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Tuesday, March 28, 2000.



MARCH 29, 2000. 3.40pm.
(Tote Odds)

Mantusis - 5
The Exhibition Fox - 14
Spring Pursuit - 9
Pinchincha - 9
Colonel North - 25
Forty Forte - 7
Anemos - 11/2
Hindi - 16
Young-Un - 8
Sandabar - 8
Noble Cyrano - 12
Charter Flight - 12
Thomas Henry - 13/2

(William Hill Odds)

Star Traveller - 8
Bobbyjo - 8
Young Kenny - 14
Bettys Boy - 14
Micko's Dream - 16
Cavalero - 20
Dark Stranger - 25
Edmond - 20
The Last Fling - 20
Djeddah - 25
Red Marauder - 25


The going at Aintree this afternoon is

GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES on the Grand National course and

GOOD on both the Mildmay and Hurdle courses.

Ian Renton, Aintree's Clerk of the Course, said: "The weather forecast for the remainder of the week is dry and cold, with possible scattered showers towards the end of the week

"Five millimetres of water has been applied to the quicker areas of both the Mildmay and Hurdle tracks to ensure the going is consistently good.

"If we feel it is necessary, further water will be applied to the Mildmay and Hurdle courses, with the intention of providing ground no faster than good for the meeting.

"Watering of the Grand National course will only take place if there is a likelihood of the going becoming significantly faster than good."


All County Stand (Club) badges for the Friday and Saturday of the three-day Martell Grand National Meeting at Aintree (April 6 to 8) have sold out. There are still some available for the opening day, Thursday.

Tattersalls tickets will be available at the course on all three days, and entrance to the Steeplechase Enclosure is available on the Saturday.


b g Sheer Grit-Deerpark Rose (Arapaho)
12-10-00 (9st 9lb long handicap) Form: 3134322F14351/4U1142U7/P6-PP0
Owner: Nick and Valda Embiricos Trainer: Josh Gifford
Jockey: Philip Hide Breeder: James Kenneally

Brave Highlander (IRE)

Brave Highlander carries the same colours as Aldaniti, winner of one of the most famous Grand Nationals of all in 1981, when ridden by Bob Champion, who had overcome a long battle with cancer. The victory inspired the film ‘Champions'. But Brave Highlander does not look to be in quite the same class as Aldaniti, although he has twice run well twice in the Martell Grand National. He was still travelling well in fifth when unseating jockey Philip Hide seven out in a collision with another horse - the Canal Turn second time round - in the 1998 Martell Grand National. He finished sixth in last year's renewal, when after travelling strongly and taking it up two out, he tired from the last. Although only moderate over hurdles, he has taken to fences much better and put up good performances in 1998 to finish second, beaten ten lengths, by Sail By The Stars in a six-runner handicap chase in March and to land handicap chases at Folkestone and Wincanton. On both occasions the ground was good to soft although he has also won on good to firm going. Was tailed off when pulled up on his only outing in 1999 prior to the Martell Grand National, in a three-mile handicap chase at Chepstow on March 3. This season he has pulled up twice at Wincanton and Towcester, and on his latest appearance he was well beaten by Samlee at Exeter on March 7.

Race Record: Starts: 31; 1st 5; 2nd 4; 3rd 4; Win and place prize money 41,514

Nick and Valda Embiricos
Born on January 29, 1937, Brave Highlander's owner Nick Embiricos, a shipbroker, has owned horses for many years. Other than Aldaniti, the best of them would be French Colonist (a winner 11 times under National Hunt Rules) and on the Flat, Evening Venture, who won the Listed Galtres Stakes at York. He is also a successful breeder, running a stud at his Barkfold Manor home at Kirdford in Sussex. His wife, Valda, was elected to the Jockey Club in 1987 and is a steward at several courses including Ascot and Goodwood. Daughter Alex trains at Newmarket and she is married to top racecourse commentator, Mark Johnson. Nick Embiricos is one of the trustees of Bob Champion and Aldaniti's cancer charity.

Grand National Record (since 1980): 1981 Aldaniti (WON); 1982 Aldaniti (Fell 1st); 1987 You're Welcome (5th); 1988 You're Welcome (PU bef 6th); 1998 Brave Highlander (UR 24th); 1999 Brave Highlander (6th).

Josh Gifford M.B.E.
Born on August 3, 1941, Josh Gifford was champion National Hunt jockey four times before taking out a training licence in April 1970. Gifford trained Aldaniti to win the 1981 Grand National, ridden by Bob Champion, and among a host of other top races won during his training career are the Whitbread Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Mackeson Gold Cup and Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup. Gifford, who trains at the Downs at Findon, West Sussex, married Althea in May 1969 and has two children, Nick, and Tina, an international three-day event rider.
Grand National training record (since 1980): 1980 Mannyboy (UR 1st); 1981 ALDANITI (Won); 1982 Aldaniti (Fell 1st); 1985 Shady Deal (PU 4th); Roman Bistro (Ref 18th); 1986 Door Latch (Fell 1st); 1987 Bright Dream (18th); You're Welcome (5th); 1988 Bright Dream (BD 22nd); You're Welcome (PU 6th); 1991 Golden Minstrel (7th); Foyle Fisherman (10th); Ballyhane (11th); Envopak Token (PU 5th); 1992 Golden Minstrel (15th); 1995 Topsham Bay (10th); Jumbeau (BD 1st); 1997 Spuffington (UR 22nd); 1998 Brave Highlander (UR 24th); 1999 Brave Highlander (6th).

