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Saturday, April 9, 2005


RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL MEETING
AINTREE, SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2005



CROWD

Today’s attendance was 70,850, just up from the 70,739 seen last year and follows record crowds on the first two days.

The attendance of 53,860 yesterday was a record for the Friday of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting, and represents an increase of 3,360 on the corresponding day in 2004.


Thursday’s crowd of 26,950 was an Aintree Thursday record - last year’s attendance was 26,200.


Charles Barnett, Aintree’s managing director, said: “This has been a tremendous start for John Smith’s sponsorship of the Grand National.

“Each day has seen an increase in attendance and we are absolutely delighted that they have been rewarded in this way.”


THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL PROVISIONAL FINISHING ORDER

1. HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) 7/1
2. ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) 40/1
3. SIMPLY GIFTED 66/1
4. IT TAKES TIME (IRE) 18/1
5. FOREST GUNNER
6. NIL DESPERANDUM (IRE)
7. INNOX (FR)
8. HEROS COLLONGES (FR)
9. JUST IN DEBT (IRE)
10. AMBERLEIGH HOUSE (IRE)
11. BINDAREE (IRE)
12. IZNOGOUD (FR)
13. POLAR RED
14. JOLY BEY (FR)
15. L'AVENTURE (FR)
16. MONTY'S PASS (IRE)
17. STRONG RESOLVE (IRE)
18. SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (IRE)
19. ARCTIC COPPER (IRE)
20. EUROPA
21.SHAMAWAN (IRE)

Distances, 14, hd, 4, 9, 0.5, 11, 3.5, 2.5, 5, 1.5, 1, 1.25, 9, 15, 5, 6, 16, 17, 21, 19

BETFAIR ODDS FOR THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

Hedgehunter 8.73

Clan Royal 11.02

Forest Gunner 13.23

Strong Resolve 13.34

Innox 18.3

Take The Stand 19.6

Joly Bey 21.11

Nil Desperandum 22.73

Colnel Rayburn 22.99

It Takes Time 24.01


CONFIRMED FIFTH RACE RESULT

4.10pm THE 2005 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL
Class A, Grade Three , £700,000 Guaranteed, 4m 4f. For 6yo+, which are allotted a rating of 110 or more. Minimum weight: 10st. Penalty Values: 1st: £406,000; 2nd: £154,000; 3rd: £77,000; 4th: £35,000; 5th: £17,500; 6th: £10,500

1) HEDGEHUNTER (Trevor Hemmings) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-01 Ruby Walsh 7/1 Fav
2) ROYAL AUCLAIR (Clive Smith) Paul Nicholls t8-11-10 Christian Williams 40/1
3) SIMPLY GIFTED (Steve Hammond) Jonjo O'Neill 10-10-06 Brian Harding 66/1
4) IT TAKES TIME (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 11-10-11 Timmy Murphy 18/1
5) FOREST GUNNER (John Gilsenan) Richard Ford 11-10-07 Carrie Ford
6) NIL DESPERANDUM (Mike Shone) Franes Crowley IRE 8-10-11 Jim Culloty
7) INNOX (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR b9-10-06 Robert Thornton
8) HEROS COLLONGES (John Hales) Paul Nicholls 10-10-11 J P McNamara
9) JUST IN DEBT (Bill Hazledean) Martin Todhunter 9-10-07 Tony Dobbin
10) AMBERLEIGH HOUSE (Halewood International Ltd) Ginger McCain 13-11-03 Graham Lee
11) BINDAREE (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11-11-03 Carl Llewellyn
12) IZNOGOUD (Country Stores & Avalon Surfcing) Martin Pipe 9-10-09 Tom Scudamore
13) POLAR RED (Lady Clarke) Martin Pipe 8-10-08 Tom Malone
14) JOLY BEY (David Dunsdon) Nick Gifford t8-10-10 Mr David Dunsdon
15) L'AVENTURE (Chris Harriman) Paul Nicholls tb6-10-05 Robbie McNally
16) MONTY'S PASS (Dee Racing Syndicate) Jimmy Mangan IRE 12-11-06 Barry Geraghty
17) STRONG RESOLVE (Fair City Flyers) Lucinda Russell 9-10-06 Peter Buchanan
18) SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (J P McManus) Enda Bolger IRE 12-10-07 Robbie Power
19) ARCTIC COPPER (Grand Alliance Racing Club) Noel Meade IRE p11-10-06 Davy Russell
20) EUROPA (Trevor Hemmings) Ferdy Murphy 9-10-06 Jason Maguire
21) SHAMAWAN (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 10-10-06 Shay Barry
F1) LORD ATTERBURY (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 9-10-06 Mark Bradburne
UR 1) FRENCHMAN'S CREEK (Rory Sweet & Panda Christie) Hughie Morrison 11-10-09 Jimmy McCarthy
UR 2) RISK ACCESSOR (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE t10-11-04 Alan Crowe
UR2) BALLYCASSIDY (Roddy Owen & Paul Fullager) Peter Bowen 10-11-05 Seamus Durack
UR 9 NATIVE EMPEROR (Jonathan, Jeremy & S R Hitchins) Jonjo O'Neill t9-10-05 Dominic Elsworth
F10) MERCHANTS FRIEND (Magic Moments) Charlie Mann p10-10-06 Noel Fehily
UR 15) TAKE THE STAND (The Courters) Peter Bowen 9-11-05 Leighton Aspell
F20) FOLY PLEASANT (Nick Shutts) Karen Marks t11-11-00 Andrew Thornton
UR 21) DOUBLE HONOUR (The 4th Middleham Partnership) Philip Hobbs b7-10-08 Paddy Brennan
F22) AD HOC (Sir Robert Ogden) Paul Nicholls 11-10-12 Joe Tizzard
UR 22) MARCUS DU BERLAIS (Marcus Beresford) Arthur Moore IRE 8-10-05 Barry Cash
REF 22) BALLYBOUGH RASHER (B D R Partnership) Howard Johnson 10-11-04 Alan Dempsey
REF 22) CLAN ROYAL (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 10-10-11 Tony McCoy
PU BEF 27) COLNEL RAYBURN (Thatch (Ferns) Racing Syndicate) Paul Nolan IRE 9-10-07 Paul Carberry
PU BEF 19) JAKARI (The Earl Cadogan) Henry Daly 8-10-10 Richard Johnson
PU BEF 28) FONDMORT (Bill Brown) Nicky Henderson 9-11-06 Mick Fitzgerald
PU BEF13) ASTONVILLE (Fergus Wilson) Michael Scudamore 11-10-13 Brian Crowley
PU BEF 21) LE COUDRAY (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE t11-11-12 Conor O'Dwyer
PU BEF 28) GLENELLY GALE (Frank Bradley) Arthur Moore IRE 11-10-11 Mr Tom Greenall
40 ran Non-Runner: Turnium (Vet’s Certificate) - replaced by first reserve Native Emperor
Time 9 20.80s, no reported injuries to any horses or riders,

Breeder: J A Keogh Breeding: b g Montelimar (USA) - Aderedw
Tote Win: £8 Places: £2.60, £13.10, £13.40, £4.70 Exacta: £612.70
Dist: Distances, 14, hd, 4, 9, 0.5, 11, 3.5, 2.5, 5, 1.5, 1, 1.25, 9, 15, 5, 6, 16, 17, 21, 19

WINNING TRAINER & JOCKEY PROFILES FOR THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

Winning Jockey: Ruby Walsh Born: May 14, 1979 Cheltenham Festival Wins (8): Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1998 Alexander Banquet, 2005 Missed That), Mildmay Of Flete (2002 Blowing Wind), Irish Independent Arkle (2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2004 Azertyuiop), Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene), Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother) Aintree Festival wins:John Smith’s GRAND NATIONAL (2000 Papillon, 2005 Hedgehunter);JOHN SMITH’S MELLING CHASE (2001 Fadalko); JOHN SMITH’S ANNIVESARY 4-Y-O NOVICES’ HURDLE (2003 Le Duc), JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH HANDICAP HURDLE (2003 Risky Reef); MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE (2003 Le Roi Miguel); AINTREE HURDLE (2003 Sacundai), Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Garde Champetre), John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Asian Maze) Other Big Race Wins: HEINEKEN GOLD CUP (1999 Imperial Call), INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother), GREATWOOD HURDLE (2003 Rigmarole), RACING POST CHASE (2004 Marlborough) Number of Wins in Britain (1998/99-2003/04): 1; 1; 5; 13; 77; 62 Other Details: Son of Ted Walsh, former leading Irish amateur rider who is now a trainer and broadcaster in Ireland. Rides regularly for Paul Nicholls.


Winning Trainer: Willie Mullins Date of Birth: 15/9/56 Date of first licence: 1988 Cheltenham Festival wins: (9) Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1995 Tourist Attraction), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (1998 Florida Pearl, 2004 Rule Supreme), Weatherbys Champion Bumper (1996 Wither Or Which, 1997 Florida Pearl, 1998 Alexander Banquet, 2000 Joe Cullen, 2005 Missed That), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2002 Scolardy) Other Major Wins Include: Irish Hennessy Gold Cup (1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 Florida Pearl, 2002 Alexander Banquet, 2005 Rule Supreme), French Champion Hurdle (2004 Rule Supreme), Pierse Hurdle (2002 Adamant Approach), King George VI Chase (2001 Florida Pearl); Aintree wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2005 Hedgehunter), Betfair Bowl (2002 Florida Pearl) Number of Winners in Britain in 2001/2-2003/04: 4; 1; 1 Horses in Training (2003-05): 81; 96; 90


HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) FACTFILE
9 b g Montelimar (USA) - Aberedw (IRE) (Caerwent)

9-10-12 Form: 2222/242621/223102/431F-024061 Owner: Trevor Hemmings
Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Breeder: J A Keogh Jockey: Ruby Walsh

Hedgehunter
Few horses can match the consistency of Hedgehunter, who has finished in the first four on 20 of his 26 starts. His career began in February, 2001, in bumpers with four seconds. He started the 2001/2002 campaign over hurdles, adding another ‘2' to his form figures when going down by five lengths to Goss in a maiden event at Punchestown in November, 2001. He mixed hurdling with another couple of bumper runs and it was on his 10th start that he registered a first success when coming home 20 lengths clear on heavy ground in a Clonmel maiden hurdle in February, 2002. He was sent chasing in the 2002/03 season and his form has progressed to a new level over the larger obstacles. Two seconds and a third in novice and beginners’ chases were followed by an 11-length win in the Grand National Trial Handicap at Punchestown on February 2, 2003, and he then travelled to Cheltenham for the four-mile National Hunt Chase where he was going exceptionally well before a mistake two out almost brought him down. That season was rounded off by finishing three-and-a-half lengths second to stablemate Rule Supreme in the Colm McEvoy Auctioneers Handicap Chase at Punchestown. Last season began with a second visit to Britain when finishing a good fourth to Strong Flow in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury and continued with third place, 23 lengths behind Bindaree, in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27 before an eight-length win in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park on January 22. He then headed for the John Smith’s Grand National and ran a game from the front, looking assured of at least a place when falling at the last. This season his first five races came over hurdles, with his best effort being a second at Thurles in December. Last time out he returned to fences and put himself firmly in the picture for another crack at the John Smith’s Grand National when landing the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase at Leopardstown on February 19, proving a length and a half too strong for Pizarro. Race Record: Starts: 26; Wins: 4; 2nd: 11; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: Ù108,558

Trevor Hemmings
Trevor Hemmings boasts a classic rags to riches story. Hailing from Lancashire, he began life as a bricklayer’s apprentice and rapidly worked his way up the Pontins holiday business to the extent that he was able to sell it on to Scottish & Newcastle in exchange for a significant share holding in S & N. He is no longer an S & N director, although he still has a substantial stake. He is also a major shareholder in Arena Leisure Plc, which owns Folkestone, Lingfield, Southwell, Wolverhampton and Windsor racecourses and manages Doncaster and Worcester. Arena is also a major shareholder in the At The Races company that owns some of British racing’s media rights. Hemmings’ many other interests include Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, where he is behind plans to develop the ‘Las Vegas of the North.’ His empire also includes hotels, a wallpaper business and in June, 2000, another company in which he has a major share, Rodime Plc, paid Ù161 million for the Littlewoods pools business, which includes the bookmaker Bet Direct. He was said to be worth Ù730 million in the 2005 Sunday Times Rich List. In recent years he has stepped up his involvement in racing and a big ambition for the locally-born Hemmings is to emulate his mentor Fred Pontin, owner of the 1971 National hero Specify. His first winner came on the Flat in 1985 but Hemmings now brings on young stock at Gleadhill House Stud, managed by former trainer Mick Meagher, at his base at Chorley in Lancashire, and at his Monymusk Stud in Co Cork. Sadly one of Hemmings’ best horses, Young Kenny, whom he purchased in the summer of 2000, sustained an injury and had to be put down when competing in the 2001 De Vere Gold Cup at Haydock and he purchased leading hope Beau for an undisclosed sum a few days before the 2002 race - only to see the horse unseat Carl Llewellyn at the 14th fence. His horses are split between Sue Smith, Nicky Henderson, Henrietta Knight, Nicky Richards, Henry Daly, Willie Mullins, Jonjo O’Neill, Peter Beaumont, Ferdy Murphy, Chris Grant and with Eric Alston on the Flat while he has predominantly younger stock with Eugene O’Sullivan in Ireland. Hemmings resides in the Channel Islands and is said to have paid Ù12 million for the Ballavodan estate on the Isle Of Man. Grand National Record (since 1980): 1992 Rubika (14th); 2000 The Last Fling (7th); Esprit De Cotte (Fell 22nd); 2001 The Last Fling (UR 5th), Esprit De Cotte (UR 11th); 2002 Goguenard (Fell 1st), Beau (UR 14th); 2003 Southern Star (14th), Chives (PU bef 12th); 2004 Artic Jack (Fell 1st), Southern Star (PU bef 9th), Hedgehunter (Fell 30th)

Willie Mullins IRE
Born September 15, 1956, Willie Mullins was six-times amateur champion rider in Ireland and his major successes in the saddle included the 1983 John Smith’s Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath. He hails from one of Ireland's most famous racing families, the son of Paddy Mullins, the now retired outstanding all-round trainer, whose most famous star will always be Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup two years later. Willie Mullins rode and trained Wither Or Which to win the 1996 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the Cheltenham Festival race in which he has saddled five winners (also Florida Pearl 1997, Alexander Banquet 1998, Joe Cullen 2000 and Missed That this year). His best horse to date has been Florida Pearl, who has been placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the 1998 Royal & SunAlliance Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cups as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 Betfair Bowl at Aintree. Mullins, who began training in 1988, has around 100 horses at his Closutton yard at Bagenalstown in Co Carlow and his first John Smith’s Grand National runner as a trainer, Micko's Dream, fell at the first in 2000 although as a jockey his rides included The Ladys Master, who ran out in 1983, and Hazy Dawn, who fell at the sixth the following year. The loquacious Mullins, a former chairman of the Irish Trainers' Federation, enjoyed success at the 2002 Cheltenham Festival with Scolardy in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Unfortunately later in the year Mullins’ second contestant in the John Smith’s Grand National, Alexander Banquet, unseated Barry Geraghty at the sixth obstacle, although the trainer did gain compensation with Florida Pearl’s victory in that year’s Betfair Bowl. He also suffered heartache in 2004 when Hedgehunter departed at the final fence in the John Smith’s Grand National when looking assured of a place. Mullins saddled Rule Supreme to win the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival and sent out the same horse to win the Irish Hennessy in 2005. John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2000 Micko's Dream (Fell 1st); 2002 Alexander Banquet (UR 6th), 2004 Alexander Banquet (Fell 18th); Hedgehunter (Fell 30th)

Ruby Walsh
Born May 14, 1979, and based in Co. Kildare, Ireland, he is the son of 11-times Irish amateur champion jockey, Ted Walsh, who is now an established trainer and television pundit. Ruby is the second of Walsh’s four children, and is associated with the powerful stables of Willie Mullins in Ireland and Paul Nicholls in Britain, having spent time with Noel Meade and Aidan O’Brien. Walsh coasted home as the champion Irish National Hunt jockey in 1998/99 in his first season as a professional rider, winning 96 races in the process, and regained the title in 2000/2001 with 85 successes. He had previously followed in his father’s footsteps, finishing champion amateur jockey at the age of 19 despite still studying for his Leaving Certificate. He was injured in a fall in October, 1999, in the Czech Republic, fracturing a leg which kept him out for five months until March, 2000, and less than a month later won the John Smith’s Grand National on his first ride in the race on Papillon, trained by his father. Later in the same month Walsh picked up a Grand National double when partnering Commanche Court to victory in the Irish equivalent. He finished fourth on Papillon after remounting in the 2001 John Smith’s Grand National and was again fourth last year on Kingsmark. Walsh, who is based in Ireland but flies over to partner most of Nicholls’s runners, was leading rider at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, where his successes were headed by Azertyuiop in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. This season he has ridden 100 winners in Ireland for the first time as well as winning the Welsh Grand National on Silver Birch, Thisthatandtother in the Daily Telegraph Chase, the Game Spirit Chase on Azertyuiop and the Peterborough Chase on Le Roi Miguel. Grand National Record: 2000 PAPILLON (1st); 2001 Papillon (4th); 2002 Kingsmark (4th); 2003 Shotgun Willy (PU bef 22nd).



INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE FIVE
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL


Ruby Walsh “Becher’s frightened the life out of me. I had said to myself that I would not make a move until the elbow, and when I said ‘come on’ to him away he went.


“I was not as calm as I may have looked and I certainly had not planned to be left in front so soon as I was at Becher’s second time.

“He hit the fence after Valentine’s pretty hard but apart from that he was super and jumped really well.


“There was no pressure for him being favourite, he didn’t know what price he was.


“I didn’t know about the snotty nose. I don’t interfere with the training; all I want to do is to ride them

Willie Mullins “This is fantastic. I never dreamed this could happen. You hope all year that you can get them there fit and well but we had a scare last week when there was a bit of snot in his nose. I decided to say nothing to anybody and we did not do any work with him all last week. We came here hoping and praying he would be fine and he got better. When he has worked here for the last two days he has been fine.


“I can’t believe this is happening. Clan Royal was so unlucky.


“He is our first runner from five to get round. Hedgehunter got a bit tired last year and we learned a lot from David
Casey, who rode him then. It is utterly fantastic. I would like to thank Trevor and all his team, Ruby and David for all his input, and most of all thank my father for teaching me to train.


Trevor Hemmings (to Sue Barker) “you are an omen. We sat next to each other at the weights lunch and we talked about Hedgehunter. The feeling is incredible, an amazing achievement by the trainer and the jockey. As you can see I am a very happy man. All credit to the entire team, all of my team wherever they are. It is fantastic for all of them and this is the result we wanted.

MORE GRAND NATIONAL QUOTES

Paddy Mullins: “it is very seldom that happens. Hedgehunter was more like an even money chance than a 7-1 shot. Bar a fall I thought he could not be beaten. He had done everything last year and bar a fall this time he was a certainty.

“This is a very sweet win and Willie and Jacquie take all the credit”

Paul Nicholls (of Royal Auclair): “that was a real thrill and Christian (Williams) gave him a great ride. It is nice to have a finisher. Faster ground would have helped and he is young enough to come back again next year.”

Jonjo O’Neill (of Simply Gifted): “we had been very sweet on Simply Gifted all along and very pleased with the way his preparation had been going. He had two nice races coming into this and ran well in them.


(Of Clan Royal): “fall off, didn’t he ? It is just unfortunate but that is the National. It could be worse and we are all here to fight another day.”

Martin Pipe (of It Takes Time): “I am delighted. It Takes Time jumped well and it was a great performance which gave us all a great thrill.”


RACE FIVE JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL
MORE WIN QUOTES

HEDGEHUNTER PREVAILS

Hedgehunter put in a brilliant round of jumping to win the John Smith's Grand National for trainer Willie Mullins, owner Trevor Hemmings and jockey Ruby Walsh.


Hemmings said: "I don't have to buy one now!" referring to the fact that he had bought horses in an attempt to win this race previously.


