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Saturday, April 14, 2007


JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL MEETING
FINAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2007



4.15pm JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE THREE)
£700,000 guaranteed, 4m 4f Grand National Course, For 6yo+ which are allotted a rating of 110 or more Minimum Weight 10st Hedgehunter’s Handicap Mark 158 Entries 119 pay £450 1st Forfeit 106 pay £500 2nd Forfeit 81 pay £500 Confirmed 68 pay £550 Penalty Value 1st £399,140; 2nd £149,730; 3rd £74,970; 4th £37,380; 5th £18,760; 6th £9,380

1 SILVER BIRCH (IRE) (Brian Walsh (Co Kildare)) Gordon Elliott IRE 10-10-06t Robert Power 33/1
2 MCKELVEY (IRE) (Noel Elliott) Peter Bowen 8-10-04p Tom O'Brien 12/1
3 SLIM PICKINGS (IRE) (Doubtful Five Syndicate) Tom Taaffe IRE 8 -10-08 Barry Geraghty 33/1
4 PHILSON RUN (IRE) (Gale Force One) Nick Williams 11-10-05 Daryl Jacob 100/1
5 LIBERTHINE (FR) (Robert Waley-Cohen) Nicky Henderson 8-10-06 Mr Sam Waley-Cohen 40/1
6 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE (IRE) (Bernard Carroll) Martin Brassil IRE 11-11-03 Niall Madden 14/1
7 LONGSHANKS (Alan Halsall) Kim Bailey 10-10-07 Tony Dobbin
8 PUNTAL (FR) (Terry Neill) David Pipe 11-10-05tp Tom Scudamore
9 HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Willie Mullins IRE 11-11-12 Ruby Walsh
10 L'AMI (FR) (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 8-11-08p Tony McCoy
11 CLAN ROYAL (FR) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 12-10-09 Mr J T McNamara
12 GALLANT APPROACH (IRE) (Byrne Bros (Formwork) Ltd) Charles Egerton 8-10-09 Jimmy McCarthy
13 KELAMI (FR) (Halewood International) Francois Doumen FR 9-10-12 Mick Fitzgerald
F1 POINT BARROW (IRE) (Mrs P Clune Hughes) Pat Hughes IRE 9-10-12 Philip Carberry 8/1 co-fav
U1 TIKRAM (Mike Charlton & Rodger Sargent) Alan King 10-10-05 Wayne Hutchinson
F6 LE DUC (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 8-10-02 Dominic Elsworth
U6 LIVINGSTONEBRAMBLE (IRE) (Favourites Racing) Willie Mullins IRE 11-10-09 Davy Russell
F6 JACK HIGH (IRE) (Brenda Ross, M McShane, D Montgomery, W Moore) Ted Walsh IRE 12-10-03B Richard McGrath
R7 MONKERHOSTIN (FR) (Martin St Quinton) Philip Hobbs 10-11-06 Richard Johnson 8/1 co-fav
P bef 7 ZABENZ (NZ) (Michael Watt) Philip Hobbs 10-10-08b Barry Fenton
U8 KNOWHERE (IRE) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-10-13 Tom Doyle
F8 KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) (Let’s Live Racing) Alan King 9-10-08 Robert Thornton
F9 ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) (Clive Smith) Paul Nicholls 10-11-01t Joe Tizzard
Ref bef 15 CLOUDY BAYS (IRE) (Cloudy Bay Syndicate) Charles Byrnes IRE 10-11-00P Andrew McNamara
P bef 19 BILLYVODDAN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 8-11-04b Leighton Aspell
U19 IDLE TALK (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Donald McCain Jnr 8-11-02 Jason Maguire
U19 THE OUTLIER (IRE) (Pat Murphy) Venetia Williams 9-10-05 Paul O'Neill
P bef 20 JOES EDGE (IRE) (Chemipetro Limited) Ferdy Murphy 10-10-02 Graham Lee 8/1 co-fav
P 22 HOMER WELLS (IRE) (Madeleine McMahon) Willie Mullins IRE 9-10-06 Davy Condon
P bef 22 EUROTREK (IRE) (Paul Green) Paul Nicholls 11-11-08 Liam Heard
P bef 22 CELTIC SON (FR) (David Johnson) David Pipe 8-10-11t Timmy Murphy
F22 BEWLEYS BERRY (IRE) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 9-10-07 Paddy Brennan
F22 GRAPHIC APPROACH (IRE) (Mr & Mrs Peter Orton) Charles Egerton 9-10-06 Paul Moloney
P bef 23 NAUNTON BROOK (David Langdon) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-10-04tb1 Noel Fehily
U 24 BALLYCASSIDY (IRE) (Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar) Peter Bowen 11-10-09 Denis O'Regan
F25 SIMON (Mercy Rimell) John Spearing 8-10-11 Andrew Thornton
P bef 27 DUN DOIRE (IRE) (Dunderry Racing Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE 8-10-08 Paul Carberry
P29 BOTHAR NA (IRE) (Helen O’Dwyer) Willie Mullins IRE 8-10-06 David Casey
P bef 29 SONEVAFUSHI (FR) (Brian Dice) Venetia Williams 9-10-03 Mr T Greenall
P bef 30 THISTHATANDTOTHER (IRE) (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 11-11-05 Jamie Moore