Philip Hide
Born in Newmarket on June 16, 1973, Philip Hide was destined for a career in the saddle as nephew of top Flat rider Edward Hide and son of former jockey Tony, who retired from training at the end of 1998. Hide's sister, Lucie, rides as an amateur and is married to trainer Sean Woods. Declan Murphy's premature retirement due to injury landed Hide with the plum job of stable jockey to Josh Gifford although he is now a freelance but still riding regularly for the Findon trainer. Hide's first win came aboard Missing Man at Fontwell on May 6, 1991, and big-race successes to date include the 1992 Martell Champion Standard Flat Race at Aintree on Brief Gale and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham on the same mare three years later. Hide also rode Bradbury Star to win the 1994 Mackeson (now Murphy's) Gold Cup.

Grand National record: 1995 Topsham Bay (10th); 1996 Vicompt de Valmont (10th); 1997 Spuffington (UR 22nd); 1998 Brave Highlander (UR 24th); 1999 Brave Highlander (6th).

b g Callernish - Ballaroe Boy (Bargello)
12-11-02 Form: 112U111/312/58P/PF354-U03
Owner: Gott Foods Ltd Trainer: Ferdy Murphy
Jockey: Adrian Maguire Breeder: John O'Brien
Addington Boy

Addington Boy joined the late Gordon Richards' stable for the 1992/3 season and first made his mark two seasons later when he won novice hurdles at Perth, Haydock and Aintree. But it was when he was sent over fences in the following season that he really created an impression winning no fewer than six of his eight starts and was second in another. The victories included the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster, the Mumm Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree and the Future Champions' Novice Chase at Ayr, and he was also second to Cumbrian Challenge at Wetherby. So well did he continue to do, though in a lighter campaign, the following season, that he was well fancied for the 1997 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup only to have to be withdrawn due to a minor leg injury a few hours before the race. In his three starts that season he won the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham, was second there to Dublin Flyer in January and an arguably unlucky third in the Murphy's Gold Cup in November. After a series of disappointing efforts in 1998 and 1999 he was moved from the Richards stable to that of Ferdy Murphy for whom in two runs before last season's Martell Grand National he was third to Florida Pearl and Escartefigue in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown and fifth to See More Business in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup. Addington Boy performed extremely creditably in the 1999 Martell Grand National taking fourth place. He looked to have a good chance from early on the final circuit, only to tire late on, and as a result he did not get very high at the last fence, hitting it and soon weakening. This season his first two runs were disappointing and he was retired for a short period, but returned at Kelso on March 3 when finishing 24 lengths third behind Paris Pike.

Race Record: Starts: 32; 1st: 10; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & place prize money 164,459

Gott Foods Ltd
Addington Boy is owned by Gott Foods Ltd, a food manufacturing company based in North Lancashire, whose chairman and racing executive Walter Gott became involved in racing some 13 years ago when an accident confined him to a wheelchair. The first horse was Addington Lad - the Addington prefix comes from the name of Mr Gott's house near Carnforth - but, until the arrival of, the best horse they had had was Gott's Desire, who was initially trained by Jack Berry and then by Robin Bastiman and showed useful handicap form, predominantly over seven furlongs, in the early 1990s. Last year Addington Boy was leased for the Martell Grand National to Brenda Jamieson who won a competition in the Sun newspaper to own a Grand National runner.

Grand National Record: No previous runners

Ferdy Murphy
Ferdy Murphy rode for 16 years as a professional jump jockey before setting up as a private trainer for Geoff Hubbard at Woodbridge in Suffolk in 1990. He rode about 100 winners in that time, most of them in Ireland, and had a long connection with the Durkan family, whose many good horses included the top two-mile chaser, Anaglogs Daughter. His major training success for Hubbard came when Sibton Abbey, running from 21lb out of the handicap and ridden by Adrian Maguire, won the 1992 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury, but Murphy later decided to spread his wings and become a public trainer at Middleham in Yorkshire, though he later moved a few miles away to West Witton. The brilliant but ill-fated hurdler French Holly, winner of the 1998 Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle and third to Istabraq in last season's Smurfit Champion Hurdle, was the stable star.

Grand National Record: 1999 Addington Boy (4th)

Adrian Maguire
Born at Kilmessan, Co Meath on April 29, 1971, Adrian Maguire rode more than 200 winners in Irish pony races from the age of nine and moved to Con Horgan's stable in Berkshire at the age of 15 only for homesickness to see him return back to Ireland shortly afterwards. He then became a star on the Irish point-to-point circuit, riding his first winner between the flags on Equinoctial at Askeaton in Co Limerick on February 11, 1990, and six winners in a day at Dromahane in Co Cork on one occasion. His first winner under Rules came aboard the Michael Hourigan-trained Gladtogetit in a bumper at Sligo on April 23, 1990. He was champion Irish point-to-point rider in 1991 with 38 wins, the same year that he won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase on Omerta at Cheltenham on his first ride in Britain, and the Irish National aboard the same horse. He then came over to Britain to join the stable of Toby Balding, for whom he won the 1992 Cheltenham Gold Cup on Cool Ground and went on to become first jockey to David Nicholson, although that partnership came to an end in 1998 and Maguire then rode as a freelance before recently signing up at Ferdy Murphy's stable jockey. In recent years, he has had a spate of bad luck with injuries and missed the Martell Grand National from 1996 to 1998 but has completed on all three of his rides in the race, finishing placed twice. His long list of major successes includes the 1993 King George VI Chase on Barton Bank, the 1994 Triumph Hurdle aboard Mysilv, the 1994 Queen Mother Champion Chase and 1995 Mumm Melling Chase with Viking Flagship, the 1998 Whitbread Gold Cup on Call it A Day 1998, the 1998 Scottish Grand National on Baronet 1998) and the 1999 Sunderlands Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Regency Rake 1999).