"I only came for the money!" he continued. "I am absolutely elated and the intensity that you feel as they go around these fences is incredible - he lost a stirrup iron [at the 21st obstacle] second time around and it is all part of the story of the
big race here.


"What happened to Clan Royal is sad at the end of the day and you think to yourself, is it going to be my day or not and it was. I didn't really say that the race was mine until they went past the line although I was confident 20 yards from the line.


"Lancashire was my home for my youth and it is their and my success.


"It's been 24 years that I've been waiting to get to this position. I was beginning to think that it would never happen.”

Mullins remarked: "I thought that he had too much weight and last Saturday morning his nose was not clear. I thought oh my God' and backed off for three or four days to let him get over it. I knew that he had had enough work as he is a clear-winded horse.


"I have given him a blow yesterday and this morning when I had intended doing nothing. I never do work them usually at this stage and you could say that he was trained to the minute.

"It was a late shock and I wondered if I had enough time to get over it in five days. I hated working him so near to the race and the last serious piece of work is normally a week before.

"I felt really bad about it and I thought that we might have to withdraw on Thursday or Friday. His form picked up but it is still a worry at the back of your mind. My heart does go out to Jonjo [trainer of Clan Royal].


"Hedgehunter was travelling so well the second time around and I thought if he keeps going I would have every chance.


"At the last bend he was going as well as anything - the whole plan had been to settle behind one or two and we changed our tactics.

"But it all worked out and he seems stronger and he is very easy to train.

"I thought if we get to the third or fourth last we would have every chance. I couldn't believe how well he was going to the second last and I thought to myself, crikey only two fences to go.


"I was holding my breath over the last hoping that nothing would arrive out of the clouds.


"David Casey has advised us for a long time and I am sorry that he couldn't be here today. His input has been invaluable.


"After he won I grabbed my missus and started snogging her on the stand! It was some thrill and I've been watching this race since I was five or six. Every kid wants to win it.


"This is the last year in this stand and I think that I will buy the winner's enclosure off them and ship it to Ireland! We'll have a few Guinnesses tonight.


"Hopefully all being well, he'll run in the National again next year."

Walsh said: "I was in front when I didn't particularly want to be and I thought to myself this is the National and you can't see scenarios ahead of time - he jumped absolutely brilliantly.


"At the elbow I gave him a slap and he flew up the straight. It's all about the horse and he's a very, very good horse. To carry over 11st is a magical performance and it's absolutely brilliant. I feel sorry for Tony [McCoy] but it's an amazing feeling.


RACE FIVE JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL
EVEN MORE WIN QUOTES

Trevor Hemmings, the winning owner, said: “Beau was going very well until he unseated Carl Llewellyn between fences and I thought ‘will I ever win it?’

"I was talking to Ginger and John Halewood last year and Jimmy Mangan the year before and I had begun to talk to myself in the mirror in the hope that I was talking to this year's winner!

"We'll be going to Ferrington Lodge tonight and show all of the races and see all that. There are usually around 50 people but it will probably be 100 this year.


"Willie doesn't really keep me up to date with injuries and scares and such like - I just get to know when they are going to run. I have a lot of different trainers and they are all different. I match the horses to the quality of the trainer!

"I thought that this might be my year after I won two races at Cheltenham. By the way, when do I get the cheque?

"I have 48 horses in training."


JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL OWNER QUOTES

Trevor Hemmings, the one-time bricklayers’ apprentice who is now a member of the Sunday Times Rich List, being reputedly worth £730m, revelled in his first John Smith’s Grand National success with Hedgehunter - at the 13th attempt.


Hemmings said: “It has been a long wait, but this race means so much to me and it is a dream come true.


“JP McManus, John Hales and David Johnson all told me after I broke my Cheltenham duck last month that this could be my year, and they were right.


“I am still involved with Scottish & Newcastle and encouraged one of the directors to get John Smith’s to sponsor, so to have my first win in their inaugural year is extra special. Now I want to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.”

Hemmings has suffered some desperate luck in the National; The Last Fling died in the race in 2001, Young Kenny was one of the ante-post favourites when he received a fatal injury at Haydock in his prep race, Beau, whom Trevor had only just bought, unshipped Carl Llewellyn in 2002, and last year Hedgehunter capsized at the final fence when still in contention.


“That was the one that hurt,” said Hemmings, adding “But losing a horse is even worse. I was privately upset when The Last Fling died and shut myself away for an hour, but I take the view that if these horses were not racing what else would they do and it is that thought that keeps me going. You just have to get on with life the best you can.”

Hemmings admitted to “having won a few bob”. He added: “I am not a big punter, but I did have a little on at 40-1 - with Bet Direct, of course !” (Rodime plc, in whom he has a major share, bought Littlewoods Pools for £161m, a business which included Bet Direct).


JOCKEY QUOTES

Christian Williams, Royal Auclair
“It was a great first Grand National ride,.”

Fondmort, Mick FitzGerald
“He gave me the best ride I have had around here, he just did not stay.”

Leighton Aspell, Take The Stand.

“He was giving me a good ride, then we got to the chair and we were in two minds and got it wrong, I was very happy until then.”

Seamus Durack, Ballycassidy
“He was going to put in a short one, but slipped into it and we landed on the top of the fence.”

Ruby Walsh, Hedgehunter.

“He was absolutely brilliant.”

Mr Thomas Greenall, Glenelly Gale
“It was a great thrill, but he just did not last home and we pulled up.”

Mr David Dunsdon, Joly Bey
“He gave me a great ride, he was just brilliant, we were there three out but he just did not get home.”

Jimmy McCarthy, Frenchman’s Creek
“He slipped at the back of the fence and came down, I was a bit worried wether I would get out alive as there were 30 horses coming behind us!”

Tom Scudamore, Iznogoud
“That was brilliant, he gave me a great ride, but his stamina just ran out.”

Brian Harding, Simply Gifted: “He jumped like a buck and gave me the most brilliant ride. It was a terrific buzz.”

Barry Geraghty, Monty’s Pass, said: “He flattened out a bit on the second circuit, he may have been feeling something on his muscles behind.”

Tony McCoy, Clan Royal: “He was alaways jumping well and travelling well but when we were going to Becher’s fr the second time I could see the loose horses in front of me.


“They seemed to be going one way and then the other but basically to the right, so I went to the left to try to avoid them and then they turned left and cut right across me. How would you feel?
It’s the Grand National, the biggest race in the world.”

Tom Malone, Polar Red
“For a first ride in a National it was fantastic, the thrill of my life and this horse has done so much for me, and has given me so much confidence.”

Richard Johnson, Jakari
“He gave me a good ride, he nearly knuckled over at the first and probably just frightened himself a bit and the ground was quite tacky for him – it was quite dead out there. We’ll try again next year.”

J P McNamara, Heros Collonges
“He gave his all and gave me a great ride, he is so intelligent for a big horse.”

Timmy Murphy, It Takes Time
“He gave me the best National ride I have had. Turning in I thought we might win, it had been a great Aintree experience and it was just a pity we did not win.”

Tony McCoy, Clan Royal
“I could not believe it, he was travelling so well.”




FIFTH RACE PLACED QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

AUCLAIR WILL RETURN

Royal Auclair put in a superb weight-carrying performance under 11st 10lb to finish 14-lengths second to Hedgehunter in the John Smith’s Grand National and his owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls are already thinking of Aintree in 12 months’ time.


It was a dream first National ride for Christian Williams and Smith said: “Christian rode the horse in the Gold Cup so well and I thought he deserved to keep the ride, I’m delighted for him.


“We were a few lengths behind and perhaps if the ground had been a bit faster we might have been closer but I’m thrilled with that.


“This had always been the plan if he came out of the Gold Cup OK and I can’t wait to come back next year. He has had quite a hard race today but if he is well enough afterwards then he’ll go for the Betfred Gold Cup at Sandown in a fortnight’s time.”

Nicholls added: “It’s nice to get one in the frame at last and he did really well with a big weight. There’s no reason why he won’t come back here next year as he’s a young horse but he’ll always have weight to carry.”

Simply Gifted ran a blinder to finish third, providing some compensation for trainer Jonjo O’Neill after Clan Royal unseated Tony McCoy when colliding with a loose horse.


“That’s the National for you and it could have been worse,” reflected O’Neill, referring to Clan Royal. “But we were very sweet all along about Simply Gifted, he’d had a nice preparation with a couple of good prep runs behind him.”

Martin Pipe, trainer of fourth-placed It Takes Time, said: “It was a great thrill for us, Timmy gave the horse a great ride and I’m delighted.”


CARRIE FORD - THRILL OF A LIFETIME

Carrie Ford, who finished fifth on Forest Gunner in the John Smith’s Grand National, told the BBC’s Clare Balding: “I loved it - the thrill of a lifetime.

“Generally he was brilliant - he has run here twice before. But he was never able to fiddle away - a couple of times he had to reach for a fence or two and was very long at the ditch after Valentines.


“He was little bit long at the Chair as well - he just scraped over the Chair. He was right up there - to be honest he was on vapours from the Melling Road - it was all down to his huge courage that he kept up with them and was still in contention at the last.


“But he was up and down on the spot from the last - he didn’t quite get home.”

Richard Ford said: “I am absolutely chuffed - everything went right. There was always a little bit of a doubt whether he would just quite get home and he hasn’t.

“Ginger (McCain) came up to me and said ‘I thought I was going to get a cold bum there!’”

Carrie Ford’s fifth position equalled the best-ever position achieved by a woman jockey in the Grand National - Rosemary Henderson on Fiddlers Pike in 1994 was also fifth.




THE HIGHS AND LOWS FROM BETFAIR’S GRAND NATIONAL ANTE-POST MARKET

Runner Highest Price Lowest Price

Hedgehunter 38 9.8
Clan Royal 34 3
Forest Gunner 110 12
Strong Resolve 150 13
Amberleigh House 34 13
Colnel Rayburn 250 17
Joly Bey 48 15.5
Innox 360 19
Take The Stand 240 15
It Takes Time 350 23
Nil Desperandum 470 28
Spot Thedifference 140 25
Double Honour 190 29
Marcus Du Berlais 500 40
Lord Atterbury 40 19.5
Just In Debt 70 26
Bindaree 120 32
Ad Hoc 100 34
Royal Auclair 95 20
Montys Pass 70 23
Jakari 500 38
Le Coudray 990 38
L’Aventure 290 40
Fontmont 1000 38
Frenchman’s Creek 140 19
Heros Collonges 500 24
Merchants Friend 630 55
Foly Pleasant 1000 50
Risk Accessor 650 75
Ballybough Rasher 1000 70
Glenelly Gale 720 80
Iznogoud 550 70
Polar Red 1000 170
Shamawan 1000 170
Europa 980 100
Simply Gifted 1000 80
Artic Cooper 1000 150
Native Emperor 540 46
Ballycassidy 600 60
Astonville 1000 500



BOOKMAKER REACTION TO THE NATIONAL

The success of Hedgehunter in the John Smith’s Grand National has been a bad result for the bookmakers.

Damian Walker, spokesman for totesport, said: “it is a losing race for us but not the worst when the favourite has obliged. We have had Hedgehunter on our side since the weights came out and were joint shortest this morning.


“The places weren’t that good either as we bet to five places and all the housewives have collected on Forest Gunner. It Takes Time was a loser and we laid a £4,000 each way on Simply Gifted at 66-1 just before the off.


“On the bright side a Clan Royal win would have been far worse and the loose horse has saved us from a right royal stuffing. The Royal wedding might not have been white but a win for Grand National virgins Tony McCoy and Jonjo O’Neill would have really knocked us out.”

For the 2006 John Smith’s Grand National totesport bet 20 Hedgehunter, 25 Clan Royal, 33 Royal Auclair, It Takes Time, Simply Gifted.


Ladbrokes report a record industry turnover and their Balthazar Fabricius said: “the race was the winner today. We saw record business and estimate that over £250million was taken on the race across the industry. Hedgehunter has been well supported since his brave run in the race last year.”

They quote Hedgehunter at 12-1 for a repeat next year.


William Hill call the outcome “a sparkling result for punters. Hedgehunter has been popular for months with ante post backers and was at 33-1 after falling last year, again from 25-1 at the weights in February and he was a horse that many people latched on to as having been laid out since last year, hence he was sent off the well backed 7-1 favourite.”

Their PR director David Hood said: “we saw frenetic business throughout the morning and the shops report that they were as busy as they have ever been. We laid busloads of the match bet between Forest Gunner and Amberleigh House and plenty of the 5-1 for the winner to be owned by JP McManus.


Hills quote Hedgehunter at 16-1 and Forest Gunner at 25-1 for 2006.


INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE ONE
JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH HANDICAP HURDLE

“He did it very well and was always travelling well,” said Paul Carberry, who was back in action today after having missed all yesterday and the second half of Thursday after having aggravated an old injury, following his success on Definate Spectacle.


“I did not want to get there too soon, but he was going so well that I really got to the front sooner than I wanted to, but he has run on very well.


“The ground is on the soft side, but the rain has not got into the ground too much and it is not too bad. I think the ground will suit (my John Smith’s Grand National ride) Colnel Rayburn and he could run a good race.”

The winner’s trainer Noel Meade declared that he had been ‘pretty confident’ before the race that Definate Spectacle would win.


“Paul was very unlucky to be unseated from him at Fairyhouse last time -- that was something of a collector’s item -- as the reins slipped out of his hands and he came off the back.


“He is quite a useful horse who does not like extremes of ground, neither too firm nor too soft -- he wants something in the middle.


“Things just haven’t gone his way this season, but the Swinton Hurdle is the obvious one to think about for him, though it is hard to know what the handicapper will do with him.”

FIRST RACE WINNING QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH HANDICAP HURDLE

SPECTACLE STARTS DAY ON A HIGH FOR MEADE AND CARBERRY

Trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry began John Smith’s Grand National day on the right note when Definate Spectacle won the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle.


“He lost Paul when running at Fairyhouse last time, it was a bit of a collectors’ item as he went out the back door,” said Meade. “He was with Kevin Prendergast on the Flat and was useful, he was rated 102.


“He’s come down a bit in the weights as he’d been running on heavy ground - this suited him perfectly today as he doesn’t need it too fast or too soft.


“I’m not sure if there is a race for him at Punchestown but he will probably come back over to Haydock for the Swinton Hurdle.”

Carberry added: “He was always going very well and two out I decided to send him on. He likes to get his toe in a small bit so it suited him perfectly.”

Race One: John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle
Placed Quotes:

50-1 SHOT DOES BETFAIR PROUD

Say What You See belied his odds of 50/1 (76.73 with Betfair) when chasing home Definate Spectacle in the John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle, earning his Betfair syndicate a tidy £9,220.


Josh Apiafi, Director of Field Marketing, was a conditional jockey for Say What You See’s trainer, Martin Pipe, and it was his idea to form a syndicate of owners, with two shares being given away to Betfair customers as competition prizes.


Pipe, thrilled with See What You See, said: “He is a good fun horse and he jumped well and stayed on all the way up the straight.


“I was also pleased with Copeland, who finished fourth. He has done us proud over the years, and that was a good run with 11st 10lb.”

Sadly, Pipe’s 9-4 favourite Medison, so impressive when winning the Imperial Cup at Sandown, trailed in 13th, and Pipe added: “He slipped on landing over the third last and that was that.”

RACE ONE JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH HANDICAP HURDLE

GROUND

After the first race, the following jockeys reported the ground as:

Alan O’Keeffe, rider of Wiscalitus, said: “On the slow side now.”

Mick Fitzgerald, rider of Grande Jete, said: “Good, good to soft.”

Nina Carberry, rider of Victram, said: “A bit of cut in it.”

Leighton Aspell, rider of King Eider, said: “Good.”

Tom Scudamore, rider of Lunar Crystal, said: “On the soft side, good to soft.”

Tony Dobbin, rider of Say What You See, said: “Good ground and slow on the bends.”

Graham Lee, rider of Chivalry, said: “Good to soft.”

Tom Malone, rider of Copeland, said: “Good, with a bit of ease in it.”

Paddy Brennan, rider of Atahuelpa, said: “Good ground.”

Dr Philip Pritchard, rider of Damien’s Choice, said: “A lot easier than yesterday.”

Robert Thornton, rider of Handy Money, said: “Just on the slow side.”

Paul Carberry, rider of winner Definate Spectacle, said: “On the soft side.”


INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE TWO
JOHN SMITH’S MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE

Paddy Brennan, who rode Ashley Brook to his all the way success, said that the seven-year-old “is the best horse I have ridden, he is a Gold Cup horse.


“He is still green in front and needs plenty of use made of him, and I wasn’t particularly fussed when Dempsey took him on halfway through the race.

“The person I really have to thank for this is Rodi Greene (who used to ride the winner but is now retired). But for him I wouldn’t be riding this horse and when I am having a good drink tonight it will be all down to him.”.


Ashley Brook’s trainer Kevin Bishop shares the jockey’s enthusiasm about the winner. “He is the first horse I have had who is good enough to run in a Grade 1 race.


“He cost us no money, just over £3,000 after he had gone to Doncaster sales and not got a bid. Brian Higham, who is a keen hunting man, found him for us.


“He was a right handful when we first had him and it took us 12 months to break him. He used to plunge for a mile up the gallops and he was like a runaway express -- the only way to deal with him was to let him go.


“He is a moderate horse unless they go very quickly and I think he was unlucky in the Arkle and he could have won if he had not stumbled at the last and then been interfered with. The interference was accidental, but it cost us a length and a half and we were beaten a length.


“He has been suffering from sore shins and we have been swimming him three times a week and he seems to have thrived on him. He was feeling his shins early in the race, which is why in the end I decided against entering him for the Sun Alliance as though he will get a trip I did not think that this was the time to experiment.


“He will be out in a field tomorrow morning, weather permitting and he will tell us what he wants to do next season. The King George could be a possibility.”

Race Two: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase
Winner’s Quotes:

AWESOME ASHLEY BROOK

Kevin Bishop, who has a team of only 15 at Bridgwater in Somerset, celebrated his biggest triumph in 30 years as a trainer when Ashley Brook made up for his unlucky Arkle defeat at Cheltenham with a scintillating 16-length success in the John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase.


Making every yard, Ashley Brook, given a positive ride by leading conditional jockey Paddy Brennan, piled on the coal over the final four fences and was hugely impressive.


Bishop, who bought Ashley Brook for only 3,000gns, said: “That was simply unbelievable. If you saw this poor horse digging in his box with sore shins every morning you would never think he could put up that sort of display.


“He is true grit and nothing phases him, and if he belts a fence he’ll just shrug it off and keep going.


“He was a bit unlucky in the Arkle, being hampered at a crucial time and having to be switched. It cost him a length and a half and he was only beaten a length.


“Ashley Brook is a machine - riding him is not so much like sitting in a Ferrari but on a runaway express train, and it is the early pace that he shows in a race which kills off the opposition.


“It took us three races to win a bumper, but Paddy has found the key to the horse and he gave him another fantastic ride.


“Ashley Brook will be out in a field tomorrow morning, and next year we will have to look at all the big races.


“I had contemplated running him in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham rather than Arkle, and he races like a stayer, so who knows we might even have a crack at the King George VI Chase at Kempton and even the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.”

Bowen’s previous biggest Aintree success came with Tiepolino in the Topham Trophy “many moons ago”.


BISHOP THANKS OWNER

Kevin Bishop, still on a high after Ashley’s Brook’s runaway win in the John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase, was quick to praise his 86-year-old owner Elizabeth Ellis at the post-race celebrations.


Bishop said: “Mrs Ellis, who is the mother of former trainer Ian Dudgeon, has kept our yard going these past few years.


“She has turned down some mega offers for Ashley Brook since Cheltenham and we are eternally grateful - many others would have taken the cash.


“She has had more than 30 winners and has been with us for 10 years, with horses like Just Jasmine and Hill Trix winning for her before Ashley Brook came along.


“It has been a great team effort with Ashley Brook. He was not an easy horse to break, and Rodi Greene has done a lot of work on the schooling grounds, while Paddy Brennan has found the key on the racecourse.”