40 ran
Time: 9m 13.6s
Distances: 3/4, 1 1/4, 15, 5, 21, 1 1/4, 13, 1 1/2, dist, 14, 2, 29
Breeding: b g Clearly Bust - All Gone
Breeder: J & Mrs Power
Totes: Win: £41.90 Places:£.20; £4.20; £9.80; £29.30 Exacta: £667.60

Winning Trainer: Gordon Elliott Age: 29 Based: Capranny, Trim, Co Meath, Ireland Background: Former point-to-point ride. Started out at Tony Martin’s Meath stables. Moved to Martin Pipe in 2002 and rode one winner from six amateur rides. Began training in 2006 at Capranny Stables, owned by Barry Callaghan, head of the Dun Doire Syndicate. Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2007 Silver Birch) Wins in Britain this season: 4

Winning Jockey: Robert Power Age: 25 Background: Robert Power is the son of legendary Irish showjumper and trainer Con Power, who is regarded as the top man in Ireland to deal with horses who find it difficult to learn to jump properly. A silver medallist at the European Junior Showjumping Championships in 2000, Power made the switch to jump racing the following year. First winner as a professional came on the Paddy Mullins-trained Bob What at Leopardstown in February, 2002. He was honoured at the 2004 Irish Jump Racing Awards as the leading claiming rider Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2007 Silver Birch) Other Big Race Wins Include: John Smiths Midlands Grand National (2003 Intelligent), Galway Plate (2003 Nearly A Moose) Wins in Ireland (2001/02-2005/6): 8; 12; 28; 35; 25 Wins in Ireland this season: 15 Wins in Britain (2002/03-2005/06): 1; 0; 0; 0 Wins in Britain in this season: 2


SILVER TURNS TO GOLD

Silver Birch, who had promised so much earlier in his career, finally realised that promise to win the John Smith’s Grand National in a thrilling finish.

“We thought he would run a good race, but this is a dream come true,” said Gordon Elliott, at 29 the youngest trainer in the race.


“We only got the horse a year ago, and sweetened him up with some cross country chases,” said Elliott, who was covered by almost as much water as his horse in the celebrations afterwards.


The trainer, winning the John Smith’s Grand National only a year after getting his full training licence, was confident that once the horse had mastered Barry Geraghty’s horse Slim Pickings that Silver Birch would win.


“If he jumped the last two then I thought we had it. We struggle enough in this game and I’m certainly going to celebrate tonight,” he said.


Brian Walsh, the owner and at just 26 also the youngest in the race, immediately paid credit to his trainer. “He’s done a heck of a job to get this horse ready,” he said.


Walsh also paid credit to Michael Donohoe of the Irish BBA who bought the horse for him for just £20,000 at the Doncaster Sales last year. Donohoe explained: “They were looking for a hunter chaser to have a bit of fun with and he had a bit of leg when we bought him, but this...this is a fairytale.”


THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL WINNING JOCKEY

Robbie Power, the winning jockey on Silver Birch, said: “Unbelievable, what a ride I got all the way.

“He jumped and travelled great. It does not get better than this. I should retire now.


“I looked around turning for home and he was going the best. Credit to Gordon Elliott - the trainer), he has done some job to get this horse ready.

“Gordon was worried that Silver Birch wouldn't be able to lay-up early on, but it meant I was able to keep out of trouble.


"Once I got to the front he did nothing. Gordon picked him up for nothing (20,000 guineas) and he looks a bargain now."

THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL WINNING OWNER

Brian Walsh, the winning owner, said: “Gordon (Elliott) advised me to try for Silver Birch, and, together with Mick Donohoe of the BBA, I went to Doncaster Sales last May and managed to pick him up for 20,000gns.