Grand National Record: 1994 Moorcroft Boy (3rd); 1995 Ebony Jane (12th); 1999 Addington Boy (4th).

b g Bustineto - Markup (Bargello)
10-11-06 Form: B152/41827491/58504116-045
Owner: Bobby Burke Trainer: Tommy Carberry IRE
Jockey: Paul Carberry Breeder: Liam Skehan

Bobbyjo has established himself as a top-class horse, having won the Jameson Irish Grand National in 1998, and then running to glory last year when he landed the Martell Grand National, becoming only the eighth horse since the Second World War to carry 10st to victory. The first of his eight career wins came when he took a handicap hurdle at Down Royal in April, 1996 and he gained his first success over fences on that course eight months later. Moving up in grade, he won handicap chases at Fairyhouse and Punchestown in 1997, before just getting the better of Papillon in the Irish National in 1998. His preparation for that race was somewhat unorthodox. Having won the Porterstown Chase at Fairyhouse in November, 1997, Bobbyjo was in line for a £50,000 bonus for his owner if he could add the Irish National to that success. With his trainer keen to avoid a penalty for the big race, Bobbyjo completed his preparation by running over hurdles, and he followed the same sort of route on the way to Aintree last season. Having run well under big weights at Leopardstown (fifth to Hollybank Buck under 11st 10lb) and at Fairyhouse (carrying 12st into fourth place behind Roundwood), he went back to hurdles in the middle of March and won a two mile handicap at Down Royal, beating Windfall Taxby six lengths. Bobbyjo then gained by far the best win of his and his trainer's career when winning last year's Martell Grand National by ten lengths after taking it up at the last, and in doing so became the toast of Ireland. Since his glorious win at Aintree, he was a well beaten sixth in last season's Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown, before returning this season to run in three handicap hurdles. In the first two of these both at Fairyhouse he was placed ninth and fourth, and on his latest outing at Leopardstown on March 19 he ran, fifth reportedly pleasing connections.

Race Record: Starts: 41; 1st: 8; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 2; Win & Place prize money: 345,878

Bobby Burke
Bobby Burke, one of nine children with four of his own, who hails from Mountbellew in County Galway, has extensive pub interests - mainly in the North London area. He moved from Ireland to London as a 17-year-old and opened a pub in Stoke Newington. Ten coachloads from the pubs were at Aintree to cheer on Bobbyjo to victory in last year's Martell Grand National . Tommy Carberry's first winner for Burke was with Thawhorn, who won six, including the Aurelius Hurdle at Ascot ridden by Frank Berry. Burke purchased Bobbyjo as a young horse in a Galway drinking establishment, naming him after himself and his wife, Jo, who is the mother of Sean, 12, Ailish, 17, Sinead, 22, and Declan, 27, who was the only member of the family not present for Bobbyjo's moment of glory, since he lives on the other side of the world in Australia. Burke also has D Judge in training with Carberry. The six-year-old Strong Gale mare has yet to win, but has been placed on a couple of occasions, most recently when coming third on her latest outing at Thurles on March 9. D Judge is named after Burke's sister, Maura, who is a judge in Alabama, USA. Burke also owned Furlana Wonder who ran in the 1987 County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival meeting. Patrick Haslam and Martin Pipe have also handled his horses. Burke had his first home-bred winner in 1998.

Grand National Record (Since 1980): 1999 BOBBYJO (1st)

Tommy Carberry
Born September 16, 1941, Tommy Carberry, whose riding career began on the Flat when he was champion apprentice in Ireland, is one of the very few men to have ridden the winners of both the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Martell Grand National, which he did on L'Escargot, winning the Cheltenham trophy twice, in 1970 and the following year, and then frustrating Red Rum's bid for a Grand National hat-trick at Aintree four years after the second Cheltenham success. L'Escargot was trained by Dan Moore, for whom Carberry, in many eyes the best and most stylish jockey of his era in Ireland, rode a whole host of big winners over the years, including the Tripleprint Gold Cup and the Cathcart Chase on Flying Wild, a division of the Gloucester Hurdle at Cheltenham (also on L'Escargot), the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Inkslinger and when Arthur Moore succeeded his father, he and Carberry won the Arkle Chase with The Brockshee. Carberry also won that race on Anaglog's Daughter for Bill Durkan and he later had a very successful association with Jim Dreaper, with their winners together including the success of Our Greenwood in the John Hughes Trophy at Aintree. Dreaper and Carberry also succeeded with Ten Up in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase, and in two Irish Grand Nationals with Brown Lad, who also won the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham. He began training, at Ballybin in Co. Meath, in the early 80s, with his first two runners in the Martell Grand National failing to complete the course, though Rust Never Sleeps got as far as the 27th fence six years ago. Bobbyjo made it third time lucky in the Martell Grand National last season for the Irish handler, having taken the Jameson Irish Grand National in 1998, and is without doubt the most successful horse Carberry has trained. His son Paul, who rode Bobbyjo to glory at Aintree, has built a reputation as a rider of great talent with many successes in England and Ireland, and another son, Philip, is also making his mark in the saddle.

Grand National Record: 1985 Royal Appointment (UR 19th); 1994 Rust Never Sleeps (Fell 4 out) ; 1999 BOBBYJO (1st).