PUNCHESTOWN BECKONS

Mouse Morris, trainer of runner-up War Of Attrition, said: “This course was probably a little bit sharp for him, he jumped super, but a bit too big if anything for around here, but I would have to be happy with that.


“It looks as if he will improve, it was a question of either working him at home or coming here. He will hopefully go to Punchestown now, he will run in either the two and a half or three mile race.”


Mark Pitman, trainer of third-placed Dempsey, said: “That was a big, big run, it is the first time he has been left-handed, Timmy has always said that he would probably be better going right and we will be looking at some good races.


“He has taken on the best of the year, and has run with great credit. Punchestown would probably suit him better, he will be going right-handed and I am sure there is a good race in him.”



INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE THREE
JOHN SMITH’S NO NONSENSE HANDICAP HURDLE

Peter Bowen, trainer of the successful Genghis, said: “that was a good race and he got the trip well. He was a bit sketchy early on but he has done it well.


“He is a lovely horse and has now won his last three races, and I expect we will now go for the Swinton Hurdle (now the Stanleybet Hurdle at Haydock on May 7) with him, depending on what the handicapper does; there isn’t much else left for him unless we go novice chasing now.

“He came out of his last race well and I thought he had a great chance here.


“He is very, very keen but he has no respect for his hurdles and one day when Seamus Durack was schooling him I said that we should try him over a fence and he was brilliant.


“He has schooled really well over fences and I expect he will go over them next season.”

Third Race, winning quotes.

No Nonsense Handicap Hurdle.




GENGHIS MAY HEAD FOR HAYDOCK



Trainer Peter Bowen said of Genghis, who was completing a hat-trick, said: “He is a nice horse, but he needs a fence in front of him, when we schooled him over hurdles, he kicked everything out of the ground.


“But when Seamus (Durack) schooled him over a fence, he was brilliant. We were a bit worried when we bought him at Doncaster, Hughie Morrison does not let many go, but at 30,000gns he looks cheap now.


“Both he and Mr Ed will go chasing, both are nice horses, but Genghis could go for the Stanleybet Hurdle, formerly the Swinton Hurdle, (at Haydock on May 7) first, we will see what the handicapper does.


“Tony (McCoy) said he needs to come back to two miles, as he is too keen for two and a half miles.”

RACE THREE JOHN SMITH’S NO NONSENSE HANDICAP HURDLE
PLACED QUOTES

TAMARINBLEU SECOND

Top-weight Tamarinbleu came home six lengths adrift of Genghis, giving the winner 6lb (taking into account his rider’s claim).


Champion jump trainer Martin Pipe, who saddled the second, said: “I am delighted and that was a terrific run. We were giving the winner plenty of weight and the rain probably helped us.


“Andrew [Glassonbury, jockey] gave him a great ride and the winner was just too good and well-handicapped. I am looking forward to him going chasing next season.”

Eoin Griffin, trainer of third-placed Mirpour, a further three and a half lengths away, said: “I am very happy with that performance as the ground had gone on him - he wants genuine good ground.


“I was very happy with the ground yesterday but then the rain came. He has been off six months since he fractured a splintbone when winning on his last run at Tipperary in October. He’s been laid up for a while so all in all I am delighted.


“He’ll probably go chasing again now in a novice chase at Punchestown and his big summer target will be the Galway Plate.

“Graham [Lee, jockey] said he was tanking but then when they turned in the ground did him.


“That is my first runner at Aintree and only my second in England - I had one at Cheltenham. I have got 20 horses.”



INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE FOUR
SCOTTISH AND NEWCASTLE AINTREE HURDLE

Like all the other trainers in the race, John Queally was concerned when the nine runners set off at a funereal pace, but it all worked out in the end for his Al Eile.


“I was a bit worried when they went no pace to start with, but the extra half mile (from Cheltenham) was the trump card as far as he was concerned, and I thought he would be better suited by this track as he has won here before,” he said.


“He really appreciated this trip today, but I don’t know what we will do with him now. We will just enjoy today and then have a think about plans.


“I have lots of options for him, and he could well go back on the Flat, he won three times on the Flat for me last October.”

RACE FOUR SCOTTISH AND NEWCASTLE AINTREE HURDLE
WIN QUOTES

AL EILE STRIKES FOR QUEALLY

Al Eile showed just how much he enjoys running at Aintree by beating Inglis Drever by a neck - he won the 4-y-o novice' hurdle here last year.


Winning trainer John Queally said: "He deserves it - he was a bit unlucky in the totesport Gold Trophy at Newbury when the race didn't work out for him.


"He prefers a flat track like Leopardstown or Newbury but ran well at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle.


"I am just going to enjoy the day and all options are open - he may go back on the Flat where he improved 30lb for me since October.


"I wanted a bit of a quicker pace but they were going to have to quicken at some stage."

The horse was accompanied by a large group of Irishmen in the winner's enclosure, where a rousing chorus of an Irish ballad was performed for the benefit of other racegoers.


"Michael Ryan is the owner - the rest are his entourage from Dungarvan," laughed Queally.


"He likes passing horses and just likes to come with a wet sail. Timmy [Murphy, jockey] was brilliant and what can you say about the man?

"If the Champion Hurdle [for which he received a 33/1 quote from Cashmans for the 2006 running] was run here, I would fancy him."


FOURTH RACE PLACED QUOTES
SCOTTISH AND NEWCASTLE AINTREE HURDLE (GRADE 1)

THE DREVER CLINCHES BHB ORDER OF MERIT

Inglis Drever looks assured of winning the inaugural BHB Order Of Merit after finishing second to Al Eile in the Grade 1 Scottish and Newcastle Aintree Hurdle.


Howard Johnson’s charge now has 94 points - 21 clear of Crystal D’Ainay - in the £300,000 competition and owner Graham Wylie said: “It’s a fantastic achievement from Howard and the whole stable. It’s great that the Drever managed to win a big race at Cheltenham, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, and then fantastic for Howard after all the hard work that he’s put in to win that prize.”

Third-placed Exotic Dancer belied his 50/1 odds to finish third and trainer Jonjo O’Neill said: “He ran a great race and has done enough this season. He should strengthen up over the summer and make a really nice novice chaser next season.”

Barry Cash, who took a heavy fall from Brave Inca, escaped injury and is fit to ride Marcus Du Berlais in the John Smith’s Grand National.



INITIAL WINNING QUOTES RACE SIX
JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE

Ferdy Murphy, trainer of the winner said: “he is a nice horse with rock solid form all year. He’d been second to two very good horses and then got annihilated at Cheltenham last time and he’ll go to Punchestown.


“ Tom (Dreaper) has ridden him exceptionally well. He has been with me three or four moinths and I am very lucky to have such as good amateur.”


BETTING UPDATE

totesport report further support for Forest Gunner, who is now down to 9-1 from 11-1.


Nil Desperandum is in from 22-1 to 16-1 and there has been more interest in Marcus du Berlais, who has been cut from 33-1 to 20-1.


“Overall we have a very good book,” said their spokesman Damian Walker. “There are 37 winners in the list for us and the only three losers are Forest Gunner, Clan Royal and It Takes Time.”

Race Seven: John Smith’s Champion Open Bumper
Winner’s Quotes

CRAWFORD IS ONE COOL GUY

Irish-born Steve Crawford described his 50-1 victory on the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained The Cool Guy in the concluding John Smith’s Champion Open Bumper as his “biggest thrill in racing.”

Crawford, former assistant to Jamie Osborne, has only been with Twiston-Davies two months, but he won on The Cool Guy at Wincanton and he produced a polished performance here to get the longshot up in the dying strides.


“I won the Irish Cambridgeshire for Pat Flynn on Lady Ainsworth, but this is an even bigger buzz,” declared Crawford, who has ridden 15 winners altold.


He added: “I was with Jamie for three and a half years, the last year as assistant. But I then got sick and did not ride much, and when I recovered Jamie put me in for the job with Nigel.


“It is going great. I was worried that the ground might have gone too soft for The Cool Guy, but he did it well. He is a good horse - that’s for sure.”



McCARTHY FINED AND CULLOTY SUSPENDED

Amateur rider Robbie McCarthy was fined £140 by the stewards for being late into the parade ring before the John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase.


Jim Culloty was suspended for one day (April 20) after being found guilty of careless riding on Glasker Mill in the John Smith’s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. He was found to have caused interference to Coolawarra, the mount of Tony Dobbin.


EARLY BETTING NEWS

Punters have wasted no time in snapping up the early prices about their fancies in today’s John Smith’s Grand National and one who has very much caught the eye is Nil Desperandum, who is in from 20-1 to 18-1 with Paddy Power and from 22-1 to 16-1 with totesport.


Powers have also had money for Take The Stand, who is in from 20-1 to 18-1, for Jakari, whom they have cut from 40-1 to 33-1 and for Foly Pleasant, who has come in to 50-1 from 66-1.


totesport have had money for Marcus du Berlais, whose price has been cut from 33-1 to 20-1.


In contrast, there is no enthusiasm for last year’s winner Amberleigh House, who has been on the slide all the week and who has drifted out from 12-1 to 14-1 with Powers.


That firm is also betting on which horse will start favourite and make two of the JP McManus sextet the leaders in that field, quoting Clan Royal and Hedgehunter at 6-4 apiece. Forest Gunner is a 9-4 shot with 7-1 bar.


MORE BETTING NEWS

The money continues to pour in for a host of the runners in today’s John Smith’s Grand National, and Marcus du Berlais, one of the Irish challengers, is again taking the punters’ fancy.


He has been cut from 28-1 to 20-1 by Coral, who have also reduced Foly Pleasant’s long odds from 80-1 to 66-1.


Ladbrokes report interest in Innox, one of JP McManus’ six runners, and they have brought him in from 25-1 to 20-1.


Away from all the excitement of the National, totesport report sustained support for Medison in the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (1.45) and have cut his odds from 5-2 to 2-1.


Paddy Power have had money for two of Medison’s rivals and have brought in Victram from 15-2 to 6-1 and King Eider from 28-1 to 16-1.


Migwell has proved popular with Powers in the John Smith’s No Nonsense Handicap Hurdle (2.50) and has been cut from 12-1 to 8-1, and they have also slashed Fairwood Present from 40-1 to 14-1.


In the Scottish and Newcastle Aintree Hurdle (3.20) Powers have brought in Al Eile from 14-1 to 11-1, and in the closing John Smith’s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.30) they have had support for Norland (in to 9-4 from 11-4) and for Refinement, who has been cut by half a point to 5-2.



NINE RIDERS BID TO JOIN ELITE LIST

Nine jockeys in today’s John Smith’s Grand National are having their first ride in the world’s most famous steeplechase and bidding to enjoy a victory on their first mount in the race.


The nine are Christian Williams (Royal Auclair), Alan Crowe (Risk Accessor), Mr Tom Greenall (Glenelly Game), Mr David Dunsdon (Joly Bey), Tom Malone (Polar Red), Paddy Brennan (Double Honour), Carrie Ford (Forest Gunner), Spot Thedifference (Robbie Power) and Strong Resolve (Peter Buchanan)

The jockeys since the Second World War who have won the John Smith’s Grand National on their first ride are:

Ruby Walsh - 2000 Papillon
Jason Titley - 1995 Royal Athlete
Jimmy Frost - 1989 Little Polvier
Brendan Powell - 1988 Rhyme’n Reason
Mr Dick Saunders - 1982 Grittar
Maurice Barnes - 1979 Rubstic
John Buckingham - 1967 Foinavnon
Tim Norman - 1966 Anglo
Mr Tommy Smith - 1965 Jay Trump
Eddie Dempsey - 1947 Caughoo

GOING CHANGE AFTER THIRD RACE

The going was changed after the third race to:

Hurdles Course: GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES

Grand National Course: GOOD TO SOFT, GOOD IN PLACES

AINTREE DRYING UP

Following a dry night, the ground has dried up at Aintree, where the official going for John Smith’s Grand National Day is now

GOOD TO SOFT - GOOD in places

on the Grand National Course, while it is

GOOD

on the Mildmay Course and

GOOD - GOOD TO SOFT in places

on the Hurdle Course.

The forecast is for possible occasional light showers from 11am.



AINTREE DRYING UP FURTHER

The ground has dried up more at Aintree this morning and the official going for John Smith’s Grand National Day has been changed at 11.30am to:

GOOD - GOOD TO SOFT in places

on the Grand National Course, while it is

GOOD

on the Mildmay Course and

GOOD

on the Hurdle Course


PAUL CARBERRY PASSED FIT

Paul Carberry has been passed fit to ride by the doctor, Dr Ian Roberts.


He rides Colnel Rayburn in the John Smith’s Grand National.


Carberry was stood down on Thursday after aggravating an old injury.


DOMINIC ELSWORTH PASSED FIT

Dominic Elsworth has been passed fit to ride by the doctor, Dr Ian Roberts.


He rides Native Emperor in the John Smith’s Grand National.


Elsworth was stood down on Friday after falling four out on Rebel Rhythm in the John Smith’s NUSSL Sefton Novices’ Hurdle.




RACE FOUR SCOTTISH AND NEWCASTLE AINTREE HURDLE
WIN QUOTES

AL EILE STRIKES FOR QUEALLY

Al Eile showed just how much he enjoys running at Aintree by beating Inglis Drever by a neck - he won the 4-y-o novice’ hurdle here last year.


Winning trainer John Queally said: “He deserves it - he was a bit unlucky in the totesport Gold Trophy at Newbury when the race didn’t work out for him.


“He prefers a flat track like Leopardstown or Newbury but ran well at Cheltenham in the Champion Hurdle.


“I am just going to enjoy the day and all options are open - he may go back on the Flat where he improved 30lb for me since October.


“I wanted a bit of a quicker pace but they were going to have to quicken at some stage.”

The horse was accompanied by a large group of Irishmen in the winner’s enclosure, where a rousing chorus of an Irish ballad was performed for the benefit of other racegoers.


“Michael Ryan is the owner - the rest are his entourage from Dungarvan,” laughed Queally.


“He likes passing horses and just likes to come with a wet sail. Timmy [Murphy, jockey] was brilliant and what can you say about the man?

“If the Champion Hurdle [for which he received a 33/1 quote from Cashmans for the 2006 running] was run here, I would fancy him.”


FIRST RACE RESULT
1.45pm JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH
HANDICAP HURDLE

Class A, Listed Race, £50,000 Guaranteed, 2m 1/2f. For 4yo+. Minimum Weight: 10st. Penalties: after April 2, a winner of a hurdle 7lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £29,000; 2nd: £11,000; 3rd: £5,500; 4th: £2,500; 5th: £1,250; 6th: £750
SP/Betfair SP
1) DEFINATE SPECTACLE (Mrs P Sloan) Noel Meade IRE 5-10-01 Paul Carberry 11/1 11.74
2) SAY WHAT YOU SEE (Sharp Minds Betfair Syndicate) Martin Pipe 5-10-06 Tony Dobbin 50/1 76.73
3) CROSSBOW CREEK (Mrs M R T Rimell) Mark Rimell 7-11-03 Jim Crowley 16/1 21.8
4) COPELAND (Professor David & Heather Silk) Martin Pipe p10-11-05 Tom Malone (5) 100/1 201.56
5) HANDY MONEY (William Dixon) Alan King 8-10-13 Robert Thornton 11.55
6) BOLEYKNOWSBEST (Three Of Us Syndicate) R P Burns IRE 7-9-09 T G M Ryan (5) 44.42
7) ATAHUELPA (Let’s Live Racin) Alan King 5-10-07 Paddy Brennan 54.3
8) VICTRAM (Pinheads Pizza Syndicate) Adrian McGuinness IRE 5-9-09 Miss Nina Carberry (5) 6.63
9) STANCE (N J Jones) Gary Moore 6-11-02 Tony McCoy 14.93
10) LUNAR CRYSTAL (Teddington Racing Club) Martin Pipe 7-10-08 Tom Scudamore 54.33
11) FIREBALL MACNAMARA (J C Hitchins) Mark Pitman 9-10-00 Andrew Tinkler 684.86
12) GRANDE JETE (L Westwood, A Chandler, J J Hindley) Nicky Henderson 8-11-01 Mick Fitzgerald 11.42
13) MEDISON (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-03 Timmy Murphy 9/4 Fav 3.78
14) WISCALITUS (Direct Sales UK Ltd) Venetia Williams 6-10-00 Alan O'Keeffe 32.36
15) CHIVALRY (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson b6-11-12 Graham Lee 34.03
16) KING EIDER (Angela Rix & Partners) Brian Ellison 6-10-03 Leighton Aspell 24.58
17) GREEN TANGO (Mrs Strachan, Gabb, Lady Barlow & Harford) Henry Daly 6-10-10 Richard Johnson 17.66
18) DAMIEN'S CHOICE (Timber Pond Racing Club) Dr Philip Pritchard 13-9-09 Dr Philip Pritchard (5)1000

18 ran Non-Runner: Stan (Vet’s Certificate)
Breeder: Kilcarn Stud Breeding: b g Spectrum (IRE) - Silver Bubble (USA)
Tote Win: £16.10 Places: £4.20; £3.30; £3.50; £6.00 Exacta: £523.20
Dist: 8, .5, 3, .5, 4, 3, 1.25, 4, .75, .5, 7, 1, 1, 11, 7, .75, 5

Winning Trainer: Noel Meade Born: January 2, 1951 Based: Tu Va Castletown, Navan, County Meath, Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins: (1) Capel Cure Sharp Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Sausalito Bay) Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1972 Big Races Won: Group 3 Greenlands Stakes (1992 Street Rebel); Drinmore Novices’ Chase (1995 Johnny Setaside); Grade 3 Gain National Trial Chase (1996 Johnny Setaside); Ericsson Chase (1996 Johnny Setaside); Grade 2 Morgiana Hurdle (1996 and 1997 Cockney Lad); Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle (1997 Cockney Lad); AIG Europe Champion Hurdle (1997 Cockney Lad), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2005 Definate Spectacle)

Winning Jockey: Paul Alice Carberry Date of Birth: 09/02/1974 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (7) Bumper (1993 Rhythm Section), William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase (1998 Unguided Missile, 2002 Frenchmans Creek), Royal & Sunalliance Novices’ Chase (1999 Looks Like Trouble); Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Sausalito Bay), Pertemps Final (2005 Oulart), Grand Annual (2005 Fota Isalnd) Aintree Festival Wins Include: John Smith’s National (Bobbyjo 1999),Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Pleasure Shared 1996), John Smith’s Topham Chase (Joe White 1996) Maghull Novices’ Chase (1998 Direct Route), Betfair.com Handicap Chase (2004 Lord of the River), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2005 Definate Spectacle) Other Big Race Wins: Tote Gold Trophy (1996 Squire Silk), Ericsson Chase (1998 Dorans Pride), the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase (1998 Linden’s Lotto); Gerrard Wealth Management Novices’ Hurdle (2002 Mutakarrim) General: Son of former jockey Tommy Carberry who won the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup (1970 & 1971) and Grand Natiotional (1975) on L’Escargot. Ended three-year retainer with owner Robert Ogden in May, 1998, to go freelance. Now based in Ireland, riding mainly for Noel Meade.