"I probably had only one more bid in me, but, though Silver Birch looked A1 and was surprisingly cheap for a horse who had already won a Welsh National and a Becher Chase, when he walked off the box at Troytown he was in a right old state.


"Michael Sadler rang me to tell me that he was lame here and lame there and that, in his opinion, I had two choices; either we could inject his tendons and leave him standing in his box for a month or give him a year off.


"We decided on the injections, and he was grand after a month and has never given us a bother since.


"We will be celebrating in Gregory's in Kilcock (Co Kildare) when we get home, and I've got a good lump of cash to collect, too. I had a decent bet on Silver Birch at 66-1, and, having won plenty at Cheltenham, it has been a good spring.


"I come from a farming family, but nowadays I concentrate on the horses and we have 12 in training.


"I also have the Rheindross Stud at Kilcock, which keeps me busy as we have 20 broodmares there, including two in foal to Galileo and Johannesburg, though my first love is definitely jumping.


"We also have a decent broodmare prospect in Rhacophorus, who won the Aintree bumper last season. I bought her later that month for £220,000 at Brightwells Auction at Cheltenham, and she might run at Punchestown at the end of the month."


FIFTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Silver Birch, bought for just 20,000 guineas from Paul Nicholls’ stable at Doncaster Sales in May last year, proved a dream purchase for his 29-year-old Co Meath-based trainer Gordon Elliott, who has still to saddle a winner in Ireland.


It was a victory for 20-somethings as the horse’s Co Kildare-based owner Brian Walsh is just 26 years old while jockey Robert Power is 25.


“We were second at Cheltenham and Punchestown with this horse and he seemed quite well in at the weights here. I thought that if we were in the first five or six I’d be over the moon,” said Elliott, whose yard is owned by Barry Callaghan, who heads the syndicate that owns Dun Doire. “Robbie and everyone at home has been brilliant. It was a real team effort.”

Elliott paid tribute to Jason Maguire, who had ridden Silver Birch to be second at Cheltenham. “A lot of thanks go to Jason, who is the most under-rated rider in England. I was meant to be going to stay with him tonight but we’ll see what happens. He was the first man I saw in the weighing-room today and would be one of my best friends,” added the trainer.


“Punchestown was originally our plan, for the cross-country chase, but we have to enjoy tonight now and think about it.


“I rode 50 winners on the track (under Rules) and over 200 in point-to-points but got a few falls on my shoulder and had always been keen to train. We have 25 to 30 horses, mainly point-to-pointers. I’m lucky that someone like Brian, who buys a lot at different ends of the business, has supported me.


“I’ve had four winners in England but never trained a winner in Ireland. I’m meant to have two runners at Worcester tomorrow.


“It goes without saying that to win a Grand National is a dream come true. When I was with Mr Pipe I was jocked up to ride a couple of times but didn’t get to ride.”

Power added: “This is better than sex - Mick Fitzgerald was right!,” echoing the comments of Fitzgerald when successful on Rough Quest in 1996. “The horse was relaxed through the prelims and when they charged the tape for the first time he let everything go on around him.


“We jumped off and had a lovely position and the only small bit of trouble came at Becher’s second time. But the loose horse didn’t off put me at all.


“I wasn’t sure we were going to win until we crossed the Melling Road but nothing seemed to be going better than the horse in front. I could then hear the commentator saying there was something coming on the outside (McKelvey) and thought ‘oh shit’ but we stayed on.


“This is definitely now the best horse I’ve ever ridden. Well done to Godon, who runs a good show with his brother Joey Elliott and he’s not trained a winner in Ireland yet.”

The winner was led up Fiona Dowling from Co Kerry, who was taking a break from her time on the Irish National Stud course to lead up Silver Birch. “There’s not a bother on him and the horse has come out of the race very well,” said Dowling after the race.



WINS AT 33/1- SILVER BIRCH (IRE) FACTFILE

b g Clearly Bust - All Gone (Giolla Mear)
10-10-06 Form: 4113/3124P/111/4PPF-82421 Owner: Brian Walsh (Co. Kildare)
Trainer: Gordon Elliott IRE Breeder: J & Mrs Power Jockey: Robert Power