Paul Carberry
Born February 9,1974, the son of Tommy, who won the 1975 Grand National on L'Escargot, Paul Carberry has inherited a wealth of riding talent in his blood. At only 26, he is already established as one of the most stylish jockeys riding today - a talent nurtured through hunting, show jumping and point-to-pointing in Ireland. He ended a three-year retainer with owner Robert Ogden in May, 1998, and is now based in Ireland, where he rides principally for Noel Meade. In 1997, he lifted the John Hughes Memorial Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree with Joe White - a ride that gave him immense pleasure - and it has long been his ambition to win the Martell Grand National. In 1997 he put up a good effort to finish fourth on the Ogden-owned 40/1 shot Buckboard Bounce before scoring last year on Bobbyjo.

Grand National Record: 1994 Rust Never Sleeps (Fell 27th); 1996 Three Brownies (6th); 1997 Buckboard Bounce (4th); 1998 Decyborg (Pulled up before 27th); 1999 BOBBYJO (1st).

b g Oats - Drom Lady (by Royalty)
12-10-07 Form: 33315P11U/12P345-1P3P
Owner: Independent Twine Manufacturing Company Ltd Trainer: Nicky Richards
Jockey: Brian Harding Breeder: F J Haggas

Feels Like Gold

Did not have his first race under Rules until he was six when he won a Wetherby National Hunt Flat race for trainer Martin Pipe in February, 1994, and then finished unplaced in the Festival bumper at Cheltenham the following month. He opened his hurdling account in a novice event over two miles and six furlongs at Newton Abbot in the March of 1995. In the 1995/96 season he was second three times and, having missed the 1996/97 campaign, began the following term with trainer Gordon Richards. Three thirds over fences were followed by his first chasing victory, beating True Scot by half a length in a three-mile novice chase at Ayr in January, 1998, and another win (in a handicap) at Ayr and a second novice success at Kelso followed before the end of the season. Last season, with Nicky Richards having taken over at Greystoke following the death of his father, Feels Like Gold won first time out when beating All The Aces at Kelso in the November and again ran well when third to Hollybank Buck in the Tote Eider Chase at Newcastle in the February. A poor Kelso run was followed by his fifth in the 1999 Martell Grand National, which was an amazing performance considering that he was over two stone out of the handicap. This season he won first time out at Aintree on November 21, capturing the Tote Becher Chase over the National fences, before pulling up at Chepstow in the Coral Welsh Grand National over Christmas. On his next run he was beaten by 34 lengths at Haydock on January 8 by Bobby Grant, and his last outing on February 26 at Haydock brought about the second pulling up of this current campaign. Clearly an Aintree horse.

Race Record: Starts: 34; 1st: 7; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 5; Win & place prize money: 80,234

Independent Twine Manufacturing Company Ltd
Best known as the owner of Strands Of Gold, who won the 1988 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, and was in the lead when falling at Becher's second time round in the 1988 Grand National. The company, based at Gresford in Wales, has used the services of a number of different trainers - Martin Pipe trained Strands Of Gold for his Aintree attempt, and the horse had previously been with Jimmy FitzGerald at Malton. Feels Like Gold is trained by Nicky Richards, having previously been with Pipe.

Grand National Record: 1988 Strands Of Gold (Fell 22nd); 1999 Feels Like Gold (5th)

Nicky Richards
Nicky Richards was thrust into pole position at Greystoke when his father Gordon, trainer of two Martell Grand National winners in Lucius(1978) and Hallo Dandy(1984), died in the autumn of 1998 after an illustrious career. Apart from his two big Aintree triumphs, Gordon Richards will also be remembered particularly for the successes of One Man in Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Pertemps King George VI Chase, of Titus Oates in the King George VI and the Whitbread Gold Cup and of Playlord in the Scottish Grand National. Though the Cheltenham Festival was not always his happiest stamping ground, Gordon Richards won the Cathcart Chase with Lord Greystoke, the National Hunt Handicap Chase with Current Gold and the Supreme Novices' Hurdle with Tartan Tailor, and he won many other major events through the jumping calendar. Born February 25, 1956, Nicky Richards was an accomplished and successful amateur rider in his younger days and assistant to his father for many of the yard's big-race successes, so he was no stranger to the role when it was thrown upon him. He won with his first runner when Better Times Ahead was successful at Carlisle in October, 1998, and is now regularly among the winners. His first runner in the Martell Grand National, Feels Like Gold, ran a fine fifth in 1999.

Grand National Record: 1999 Feels Like Gold (5th)

Brian Harding
Born September 26, 1972, the son of a dairy farmer and point-to-point trainer in Co Cork, Brian Harding rode in pony races from a young age but originally set out to be a Flat jockey, attached to Kevin Prendergast's stable in Ireland. After becoming too heavy to pursue a career on the level, he joined Gordon Richards' stable at Greystoke in Cumbria in 1992. He struck up a great rapport with McGregor The Third, winning three times over the Sporting Index cross-country course at Cheltenham, where his greatest moment also came when standing in for Tony Dobbin to win the 1998 Queen Mother Champion Chase on One Man at the Cheltenham Festival. He won the Mumm Mildmay Novices' Chase in 1996 on Addington Boy, who is also due to run in this year's Martell Grand National. He sustained serious head injuries in a fall at Newcastle in December, 1996, which saw him out of action for almost a year. In May, 1998, he became stable jockey to Micky Hammond's Middleham yard and had a great first Martell Grand National ride last year on Feels Like Gold.

Grand National Record: 1999 Feels Like Gold (5th)


b g Afzal - Jolly Lass (Jolly Me)
11 10-00 (9-06 long handicap) Form: 4/1111/22F2358P-211
Owner: John Manners Trainer: John Manners
Jockey: - Breeder: John Manners


Owned, trained and bred by John Manners, Cavalero already knows his way to the winner's enclosure at Aintree having landed the Martell Fox Hunters' Chase over the Grand National fences in 1998. The Afzal gelding was a shock 33/1 winner on that occasion, beating the well-fancied Elegant Lord by 1¾ lengths. The victory was one of four hunter chase successes in 1998 for Cavalero - his others coming at Taunton in March and at Towcester and Cheltenham the following month. He also triumphed in three point-to-points during the same campaign.