SECOND RACE RESULT

2.15pm JOHN SMITH’S MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE
Class A, Grade One , £110,000 Guaranteed, 2m. For 5yo+. Weights: 5yo 11st 1lb; 6yo+ 11st 4lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £63,800; 2nd: £24,200; 3rd: £12,100; 4th: £5,500; 5th: £2,750; 6th: £1,650
SP/Betfair SP
1) ASHLEY BROOK (Eva Ellis) Kevin Bishop 7-11-04 Paddy Brennan 3/1 4.3
2) WAR OF ATTRITION (Gigginstown House Stud) Mouse Morris IRE 6-11-04 Conor O'Dwyer 11/4 Fav 3.79
3) DEMPSEY (Tracy Brown) Mark Pitman 7-11-04 Andrew Tinkler 20/1 38.49
4) MADE IN JAPAN (Terry Evans) Philip Hobbs b1 5-11-01 Richard Johnson 27.85
5) PARKNASILLA (Lady Bland) Mick Easterby 5-11-01 Alan Dempsey 104.63
6) RIVER CITY (Mrs S Rowley-Williams & Partners) Noel Chance 8-11-04 Tom Doyle 5.04
7) CONTRABAND (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 7-11-04 Timmy Murphy 5.88
8) MAMBO DES MOTTES (John Nicholls/Roy Robbins/David Nash) Venetia Williams 5-11-01 Alan O’Keeffe 221.89
9) PENNYS FROM HEAVEN (The Dando Consortium) Tracey Barfoot-Saunt 11-11-04 Mr Geoffrey Barfoot-Saunt 798.43
PU BEF LAST) SAINTSAIRE (Anthony Speelman) Nicky Henderson 6-11-04 Mick Fitzgerald 14.25

10 ran Non-Runner: My Will (Ground)
Breeder: P J Burke Breeding: ch g Magical Wonder (USA) - Seamill (IRE)
Tote Win: £4.50 Places: £1.70; £1.70; £3.00 Exacta: £13.60
Dist: 16, 9, 8, 11, .75, 15, 4, dist

Winning trainer: Kevin Bishop Based: Barford Park Stables, Spaxton, Bridgwater, Somerset Born: March 25, 1956 Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1979 Wins in 2001/2-2003/04: 10; 14; 7 Number of horses in training (2003-05): 17, 18, 16 Big Race Wins Include: John Smith’s Topham Chase (1983 Tiepolino), John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2005 Ashley Brook) Wins This Season: 10

Winning Jockey: Paddy Brennan First Winner: Ivory Isle (Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap, Gowran Park, August 12, 1998) Number of Wins (2001/02-2003/04): 9; 15; 19 Wins This Season: First Winner after riding out 3lb claim: French Executive (Sky Bet Sussex National, Plumpton, November 21, 2004) Last Winner with 3lb claim: Rollo (williamhill.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, Exeter, November 19, 2004) Big Race Wins: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2005 Ashley Brook) Wins This Season: 63

THIRD RACE RESULT
2.50pm JOHN SMITH’S NO NONSENSE
HANDICAP HURDLE

Class A, Listed Race , £40,000 Guaranteed, 2m 4f. For 4yo+. Minimum weight: 10st. Penalties: after April 2, a winner of a hurdle 4lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £23,200; 2nd: £8,800; 3rd: £4,400; 4th: £2,000; 5th: £1,000; 6th: £600
SP/Betfair SP
1) GENGHIS (Khan Partners) Peter Bowen 6-10-13 Tony McCoy 10/1 11.73
2) TAMARINBLEU (The Arthur White Partnership) Martin Pipe 5-11-05 Mr Andrew Glassonbury (7) 50/1 159.83
3) MIRPOUR (A J Mulvey) Eoin Griffin IRE b6-10-05 Graham Lee 8/1 9.98
4) BILLYVODDAN (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 7-10-11 Richard Johnson 15/2 9.23
5) JACK DAWSON (The Premier Cru) John Berry 8-11-04 Seamus Durack
6) FENIX (P A Phillips, T S & J S Redman) Lucy Wadham b6-10-13 Leighton Aspell
7) AFTER EIGHT (Let’s Live Racing) Venetia Williams 5-10-05 Jim Culloty
8) SHARP RIGGING (The Sharpshooters) Alex Hales 5-11-03 Barry Geraghty
9) MANORSON (Byrne Bros (Formwork) Limited) Oliver Sherwood 6-10-08 Jimmy McCarthy
10) FAIRWOOD PRESENT ( R J Bagnall) Philip Rothwell IRE 7-10-10 John Cullen
11) FONTANESI (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-05 Timmy Murphy
12) ITS CRUCIAL (Mrs Carloline Beresford Wylie) Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-10-06 Carl Llewellyn
13) LORD OF BEAUTY (Warren, Upton & Chenkin & Townson) Noel Chance 5-10-05 Brian Crowley
14) ROYALEETY (Mr & Mrs John Poynton) Ian Williams 6-10-13 Ruby Walsh
15) HEALY'S PUB (Mrs C McKiernan) Oliver McKiernan IRE b1 9-10-06 Philip Carberry
16) MIGWELL (Dgm Partnership) Lucy Wadham 5-10-08 Robert Thornton 11/2 Fav
17) ZIBELINE (Ashley Carr) Brian Ellison t8-11-01 Brian Harding
18) JOROBADEN (P J Hughes Developments Ltd) Heather Dalton 5-9-12 Patrick Merrigan (7)
19) BARROW DRIVE (Exors of the late Mrs B Leniham) Tony Mullins IRE tp9-10-11 Conor O'Dwyer
PU BEF 6) CHIVITE (I Russell) Philip Hobbs 6-10-12 Paddy Brennan

20 ran Non-Runners: Celtic Son (Vet’s Certificate), Mythical King (Vet’s Certificate), Westmeath Flyer (Ground), The Market Man (Ground)
Breeder: Rosetown Syndicate Breeding: br g Persian Bold - Cindy’s Baby
Tote Win: £6.50 Places: £1.70; £10.60; £2.60; £2.10 Exacta: £623.80
Dist: 6, 3.5, 1.5, .75, nk, .75, .5, 2.5, 15, 3, 1, nk, 10, 1.5, 7, 11, 15, 16

Winning trainer: PETER BOWEN Based: Yet-Y-Rhug, Letterston, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s No Nonsense Handicap Hurdle (1999 Kinnescash, 2005 Genghis) Other Major Wins Include: Badger Beer Chase (2002, 2003 Swansea Bay), Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (1997 Stately Home), Edward Hanmer Chase (2003 Swansea Bay) Number of horses in training (2000-2005): 19; 9; n/a; 16; 26; 20 Number of wins (1995/96-2003/04): 7; 33; 38; 32; 25; 8, 10, 18, 38 Wins This Season: 37

Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy Date of Birth: 04/05/74 First Winner: Thurles, 26/03/92 (First winner in Britain: 07/09/94, Exeter, Chickabiddy) Apprenticeship: Four years with Jim Bolger.Cheltenham Festival Wins: (15) GRAND ANNUAL CHASE (1996 Kibreet, 1998 Edredon Bleu), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve, 2004 Well Chief), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (1997 Make A Stand), TOTE GOLD CUP (1997 Mr Mulligan), CATHCART CHASE (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2002 Royal Auclair) Pertemps Final (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE (1998 Blowing Wind), GERRARD SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Hors La Loi III), THE MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP HCAP CHASE (1999 Majadou), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Edredon Bleu), WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER (2003 Liberman)) Other major wins: KING GEORGE VI CHASE (2002 Best Mate), SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL (1997 Belmont King), REHEARSAL CHASE (1996 Belmont King), PADDY POWER GOLD CUP (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001Shooting Light), PILLAR PROPERTY CHASE (1999 Cyfor Malta), TRIPLEPRINT GOLD CUP CHASE (1998 Northern Starlight), EXTRAMAN HENRY VIII NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Dines), MILDMAY & CAZALET HCAP CHASE (1999 Eudipe), GROSVENOR CASINOS LONG DISTANCE HURDLE (1999 Galant Moss), SCILLY ISLES NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Upgrade), FIRST NATIONAL GOLD CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Upgrade), LONG WALK HURDLE (2002 Deano’s Beeno) Winners 1994/5-2003/04:74,175, 189,253,186,245,191, 289, 257, 209 Aintree Festival Wins Include: MELLING CHASE (Viking Flagship 1996), ANNIVERSARY HURDLE (Zabadi 1996, Hors La Loi III 1999), JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES’ HURDLE (1998 Fataliste), TOPHAM CHASE (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Northern Starlight), JOHN SMITH’S MILDMAY NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Boss Doyle, 2005 Like-A-Butterfly), SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), AINTREE HURDLE (1998 Pridwell), JOHN SMITH’S HANDICAP HURDLE (1996 Top Spin, 2003 Carlovent), JOHN SMITH’S RED RUM HANDICAP CHASE (2003 Golden Alpha, 2005 Fota Island) BETFAIR BOWL (2004 Tiutchev), MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE (2004 Well Chief), John Smith’s No Nonsense Handicap Hurdle (2005 Genghis) Wins This Season: 183
FOURTH RACE RESULT

3.20pm SCOTTISH AND NEWCASTLE AINTREE HURDLE
Class A, Grade One , £150,000 Guaranteed, 2m 4F. For 4yo+. Weights: 4yo 11st; 5yo+ 11st 7lb. Allowances: fillies & mares 7lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £87,000; 2nd: £33,000; 3rd: £16,500; 4th: £7,500; 5th: £3,750; 6th: £2,250
SP/Betfair SP
1) AL EILE (M A Ryan) John Queally IRE 5-11-07 Timmy Murphy 11/1 14.1
2) INGLIS DREVER (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 6-11-07 Graham Lee 9/4 3.35
3) EXOTIC DANCER (Sir Robert Ogden) Jonjo O'Neill p5-11-07 Paul Carberry50/1 106.54
4) MACS JOY (Mac’s J Racing Syndicate) Jessica Harrington IRE 6-11-07 Barry Geraghty 8.8
5) ROOSTER BOOSTER (Terry Warner) Philip Hobbs 11-11-07 Richard Johnson 24.42
6) ACCORDION ETOILE (Banjo Syndicate) Paul Nolan IRE 6-11-07 John Cullen 19.67
7) BLUE CANYON (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 7-11-07 Tony McCoy 16.62
8) INTERSKY FALCON (Interskyracing.com & Jacqui O’Neill) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-07 Tony Dobbin 20.18
FELL 3 OUT) BRAVE INCA (Novices Syndicate) Colm Murphy IRE 7-11-07 Barry Cash 2/1 Fav 3.16

9 ran
Breeder: Michael Ryan Breeding: b g Alzao (USA) - Kilcsem Eile (IRE)
Tote Win: £14.70 Places: £3.20; £1.30; £5.10 Exacta: £46.10
Dist: nk, .75, 4, 6, nk, 2, hd

Winning trainer: John Queally Born: July 23, 1955 Based: Coolagh, Near Dungarvon, County Waterford, Ireland Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1989 Riding Career: Champion Amateur in Ireland 1986 & 1987; Champion Point-to-Point rider 1980 & 1981; Amateur jockey to Francis Flood, Paddy Prendergast and Mouse Morris. Won 1986 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase as a rider on Glyde Court. Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’ Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Al Eile), Scottish & Newcastle Aintree Hurdle (2005 Al Eile)

Winning Jockey: Timothy James Murphy Date of birth: August 20, 1974 First winner: Gayloire, Kilmuckridge point to point (Co Wexford) General: Rode the last ever winner over jumps at Nottingham - Dominie (29/2/96) Cheltenham Festival Wins: (6) MILDMAY OF FLETE CHASE (1997 Terao, 2004 Tikram), VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HCAP HURDLE (1999 Sir Talbot), PERTEMPS FINAL (2004 Creon), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE (2005 Contraband), COUNTY HURDLE (2005Fontanesi) Aintree Festival Wins: JOHN SMITH’S NO NONSENSE HCAP HURDLE (1999 Kinnescash), John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Al Eile), Scottish & Newcastle Aintree Hurdle (2005 Al Eile) Other major wins: REHEARSAL CHASE (1998 See More Business), PILLAR PROPERTY CHASE (1998 See More Business), PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS ASCOT HURDLE (1998 Juyush), AGFA DIAMOND HCAP CHASE (1999 Clever Remark); REYNOLDSTOWN NOVICES’ CHASE (2004 Our Vic), Irish Hennessy Gold Cup (2003 Beef OR Salmon), Ericsson Chase (2002 Beef Or Salmon), Paddy Power Gold Cup (2004 Celestial Gold), Hennessy Gold Cup (2004 Celestial Gold) Number of Wins (1995/96-2003/2004): 26; 28; 60; 73; 64; 54; 98; 42; 57 Wins This Season: 132



SIXTH RACE RESULT

4.55pm JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES HANDICAP CHASE (AMATEUR RIDERS)
Class B, £30,000 Added, 2m 4f. For 5yo+.Minimum weight: 10st. Penalties: after April 2, a winner of a chase 6lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £19,198; 2nd: £7,282; 3rd: £3,641; 4th: £1,655; 5th: £827.50; 6th: £496.50

SP/Betfair SP
1) JOES EDGE (Chemipetro Limited) Ferdy Murphy 8-11-09 Mr Tom Dreaper (3) 9/2 5.79
2) SCHUH SHINE (Gill Harrison) Venetia Williams 8-10-08 Mr Robbie McCarthy (7) 4/1 5.65
3) COPSALE LAD (Swallow Partnership) Nicky Henderson 8-11-06 Mr Ben King (5) 8/1 12.06
4) EDMO YEWKAY (Edmolift UK Ltd) Tim Easterby 5-10-02 Mr Tom O'Brien (7) 41.09
5) UNDENIABLE (Keith Nicholson) Sue Smith 7-10-11 Mr Tom Greenall 9.23
7) CARIBBEAN COVE (Paul Beck) Richard Guest b7-9-07 Mr Wayne Kavanagh (7) 7.44
8) CYANARA (Steven Haney) Dr Philip Pritchard 9-10-00 Dr Philip Pritchard 600
DNF) DANGEROUSDANMAGRU (N F Glynn) Alan Jones 9-10-00 Mr Niall Madden 28.65
DNF) ALMOST BROKE (A G Fear) Paul Nicholls 8-11-07 Mr Colman Sweeney (3) 100/30 Fav 4.6
F) MONDUL (Partners In Crime) Milton Harris 5-11-10 Mr David Dunsdon 20.3

10 ran
Breeder: James F Barry Breeding: b/br g Supreme Leader - Right Dark
Tote Win: £6.20 Places: £2.30; £1.50; £3.30 Exacta: £28.90
Dist: 2.5, .5, 4, 3.5, 22, 23, 17

Winning trainer: FERDY MURPHY Riding career: Professional 1966-82; rode about 100 winners Date of first licence: 1990 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (3) WALWYN MUIR (1996 Stop The Waller), ELITE TRIUMPH HURDLE (1996 Paddy’s Return), ROYAL & SUNALLIANCE HURDLE (1998 French Holly) Aintree Festival Wins include: JOHN SMITH’S MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE (2001 Ballinclay King), JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE (2005 Joes Edge) Other major wins: TOLWORTH HURDLE (1998 French Holly), HENNESSY GOLD CUP (1992 Sibton Abbey), LONG WALK HURDLE (1997 Paddy’s Return), CHRISTMAS HURDLE (1998 French Holly), Sporting Index Chase (2001 Paddy’s Return), Scottish Grand National (2000 Paris Pike) Trains at West Witton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire Wins (1997/98-2003/04): 27; 40; 34; 41; 68; 43; 31 Horses in training (1995-2005): 25, 37, 40, 38, 55, 58, 106, 121, 116, 97; 66

Winning Jockey: Mr Tom Dreaper Wins 2003/4: 4 Background: Son of Irish trainer Jim Dreaper, grandson of the late Tom Dreaper (trainer of Arkle) Big Race Wins:JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE (2005 Joes Edge)


SEVENTH RACE RESULT
5.30pm JOHN SMITH’S CHAMPION STANDARD OPEN NATIONAL HUNT FLAT RACE

Class A, Grade Two, £30,000 Added, 2m 1f. For 4-6yo, which have not run under any recognised Rules of Racing except NH Flat races in GB/IRE; horses are not to have run more than four NH Flat races, or five such races if the fifth run was in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the 2005 Cheltenham Festival. Weights: 4yo 10st 12lb; 5/6yo 11st 4lb.Peanlties: a winner of a Grade 1 NH Flat race 4lb. Allowances: fillies and mares 7lb.Penalty Values: 1st: £17,400; 2nd: £6,600; 3rd: £3,300; 4th: £1,500; 5th: £750; 6th: £450

1) THE COOL GUY (Frosty’s Four) Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-10-11 Steve Crawford (7) 50/1 490
2) SOME TOUCH (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 5-11-04 Graham Lee 33/1 42.22
3) MENDO (Mrs M C Sweeney) Noel Chance 5-11-04 Tom Doyle 16/1 20.01
4) REFINEMENT (Michael Tabor) Jonjo O'Neill 6-10-11 Tony McCoy 7/4 Fav 3.05
5) HIGH KICK (M Tedham) Richard Fahey 4-10-12 Anthony Ross
6) NOLAND (John Hales) Paul Nicholls 4-10-12 Ruby Walsh
7) AVOCA MIST (Thomas Merrigan) Willie Mullins IRE 5-10-04 Miss Katie Walsh (7)
8) RIMSKY (John Duggan) Nigel Twiston-Davies 4-10-12 Carl Llewellyn
9) THE DUKE'S SPEECH (The Ivy Syndicate) Tom Tate 4-10-12 Jason Maguire
10) GLASKER MILL (Trevor Hemmings) Henrietta Knight 5-11-04 Jim Culloty
11) DUSKY LORD (The American Dream) Nick Gifford 6-11-4 Leighton Aspell
12) JOKE CLUB (Double P Partnership) Victor Dartnall 4-10-12 Barry Geraghty
13) CRACBOUMWIZ (John & Lisa Hales) Heather Dalton 5-10-11 Patrick Merrigan (7)
14) WISHIN AND HOPIN (Samuel Jefford) Tony Newcombe 4-10-12 Brian Crowley
15) PROMISE TO BE GOOD (Bill Gredley) Nicky Henderson 4-10-12 Mick Fitzgerald
16) NICE HORSE (Chris, Basil & Rosie Batterham II) Martin Pipe 4-10-12 Tom Scudamore
17) COOLAWARRA (Don Forster) Don Forster 6-11-4 Tony Dobbin
18) KHUDABAD (Reginald Blandford) John Bowles IRE 4-10-07 Tom Greenway (5)
19) WITCH WIND (Janes Glass) Alistair Crow 5-10-11 D McGann (7)
20) ITSMYBOY (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-04 Timmy Murphy
21) FLINTOFF (andrew Flintoff & Paul Beck) Richard Guest 4-10-05 P C O’Neill (7)
22) CHARMING FELLOW (Blott, Newby & Brooks) Henrietta Knight 5-11-04 Sam Thomas

22 ran
Breeder: Kieran Strain Breeding: b g Zaffaran (USA) - Frostbite
Tote Win: £28.10 Places: £7.50; £9.90; £5.50 Exacta: £2,231.20
Dist: .5, .5, 2.5, hd, 1.5, .75, 1.25, 3, 2.5, 5, .5, 3, nk, 22, nk, 5, 3, .75, 2.5, 6, 10

Winning Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies: Based: Grange Hill Farm, Naunton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Date of birth: 16/5/57 Date of first licence: 1981/2; Previous occupation: Farmer Wins (1982/3-2003/04):0,0,4,4,1,3,2,8,19,31,76,72,81,74,52,69,65,87,47,35,31,79 Big Race Wins Include: Scottish Grand National (1992 Captain Dibble, 1994 Earth Summit), Paddy Power Gold Cup (1992 Tipping Tim), Scottish Champion Hdle (1994 Corrouge, 2000 Mister Morose), Rehearsal Chase (1995 Grange Brake), Peter Marsh Chase (1995 Earth Summit), Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (1995 Sweet Duke, 2000 Beau), Christmas Hurdle (1997 Kerawi), Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1998 Mister Morose, 2004 Fundamentalist), Totesport Sandown Hcap Hurdle (2000 Rubhahunish), Welsh Champion Hurdle (2000 Mister Morose), Tanglefoot Elite Hurdle (2000 Mister Morose), Whitbread Gold Cup (2000 Beau), Hennessy Gold Cup (2000 King’s Road), Open Trophy (2003 Shardam), Feltham Novices’ Chase (2004 Ollie Magern Number of horses in training (1984-2005): n/a,10,n/a,6,n/a,5,13,24,34,40,68,67,81,82,74,98,71,60, 58, 52, 64, 59 Cheltenham Festival wins: (7) William Hill NH Chase (1992 Tipping Tim), Royal & SunAlliance Hdle (1993 Gaelstrom, 2004 Fundamentalist), Royal & SunAlliance C (1993 Young Hustler), Letheby & Christopher Supreme H (1994 Arctic Kinsman), JCB Triumph Hurdle (1998 Upgrade), Pertemps Final H’cap Hurdle (2000 Rubhahunish) Aintree Festival wins include: Topham Chase (1994 Indian Tonic), John Smith’s Grand National (1998 Earth Summit, 2002 Bindaree), John Smith’s Champion Standard NH Flat Race (1998 King’s Road), John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1999 King’s Road, 2005 The Cool Guy), Aintree Hurdle (2000 Mister Morose)

Winning Jockey: Crawford, Steve Big Race Wins: John Smith’s Standard Open Bumper (2005 The Cool Guy)



THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL VALUE BETTING COLUM

Class A, Grade 3, Handicap Chase, Total Prize Fund £700,000. 4.10pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 9, 2005. Four miles and four furlongs (over the Grand National course).