Silver Birch
A leading fancy for the 2005 John Smith’s Grand National, Silver Birch failed to make the line-up at Aintree after heat was discovered in a leg, one month before the race. His prominence in the market owed everything to a hat-trick of victories in November and December 2004, which included the totesport Becher Chase over the Grand National course. On that occasion he proved a length too good for Just In Debt, and followed up with a two-length defeat of Strong Resolve in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow. Prior to that successful sequence in the first half of the 2004/05 season, he had shown plenty of potential. He made his racecourse debut in a Chepstow maiden hurdle in November, 2002, running fourth to Shardam, and returned to the Welsh track to score his first success later that month. Another win, this time at Plumpton, was followed by a disappointing effort at Exeter in April that marked the end of his debut season. He made a belated return in January of the 2003/2004 season, running third to Ballet-K at Exeter, on his first start over fences. He won next time out, again at Chepstow, in the Letheby & Christopher Beginners’ Chase. A second to Fork Lightning at Wincanton was followed by a fourth-place finish behind Native Emperor in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He was subsequently pulled up in a novices’ chase at Ayr in April. His three wins from three starts the following term, in a season cruelly cut short by injury, promised great things for this campaign. Given a year to get over his set-back, Silver Birch returned to action at Warwick in January, 2006, when he ran an encouraging fourth and returned to fences at Wincanton the following month and was pulled up. He failed to fire again over hurdles at Chepstow before falling at the Chair in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National. He was sent to Doncaster Sales in May last year when he was bought by Brian Walsh for 20,000gns, joining trainer Gordon Elliott. He has run four times since and most recently came a good second in the Sporting Index Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month. He famously wins the John Smith’s Grand National today in a thrilling finish
Race Record: Starts; 21: Wins; 7: 2nd; 3: 3rd; 2: Win & Place Prize Money; £537,504.


Brian Walsh
From a farming family, Brian Walsh runs Rheindross Stud at Kilcock, County Kildare, named after the racehorse trained by Arthur Moore and Charlie Mann which Walsh owned. The stud currently houses 20 broodmares, including two in foal to Galileo and Johannesburg. Walsh has also invested heavily in racehorses, last April paying £220,000 for Aintree bumper winner Rhacophorus at the Brightwells Auction at Cheltenham. At the time, it was a public auction record for a National Hunt mare in training. Rhacophorus is entered for the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown later this month. In total, Walsh has 12 horses in training. Paul Nolan has two of them, including Rhacophorus, and there are three with Charlie Mann, including Air Force One who was second in the Brit Insurance Novices' Hurdles at Cheltenham last month. Silver Birch joined the Walsh fold in May last year, when he was purchased for 20,000gns at Doncaster Sales. Walsh is just 26, and, if we exclude the syndicates, he is the youngest owner in the race.
No previous Grand National Runners

Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott was a very successful point-to-point rider, who also rode winners under Rules as well. He started his racing career while still at school, working at Tony Martin's stable in County Meath. From there, he moved to Martin Pipe's in 2002, and during his spell at Pond House his six rides as an amateur included one winner. Elliott then returned to Ireland for another term at Martin's stables. In 2004, Barry Callaghan, head of the Dun Doire syndicate, bought Capranny Stables at Trim in County Meath. When Elliott started his training career, early last year, those stables became his base. At 29, Elliott is the youngest trainer with a horse in this year's Grand National.

No previous Grand National Runners

Robbie Power
Robert Power is the son of legendary Irish showjumper and trainer Con Power, who is regarded as the top man in Ireland to deal with horses who find it difficult to learn to jump properly. A silver medallist at the European Junior Showjumping Championships in 2000, Power made the switch to jump racing the following year and rode his first winner on only his third attempt when partnering his mother's Younevertoldme, trained by Jessica Harrington, in a hurdle race at Punchestown in December, 2001. The 25 year-old is attached to Harrington's Co. Kildare stable where he began as an amateur after receiving encouragement from Richard Dunwoody. His first winner as a professional came on the Paddy Mullins-trained Bob What at Leopardstown in February, 2002. He partnered the Mulilns-trained Nearly A Moose to success in the 2003 Galway Plate. That success came after he had sprung to prominence in Britain with a win aboard the Harrington-trained Intelligent in the Midlands Grand National earlier in the year. He was honoured at the 2004 Irish Jump Racing Awards as the leading claiming rider and in August of that year he partnered his first Australian winner to clinch victory in the annual Irish jump jockey challenge down under. A broken bone in a foot, sustained in a schooling accident, cost him the winning ride on Newmill in the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Grand National Record: 2005 Spot Thedifference (18th) 2007 1st SILVER BIRCH.


Race 5 - John Smith’s Grand National - Placed Quotes

SO CLOSE FOR BOWEN

McKelevey came within three-quarters of a length of providing the first Welsh-trained winner
of the John Smith’s Grand National since Kirkland in 1905 and trainer Peter Bowen was left wondering what might have been.