Last season proved less fruitful for Cavalero, who failed to score in eight starts, although he was in the frame on four of those runs. He fell behind Earth Summit in the Tote Becher Chase at Aintree on November 21, 1998. At Uttoxeter in the Midlands Grand National on March 20, Cavalero finished eighth to Young Kenny and, prior to that, he ran well for a long way when fifth to Young Kenny in the Greenalls Grand National Trial on February 27, 1999. His season ended with a run in the 1999 Martell Grand National, which did not go to plan when jockey Sean Curran's saddle slipped and he was pulled up soon afterwards.

Cavalero has had three runs this season. After a second at Haydock in a competitive hunter's chase on February 12, he was then successful at Warwick in a similar event in early March. On his most recent racecourse bow in the Christie's Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Cavalero produced a remarkable run to win, being still only seventh approaching the final fence, but he stayed on so determinedly up the hill that he got up in the last few strides. He stays extremely well.

Race record: Starts: 26; 1st: 7; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 1; Win & place prize money: 57,892

John Manners (Owner and trainer)
Born on April 25, 1926, Herbert John Manners is a farmer and permit trainer based on a 400-acre site near Swindon in Wiltshire. Renowned for a somewhat eccentric sense of humour and nicknamed ‘Mad' Manners, as well as Cavalero, he bred notable hunter chasers Meet The Casbah and Gipsy Love, whose point-to-point victories went well into double figures, and keeps several broodmares at his home at Common Farm in Highworth. Besides hunting, he lists as his hobby "endeavouring to breed top-class chasers".

Manners has also enjoyed Martell Fox Hunters' success with Killeshin whom he bought out of Karl Burke's yard in early 1994, sending him hunter chasing until he was reverted to Rules for the 1994/95 season after he won at Aintree in 1994. Killeshin subsequently completed the course in two Martell Grand Nationals.
Cavalero ran in the 1999 Martell Grand National, but his saddle slipped and he had to be pulled up. Cavalero had been successful in the previous year's Martell Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree. This season he gave Manners a taste of Cheltenham Festival glory , when the chaser dramatically won the Christie's Foxhunter Chase with a late flourish. Manners stayed at home, letting his wife Audrey supervise the horse and celebrations.

Grand National Record: 1997 Killeshin (7th); 1998 Killeshin (6th); 1999 Cavalero (Pulled up before 15th).


ch g Callernish-Rosemount Rose (Ashmore (FR))
10-10-00 Form: 2/UF11U/F1FP4/PR841B122-142
Owner: Fred Sainsbury Trainer: Ted Haynes
Jockey: - Breeder: Mrs Nancy Doyle


Choisty ran the 1998 Martell Grand National but got only as far as Becher's Brook, where he fell. He showed his dislike for this particular fence again in the 1999 Martell Grand National, when he blundered badly and unseated jockey Robert Widger.

The Callernish gelding won two novice chases in the 1996/97 campaign when carrying the colours of Alan Swinbank. Choisty was then bought privately by Fred Sainsbury who placed the chaser with Ted Haynes. Choisty registered a sole success in the 1997/8 season at Warwick when landing the 3m 5f Crudwell Cup Handicap Chase by 1½ lengths from Miss Diskin.

Last season, Choisty pulled up at Folkestone on his first run on December 15, refused in the Coral Welsh National, and put up a much improved performance over three miles at Chepstow on March 24 when beating Knight's Crest by ten lengths in the William Hill Handicap Chase. After his run in the Martell Grand National, he scored again, this time staying on well at Hereford on May 1. On his final two appearances of the season at Stratford and Hereford, he was a gallant second.

This year's Martell Grand National was not on the 10-year-old's agenda after his runs in the previous two years, but his victory on his seasonal bow in the Tote Scoop6 Warwick National on January 15 produced a re-think. He was raised 12lb for his easy win at Warwick and was then fourth at Chepstow on February 9. He finished second on his latest outing at Warwick on March 4, when Golden Drum reversed the Warwick National placings.

Race record: Starts: 27; 1st: 6; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 1; Win & place prize money: 49,184

Fred Sainsbury
Fred Sainsbury, who is retired, has had various horses in training, the majority of whom were with Mikey Heaton-Ellis, who died from motor neurone disease in August, 1999, aged 41. Ted Haynes currently trains for Sainsbury, and other trainers the owner has been associated with include Merrita Jones, Peter Bowen, Ann Swinbank, and Nicky Henderson. Shooting is his main hobby away from racing.

Grand National record: 1999 Choisty (Brought Down 22nd)

Ted Haynes
Ted Haynes, who started as a permit in 1963, is based at Reddown Farm, Highworth near Swindon. Born on February 9, 1935, Haynes rode as an amateur and his business interests include farming and breeding thoroughbreds. He took out a full National Hunt licence in November, 1997, and added Flat training in June, 1998. He enjoyed his first Flat winner with Frederick James at Nottingham on March 29, 1999 - the horse giving Frankie Dettori the second leg of a double. Choisty gave him his biggest National Hunt success in the Warwick National.

