRE

0-12136 SHAKERVILZ (FR)  10 Wicklow Bloodstock Limited  Willie Mullins IRE

1/21B-00 SOLL    8 Derrick Mossop   Jo Hughes

1P/1/401- SUMMERY JUSTICE (IRE) 9 Mrs H Brown    Venetia Williams

P012-5P SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE)  10 J P McManus    Jonjo O'Neill

00P-P14 SWING BILL (FR)  12 David Johnson    David Pipe

1P1142 TARQUINIUS (FR)  10 Mrs M Furlong    Gordon Elliott IRE

50-6440 TARTAK (FR)   10 Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd Tim Vaughan

0/015U-6 TATENEN (FR)  9 The Stewart Family   Richard Rowe

P11-062 TEAFORTHREE (IRE)  9 T437     Rebecca Curtis

5/5/4-14P THE PACKAGE  10 David Johnson    David Pipe

04-311P THE RAINBOW HUNTER 9 May We Never Be Found Out Partnership Kim Bailey

541-121 TIDAL BAY (IRE)  12 Andrea & Graham Wylie  Paul Nicholls

1-12141 TOFINO BAY (IRE)  10 Gigginstown House Stud  Dessie Hughes IRE

51423F- TREACLE (IRE)  12 Bjorn Nielsen    Tom Taaffe IRE

FP-023P VIKING BLOND (FR)  8 Caroline Mould    Nigel Twiston-Davies

13PF-4P WEIRD AL (IRE)  10 Brannon Dick Holden   Donald McCain

4P/33F0- WHAT A FRIEND  10 Ged Mason & Sir Alex Ferguson Paul Nicholls

11F2-11 WYCK HILL (IRE)  9 SAB Partnership   David Bridgwater


84 entries

32 Irish-trained

1 French-trained


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