He said: “That felt brilliant, until we got beat!

“He has run a real good race.


“We have now finished second in a Gold Cup [with Take The Stand in 2005] and second in a Grand National - I suppose someone has to get beat!

“It has been a very good week and we’ve earned lots of money.


“Maybe we will have some celebrations tomorrow - it’s a long way home from here.


“Tom has ridden a good race. The horse stays forever and we didn’t want to be too near the front.”

WILLIAMS VINDICATED

Trainer Nick Williams was was very satisfied after 100/1 chance Philson Run stayed on from off the pace to take fourth place, some 17 lengths adrift of the winner.


Williams said: “I’m thrilled to bits.


“I said in the Racing Post this morning that I thought he could win and he’s run a great race.


“I think the ground was perfect for him. He wouldn’t have wanted it any softer as he has finished tired enough as it is.


“He will be turned out for the season now and the plan will to come back here next year.


“It worked coming here on the back of just one run this time and I think we may do that again.


“I think you need a relatively fresh horse and you can’t come to the National as an afterthought.”

GALLANT LIBERTHINE

The mare Liberthine, partnered by amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, ran a superb race to come home in fifth place.


Her trainer Nicky Henderson said: “She ran a wonderful race and Sam gave her a lovely ride - he’s buzzing.


“Horse and jockey enjoyed themselves and she’ll go to Hernando next week.


“If she doesn’t get in foal we’ll have another think.


“She gets her fun next week!”



MONKERHOSTIN REFUSED

Philip Hobbs saddled 8/1 co favourite Monkerhostin in the John Smith’s Grand National but got no further than the Foinavon (seventh) fence on the first circuit, when he refused.


The Minehead trainer contined: “Richard Johnson said he hit the third and that frightened him a bit.


“We don’t know whether he got baulked, or what made him refuse.


“Also, Richard said a leather broke at Becher’s.”


Race 5 Jockeys' Quotes
John Smith's Grand National Handicap Chase

JOCKEY QUOTES

Sam Waley-Cohen, rider of the fifth Liberthine: "That was magic - she's so game that mare. I just wish I could have tucked her in a bit for some cover, but she was jumping so well and in her stride and I didn't want to start breaking that and then meeting the fences wrong. She made one mistake when she went down on her nose, but I don't know how much that cost us."

J T McNamara, rider of the 11th Clan Royal: "He jumped great, but they were always going a bit quick for him."

Jimmy McCarthy, rider of the 12th Gallant Approach: "I had a super ride, but he was always flat out."

Tony Dobbin, rider of the seventh Longshanks: "He travelled well and jumped well, but it's a long time since he last ran. I thought he had a chance going to the third-last, but he got tired after that."

David Casey, rider of Bothar Na who was pulled up before the 29th: "It went great for a circuit - he was travelling well and jumping super, but he got tired after that and we were lucky to get home."

Wayne Hutchinson, rider of Tikram, unseated at the first: "He banked the first and I think it was the second before I fell off. It took a long time before gravity took over."

Ruby Walsh, rider of ninth Hedgehunter: "He ran another fine race, but I suppose the weight and lack of a run told in the end. We were never going well enough for me to think we might win. The ground wasn't a factor."

Richard Johnson, rider of Monkerhostin who refused at the seventh: "He jumped the first two great, but then took off a stride too soon at the first ditch [the third] and frightened himself. He was lucky not to come down. He got over Becher's, but he was very careful, and with all the horses running down Foinavon it gets very narrow and he refused."

Andrew McNamara, rider of Cloudy Bays who refused at the 15th: "He can be a tricky customer at the start, and while he was okay initially we had to line up so many times he got sick of it. Eventually he got into the race in mid-division, but he wasn't enjoying it and he stopped at the Chair."

Paul Moloney, rider of Graphic Approach who fell at Becher’s second time around: "It was always the plan to drop the horse in, because that was how I rode him at Ascot and we weren't sure whether he'd get the trip. I did that for a circuit and he was going so well, so it was very disappointing when we went at Becher's second time."

Choc Thornton, rider of Kandjar D'Allier who fell at the eighth: "I got wiped out by loose horses at the Canal Turn. He was going well and when I got over Becher's I thought if he stays we'll get round. Then two loose horses got in the way."

Liam Heard, rider of Eurotrek whoi was pulled up at the 22nd : "Everything was going a bit quick for him and when Royal Auclair fell he was nearly brought down. After that he was careful at the fences, never travelling and always flat out. I pulled up before Becher's second time."