Grand National record: 1998 Choisty (Fell 6th); 1999 Choisty (Brought Down 22nd)

Robert Widger
Would be very much maintaining family tradition if he were to win the National as some of his ancestors, including his great uncles, owned (John Widger), trained (Mike Widger, although licence held by James Gatland) and rode (Joe Widger) the 1895 winner Wild Man From Borneo. The family hails from Co Waterford and Robert had considerable success in the show jumping world before turning to racing. He worked for about five months for trainer Shane Donohoe in Co Cavan, having about ten rides but no winners. Born May 22, 1979, he came to England in May, 1996 when he started riding as an amateur for the Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs, and had his first winner when Miners Rest was successful at Newton Abbot in August of that year. He rode about half a dozen winners in that capacity before turning professional and becoming a conditional jockey in July, 1998. Things have gone very well for him and whilst last season he rode an impressive 29 winners, he has already overhauled that mark this campaign and is on 30 winners as of March 24.

Grand National Record: 1999 Choisty (Brought Down 22nd)


b g Lafontaine - Merry Madness (by Raise You Ten)
12-10-00 (long handicap 9-09) Form: 451158338P/2662924P60-P666
Owner: Karl Casey Trainer: John Queally IRE
Jockey: Garrett Cotter Breeder: J McMahon

Merry People

He has stood up well to a busy career and this is set to be his 71st race. The Lafontaine gelding has won 14 of them, the first five over hurdles and the rest over fences, on ground ranging from heavy to firm, though he has never been successful outside the time of year from May to October.

By far the best of his successes was his most recent, when he took the Denny Gold Medal Handicap Chase, worth IR 12,900, at Tralee in August, 1997. He has not, however, won a race since then. Last season after being beaten 26 lengths when sixth in a handicap chase at Tramore on March 11, he then ran a blinder in the Martell Grand National where he would have arguably come second to give an Irish one-two, but instead fell two out, and was remounted by Garrett Cotter to finish 16th.

He was pulled up on his comeback this season at Kilbeggan, before finishing sixth on three occasions, most recently at Leopardstown on March 19 where he was one place behind last year's Martell Grand National hero, Bobbyjo in a 2m 4f handicap hurdle.

Race Record: Starts: 70; 1st: 14; 2nd: 11; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize money: 71,123

Karl Casey
This native of Waterford will be having a runner in the Martell Grand National for the second year running with Merry People. This is not Casey's only horse - he has syndicate shares in several others.

Grand National record: 1999 Merry People (16th)

John Queally IRE
Born July 23, 1953, Queally was a leading amateur rider before hanging up his boots and starting out as a trainer about seven years ago. Though he was never champion amateur, he was three times runner-up in Ireland. The best win of his career came when he rode Glyde Court to land the Kim Muir Chase at the 1986 Cheltenham Festival for trainer Fred Winter. Queally is based at Dungarvan in Co Waterford and Merry People is among the most successful horses he has trained.

Although Merry People was the first Martell Grand National runner Queally has saddled, the trainer rode in the race on three occasions, falling at the 18th on Door Step in 1984, refusing at the 19th on Our Cloud the following year and was brought down at the sixth on Lucisis in 1988.

Grand National Training Record: 1999 Merry People (16th)

Garrett Cotter
Born November 22, 1976, 23-year-old Cotter is a native of Co Cork, although he now lives near the Curragh in Co Kildare. He was leading conditional jockey in 1996/97 and rode 27 winners in the 1998/99 season.

Grand National Record: 1999 Merry People (16th)

ch g Mister Lord - Clare's Crystal (by Miami Springs)
9-10-05 Form: 11/111/FU0P-511536
Owner: Roger Penny Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: - Breeder: Brian McSweeney

Earthmover won five point-to-points and two hunters' chases at Chepstow and Stratford in 1997 when trained by Richard Barber. Earthmover's 1997/1998 season saw more of the same when he chalked up another three successes in hunters' chases, the third of which was in the Christie's Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he won unchallenged by 18 lengths.

Last season saw the progression from hunter chasing to racing under rules and Paul Nicholls over responsibility for Earthmover. The season did not start off well, with Earthmover sustaining near fatal injuries on his seasonal bow when falling at Newton Abbot on November 4. This ruined the rest of the season, although he did make it to the Cheltenham Festival for the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase where he was pulled up.

This season he won two novices' hurdles at Cheltenham and Chepstow, before running well to finish fifth in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury behind Mark Pitman's Ever Blessed on November 27. He was then far from disgraced when finishing third to Edmond in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow over Christmas, before proving disappointing on his latest outing in the Singer & Friedlander National Trial at Uttoxeter on February 5, when beaten over 65 lengths by Young Kenny.
Race Record: Starts: 15; 1st: 7; 2nd: 0; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize money: 50,687

Roger Penny
Roger Penny owns a major demolition business based in Somerset which he founded some 40 years ago. He now runs it jointly with his son Christopher. He lives near Bath and has other horses with Nicholls and Richard Barber.

Paul Nicholls
The son of a policeman, born in Alveston, Bristol, on April 17, 1962, Paul Nicholls has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. A former leading National Hunt jockey, he twice rode the winner of the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, in 1986 and 1987, but failed in two attempts to complete the Martell Grand National course. He rode 130 winners between 1980 and 1989, and nominates his best rides as Broadheath, Playschool and Seagram. Between 1989 and 1991, he acted as assistant trainer to David Barons, during which time Seagram won the 1991 Martell Grand National.

He now is one of the leading jump trainers. He made an outstanding start to last season, boasting a near one-in-three strike rate, and pulled off the amazing feat of saddling seven winners and three seconds from his ten runners on Saturday, November 7, 1998.