For the latest best odds, go to www.britodds.com

BP= the best price available at the time of writing


For 6-y-o and upwards which are allotted a rating of 110 or more by the Senior BHB NH Handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 6. Horses, which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at January 26, 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 6 would merit a minimum rating of 110. The bottom-weighted horse, Toulouse-Lautrec, is rated 109. 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 6. At the Handicapper's discretion such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the Senior BHB NH Handicapper shall be final. Entries closed January 26, entries revealed January 27 (152 entries), first forfeit stage February 22 (130 remained), second forfeit stage March 22 (107 remain), five-day confirmation stage April 4 (85 remain - weights raised 3lb), final declaration stage 10.00am, April 7 (40 runners and four reserves). Friday, April 8 - one reserve added. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys. May not include some overseas form.


Form Horse Age/Wt Owner Trainer/Probable Jockey
1)F4/422F-0P LE COUDRAY (FR) 11-11-12 J P McManus Christy Roche IRE/Conor O‘Dwyer BP=66/1
Little chance

2)302-132334 ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) 8-11-10 Clive Smith Paul Nicholls/Christian Williams BP= 40/1
Very consistent and best of the top weights

3)0004-3F00 MONTY'S PASS (IRE) 12-11-06 Dee Racing Syndicate Jimmy Mangan IRE/Barry Geraghty BP= 33/1
Past winner and placed last year. More to do this year.


4)34F-0002 FONDMORT (FR) 9-11-06 Bill Brown Nicky Henderson/Mick Fitzgerald BP= 50/1
Won’t stay

5)126PF32 TAKE THE STAND (IRE) 9-11-05 The Courters Peter Bowen/Leighton Aspell BP= 20/1
Great run in the Gold Cup but needs fast ground.


6)12P-25P0 BALLYCASSIDY (IRE) 9-11-05 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen/Seamus Durack BP= 80/1
Does not look good enough.


7)P4P/21-U42P BALLYBOUGH RASHER (IRE) 10-11-04 B D R Partnership Howard Johnson/Alan Dempsey BP= 100/1
Has had plenty of problems.


8)232120F RISK ACCESSOR (IRE) 10-11-04 J P McManus Christy Roche IRE/Alan Crowe BP= 100/1
Tried before.


9)216F-56 BINDAREE (IRE) 11-11-03 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/Carl Llewellyn BP= 33/1
Consistent sort who should get round - past winner.


10)P51-04540 AMBERLEIGH HOUSE (IRE) 13-11-03 Halewood International Ltd Ginger McCain/Graham Lee BP= 16/1
Last year’s winner should get round but no value.


11)1F-024061 HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) 9-11-01 Trevor Hemmings Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh BP= 10/1
Fell at the last when fourth but is no value.


12)0/P3010-122 FOLY PLEASANT (FR) 11-11-00 Nick Shutts Karen Marks/Andrew Thornton BP= 66/1
Difficult to fancy.


13)43-0450P00 ASTONVILLE (FR) 11-10-13 Fergus Wilson Michael Scudamore/Brian Crowley BP= 300/1
No chance.


14)1/66F-540 AD HOC (IRE) 11-10-12 Sir Robert Ogden Paul Nicholls/Joe Tizzard BP= 33/1
Good value about a class horse who has dropped in the weights.


15)31111//-51P HEROS COLLONGES (FR) 10-10-11 John Hales Paul Nicholls/JP McNamara BP= 66/1
This is asking a lot.


16)00-460343 GLENELLY GALE (IRE) 11-10-11 Frank Bradley Arthur Moore IRE/Mr Tom Greenall BP= 150/1
Consistent but faces by far his toughest test.

17)5P-554310 IT TAKES TIME (IRE) 11-10-11 David Johnson Martin Pipe/Timmy Murphy BP= 22/1
Class horse who has dropped in the weights - does not want the rain to continue.


18)411/12-4 CLAN ROYAL (FR) 10-10-11 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Tony McCoy BP= 10/1
Last year’s second but stable out of form.


19)13-4P5S341 NIL DESPERANDUM (IRE) 8-10-11 Mike Shone Frances Crowley IRE/Jim Culloty BP= 25/1
Interesting contender who cannot be dismissed.


20)15F-0541P JOLY BEY (FR) 8-10-10 David Dunsdon Nick Gifford/Mr David Dunsdon BP= 18/1
Poor value for his amateur rider.


21)115103-05 JAKARI (FR) 8-10-10 The Earl Cadogan Henry Daly/Richard Johnson BP= 40/1
Good jumper but has yet to prove his class.


22)13//-3P340 FRENCHMAN'S CREEK 11-10-09 Rory Sweet & Panda Christie Hughie Morrison/Jimmy McCarthy
BP= 50/1
Once very useful but has had lots of chances this season.


23)P132F6-020 IZNOGOUD (FR) 9-10-09 County Stores & Avalon Surfacing Martin Pipe /Tom Scudamore BP= 80/1
The name says it.


24)31-120500 POLAR RED 8-10-08 Lady Clarke Martin Pipe/Tom Malone BP= 200/1
Had plenty of chances.


25)1354432 DOUBLE HONOUR (FR) 7-10-08 The 4th Middleham Partnership Philip Hobbs/Paddy Brennan BP= 25/1
Very consistent but a tough ride and the fences may find him out.


26)12/315-11 FOREST GUNNER 11-10-07 John Gilsenan Richard Ford/Carrie Ford BP= 11/1
Very useful sort but is no value.


27)41F-1P235 COLNEL RAYBURN (IRE) 9-10-07 Thatch (Ferns) Racing Syndicate Paul Nolan IRE/Paul Carberry BP= 18/1
Irish raider who has been well backed but all value has gone.


28)1UP-012P JUST IN DEBT (IRE) 9-10-07 Bill Hazeldean Martin Todhunter/Tony Dobbin BP= 33/1
Interesting sort but will need to improve to win.


29)55-101141 SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (IRE) 12-10-07 J P McManus Enda Bolger IRE/Robbie Power BP= 28/1
Very consistent and seems better than ever this year over cross country fences but has failed over these fences.


30)6603021 INNOX (FR) 9-10-06 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR/Robert Thornton BP= 20/1
Useful sort but may not be suited by the fences.


31)4621122 STRONG RESOLVE (IRE) 9-10-06 Fair City Flyers Lucinda Russell/Peter Buchanan BP= 11/1
Very consistent but no value

32)F132/5-4 SHAMAWAN (IRE) 10-10-06 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Shay Barry BP= 150/1
Stable has had problems.


33)11/1P3-44 LORD ATTERBURY (IRE) 9-10-06 David Johnson Martin Pipe/Mark Bradburne BP= 25/1
Placed last year but has it to do.

34)0P133F0B EUROPA 9-10-06 Trevor Hemmings Ferdy Murphy/Jason Maguire BP= 150/1
Looks outclassed.


35)3P1P0 MERCHANTS FRIEND (IRE) 10-10-06 Magic Moments Charlie Mann/Noel Fehily BP= 66/1
Has it all to do.


36)-05443 SIMPLY GIFTED 10-10-06 Steve Hammond Jonjo O'Neill/Brian Harding BP= 66/1
Consistent but.


37)4-60200 ARCTIC COPPER (IRE) 11-10-06 Grand Alliance Racing Club Noel Meade IRE/Davy Russell BP= 150/1
Has plenty to do.


38) 121P-05P NATIVE EMPEROR 9-10-05 J C, J R and S R Hitchins Jonjo O'Neill/Dominic Elsworth BP= 80/1
(was reserve one) Stable out of form

39)22-00310 MARCUS DU BERLAIS (FR) 8-10-05 Marcus Beresford Arthur Moore IRE/Barry Cash BP= 33/1
Short price for waht he has done.


40)11024644 L'AVENTURE (FR) 6-10-05 Chris Harriman Paul Nicholls/Bobby McNally BP= 50/1
Has plenty to do.


SUMMARY


Ad Hoc is excellent value in a very open renewal of the Grand National - have a little on each-way.

Fo more details on all the horses ee below.






AD HOC (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Strong Gale - Knockarctic (Quayside)
11-10-12 Form: 3111/FFP521/753B4/51233U1/66F-540 Breeder: M Doran
Owner: Sir Robert Ogden Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Joe Tizzard
Ad Hoc
A winning point-to-pointer in Ireland, his career under Rules began with Len Lungo, for whom he won novice chases at Leicester and Ayr. Ad Hoc was transferred to Paul Nicholls towards the end of the 1999/2000 season and won another novice chase at Ayr's Scottish Grand National meeting. The 2000/01 season began in an inauspicious manner with falls in the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton and Hennessy Gold Cup before being pulled up after making a mistake when travelling well in the 2001 Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster. He went on to be fifth behind Young Spartacus in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton and put up a good effort to finish five lengths second to Gingembre in the Scottish National before running out the brilliant 19-length winner from What's Up Boys in the Betfred Gold Cup. The following season began with a seventh behind What's Up Boys in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He was a well beaten fifth to Shooting Light in the Tote Silver Cup at Ascot on December 22, before finishing an eye-catching third to Frenchman's Creek in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He then lined up for the 2002 John Smith’s Grand National, when he was unfortunate to be brought down four fences from home when still going well. It is anybody’s guess where he would have finished but, to make matters worse, the error was not even his fault - he jumped the obstacle well only to bump into Davids Lad. He rounded off his season with a creditable fourth carrying a lot of weight behind Bounce Back in the Betfred Gold Cup at Sandown. The 2002/2003 season saw Ad Hoc run over hurdles for the first time in order to protect his chase handicap mark and he was campaigned with the John Smith’s Grand National as his main target. On his four starts over timber, he won a novices’ hurdle at Ascot in November and then finished runner-up to Iris’s Gift in a Grade Two novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham the following month. Prestbury Park was also the scene of Ad Hoc’s next run when, for the second year in succession, he finished third in the William Hill Trophy Chase, this time finding Youlneverwalkalone nine and three-quarter lengths too strong. He then suffered the misfortune of unseating Paul Carberry at the 19th obstacle in the 2003 John Smith’s Grand National before winning the Betfred Gold Cup for the second time, coming home nine lengths ahead of Stormez. Last season was something of an anti-climax for this high-class horse - he was beaten at least 19 lengths on his two completed starts and fell on his other outing. This term Ad Hoc begun with a spin over hurdles - finishing fifth - before returning to the bigger obstacles in the williamhill.co.uk Marathon Chase at Sandown in early December, when he weakened approaching the last to finish fourth to Historic. On his latest start, he was tailed off behind Innox in the Agfa Diamond Handicap Chase at the same venue on February 5. Race Record: Starts: 28; 1st: 6; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 4; Win & place prize money: £255,736

AMBERLEIGH HOUSE (IRE) FACTFILE
13 br g Buckskin - Chancy Gal (Al Sirat)
13-11-03 Form: 00/3621321314024/2145345B/622F432171/557PB/5216591/36324033/342P51-04540
Owner: Halewood International Ltd Trainer: Ginger McCain Breeder: Robert McCarthy Jockey: Graham Lee

Amberleigh House
Won in bumpers, over hurdles and fences in Ireland for Michael Hourigan’s stable, including in a Grade 2 chase at Thurles and a Grade 3 chase at Punchestown, both over two and a half miles, before being bought for Ir£90,000 by Ginger McCain for owner John Halewood with the National specifically in mind. But on his first run in the famous chase in 2001 he only got as far as the debacle at the eighth fence. The following season he returned to Aintree for a crack at the totesport Becher Chase in November and on an emotional day put up a superb performance to defeat Smarty and give McCain his first success over the National fences since Red Rum’s historic third victory in 1977. He was then trained for the 2002 John Smith’s Grand National, but failed to make the cut and had to run in the John Smith’s Topham Chase instead, finishing ninth. In the 2002/03 campaign, he was once more trained with Aintree in mind and again showed his liking for the course when second to Ardent Scout in the totesport Becher Chase. After a few moderate efforts, he then lined up for his second appearance in the John Smith’s Grand National, losing the runner-up spot in the last 100 yards to finish third behind Monty’s Pass. Last season he was in the first four on his first three starts, with his best effort coming when short-headed at the post by Clan Royal in the totesport Becher Chase at Aintree in November. It proved to be third time lucky for Amberleigh House in the 2004 John Smith’s Grand National. After encountering significant traffic problems on the first circuit, he made steady headway in the closing stages to overhaul Clan Royal in the last 100 yards to score by three lengths. This season he has followed a very similar programme to previous years. He ran well to finish fifth under 11st 10lb to Silver Birch in the totesport Becher Chase in November - the seventh time he has completed the Grand National course in eight attempts - and most recently warmed up for his fourth John Smith’s Grand National by finishing seventh in the Grimthope Chase at Doncaster on March 5.

Race Record: Starts: 64; 1st: 9; 2nd: 9; 3rd: 10; Win & Place prize money: £555,466

ARCTIC COPPER (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Montelimar - Miss Penguin (General Assembly)
11-10-06 Form: 103/242277434-602796 Owner: Grand Alliance Racing Club
Trainer: Noel Meade IRE Breeder: Tom Curran Jockey: Davy Russell

Arctic Copper
Having won both a bumper and maiden hurdle at Navan in his early days, Arctic Copper had a series of battles with the smart Sackville between the spring of 2000 and February 2001. He was only fourth behind Sackville when they clashed over hurdles at Navan, but he gained his revenge in emphatic fashion when they renewed rivalry over fences at Gowran Park, beating his old rival by eight lengths on what was his chasing debut. Further successes followed at Navan and Fairyhouse, but his biggest triumph came in a Grade 2 at Naas in the winter of 2003, which was his last victory. Arctic Copper had to pull out all the stops to outgun Fadoudal du Cochet by half a length that day, but he has been second four times since, including a head defeat by Edredon Bleu in another Grade 2 at Clonmel. Noel Meade concedes that his horse “has been out of sorts and is a bit of a character” but, despite the fact that Timeform question his courage and have awarded him the dreaded squiggle, the trainer has fingers crossed that“the Aintree fences might just switch him on.”
Race Record: Starts: 52; 1st: 7; 2nd: 16; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £192,570
ASTONVILLE (FR) FACTFILE
b g Top Ville - Astonishing (BRZ) (Vacilante (ARG))
11-10-13 Recent Form: 2/234/3-9457P00 Owner: Fergus Wilson
Trainer: Michael Scudamore Breeder: Marcello Randelli Jockey: Jim Crowley

Astonville
Formerly trained by Alex Pantall on the Flat in France, Astonville then ran over jumps winning a couple of hurdles and a chase at Auteuil in 2000 and 2001. The Top Ville gelding had his first start for Michael Scudamore in a hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, when tailed off behind Westender, and he has not done a great deal better on his four last starts, going down by at least 35 lengths each time including on his last start in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 18.

Race Record: Starts: 23; 1st: 3; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 5; Win & place prize money: £120,852

BALLYBOUGH RASHER (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Broken Hearted - Chat Her Up (Proverb)
10-11-04 Form: 0001/1F121PP/3U1UP4P/21-U42P Owner: BDR Partnership
Trainer: Howard Johnson Breeder: Johnson Lyons Jockey: Alan Dempsey
Ballybough Rasher
Ballybough Rasher has run only 24 times, but he has a 25 per cent win record, having been bought for 38,000gns at Doncaster on trainer Howard Johnson's advice after winning a maiden point-to-point in Ireland. He gained the first of his six successes under Rules in the three and a quarter mile Barton Novices' Handicap Hurdle at Catterick in February 2001, and two and a half months later struck again in the three mile Federation Brewery Handicap Hurdle at Hexham, each time ridden by Adie Smith, who is now a stewards' secretary. He was a faller when favourite to make a winning debut over fences in the Scotland On Sunday Novices' Chase at Kelso, but three weeks later made amends for that when landing the Doubleprint Novices' Chase over the Mildmay course at Aintree. His fourth success came over three miles at Doncaster, in January 2002, and later that year he returned to the Mildmay course at Aintree to win Northern Building Design Associates Handicap Chase (for the John Parrett Memorial Trophy). It was nearly a year later before he was back in the winner's enclosure, but he made up for lost time in style by recording his most important success when a 40-1 chance in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Most recently he was pulled up before the 14th fence after being badly hampered at the 12th in the William Hill Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival on March 15, having run over hurdles on his two previous outings, finishing second to Omni Cosmo Touch at Doncaster ten days earlier, and fourth to Over The Creek at Newbury two months prior to that.

Race Record: Starts: 24 Wins; 6: 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money £73.076

BALLYCASSIDY (IRE) FACTFILE
br g Insan (USA) - Bitofabreeze (IRE) (Callernish)
9-11-05 Form: 2233/111F2310/2228/1110131112P-25P8 Owner: Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar
Trainer: Peter Bowen Breeder: Michael Griffin Jockey: Seamus Durack

Ballycassidy
The winner of a point-to-point at Loughbrickland in Co Down on April 8, 2000, Ballycassidy made his debut under Rules for Alan King six months later when second in a Towcester novices’ hurdle. He was placed on all four runs in the 2000/2001 season and rattled up a three-timer in the summer of 2001, going on to win the Grade 2 Tripleprint Novices’ Hurdle at Huntingdon the following January. He was sent chasing in the 2002/2003 campaign, finishing second on all three starts, and was bought for 24,000 guineas by Peter Bowen at Doncaster’s 2003 May Sale. That outlay was soon recouped with three subsequent wins, including the £40,000 English Summer National at Market Rasen in July, 2003, and four further successes followed that season, including a novices’ chase at Aintree in October and the following month’s Grade 2 Worcester Novices’ Chase at Newbury before finishing eight lengths second to Strong Flow in the Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton. He kicked off this season by finishing second to Stormez in a valuable handicap chase at Cheltenham in November and was far from disgraced most recently when eighth behind Kicking King in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Race Record: Starts: 31; 1st: 11; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 4; Win & place prize money: £170,444

BINDAREE (IRE) FACTFILE
ch g Roselier - Flowing Tide (Main Reef)
11-11-03 Form: 31111247/1213U124U/7533671/7FU2486/F216U-56 Owner: Raymond Mould
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Breeder: Noel King Jockey: Carl Llewellyn
Bindaree
Bindaree entered the annals of racing history by winning the 2002 John Smith’s Grand National by one and three-quarter lengths from What’s Up Boys. A winning Irish point-to-pointer, the 11-year-old made an immediate impact in his first season of racing under Rules during the 1999/2000 campaign when winning four novices’ hurdles in succession, including the Chubb Novices’ Hurdle and the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle, both at Cheltenham. He returned to Prestbury Park to finish fourth to Monsignor in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival before making his first appearance at Aintree when seventh to Sackville in the 2000 John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. The following season he made a winning debut over the bigger obstacles in a novices’ chase at Perth in September, before finishing runner-up to subsequent triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate in a similar event at Exeter the following month. His two further victories in novice events over fences during his second campaign included a Grade 2 contest at Chepstow. On his first start in handicap company in April, 2001, he was a creditable fourth to Gower-Slave in the John Smith’s Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree before ending his season in undistinguished fashion when unseating jockey Carl Llewellyn at Ayr. His best three runs the following season before the John Smith’s Grand National success came when third in Haydock’s Tommy Whittle Chase and Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National, and seventh in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March behind Frenchman’s Creek. The following season he failed to get his head in front but again ran well in the John Smith’s Grand National, staying on from three out to finish sixth behind Monty’s Pass in the world’s most famous chase. Last season he took a tumble on his seasonal debut in Aintree’s Tote Becher Chase in November before finishing the eight lengths runner-up to Sir Rembrandt in the John Hughes Rehearsal Chase the following month. He then turned the tables on that rival beating him by half a length in the Welsh National over Christmas. He unseated at Becher’s first time after being hampered in the 2004 John Smith’s Grand National while this season’s two efforts have yielded a fifth place in the Welsh National and sixth last time out in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January.