Denis O'Regan, rider of Ballycassidy who unseated at the 24th: "He ran into the corner at the Canal Turn, jinked in behind some loose horses, on he went and I came off. The cheekpieces were taken off him at the start because they weren't declared and he probably needed them because he was just starting to labour a bit. It was a disadvantage, but probably didn't make any difference."

The National fences did not suit Monkerhostin at Aintree today after he was well-supported in the market to start the 8-1 co-favourite of three with Point Barrow and Joes Edge. The 10-year-old returned unscathed after racing towards the rear before an uncharacteristic refusal at the Foinavon fence (seventh) finished his chances. Jockey Richard Johnson said: “He frightened himself today.”

Andrew Thornton had a great ride aboard Simon who came to grief close up home when in contention at the 25th. The jockjey said: “He jumped for fun all the way round but was abit close when he fell. The horse is fine, he’ll be back another year older and another year wiser.”

Graham Lee, rider of Joes Edge who pulled up at the 20th: "I pulled him up after the first fence down the back on the second circuit when he went very lame. I was never happy on him. We don’t know what the problem is.”"

Jockey Barry Geraghty looked to be heading for National success aboard Slim Pickings, who eventually finished in third place. Geraghty said: “When the winner came to me two out I knew I was in trouble but he kept on well.”

Reflecting on his National mount, Billyvodan, pulled up before the 19th fence, jockey Leighton Aspell explained: “After two or three attempts to get the race started he momentarily stood still and I was further back than I wanted to be. At the Canal Turn he was badly hampered and couldn’t get back into the race. After that he didn’t seem to enjoy himself.”

Davy Condon, rider of Homer Wells, pulled up at the 22nd fence said: “I was going fine until the Canal Turn on the first circuit when I nearly got brought down by the fall of Kandjar D’Allier ridden by Choc Thornton. I lost a lot of ground and couldn’t catch up after that. I jumped Becher’s twice and pulled up.”

Tom Greenall aboard Sonevafushi who was pulled up two from home in the National said: “He ran and jumped very well but didn’t get the trip and got tired. He gave me a fantastic ride and was foot perfect but after the second Becher’s he became very tired.”

Tom Doyle, rider of Knowhere: "He jumped well, but just got a bit tight at Valentine's first time. He made a mistake and I went out the side door."

Noel Fehily, rider of Naunton Brook: "He was brilliant on the first circuit. Once a few headed him he didn't want to go round again. He jumped great and gave me a great spin."

Richard McGrath (Jack High, fell sixth): "He just crimpled on landing jumping Becher's first time."

Tom Scudamore (Puntal, eighth): "He gave me a great ride really. He is not as quick as he used to be but he popped round nicely."

Mick Fitzgerald (Kelami, 13th and last): "He gave me a brilliant ride he jumped like a gazelle but then just choked."

Tom O'Brien (McKelvey, second): "I have to be happy that but I didn't think I was quite going to get up. Everything went to plan and he jumped super."

Daryl Jacob (Philson Run, fourth): "He gave me a great first National ride, jumped and travelled well for me. I thought we had a chance three out but there were a lot there and they got a run on me."

Tony McCoy (L'Ami, 10th): "He ran well but had too much weight and probably didn't get the trip anyway."

Jimmy McCarthy (Gallant Approach, 12th): "I got hampered early. They went a good gallop and I'm always chasing them. I was never close enough and although he picked up again at Becher's second time I was never been able to make up the lost ground."

Paddy Brennan (Bewleys Berry, fell 22nd): "He was cantering when he fell at Becher's second time round."

Jason Maguire (Idle Talk, fell 19th): "He put his foot in the big ditch and that was that."

Paul Moloney (Graphic Approach, fell 22nd: "He was going well when he knuckled over at Becher's second time. He was giving me a brilliant ride and I would have definitely been in the first six."

Dominic Elsworth (Le Duc, unseated rider 6th): "He unseated me at Becher's first time."

Joe Tizzard (Royal Auclair, fell ninth): "He fell at Valentines first time and was going okay at the time but I suppose we didn't last very long."

Barry Fenton (Zabenz, pulled up before seventh): "The leather broke at Becher's and that was that."

Dominic Elsworth (Le Duc, unseated rider sixth): "I was unseated at Becher's. It was on the first circuit so it was too early to tell.”

Philip Carberry (Point Barrow, fell first): He just overjumped at the first, landed too steep and came down."