The highlight of his training career to date came at the 1999 Cheltenham Festival when he won the major chase on each of the three days - Flagship Uberalles scored in the Arkle Chase on the Tuesday, Call Equiname won the Queen Mother Champion Chase the following day and, best of all, See More Business took the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Just So, who finished sixth behind Party Politics in 1992, turned in the best performance of the ten Nicholls-trained runners to have so far attempted the Aintree showpiece.
Grand National Record: 1992 Just So (6th); 1996 Vicompt De Valmont (10th), Deep Bramble (PU bef 2 out), Brackenfield (UR 19th); 1997 Straight Talk (Fell 14th); 1998 What A Hand (Fell 1st), Court Melody (Fell 6th), General Crack (PU 11th); 1999 Strong Chairman (15th), Double Thriller (Fell 1st).

b g Roi Danzig - Honorine (by Blushing Groom)
7-10-11 Form: 210320/111123122-1336
Owner: Capt E J Edwards-Heathcote Trainer: Philip Hobbs
Jockey: - Breeder: Gerry Canavan

Village King

Trained by Richard Hannon on the Flat, Village King got his nose in front for the first time over hurdles on his fourth outing at Ludlow on January 6 1998. He was not able to win again that season, although he was placed on a couple of occasions. Last season Village King was a revelation when he switched his attention to the bigger obstacles, winning his first four outings on the bounce, which included three novices' chases and a novices' handicap chase at Cheltenham. His other five outings saw him placed on four occasions, with one other success achieved at Exeter on March 23 when he landed the Buzzard Handicap Chase. Village King's seasonal bow was delayed by some minor setbacks, but that did not stop him from winning easily at Cheltenham over the New Year. He was then placed third twice at Doncaster and Wincanton, before finishing sixth behind Marlborough on his latest appearance in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 14.

Race Record: Starts: 21; 1st: 7; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize money: 55,225

Captain E J (Bill) Edwards-Heathcote
Date of Birth: September 12, 1917. Captain Edwards-Heathcote, known as Bill, hails from Timberscombe in Somerset, which is close to Minehead where his trainer, Philip Hobbs, is based. He enjoyed a distinguished career in the military with the 15th/19th Hussars. Captain Edwards-Heathcote held a permit to train and saddled Prince Stephen to win the Liverpool Handicap Hurdle at Aintree on March 24, 1956, in his own colours. The prize money for the race was 685. He owned the great Bula, the dual Champion Hurdle winner in 1971 and 1972, trained by Fred Winter and ridden by Paul Kelleway. Besides Village King, Captain Edwards-Heathcote currently has one other horse in training, Pebble Moon, also stabled with Philip Hobbs. Pebble Moon has won two hurdle races this year, at Plumpton and Fontwell. Captain Edwards-Heathcote's other great interest is farming.

Philip Hobbs
Born July 26, 1955 and now firmly established among the top National Hunt trainers, Philip Hobbs first took out a training licence with only nine horses. His first runner, North Yard at Exeter in August, 1985, was a winner and there has been no looking back. He is based at Sandhill near Minehead. He tasted big-race success as early as 1986/87 when Bonanza Boy was one of the season's top novice hurdlers. Putting behind him the disappointment of losing that horse to Martin Pipe, he has gone on to take other important prizes with horses such as Joint Sovereignty (1989 Mackeson Gold Cup), Moody Man (1990 Imperial Cup and County Hurdle), Dreams End (1994 Swinton Hurdle) and Dr Leunt (1999 Racing Post Chase). His success is even more apparent in numerical terms, 1994/95 was his best year so far with 86 winners, but he has already beaten that number this season reaching the magical 100 winners mark for the first time when Fly-Away Gunner won at Exeter on March 21. Twice victorious as a trainer in the Midlands Grand National, Hobbs made four appearances in the Martell Grand National as a professional jockey in the 1980s. One of the best horses he rode was West Tip, but he didn't get the leg up on him in the National and those four rides resulted in his falling twice, one ninth place and an 11th. That last performance came in 1986 on Northern Bay in the final weeks of Hobbs's 160-win career as a jockey, his much more successful training career having already started.
Grand National training record: 1990 Gallic Prince (13th), Joint Sovereignty (Fell 19th); 1995 Gold Cap (13th); 1998 Samlee (3rd), Greenhill Tare Away (UR 27th); 1999 Samlee (10th), Bells Life (Pulled Up Before 26th), Mudahim (Unseated 6th).

b g Iveday - Abeille Royale (by Turn To Mars)
9-10-01 Form: 2F2/34P/11201P1-24P11
Owner: Terry Neill Trainer: Martin Pipe
Jockey: - Breeder: Gilles Chaignon

Dark Stranger

Dark Stranger gained his first win in a novices' hurdle at Haydock on February 22, 1996, when trained by Charlie Brooks. Despite being consistent, he was unable to gain another victory until last season, though he missed over a season because of injury. The second victory came in a novices' handicap chase at Ludlow in early January, 1999, when making his seasonal debut and having his first run for new trainer Martin Pipe. He followed up this victory in a similar event at Lingfield before finishing unplaced in the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase behind stable companion Majadou at the Cheltenham Festival. He got his nose in front on two other occasions last term, at Ascot and Sandown, on April 7 and April 24 respectively. This season Dark Stranger put in a good first run when finishing second behind Nordance Prince at Ascot on November 20. After a couple of unplaced runs, he was successful at Leicester on February 2. He then competed in the Mildmay Of Flete at Cheltenham for the second year running, this time winning the competitive event, in a pair of blinkers which had been suggested by Tony McCoy after he had won on the nine-year-old on his previous outing. Sadly for McCoy, he chose to ride Upgrade at Cheltenham, leaving Richard Johnson with the victory.