Race Record: Starts: 38; 1st: 9; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 4; Win & place prize money: £480,991

CLAN ROYAL (FR) FACTFILE
10 b g Chef De Clan II (FR) - Allee Du Roy (FR) (Rex Magna (FR))
10-10-11 Form: 70/311332/1343/351411/12-4 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Breeder: Comtesse Bertrand De Tarragon Jockey: Tony McCoy
Clan Royal
In his first season in 1999/2000 when trained by Arthur Moore, Clan Royal was beaten at least 48 lengths in a couple of maiden hurdles. The following term it took him two further attempts in similar events before getting off the mark at Bellewstown on July 7, when proving eight lengths too powerful for Sardakaan. Just 17 days later he made his debut over fences, striking at the first attempt in a beginners’ chase at Ballinrobe by four lengths from Union Wood. He ran three more times in handicap chase company that season, being placed on each occasion. The 2001/2002 campaign began with a victory in similar company with the Chef De Clan II gelding justifying favouritism at Navan in June by half a length from Khairabar. He was unable to win again that term but did finish in the first four on each occasion including when reverting to hurdles once. A break of almost 16 months then saw him make his first start for Jonjo O’Neill at Hereford in December, 2002, when he was a 25-length third behind Needwood Lion in a handicap chase. Two outings and two months later he was back in the winner’s enclosure at Fontwell, where he was successful in a similar event by one and three-quarter lengths from Tullons Lane. After a fourth at Sandown, he then ended the season in fine fashion by winning twice, firstly in another handicap chase at Newbury on the first day of March, when beating Royal Beluga by 26 lengths. This was followed by a success on his first start at Aintree, staying on well to win the John Smith’s Topham Chase by two and a half lengths from Macs Gildoran. Last season he was restricted to two outings, both at Aintree. After getting the better of Amberleigh House by a short head in a marvellous finish to the Tote Becher Chase in November, he did not reappear until the John Smith’s Grand National in April, when he went down by three lengths to his old foe Amberleigh House. This season he has had just the one outing, finishing fourth in a handicap hurdle at Bangor in December.

Race Record: Starts: 21; 1st: 7; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 6; Win & Place prize money: £253,758


COLNEL RAYBURN (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Un Desperado (FR) - Super Boreen (Boreen (FR))
9-10-07 Form: 0000123/210120/415441F-1P235 Owner: Thatch Ferns Racing Syndicate
Trainer: Paul Nolan IRE Breeder: Mrs Violet Pollard Jockey: Paul Carberry

Colnel Rayburn
This Irish hopeful boasts top-class form along the line, just beaten by a length and a half by Pizarro in a winner’s bumper at Naas as a six-year-old in February, 2002, having won a bumper at Down Royal earlier in the same month. The following season, he won two handicap hurdles at Gowran Park in December and the following month, justifying favouritism on each occasion, the second time easily beating My Native Donegal by three lengths. Last term the Un Desperado gelding was successful in two novice chases at Navan, the second victory came in handicap company and surprised racegoers as he was sent off a 20/1 chance.

He began this season in fine style, taking a Grade Three chase at Naas in November by a length and a half from Central House. The same horse reversed the placings in a Grade Two chase at Fairyhouse in January, before Colnel Rayburn finished a good third in a John Smith’s Grand National Trial at Punchestown at the end of January, when a four and a half length third to What Odds. On his final outing prior to Aintree, he came home last in the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park on February 12.

Race Record: Starts: 25; 1st: 6; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 2; Win & place prize money: £86,974

DOUBLE HONOUR (IRE) FACTFILE
gr g Highest Honor (FR) - Silver Cobra (USA) (Silver Hawk (USA))
7-10-08 Form: 11301/022313131-31354432 Owner: The 4th Middleham Partnership
Trainer: Philip Hobbs Breeder: Symboli And Co Ltd Jockey: Paddy Brennan

Double Honour
Double Honour is a tough and versatile individual who won six times on the Flat when trained by Mark Johnston before embarking on a jumping career with Philip Hobbs, for whom he has won seven races. A 150,000-franc yearling, he made the score sheet for the first time as a two-year-old at Hamilton in September 2000, and unwittingly entered the record books in the process as he gave Johnston his 1,000th Flat success, that total being achieved in a faster time than by any other British-based trainer. The last of his wins on the level came his way in the Listed Grosser Tenovis-Preis-Langer Hamburger in Hamburg in July 2002. At the end of that season he was switched to the Hobbs stable by his owners, and he won his first two races, novice hurdle events, in January the following year. Victories at Taunton, Newton Abbot and Perth followed, and he had his first experience of the National fences when finishing fourth to Silver Birch in the totesport Becher Chase in November of last year. Most recently, he ran Forest Gunner to one and a half lengths, having conceded 3lb, in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup over three and a half miles at Haydock Park in February, and the pair are closely weighted on that form.
Race Record:Jumps. Starts: 22; Wins: 7: 2nd: 3; 3rd: 7; Win and Place Prize Money: £118,033


EUROPA (GB) FACTFILE
b g Jupiter Island - Dublin Ferry (Celtic Cone)
9-10-03 Form: P2/1131F/3P0-0P133F0B Owner: Trevor Hemmings
Trainer: Ferdy Murphy Breeder: Mrs C A Mitchell Jockey: Jason Maguire

Europa
A winner of a Doncaster bumper on his racecourse debut for Tom Tate on March 4, 2000, Europa began his second season with victory in a similar event at Warwick and followed up by winning his first start over hurdles in a Doncaster novice. He completed a hat-trick in a similar event at Bangor before rounding off the campaign with second at Huntingdon. The 2001/2002 season saw the Jupiter Island gelding try his hand at the larger obstacles and he won two novice chases at Hexham and Catterick. He was placed on three of his other five novice starts including when second to Kadarann on his final outing at Perth. The following campaign began in fine style with two successes at Perth and Doncaster, the latter coming in handicap company when Europa ran on well to beat Hurricane Lamp by three-quarters of a length. Two outings later he was back in the winner’s enclosure, justifying favouritism in a handicap chase at Doncaster by seven lengths from Mr Bossman. Last season he did not reappear until the final day of January, when he finished third to Armaturk in a Doncaster handicap chase. He was pulled up and well beaten on his other two starts. This term began with two mediocre performances at Aintree, the second of which came for Ferdy Murphy, who bought the horse for 33,000 guineas at Doncaster in August. He returned to winning ways in a handicap chase at Kempton in November, staying on well to beat Cameron Bridge by four lengths. Two thirds followed, including a seven-length defeat by Monkerhostin in the bonusprint.com Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December. A fall on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham was followed by heavy defeat at the same course later in January. He was brought down at the 11th in the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Race Record: Starts: 29; 1st: 10; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 5; Win & place prize money: £78,451


FOLY PLEASANT (FR) FACTFILE
ch g Vaguely Pleasant (FR) - Jeffologie (FR) (Jefferson)
9-10-09 Form: 1/111P1/122/22/1219P/4220/P3710-22 Owner: Nick Shutts Trainer: Karen Marks Breeder: Adrien Landes Jockey: Andrew Thornton

Foly Pleasant
Foly Pleasant had his first run for Henrietta Knight in October, 1999, having previously been trained in France. During the 2001/2002 campaign he was a three length runner-up to Shooting Light in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Prestbury Park in November, before returning to Cheltenham two months later to win the Ladbroke Trophy Handicap Chase by a length and a quarter from Lady Cricket. The following season he again ran well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, finishing 13 lengths adrift of Cyfor Malta in fourth. He was then six lengths runner-up to Fondmort in Cheltenham's bonusprint.com Gold Cup in December, and he filled the same position behind Behrajan in the Pillar Property Chase at Prestbury Park the following month. Last term he kept on to finish eight and a quarter lengths behind Whereareyounow in the Unicoin Homes Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. On his next two starts, he was tried over hurdles for the first time in Britain and the change seems to have worked as he was successful in a handicap hurdle at Haydock in February, when he got the better of Master Ride by one and three-quarter lengths. He was then unplaced in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. Bought by owner Nick Shutts at Doncaster Sales in May for 100,000gns, with Ginger McCain as underbidder, this season he has been placed runner-up on two starts in hunter chases, including the Christie's Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he found just Sleeping Night three-quarters of a length too good, for new owner and trainer Nick Shutts. He is now under the care of Karen Marks, for whom he makes his debut in the John Smith's Grand National. Race Record: Jumps Starts: 27; Wins: 9; 2nd: 9; 3rd: 1; Win and Place Prize Money: £173,159

FONDMORT (FR) FACTFILE
b g Cyborg (FR) - Hansie (FR) (Sukawa (FR))
9-11-06 Form: 0/214132P/1P1153/31F722/14534F-0782 Owner: Bill Brown
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Breeder: Hubert Carion Jockey: Mick Fitzgerald

Fondmort
Fondmort began his career in France, where he wore blinkers, and he won over hurdles at Auteuil in September, 2000. He quickly made his mark with Nicky Henderson after crossing the water, winning a novice hurdle at Kempton’s Christmas meeting that same year, and when he went over fences the following autumn he took to it like a duck to water, winning twice at Kempton and once at Sandown before the turn of the year. The 2002/03 season proved even more profitable, because though Fondmort won only once that victory came in the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and he has always excelled on the Prestbury Park track, where that same winter he finished second to Young Spartacus in the Mildmay of Flete Chase and also chased home Poliantas in the Silver Trophy at the April meeting. Rubber-stamping his liking for Cheltenham on his first run of the 2003/04 season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Fondmort reversed the form with Poliantas, joining that horse at the second last and stretching clear up the hill to win by eight lengths. That encouraged connections to try him over three miles in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, where he ran creditably to finish fourth behind Edredon Bleu, and he ran his customary solid race at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival, giving weight away all round and finishing third behind Tikram in the Mildmay of Flete before going on to Aintree, where he ran a bit flat in the Betfair Bowl. Fondmort has this season paid the penalty for being such a consistent performer, shooting up the handicap, but he showed all his old sparkle when running an absolute cracker to be beaten only half a length by Thisthatandtother in the inaugural running of the Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy at Cheltenham in March, and, having schooled well over a specially made Aintree-type fence at Henderson’s stable last Sunday, the trainer, while conceding that they are entering unknown territory stamina-wise, has decided to go for the big one rather than the Betfair Bowl or John Smith’s Melling Chase.

Race Record:Jumps. Starts: 30; Wins: 7: 2nd: 5; 3rd: 4; Win and Place Prize Money: £177,626

FOREST GUNNER (GB) FACTFILE
ch g Gunner B - Gouly Duff (Party Mink)
11-10-04 Form: 49/36/1213125/112/315-11 Owner: John Gilsenan
Trainer: Richard Ford Breeder: Ann Crank Jockey: Carrie Ford

Forest Gunner
Bred, like top hurdler Iris’s Gift, in Cheshire by former jockey Reg Crank and his wife Ann, Forest Gunner was bought privately from the breeders by John and Barbara Gilsenan for just £4,000. After having his first two starts in 1999 in bumpers for trainer Richard Bevis without making any impact, he finished third after a long lay-off in an Exeter novices’ hurdle in March, 2001, from Richard Ford’s yard. The first of three visits - and victories - at Aintree came two months later in a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle and he went on to score twice more over the smaller obstacles.

His chasing career began on a winning note at Sedgefield in October, 2002, and he followed up at Fakenham a month later. He returned to the Norfolk course in December, 2002, to finish second and was not seen out again under Rules until February 22 last year, when third in a Fontwell hunter chase.

That proved an ideal warm-up for what is now the John Smith’s Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree on April 1, when - just 10 weeks after giving birth - trainer’s wife Carrie Ford partnered Forest Gunner to an eight-length success over the National fences.
Having finished fifth in a Perth handicap chase on his final start last season, he returned to Aintree on November 22 to land the betfair.com Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the big fences to score by eight lengths under Peter Buchanan. His John Smith’s Grand National preparation was completed with a length and a half win in the valuable Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock on February 19.

Race Record: Starts: 19; 1st: 8; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £143,516

FRENCHMAN’S CREEK (GB) FACTFILE
b g Emperor Fountain - Hollow Creek (Trabolgan)
10-10-06 Form: 3/231/5F222143/13313/3P340 Owner: Rory Sweet and Panda Christie
Trainer: Hughie Morrison Breeder: Hughie Morrison Jockey: Jimmy McCarthy

Frenchman’s Creek
He has not had a lot of racing, and gained his most important success in the William Hill National Hunt Chase, at the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2002. The following month he started favourite for the Attheraces Gold Cup (now the Betfred Gold Cup and formerly the Whitbread) at Sandown on April 27. He finished third to Bounce Back, and, reported to have strained a tendon, he did not reappear until November 19 last year, at Exeter. Since his return, he has had five outings, finishing only 13th to Kelami in his bid to win the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham again. The best of his other four runs was when third behind the Therealbandit, again at Cheltenham on December 10. He won for the first time in a maiden hurdle at Ludlow, and then took a novice chase at Ascot and a handicap chase at Cheltenham, before going on to win the 'William Hill'. He was bred by trainer Hughie Morrison.

Race Record: Starts: 22; 1st: 4; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 8; Win & Place Prize Money: £117,361

GLENELLY GALE (IRE) FACTFILE
b or br g Strong Gale - Smart Fashion
11-10-11 Form: 02F1405124U13/5035103/4F3104/3032126300-460343 Owner: Frank Bradley
Trainer: Arthur Moore IRE Breeder: Thomas & John Lombard Jockey: Mr Tom Greenall

Glenelly Gale
Glenelly Gale is a full-brother to that smart Mary Reveley chaser Cab On Target and has proved a great servant to connections, winning six races with far and away the most important being his last victory, the Grade One James Nicholson Wine Merchant Champion Chase at Down Royal in November, 2003, when he showed the right sort of spirit to beat Arctic Copper by three parts of a length. Rated “a very sound horse”, Glenelly Gale, who, though winning a maiden hurdle at Punchestown at the start of 2000, has really blossomed since going over fences, and his versatility can be gauged by the fact that he has won on six different tracks, Gowran Park, Fairyhouse, Thurles and Limerick being the others.

Race Record Starts: 42; 1st: 6; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 9; Win & Place Prize Money: £105,935


HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) FACTFILE
9 b g Montelimar (USA) - Aberedw (IRE) (Caerwent)
9-10-12 Form: 2222/242621/223102/431F-024061 Owner: Trevor Hemmings
Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Breeder: J A Keogh Jockey: Ruby Walsh
Hedgehunter
Few horses can match the consistency of Hedgehunter, who has finished in the first four on 20 of his 26 starts. His career began in February, 2001, in bumpers with four seconds. He started the 2001/2002 campaign over hurdles, adding another ‘2' to his form figures when going down by five lengths to Goss in a maiden event at Punchestown in November, 2001. He mixed hurdling with another couple of bumper runs and it was on his 10th start that he registered a first success when coming home 20 lengths clear on heavy ground in a Clonmel maiden hurdle in February, 2002. He was sent chasing in the 2002/03 season and his form has progressed to a new level over the larger obstacles. Two seconds and a third in novice and beginners’ chases were followed by an 11-length win in the Grand National Trial Handicap at Punchestown on February 2, 2003, and he then travelled to Cheltenham for the four-mile National Hunt Chase where he was going exceptionally well before a mistake two out almost brought him down. That season was rounded off by finishing three-and-a-half lengths second to stablemate Rule Supreme in the Colm McEvoy Auctioneers Handicap Chase at Punchestown. Last season began with a second visit to Britain when finishing a good fourth to Strong Flow in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury and continued with third place, 23 lengths behind Bindaree, in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27 before an eight-length win in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park on January 22. He then headed for the John Smith’s Grand National and ran a game from the front, looking assured of at least a place when falling at the last. This season his first five races came over hurdles, with his best effort being a second at Thurles in December. Last time out he returned to fences and put himself firmly in the picture for another crack at the John Smith’s Grand National when landing the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase at Leopardstown on February 19, proving a length and a half too strong for Pizarro. Race Record: Starts: 26; Wins: 4; 2nd: 11; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £108,558

HEROS COLLONGES (FR) FACTFILE
b g Dom Alco (FR) - Carmen Collonges (FR) (Olmeto)
10-10-11 Form: 231111/51P Owner: John Hales
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Breeder: Gaec Delorme Freres Jockey: J P McNamara

Heros Collonges
Heros Collonges has been lightly raced in recent seasons. Having won three chases in France, two of them in non-thoroughbred races at Dieppe and Auteuil, and the other in a handicap at the latter venue, he was bought by John Hales, but was still trained by Guillaume Macaire when brought over for a novice chase at Kempton in January, 2002, when he ran out a 27 length winner. He was later reported to have sustained a tendon injury, and was out of action for three years. Having joined Paul Nicholls, he had his first run for the Shepton Mallet trainer when fifth to No Refuge in a novice hurdle at Warwick on January 15 this year. Back over fences a month later, he won the Listed Country Gentlemen's Association Chase at Wincanton. Most recently he was pulled up in the William Hill Trophy Chase at Cheltenham.

Race Record (in UK): Starts: 9; Wins: 5: 2nd: 0; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money £77,439

INNOX (FR) FACTFILE
b g Lute Antique (FR) - Savane III (FR) (Quart De Vin (FR))
9-10-03 Form: 32F/212F321P2/74344P50/P032FU-6603021 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: Francois Doumen FR Breeder: Bernard & Marc Trinquet Jockey: Robert Thornton

Innox
Innox is a handicap chaser trained in France. During 2000/2001, he was placed in two of his three starts over fences and the following season he got off the mark at the second time of asking in a handicap chase at Auteuil in September, 2001, when he was three lengths too strong for Ireland. Placed on three of his next four starts including in the Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, when finished two and a half lengths adrift of Maximize, he then again entered the winner’s enclosure, for the first time in Britain, in a novices’ chase at Warwick in February, 2002, coming home three-quarters of a length ahead of Wain Mountain. He rounded off the campaign with a two and a half length second to Le Cid in a valuable handicap chase at Auteuil in April. The 2002/2003 campaign was a little disappointing as the Lute Antique gelding was unable to win in eight outings, although he was third to Sunny Flight in a Grade One chase at Auteuil in November, and then only beaten just over two and a half lengths into fourth by Jerico Vallis in a Grade Two chase at the same course on the first day of the following month. Last season, he again just missed out on victory, being placed in handicap chases at Auteuil and Sandown, beaten on both occasions by three lengths or less. This term he was behind on his first three starts but then bounced back to form in an amateur riders’ event at Auteuil on the first day of November, going down by just over three lengths in third to Dukeen. Two outings later, he was placed in the williamhill.co.uk Marathon Chase at Sandown in early December, when the five-length second to Historic. On his latest start, he was the impressive winner of the Agfa Diamond Handicap Chase at Sandown on February 5, running on strongly to master Lou Du Moulin Mas by nine lengths for owner Marquesa De Moratalla. He has subsequently been purchased by legendary Irish owner and punter J P McManus.