Paul Carberry, who pulled up before the 27th on Dun Doire, said: "We got a good early position, and he jumped the first okay, but they went too quick and I couldn't lay up. The ground was too fast for him."


HOSPITAL CHECK-UP FOR RUSSELL

Davy Russell, who was unseated from Livingstonebramble at the sixth, has been taken to hospital as a precaution for X-rays on his back and a shoulder.



Race 5 - The John Smith’s Grand National Steeple Chase

GRAND NATIONAL WINNER POWER LANDS BAN

Robbie Power, the winning jockey of the John Smith’s Grand National, has landed a four-day ban for hitting his horse, Silver Birch, with “excessive frequency and in the wrong place.”

The stewards added that the jockey had hit the horse, “too short and too near the stifle area.” Power has been stood down for four days, from April 25th to 28th.


Barry Geraghty and Tony Evans also incurred the displeasure of the stewards. They felt that Geraghty, riding third-placed Slim Pickings in the Grand National had used the whip with excessive force. Geraghty was stood down for three days, April 25th-27th.


Evans incurred his two-day ban for excessive frequency in the fourth race on the card, when he was riding Mistanoora. His ban will also commence on April 25th.



THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL BETFAIR REPORT

Winner: SILVER BIRCH - Price at off: 60 (59/1)
LOWEST price matched before off: 36 (35/1) (£31 matched)
HIGHEST price matched before off: 70 (69/1) (£118 matched)
In running LOW: 1.06 (1/100) (£952 matched)
In running HIGH: 70 (69/1) (£281 matched)

RACE NOTES
SILVER BIRCH backed as high as 319/1 on the Betfair ante-post market - and available at 59/1 at the off won the John Smith's Grand National Chase. The Irish trained winner hit an in-running low of 1.06 with the spirited challenge of Mckelvey making for some dramatic last second trading. Mckelvey hit an in-running low of 1.50 (for £1,106). Silver Birch traded at an-running high of 70 (for £281). Slim Pickings traded as low as evens in running and Simon was traded at 4 (3/1) before falling when travelling well.


Other runners to trade at 5 or less in running:
Simon 4.00 (118)
L'Ami 4.80 (126)
Slim Pickings 2.00 (1,956)
Liberthine 5.00 (1,838)

APPROXIMATE PRICES OF PLACED HORSES AT OFF
1st Silver Birch (IRE) 60 (59/1 SP 33-1)
2nd Mckelvey (IRE) 16.5 (15.5/1 SP 12-1)
3rd Slim Pickings (IRE) 55.0 (54/1 SP 33-1)
4th Philson Run (IRE) 180.0 (179/1 SP 100-1)


OFFICIALS INCUR MINOR INJURIES

Three officials suffered minor injuries due a loose horse on the National course today.

All received immediate medical attention at the scene.


CROWD

Today’s attendance was 68,100, down by 1,580 on the 69,680 seen last year on John Smith’s Grand National day.


This was because a popular promotion by the Grand National sponsor, John Smith’s, for the No Nonsense Steeplechase Enclosure last year was not repeated in 2007.


Charles Barnett, Aintree’s managing director, said: “I am delighted with the attendance today. There have been more people in the main enclosures this year.”


UPDATE ON GRAPHIC APPROACH


Having had the opportunity to assess Graphic Approach further, the veterinary team suspects that he has concussion.

He has been anaesthetised on the course and is currently en route to the Equine Hospital at Liverpool University Vet School where he will be further assessed.




FINAL RACE ABANDONED


The John Smith’s Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race, the final race of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting at Aintree, has been abandoned.


Charles Barnett, Aintree Racecourse managing director, said: “The horse Graphic Approach was suffering from heat stress and continuing to be treated on the course for some time after the Grand National.

“This delayed the sixth race. It was an extremely difficult situation and, following discussions with both owners and trainers of the runners, it was decided to abandon the last (seventh) race.


“We would like to apologise to racegoers, and the owners and trainers involved, but I’m sure that everyone will understand that the welfare of a horse who is being treated - and the horses taking part in the final race - must always be our number one priority.”


Race 1 Quotes
John Smith's Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle

THE GROUND THE KEY TO QUAY

Malton trainer John Quinn saddled his second winner at this year's John Smith's Grand National meeting when Kings Quay took this 22-runner John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle.