Race Record: Starts: 20; 1st: 7; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize money: 88,273

Terry Neill
Terry Neill lives in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. He owned a packaging company which he sold in 1995, and now conducts business as a venture capitalist. He has five horses with Martin Pipe, and the low point of this season for Neill was the death of his best horse, Gloria Victis, who had to be put down after running a tremendously brave race in this year's Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup at Cheltenham's Festival meeting. Neill gained his biggest win as an owner with his first-ever runner at the Cheltenham Festival, when Dark Stranger landed the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase in March. Gloria Victis had previously given Neill another major win in the Racing Post Handicap Chase at Kempton on February 26 when, despite being a novice carrying top weight, he defeated experienced handicappers in impressive fashion. Both Dark Stranger is a French-bred and Neill usually attends the French sales in June.

Martin Pipe
Born May 29, 1945, Britain's nine-time champion jump trainer began his working life as assistant to his bookmaker father, David. From humble training origins as a permit holder, Pipe has built a phenomenally successful operation at Nicholashayne in Somerset, pioneering techniques such as interval training and a scientific approach to his horses' well-being. He re-wrote the record book for the numbers of winners trained in a season, growing from single-figure successes after being granted a licence in 1977 to an incredible 230 in the 1990/91 season. This season he has already broken his own record for the fastest 100 winners. Won the Martell Grand National with Miinnehoma in 1994 and also trained the brilliant yet flawed Carvill's Hill, who won the Coral Welsh National in 1991. Has had a typically prosperous season, culminating in another good display at the Cheltenham Festival where he saddled Dark Stranger, to land a third victory for the Somerset-handler in the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase (joining Terao (1997) and Majadou (1999)), taking his tally at the meeting to 25. Pipe is married to Carol with one son, David, now his father's assistant.
Grand National Record: 1981 Three Of Diamonds (Fell 24th), 1982 Three Of Diamonds (7th), 1986 Ballinacurra Lad (Fell 5 out), 1988 Strands Of Gold (Fell 22nd), 1989 The Thirsty Farmer (11th) Bonanza Boy (8th), 1990 Bonanza Boy (16th) Star's Delight (PU 13th) Torside (PU 6th) Huntworth (UR 15th), 1991 Bonanza Boy (5th) Huntworth (PU 24th), 1992 Huntworth (PU 17th) Omerta (PU 7th) Bonanza Boy (Refused 19th), 1994 MIINNEHOMA (WON) Roc de Prince (6th) Run For Free (BD 17th) Paco's Boy (PU 17th) Riverside Boy (Refused 18th), 1995 Riverside Boy (8th) Chatam (Fell 12th) Errant Knight (UR 1st) Miinnehoma (PU 21st), 1996 Riverside Boy (12th) Encore Un Peu (2nd) Chatam (PU 5th), 1997 Evangelica (17th), Mugoni Beach (PU 21st) 1998 Challenger Du Luc (Fell 1st), Diwali Dancer (Fell 1st), Damas (Ref 11th), Pond House (PU bef 15th), Decyborg (PU bef 27th); 1999 St Mellion Fairway (9th), Eudipe (Fell 22nd), Tamarindo (Fell 6th), Cyborgo (Pulled Up bef 19th).

Sean Curran
Born April 7, 1971, in Ireland, Curran has twice completed the Martell Grand National on Killeshin finishing seventh in 1997 and sixth in 1998. In last year's renewal he pulled up Cavalero before the 15th fence. He rides mainly for Seamus Mullins' yard at Amesbury, near Salisbury.

Left Ireland about seven years ago to ride in Britain, and rode his first winner, Rowhedge, at Worcester on August 30, 1990. The 1995/6 season was his best to date when riding 17 winners.

His late father, Matt, was also a jockey and twice won the Irish National, in 1967 on Vulpine and in 1972 on Dim Wit, both of whom were trained by Paddy Mullins.

Grand National Record: 1997 Killeshin (7th); 1998 Killeshin (6th); 1999 Cavalero (Pulled up before 15th).


Starting Wednesday, April 5, 2000, Ripon begins it's 14 day, year 2000 programme, with a seven race card commencing 2.15 pm.

The "Garden Racecourse" will stage two Sunday fixtures on June 11 and July 30.

Ripon's only Listed race of the campaign will be the £20,000 Ripon Champion Two-Year-Old Trophy on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28. The most valuable race of the season continues to be the £37,500 William Hill Great St. Wilfrid Handicap on Saturday, August 19.


As the finale to Ascot's National Hunt card of the season, they will be staging an eighth race, the Racing Welfare Charities' Millenium Appeal Charity Sweepstake, to be contested by 12 over a 1 ½ miles on the flat.

The horses must have raced under rules or in point-to-points at some stage in their career and will be ridden by an interesting variety of riders, amongst whom are Charlie Brooks, Johnny Weatherby (Chairman of Weatherbys and Ascot Trustee), John Maxse (Jockey Club Public Relations Officer), Rachel Hart (point-to-point rider), Wiliam Derby (Ascot Racecourse's Accounts Department), and Tarnya and Lucy Sherwood (wives of Lambourn trainers Simon and Oliver).

Each rider is to find a suitable horse to ride, which must be at least 4 years of age and is likely to produce some interesting runners. Should the bookamkers be brave enough to price, it should make an interesting betting market.


Sponsored by the Tote, the 1999 Neil Wyatt Groundstaff Awards took place on March 27, 2000, to recognise the efforts of groundstaff at Flat, Dual Purpose and National Hunt tracks.

The Award includes £1,000 to be spent on machinery and another £500 to shared amongst the groundstaff team.

The Flat winners were Chester, the Dual Purpose were Newcastle, and Exeter took the National Hunt prize. An acknowledgement was also made to groundstaff at Newmarket who managed to stage in excess of thirty days racing on the July Course during last season.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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