Race Record : Starts: 33; 1st: 3; 2nd: 7; 3rd:5; Win & Place prize money: £206,915

IT TAKES TIME (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Montelimar - Dysart Lady (King’s Ride)
11-10-11 Form: 2110/111/11113331/32162/F5P-554310 Owner: David Johnson
Trainer: Martin Pipe Breeder: James Kiernan Jockey: Timmy Murphy
It Takes Time
At the age of 11, It Takes Time ran the best race of his life when winning the £59,500 Totesport Chase at Lingfield in February, 2005, coming from off the pace to reel in Ollie Magern and Hand In Hand up the straight and win readily. Such a promising bumper horse in Ireland - he won twice at Leopardstown - It Takes Time proved a more than useful novice hurdler, rattling off three wins in the 2000/1 season, at Exeter, Doncaster and Fontwell. He was pitched straight into handicaps at the start of the following season and proved a real money-spinner, rising 16lb for successes at Fontwell, Newton Abbot and Cheltenham, which made a switch to condition races inevitable. He more than held his own in that grade, finishing third to Baracouda in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and filling the same position behind Ilnamar at Aintree before regaining the winning thread when justifying favouritism in a £29,000 hurdle at Sandown’s Betfred meeting. It Takes Time showed immediate promise when switched to fences, finishing a close third behind Native Emperor on his chasing bow at Cheltenham and building on that performance when beaten only half a length by Sir Rembrandt in a Grade 2 novice chase at Cheltenham’s Tripleprint fixture in December, 2001. He made it third time lucky over fences when easily beating The Bajan Bandit at Haydock, but he was disappointing in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival and again let down his supporters when, despite starting favourite, he was readily outpointed by Irish Hussar in the big novice chase at Aintree. The 2003/04 season started promisingly enough - he was still bang there when he fell two out in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham - but his form then tapered off until his revival at Lingfield. He has had just the one run since, finishing a creditable seventh behind Supreme Prince off a 13lb higher mark in the Vodafone Gold Cup at Newbury in March.

Race Record: Starts: 28; Wins: 11: 2nd: 3; 3rd: 5; Win and Place Prize Money: £166,835

IZNOGOUD (FR) FACTFILE
b/br g Shafoun (FR) - Vancia (FR) (Top Dancer (FR))
9-10-09 Form: 21140/312F/P5U85/79P132F6-020 Owner: The County Stores & Avalon Surfacing
Trainer: Martin Pipe Breeder: Christian Le Galliard Jockey: Tom Scudamore

Iznogoud
Named after a French comic strip character, champion trainer Martin Pipe’s Iznogoud finished second to St Pirran on his British debut in a novices’ hurdle at Exeter in November, 2000, winning his next two starts over timber including the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Ascot in January of the following year, where he reversed placings with St Pirran. On his last start of the campaign he was ninth behind Ilico II in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. The following season he went chasing, winning a novices’ chase at Ascot in February, when he was three and a half lengths too powerful for Valley Henry, and then finding just Hussard Collonges two lengths too good in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His next campaign was largely disappointing, failing to finish or coming home at least 20 lengths adrift on his first four outings. He rounded off the campaign with an 11-length fifth behind Ad Hoc in the betfred Gold Cup at Sandown.Last term three poor runs were followed by victory in a handicap chase at Kempton in February, when driven out by champion jockey Tony McCoy to beat Zaffamore by a length and a quarter. He was then placed in both the Racing Post Chase at the same track later in the same month and the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival the following month. On the first occasion he was a six-length third to Marlborough, while at Prestbury Park he went down by two and a half lengths to Tikram in second. This season he has put in two poor runs but again ran well on his only other start in the Racing Post Chase, this time staying on under Tom Scudamore, who renews his association with the nine-year-old in the John Smith’s Grand National, to finish six lengths adrift of Farmer Jack. Race Record: Starts: 25; 1st: 4; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 2; Win & place prize money: £122,965


JAKARI (FR) FACTFILE
b g Apeldoorn (FR) - Tartifume II (FR) (Mistigri)
8-10-06 Form: 5/132311P/115103-05 Owner: The Earl Cadogan
Trainer: Henry Daly Breeder: Pierre Hoyeau Jockey: Richard Johnson

Jakari
The French-bred Jakari goes into battle with just two outings under his belt this season. On his return in the Ladbroke Trophy at Cheltenham on Jan 29, he was last of the 15 finishers, but he showed some of his previous sparkle when going back to Prestbury Park last month for the Festival. He finished fifth to the French-raider Kelami in the William Hill Trophy, making a lot of the running in the three-mile test. Last season he boasted some smart form with victories in handicap chases at Cheltenham, Ascot and Ayr. He won his novice hurdle at Uttoxeter in November 2001, and in the spring of 2003 he won a beginners' chase at Hereford and a novice chase at Stratford. All his runs have been in the colours of The Earl Cadogan and for trainer Henry Daly.

Race Record: Starts: 16; Wins 6: 2nd: 1; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £63,532


JOLY BEY (FR) FACTFILE
ch g Beyssac (FR) - Rivolie (FR) (Mistigri)
8-10-07 Form: 8532/15212311123/2515F-0541P Owner: David Dunsdon
Trainer: Nick Gifford Breeder: Phillippe Legault Jockey: Mr David Dunsdon

Joly Bey
Sold for just 70,000 francs (about £6,500) as a four-year-old at Goffs France in November, 2001, Joly Bey realised rather more on his next sale ring appearance at Doncaster 18 months later. That day, when sold by the Million In Mind Partnership, he was bought for £252,000 (240,000 guineas) by Surrey businessman John Dunsdon as a 21st birthday present for his amateur jockey son David.

After his sale as a four-year-old, Joly Bey joined top French trainer Guillaume Macaire but was sent over to Britain to make an inauspicious debut when beaten 50 lengths in a Fontwell bumper in February, 2002, and - after three further more promising starts - got his head in front in a non-thoroughbreds’ chase at Auteuil in May that year. After finishing fifth in a similar event at Auteuil, he was bought privately by bloodstock agent Anthony Bromley for the Million In Mind Partnership and joined Paul Nicholls, for whom he made his debut at Fakenham in October, 2002, when finishing second in a novice chase. He scored by 12 lengths in a similar event at Newton Abbot the following month and notched up two further successes and a couple of places before reverting to hurdles to win a Chepstow novices’ event in February, 2003. He then returned to fences and rounded the campaign off with two excellent placed efforts when third behind Irish Hussar in the Grade 2 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree and runner-up to Heart Midoltian in a Grade 3 event at the Punchestown Festival before his date at Doncaster Sales in May.

Trained for new owner David Dunsdon by his cousin Nick Gifford, Joly Bey made his debut for his new connections when fifth at Enghien in France in October, 2003, and next time out a handicap at Newbury in February last year. After finishing fifth in the valuable Vodafone Gold Cup, he paid his first visit to Aintree, when falling in the John Smith’s Topham Chase when in contention. This season, he has mixed hurdling and chasing and advertised his John Smith’s Grand National credentials when winning a three-mile handicap chase by six lengths from Iris Bleu at Sandown on February 17, although was pulled up when his saddle slipped last time out in the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on March 15.

Race Record: Starts: 25; 1st: 7; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £94,983


JUST IN DEBT (IRE) FACTFILE
b or br g Montelimar (USA) - No Debt (Oats)
9-10-04 Form: 4/02326F/231F56/03122735P1UP-012P Owner: Bill Hazeldean
Trainer: Martin Todhunter Breeder: Michael Lysaght Jockey: Tony Dobbin
Just In Debt
The nine-year-old started his career in Ireland and, when winning for the first time over fences, took a big scalp, beating Hedgehunter by 12 lengths off level weights in a beginners’ chase over two and three quarter miles at Cork on November 10, 2002. He was then trained by Pat Doyle in County Tipperary, owned by the Absent Friends Syndicate and partnered by conditional jockey Robert Power. He opened his hurdling account in a novice event at Kilbeggan on June 23, 2003, again ridden by Power. He had Davy Russell on board when third to Native Performance in the Kerry National at Listowel on September 17 later in the same year, having given the winner a stone and being beaten less than four lengths. It was Russell who recommended Just In Debt to trainer Martin Todhunter and owner Bill Hazeldean who bought him privately. On the fourth run for Todhunter, he gained his first success in Britain under Tony Dobbin in the Hamilton Campbell Handicap Chase at Ayr on fast ground in March of last year. He unseated Jim Culloty at the 23rd obstacle in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National before pulling up in the Scottish equivalent later in the same month. Well beaten on his seasonal debut, he returned to winning ways in a handicap chase at Newcastle in November, staying on to deny Rosie Redman by half a length. He then lined up in the totesport Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree later that month over the National fences, finding only Silver Birch a length too powerful. He was pulled up on his last start in a handicap hurdle at Ayr on March 12.

Race Record: Starts: 29; 1st: 4; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £64,315


L’AVENTURE (FR) FACTFILE
b or br m Cyborg - Amphitrite (Lazer)
6-10-05 Form: 2222F112422-11024644 Owner: Chris Harriman
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Breeder: F Cottin Jockey: Bobby McNally

L’Aventure
Only five but has plenty of experience as she attempts to become the first mare to win the race since Nickel Coin in 1951. Having won three times over hurdles in France as a four-year-old, including a claimer at Auteuil, she made an immediate impact when joining Paul Nicholls, winning twice over fences in the space of nine days in January 2004, landing a maiden chase at Ludlow by 21 lengths and being equally impressive against stronger opposition at Doncaster, where she coasted home by 17 lengths from Don Fernando. L’Aventure more than held her own in stronger company, being beaten only a length and a quarter by subsequent Hennessy and Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Celestial Gold at Cheltenham, and she then picked up an intermediate chase at Uttoxeter with the minimum of fuss.
LE COUDRAY (FR) FACTFILE
b g Phantom Breeze - Mos Lie (Tip Moss)
10-11-12 Form: 13/111112/P12/F111F4/422F-0P Owner: J P McManus
Trainer: Christy Roche IRE Breeder: N Pelat Jockey: Conor O’Dwyer
Le Coudray
Renowned as one of the classiest young hurdlers in France in his early days and five times successful at Auteuil, the money-spinning Le Coudray, bought for a reputed six-figure sum by JP McManus at the end of 1998, made a winning debut for Aidan O’Brien when beating a below-par Limestone Lad by 20 lengths on his Irish debut at Naas, having been left clear when Archive Footage capsized at the second last. Le Coudray then stepped up in distance for the bonusprint.com Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but the gruelling climb up the Prestbury Park hill proved just too much, and he was caught close home and beaten a neck by Anzum. However, freshened up at his owner’s Limerick stud in the summer, Le Coudray bounced back in the autumn, beating Limestone Lad, only to suffer a leg injury, which was to keep him off the racecourse for a month short of three years. A second problem with a sesamoid had delayed his return, and in the interim he was transferred to Christy Roche, but when he did come back at the end of 2002 it was over fences and he quickly made up for lost time, winning three races in a month, at Naas, Fairyhouse and Leopardstown and being particularly impressive on the last-named course, where he stuck to his task in game style to beat the useful Bust Out by half a length. Rated 148 as a novice, Le Coudray was pitched in the with the big boys for the 2003-4 season, and, though no match for Best Mate in the Grade 1 Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown, stayed on well for second, a position which he also claimed in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup on the same course in February, chasing home Florida Pearl by a respectable three lengths. Le Coudray ran in the 2004 John Smith’s Grand National, and right well did he run, too, being only a length behind eventual winner Amberleigh House when he capsized at Becher’s second time round, having jumped well up until then and showing himself to be nimble on his feet when surviving the chaos at that same fence on the first circuit. Le Coudray has done nothing in two races in the 2004-5 season, pulling up eight from home in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on his most recent appearance. Race Record: Starts: 23; 1st: 10; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £375,309

LORD ATTERBURY (IRE) FACTFILE
9 ch g Mister Lord (USA) - Tammyiris (Arapahos (FR))
9-10-03 Form: 111/P3-44 Owner: David Johnson
Trainer: Martin Pipe Breeder: Mrs Jill Twomey Jockey: Mark Bradburne
Lord Atterbury
There was no easier winner at the 2003 John Smith’s Grand National meeting than Lord Atterbury, whose facile distance success in the Novices’ Hunters’ Chase was not fully appreciated as it was the race immediately after the National. The nine-year-old graduated from point-to-points, first in Ireland and more recently in Britain, and made his first appearance outside of hunter chase company in the 2004 John Smith’s Grand National. His career began inauspiciously at the Co Limerick point-to-point at Athlacca when finishing fifth in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden on October 6, 2001, and it took five further attempts before he got his head in front at Ballingarry under crack amateur on June 2, 2002. He was bought for 10,000gns at Doncaster’s August Sale in 2002 by owner P J Finn and sent to David Pipe’s point-to-point yard. On his British pointing debut at Wadebridge on February 1, 2003, he won by 20 lengths under Ashley Farrant and followed up with wins at Buckfastleigh but ducked a marker on his next run. He made a sparkling hunter chase debut when scoring by 28 lengths at Leicester on March 4 before going on to his Aintree triumph a month later under Tattersalls auctioneer Harry Fowler, deputising for the injured Farrant. He was then sold to David Johnson and scored impressively in new ownership at Cheltenham on April 30 under Tom Greenall. He made a successful return to action last season in a point-to-point at Barbury Castle in January but was a disappointing 3/1 favourite when pulled up in the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham. He left that form well behind in the 2004 John Smith’s Grand National, when despite making a number of jumping errors, he ran a fine race to finish third behind Amberleigh House and Clan Royal. He then headed to the Interim Justitia Cup at Stratford in May, when he finished a disappointing fourth behind Torduff Express. Earlier this season he was under the care of Olivia Jackson, who had taken over from David Pipe the training of the hunter chasers and point-to-pointers, before being officially transferred back to Martin Pipe for the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, where he finished fourth to Sleeping Night.Race Record (under Rules): Starts: 7; 1st: 3; 2nd: 0; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £90,320.


MARCUS DU BERLAIS (FR) FACTFILE
gr g Saint Preuil - Rosacotte (Rose Laurel)
8-10-5 Form: 0123000111/6514522-003103 Owner: Marcus Beresford
Trainer: Arthur Moore IRE Breeder: J Lucas and Mme de Creane Jockey: Barry Cash

Marcus du Berlais
Attempts to become the first grey to win the race since Nicolaus Silver in 1961, and Barry Cash, who has been aboard for three of the horse’s six wins, again takes the ride. Won a maiden hurdle at Tramore early in 2002, and he improved a stone when rattling off a hat-trick at the start of the following year, winning handicaps at Naas, Fairyhouse and Punchestown. January seems his time of the year, because he came good again on New Year’s Day, 2004, when clocking up his first success over fences at Fairyhouse, but he held his form and ran a cracker to be beaten only half a length by Granit d’Estruval in the Irish Grand National back there in May. Marcus du Berlais has maintained his climb up the ladder this season, winning the £46,099 Pierse Leopardstown Chase by an easy four lengths in January, a victory that prompted an 8lb rise in the weights, though the horse ran well off that mark when finishing third to Numbersixvalverde when having a second tilt at the Irish National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.

Race Record: Starts: 23; 1st: 6; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £137,074

MERCHANTS FRIEND (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Lord Americo - Buck Maid (Buckskin)
10-10-0 Form: 12422/145F352P-3P1P0 Trainer: Charlie Mann
Owner: Magic Moments Breeder: Mrs Diza & John McCabe Jockey: Noel Fehily

Merchants Friend
Formerly trained in Ireland by Tom Taaffe, Merchants Friend was successful on his sixth start in a maiden hurdle at Listowel in April, 2000. The following season he won at the second time of asking over the bigger obstacles, scoring in a beginners' chase at Clonmel in November. His other success that term came in a handicap chase at Listowel in April, when proving four and a half lengths too powerful for Rockholm Boy. During the 2001/2002 campaign, the Lord Americo gelding was unable to get his head in front but he was placed third on a couple of occasions. He returned to winning ways the following season, winning a hurdle at Pardubice in the Czech Republic before winning his next two starts in handicap chases at Plumpton and Newbury, on the second occasion justifying favouritism by 14 lengths from Navarone. He was then runner-up on three of his next four outings. Last season began with another victory in a handicap chase at Uttoxeter in May but his best effort came when he found only Maximize a length too good in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, when he looked the winner with 50 yards to go but was collared by his rival in the final strides. This season, he won a handicap chase at Haydock in December, coming home 15 lengths ahead of Tipsy Mouse. On his last start he was disappointing in a hurdle at Kempton on the last day of January.

Race Record: Jumps Starts: 44; Wins: 8; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 5; Win and Place Prize Money: £105,436

MONTY’S PASS (IRE) FACTFILE
12 b g Montelimar (USA) - Friar’s Pass (Monksfield)
12-11-03 Form: 21/22460212421/4531323PF03/1326212336552/23P6313641/50004-3F00 Owner: Dee Racing Syndicate
Trainer: Jimmy Mangan IRE Breeder: Gerard Slattery Jockey: Barry Geraghty

Monty’s Pass
After winning a hunters’ chase at Cork in April, 1999, for trainer Jimmy Mangan, Monty’s Pass became a prolific winner of two and a half mile handicap chases between December of that year and August, 2001, taking five such events including the Denny Gold Medal Handicap Chase at Tralee, when beating Quinze by three lengths. On his next two starts the Montelimar gelding was placed in two Nationals when stepped up to three miles. On the first occasion he found just More Than A Stroll three and a half lengths too good in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel in September. The following month he was five and a half lengths third to Foxchapel King in the Anglo Irish Bank Munster National at Limerick. In 2002 he again competed in these two contests, winning the former by two lengths from Putsometnby and again finishing third in the Anglo Irish Bank Munster National, this time finding old rival More Than A Stroll three and a half lengths too powerful. Prior to these two fine performances, Monty’s Pass had run fifth behind Blowing Wind in the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase on his first appearance at the Cheltenham Festival, and been runner-up to Its Time For A Win in the 2003 John Smith’s Topham Chase at Aintree. After his third in the Munster National, the 10-year-old was well beaten in a couple of spins over hurdles in March. Presumably connections did not want to run him over fences again before the John Smith’s Grand National in order to preserve his chasing handicap mark. That was the right strategy as he won by 12 lengths at the odds of 16/1 to land a huge gamble for his owners. Last season the Montelimar gelding began proceedings in a novices’ hurdle at Tipperary on September 11, when finishing 15 lengths behind Kickham in fifth position. He then returned to fences in the Guinness Kerry National at Listowel six days later, finishing completely tailed off. A further two runs over hurdles set him up for another crack at the John Smith’s Grand National and he ran with credit to finish fourth under 11st 10lb. During the current campaign, he suffered his first fall over hurdles and was a well-beaten last behind Rathgar Beau in a Grade Two Chase over two miles at Thurles in January, though he ran respectably in his other two hurdle outings, including at Limerick on March 3.

Race Record: Starts: 56; 1st: 8; 2nd: 12; 3rd: 11 Win & place prize money: £542,756

NATIVE EMPEROR (GB) FACTFILE
br g Be My Native (USA) - Fiona’s Blue (Crash Course)
9-10-05 Form: 2114/123P/22121P-05P Owners: Jonathan, Jeremy and SR Hitchins
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Breeder: D Mitchell Jockey: Dominic Elsworth

Native Emperor
Twice a winner over hurdles for Ron Hodges, Native Emperor was transferred to Jonjo O’Neill in the summer of 2001, and he won three handicap hurdles the following winter, at Newton Abbot, Warwick and Uttoxeter. He made a winning debut in the 2002-3 season in a Listed Hurdle at Cheltenham and then chased home Bacchanal in a Grade 2 at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting. Having pulled up behind Baracouda in the 2003 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, it was decided to switch to fences, and he came within a head of making a winning debut over the larger obstacles, being pipped by Ballycassidy at Newbury. He again found one too good in Lord Sam when next appearing at Lingfield but then got lucky at Stratford and connections began to dream of a tilt at the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. However, O’Neill had a rethink and, taking the view that Native Emperor might not have the necessary toe for that race, he re-routed him for the four-mile NH Chase at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival. It proved a shrewd move as the horse won, prompting the trainer to remark in the winner’s enclosure “he might make a National horse one day.” He has been disappointing in three runs this season, but the dream is still alive.

Race Record: Starts: 28; 1st: 8; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £133,974

NIL DESPERANDUM (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Un Desperado - Still Hoping (Kambalda)
8-10-11 Form: 16121361/113-4P5S341 Owner: Michael Shone
Trainer: Frances Crowley Breeder: J H Kidd Jockey: Jim Culloty

Nil Desperandum
There is no shortage of stamina in the pedigree of Nil Desperandum - his sire has produced a fistful of big winners, including triple Gold Cup hero Best Mate and he also comes from the same family as both Charley Winking, who won the four-mile NH Chase at Cheltenham in 1972 and that smart staying chaser Young Hustler - and such is the potential that he has shown so far that he is hardly living up to his clever name. Successful in a bumper at Roscommon, he proved a smart novice hurdler, following up a win at Punchestown with a brace of victories at Navan. However, he has shown even better form over fences, winning a maiden chase at Punchestown at the first time of asking in November, 2003, when he beat none other than Central House, who has developed into a top-class chaser. Like Central House, Nil Desperandum did not take long to make his mark in Grade One company, winning the Pierse Group Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse by an easy 14 lengths on his very next start. Immediately, the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham was pencilled in as his ultimate target, but, unfortunately, he suffered an overreach which put him out of the race. He reappeared in the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April, and, though again finishing ahead of Central House, he was rusty after his enforced lay-off and had to be content with third place behind Hi Cloy and Kicking King. Two weeks later Nil Desperandum finished last of four behind Lord Sam in a Grade 3 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival, but it was a slow-run affair and did not play to his strengths. Connections aimed at the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury for his first race of the 2004/05 season, but, despite being a strong ante-post mover, he drifted badly on the day of the race and was never travelling or jumping, eventually pulling up with a mile to travel. A first-time visor had little effect when the Irish challenger came across to Windsor in December, nor blinkers when they were tried at Tramore, but he showed that he was on the way back when finishing an excellent third behind Rathgar Beau and Central House in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles. Disappointing next time out behind Hedgehunter at Fairyhouse, Nil Desperandum was spectacular when scoring by 20 lengths at Down Royal on his most recent outing, and he missed the Irish National to wait for today.

Race Record: Starts: 18; 1st: 7; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £73,679


POLAR RED (GB) FACTFILE
ch g Polar Falcon - Sharp Top (Sharpo)
8-10-08 Form: P080/211U631-127500 Owner: Lady Clarke
Trainer: Martin Pipe Breeder: Collectors’ Investments Ltd Jockey: Tom Malone

Polar Red
Five times a winner on the Flat for Mick Ryan, Polar Red has gone one better over jumps, winning four chases and a brace of hurdles. Runner-up in his first three novices when he went over timber, he was then equipped with a visor for the first time in a handicap at Cheltenham at the start of 2002, and the headgear made all the difference as he ran out an easy five lengths winner from Eternal Spring. That prompted a massive plunge on Polar Red for the competitive Imperial Cup at Sandown, where he started 6-4 favourite, but he did not let the punters down, battling on well to get home by a head from Impek. Subsequently disappointing when again market-leader at 2-1 for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, Polar Red adapted well when switched to fences and won a couple of novice chases at Chepstow. He went on to finish third behind Keltic Bard in an amateur novice at the 2004 Aintree Grand National meeting, and dropped back in class he then whizzed in at Exeter and Bangor. Runner-up to Gladiateur next time out at Stratford, Polar Red has since struggled to find his form, beating only one home in the Totesport Gold Trophy over hurdles at Newbury and on his most recent appearance trailing in last of the 16 finishers in the Mildmay of Flete Chase at Cheltenham.

Race Record: Starts: 23; 1st: 6; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £69,924

RISK ACCESSOR (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Commanche Run - Bellatollah (Bellman (FR))
10-11-01 Form: 222/12513231/1F2331F2/9223/161F29U4-232128F Owner: J P McManus
Trainer: Christy Roche IRE Breeder: Martin Conroy Jockey: Alan Crowe
Risk Accessor
Runner-up in a couple of bumpers during the 1999/2000 season, Risk Accessor was successful at the second attempt over hurdles when justifying favouritism in a maiden at Fairyhouse in October, 2000, when proving three and a half lengths too strong for Harbour Pilot. Three starts later he again entered the winner’s enclosure, this time in a Grade 3 novices’ hurdle at Naas in the January, staying on well to hold off Bob Justice by two lengths. A series of placed efforts followed before he won a similar event at Fairyhouse four months later, when eased close to the finish to deny Alpha Blues by two and a half lengths. He made the perfect start to his chasing career winning at Thurles in the October, comfortably getting the better of Give Over by three and a half lengths. Harbour Pilot then took revenge for the earlier defeat over timber, beating Risk Accessor by four and a half lengths in a Grade 1 novices’ chase at Fairyhouse in early December. Risk Accessor resumed winning ways, after a couple of thirds, in a chase at Thurles on Valentine’s Day, keeping on well from the last to hold off Masalarian by two lengths. On his first visit to the Cheltenham Festival in 2002, he capsized at the last when already well beaten in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. On July 31 of that year he made his first start in handicap company in the Galway Plate, finishing seven lengths fourth to Rockholm Boy. His next significant run came when he found just Palarshan three lengths too powerful in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival. He was then one place further back, 11 and a half lengths behind Golden Alpha, in the John Smith’s Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree in April. On his first three starts last term, he was sixth in the Galway Plate, in between victories in a hurdle at Tipperary in July and a chase at Thurles in October. In the December he narrowly went down by a head to Iris Royal in the bonusprint.com Gold Cup at Cheltenham. The 10-year-old was always behind in the Vodafone Gold Cup at Newbury in early March, 2004, before unseating Seamus Durack at Bechers first time around in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National. This season, after three placed efforts over timber and the bigger obstacles including a length second behind Ansar in the Galway Plate, he won a chase at Listowel in September, coming home unchallenged by 20 lengths from Takagi. The following month he journeyed to Limerick where he put in a good performance, finding just Colca Canyon half a length too powerful in the Munster National over three miles. A poor performance on his next start was followed by a fall at the final fence on his latest outing in the Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 17, although he held no chance of winning at the time.Race Record: Starts: 39; 1st: 8; 2nd: 13; 3rd: 6; Win & place prize money: £239,306

ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) FACTFILE
8 ch g Garde Royale - Carmonera (FR) (Carmont (FR))
8-11-07 Form: 31115/F111/440/4F0442/2302-132334 Owner: Clive Smith
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Breeder: Jacky Rauch, Mme Colette Rauch & Patrick Lauer Jockey: Christian Williams
Royal Auclair
Formerly trained in France, where he won two hurdles at Enghien in 2000, Royal Auclair made a winning debut in Britain for Martin Pipe in a novices’ hurdle at Sandown in early 2001, getting the better of Got One Too by 26 lengths. On his one subsequent start that term he was well beaten by Montalcino in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree two months later. The following season he was sent over the bigger obstacles winning three of his four starts including the Cathcart Chase at Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival in March, when proving one and a half lengths too powerful for Cregg House. During 2002/2003 the Garde Royale gelding was less successful, going down by at least 15 lengths on his three outings. He was transferred to Paul Nicholls after this campaign in August, 2003. Last season he was tremendously consistent, finishing in the first four on seven of his 10 starts including on his final outing at Sandown in the Betfred Gold Cup in April, going down by the shortest of margins to Puntal under a brilliant ride from Christian Williams. Despite being raised 6lb by the handicapper for that effort at Sandown, Royal Auclair made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Badger Ales Handicap Chase at Wincanton on November 6, beating Gunther McBride by two lengths despite Williams losing an iron at the last. He has subsequently been in the first four on his last five outings including a two and three-quarter length third to Celestial Gold in Newbury’s Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup later in the same month, the same placing behind Grey Abbey in the Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham in late January, and, most recently, when fourth to Kicking King in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 18, his best performance.

Race Record: Starts: 28; 1st: 7; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £267,802

SHAMAWAN (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Kris - Shamawna (Darshaan)
10-10-06 Form: 50/020/3P6302/211/2F132/5-4 Owner: JP McManus
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Breeder: His Highness The Aga Khan’s Studs SC Jockey: Shay Barry

Shamawan
Shamawan began his career on the Flat for the Aga Khan and Luca Cumani, winning a maiden at Newbury in 1998. Over jumps, he has developed into a confirmed mudlark and had some useful form two seasons ago before suffering a fracture which kept him off the track for a year. Having been unluckily to be beaten by Shady Affair in a novice handicap at Bangor in November, 2001, he made no mistake at Huntingdon, where Tony McCoy was always in complete control and brought him home an easy seven lengths winner from Copper Shell. Shamawan was equally impressive a fortnight later at Market Rasen and then lost nothing in defeat when going under by two lengths to Batswing at Punchestown. Though tipping up on his reappearance at Southwell in the 2002-3 season, it was soon a case of normal service being resumed as he romped home by five lengths from Just Jasmine at Ascot and then returned to the Royal Heath to finish third to Young Devereaux. Shamawan then went to Cheltenham’s January meeting for the competitive Ladbroke Trophy, and he was desperately unlucky not to come away with the prize, being checked after the last and having to be switched but still failing by only a neck to catch Lady Cricket. However, injury then struck and he shaped promisingly on his return to finish fourth over hurdles at Sandown. But he is clearly not an easy horse to train, because he was off for another 292 days before finishing a creditable fourth in a handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter in November, 2004, after which the stable were struck down by a virus which has kept him off the course since.

Race Record:Jumps. Starts: 21; Wins: 3: 2nd: 5; 3rd: 3; Win and Place Prize Money: £20,822

SIMPLY GIFTED (GB) FACTFILE
b g Simply Great (FR) - Souveniers (Relko)
10-10-06 Form: 1F2/1194/331315333/P403/1/U41-05443 Owner: Steve Hammond
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Breeder: T J Cooper Jockey: Brian Harding

Simply Gifted
Simply Gifted started his career with Tim Easterby and gained his only success on the Flat when scoring at Newcastle on his second outing as a two-year-old in July,1997. In November the following year, he made a successful jumping debut in novice hurdle at Wetherby. He won twice more over hurdles, and highly regarded, took his chance in the 1999 Grade 2 Glenlivet Anniversary Novices' Hurdle at Aintree, finishing fourth to Hors La Roi who went on the win the Champion Hurdle three years later. Simply Gifted got off the mark over fences at the second time of asking at Leicester in November, 2000, and gained one more chasing success, at Haydock, before switching back to hurdling, and on what proved to be his last run for Easterby he finished third to Landing Light in the Grade 2 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on December 1, 2001. He was not seen on a racecourse again until January 23, 2004, (reported to have had a wind operation and to have suffered ligament problems) having been moved to the Jonjo O'Neill stable and he made a successful debut for the Jackdaws Castle trainer over fences at Chepstow, and three months later struck again, at Ayr, where ironically he beat his former stable companion Turgeonev by a neck in the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase. With his stable having been under a cloud, he has had only two outings since the turn of the year, both last month, finishing fourth of 15 behind Supreme Prince in the valuable Vodafone Gold Cup at Newbury and following that with another good effort to finish third to Liberthine in the Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Race Record: Starts: 29; Wins: 7: 2nd: 1 3rd: 8 Win & Place Prize Money £85,086

SPOT THEDIFFERENCE (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Lafontaine - Spotted Choice (Callernish)
12-10-04 Form: P13F/228/4142/311126UP/6U0/U8422551-01141 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: Enda Bolger IRE Breeder: Fenlon Bros Jockey: Robbie Power
Spot Thedifference
The Enda Bolger-trained Spot Thedifference, who realised Ir8,200gns when sold as a four-year-old at Goffs in June, 1997, did extremely well on the two of four starts that he completed in the 1998/9 season. After winning a hunters’ chase at Clonmel in February, the following month he finished a creditable third to Deejaydee in the National Hunt Chase at the 1999 Cheltenham Festival. Although unable to win in three starts the following term, he was only denied by two of the best hunter chasers in Ireland, Sheltering and Dan’s Your Man, in a couple of Irish hunter chases before finishing eighth to Bells Life in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree over the National fences on his final outing of the campaign. One further success followed in the 2000/2001 campaign - in a hunters’ chase at Thurles in February. He was runner-up to Sheltering in similar events at Fairyhouse, on the second occasion only beaten two-and-a-half lengths in the Champion Hunters’ Chase. He won three times the following season, firstly in a Kilbeggan hunters’ chase in May, the next month he followed up in a handicap chase at Roscommon and he completed the hat-trick with a return to Kilbeggan where he won a similar event by 15 lengths from Oranbay. He was unable to justify favouritism in the Midlands National Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter, over 3m 7f, when finishing runner-up to Rockholm Boy and he was sixth in a novices’ hurdle over at Punchestown in March. He lined up in the 2002 John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree, where he was staying on before unseating rider David Casey when hampered four fences from home. The following season he was unable to get into the winner’s enclosure, with his best effort in three starts coming when sixth behind Kingscliff in the Christie’s Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He also unseated Mr J T McNamara in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree, before finishing 25 lengths adrift of Timbera in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. Last term he was beaten by at least 25 lengths on his first three completed starts, including a couple of spins over timber, before just failing to win the English Summer National at Uttoxeter in June, going down by half a length to Jurancon II. He was runner-up again in a hunters’ chase at Leopardstown in February, prior to running fifth behind Earthmover in the Christie’s Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his next start in March. He then filled the same position around 35 lengths behind Amberleigh House in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National before winning a chase over 4m 2f at Punchestown later in April, when comfortably disposing of Shady Lad by 14 lengths. This season he has come into his own in cross-country chases at Cheltenham, winning all three such events. The most recent of these victories came at the Festival in March, when he led at the last in the Sporting Index Cross-Country Handicap Chase to get the better of Luzcadou by two and a half lengths. Race Record: Starts: 35; 1st: 9; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £140,668

STRONG RESOLVE (IRE) FACTFILE
gr g Roselier (FR) - Farmerette (Teofane)
9-10-06 Form: 62F3UP50/P333545P541P/321P22112-4621122 Owner: Fair City Flyers
Trainer: Lucinda Russell Breeder: William Delahunty Jockey: Peter Buchanan
Strong Resolve
Like good wine, Strong Resolve has improved with age, and has been successful five times since bought out of the Jim Barclay stable by Lucinda Russell in the summer of 2003. Miss Russell had her eye on him since he finished fifth in an Ayr bumper in April 2002 in which her Mackenzie was third. He had gained his first of six wins in all at the 19th attempt in the Loch Doon Maiden Hurdle at Ayr in March, 2003. His then owner Nigel Shepherd is now a member of the 12 strong Fair City Flyers syndicate whose colours he carries. His best effort however was when beating all but Silver Birch in the Coral Welsh National in December, a performance which encouraged his connections to run him in this year's National rather than wait for the 2006 renewal, the Becher Chase in the autumn having been the original Aintree target for this year. He was originally bought for 14,000 euros at Tattersalls Ireland in June 1999 as a three-year-old, having been bred by William Delahunty.

Race Record: Starts 36; Wins: 6; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money £74,851

TAKE THE STAND (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Witness Box (USA) - Denys Daughter (IRE) (Crash Course)
9-11-02 Form: 00/64224135/P211/F121B14F-21126PF32 Owner: The Courters
Trainer: Peter Bowen Breeder: James Phelan Jockey: Leighton Aspell

Take The Stand
Take The Stand was unable to win in two bumper starts for Chris Kinane in 2000 before transferring to Ian Williams, who saddled him to win a hurdle at the sixth time of asking in a maiden event at Worcester in September, 2001, when he was five lengths too powerful for Muharib Lady. After two more starts over timber, the Witness Box gelding was sent chasing and he was able to win two novice contests at Fakenham and Plumpton. He was bought for 20,000 guineas at Doncaster Sales in May, 2003, by Peter Bowen, who sent him out to win three handicap chases before the end of the year; at Newton Abbot, Chepstow and Exeter, which saw his handicap mark jump from 114 to 135. He lined up in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow just after Christmas, when he was a creditable fourth to Bindaree and fell on his final start of the campaign. He was successful in the Britannia Building Society English Summer National at Uttoxeter in June and followed up with an easy victory in a handicap chase at Newton Abbot two months later, beating Gladiateur IV by 20 lengths. Take The Stand then lined up in the totesport Wigan Chase at Aintree in October, going down by 11 lengths to Farmer Jack. A sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham was then followed by two uncompleted outings before he bounced back to form with a 16 length third to Lord Transcend in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on January 22. On his last start the nine-year-old put up the performance of his career, going down by five lengths in second to Kicking King in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at Prestbury Park on March 18. A mark of 11st 2lb in the John Smith’s Grand National leaves him potentially very well in but will the vigours of the Gold Cup leave their mark on him?
Race Record: Starts: 31; 1st: 8; 2nd: 7; 3rd: 2; Win & place prize money: £229,706




GRAND NATIONAL CODEBREAKER, 2005

4.10pm Aintree, Saturday, April 9, 2005.

£700,000 JohnSmith’s Grand National Handicap Chase four and a half miles



The John Smith’s Grand National is the world’s most famous jump race and the four and a half mile handicap chase is seen around the world by over 600 million people.


Worth £700,000 - double the next most valuable jump race in Britain, there is once again a maximum field of 40.

There are definite trends to follow, despite this huge field.


Since 1984 no winner of the National has carried more than the 11st shouldered by Rhyme ‘N’ Reason in 1988.

This means that Codebreaker can immediately eliminate the top 11 in the weights -
Le Coudray, Royal Auclair , Monty's Pass, Fondmort, Take the Stand, Ballycassidy, Ballybough Rasher Risk Accessor, Bindaree, Amberleigh House and Hedgehunter

In the last 20 runnings of the Grand National, the only winners younger than nine were eight-year-old Party Politics in 1992 and the 2002 scorer Bindaree who was the same age.


The rest of the successful horses during this time have been aged between nine and 12.


Therefore all six and seven-year-olds drop out of calculations as do horses aged 13 and older. We therefore say goodbye to Double Honour and L’Aventure.


Looking at the last 18 National scorers, 13 had been successful earlier in the season, including six of the last nine winners. Amberleigh House, Bindaree, Papillon, Royal Athlete and Party Politics were the four victors not to have got their heads in front beforehand in the campaign.


This looks the classiest renewal of the Grand National ever and it will take place on nearly good ground meaning that the plodders who have not won earlier in the season will struggle.


Therefore all those who have not won earlier in the 2004/2005 season drop out - and therefore we lose Ad Hoc, Arctic Copper, Astonville, Clan Royal, Foly Pleasant, Frenchman’s Creek, Glenelly Gale, Iznogoud, Jakari, Lord Atterbury, Native Emperor, Shamawan, and Simply Gifted

Compared to other recent winners Miinnehoma, successful in 1994, was extremely lightly-raced that season having only run twice previously. Every other winner in the last 18 years had been out between four and nine times earlier on.
Therefore, Forest Gunner and Heros Collonges, both very lightly raced, get the chop.

Falls and unseated riders have only appeared rarely in the form-lines of past winners - indeed only four times since 1986 which leads to the conclusion that Take The Stand and Europa can be overlooked.

In such a competitive race, it might be expected that there are a lot of long-priced winners. In fact 16 of the last 18 winners have been returned at 28/1 or less, with only 33/1 shot Red Marauder ruining this pattern since Royal Athlete sprung a surprise at 40/1.


Therefore Polar Red and Merchants Friend disappear, leaving It Takes Time, Nil Desperandum, Joly Bey, Colnel Rayburn, Just In Debt, Spot Thedifference, Innox, Strong Resolve and Marcus Du Berlais which demonstrates what an open race it is.


Recent winners all had their previous start since March which puts the dampeners on Colnel Rayburn and Innox.


Only two greys have succeeded in the Grand National’s long history which means the odds are against Strong Resolve and Marcus Du Berlais.


There are five still to choose from - It Takes Time, Nil Desperandum, Joly Bey, Just In Debt and Spot The Difference.


Amateur riders rarely win so Joly Bey is put to one side while Just In Debt pulled up last time, something no other National winner since 1986 has done.


The remaining trio are hard to pick from but SPOT THE DIFFERENCE is the pick because of two factors - he has proved he stays which the others have not and he is trained in Ireland which has enjoyed plenty of success in recent seasons.


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


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