Quinn, who put Tony McCoy on Blythe Knight's back for yesterday's victory in the Imagine Appeal John Smith's Novices' Hurdle, legged up Dougie Costello for King's Quay's victory. Giving praise to Costello, the trainer said: "I said to Dougie, if they go too quickly early on, drop in and gamble. If it's going to happen it will, don't try to make it happen. They go too quick and take each other on at this meeting, and they keep taking each other on. It's like roly-poly, but those that wait have got a better chance.


"To be fair to the horse he's needed drier ground and he's been running well when conditions were not in his favour. He's needed a bit of luck, but he got some today.


"We bought him at the Horses-in-Training Sale [at Tattersalls in Newmarket] and he was the type of horse we like dealing in - a dual-purpose horse that we could run on the Flat if he failed to make it over hurdles. He had good form in the book and he jumped well today."

Kings Quay runs in the colours of Marie Taylor and Vanessa Stone, and Quinn added: "Paul Taylor and his family have been with us through thick and thin. Paul was my very first owner and it's great to win for him.


"I'm going to think about the Galway Hurdle for their winner, depending on how we're treated [by the handicapper]. They go quick in that race, it'll be fast ground and the lads will have a bit of fun."

BETFAIR REPORT
Winner: KINGS QUAY Price at off: 18.5 (17.5/1)
HIGHEST price matched before off: 34.0 (33/1) (£39 matched)
LOWEST price matched before off: 15.5 (14.5/1) (£6 matched)
In running LOW: 1.01 (1/100) (£17,159 matched)
In running HIGH: 55 (54/1) (£4 matched)
KINGS QUAY pounced late to land the opener on National Day - hitting a high of 55 in running. Sunday City was still trading at 6 when leading at the second last but out to 8.8 at the last as the cavalry arrived. Supporters of Princelet soon knew their fate - he was trading at 12.5 at the off but double those odds after just four flights when trailing the field. Diego Cao, who traded at a high of 75 pre-race, stayed on to be second, beaten one length.





COSTELLO BANNED FOR TWO DAYS

Dougie Costello, rider of the winner, Kings Quay, of the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle, has been banned for two days, (April 25 & 26) for careless riding.


The stewards judged that Kings Quay had interfered with The Dukes Speech after the last hurdle by drifting left.


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

DIEGO LOSES OUT BY A LENGTH

The Nick Gifford-trained Diego Cao came within a length of landing the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle when finishing second to Kings Quay.


“He’d been in great form at home and has run at cracker,” said Gifford. “Straight after he ran at Fakenham last time, Leighton (Aspell) said that there was a two-mile handicap hurdle at Aintree for him.


“They really need to stay round here and I said to Leighton today not to push him if they went too quickly because they really have to get the trip.


“He’s had a wind operation but he’s a horse who has always had plenty of ability. We’ll look to see if there’s something for him at Sandown next weekend and he could well have a couple of spins on the Flat - he’s not had much racing.”

Trainer Richard Fahey was full of praise for the ground after Dancing Lyra finished third at 50/1.


“He’s really a soft ground horse but the ground here is beautiful, they have done a great job and every horse can perform on it.


“I didn’t think he’d get in the race and it’s nice to be competitive here - the owners had a good each-way bet.


“I was a little disappointed by his run at Fakenham last time, but that’s a funny track and he ran well at Newcastle (when second in the Spring Mile on the Flat).


“He can mix jumping and Flat and if I knew he’d get this ground I’d send him summer jumping.”


Race 1 - John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle - Ground

JOCKEYS PRAISE GROUND AGAIN

After the running of the first race on John Smith’s Grand National day, the John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle, the following jockeys gave their reaction as to the state of the ground and were again full of praise:

Dougie Costello, rider of the winner Kings Quay: “On him, true good jumping ground.”

Leighton Aspell, rider of the runner-up Diego Cao: “Lovely, good ground again.”

Tom Greenway, rider of fourth-placed Sunday City: “It’s a bit loose on top. You can tell it has been watered, but it’s still beautiful ground with a good covering of grass. I’ve never ridden on better.”

Alan O’Keeffe, rider of I’m So Lucky: “Good, on the quick side.”

Timmy Murphy, rider of Jubilant Note: “Good, I thought.”

Tom Doyle, rider of Slew Charm: “Beautiful.”

Tony McCoy, rider of Princelet: “Good.”

Noel Fehily, rider of Thunder Rock: “Good.”

Davy Condon, rider of Classic Croco: “Good ground.”

Wayne Hutchinson: rider of Forthright: “Good ground.”




Race 2 - John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase - Winning Quotes

THE NEW AZERTYUIOP?

Paul Nicholls was full of praise for Twist Magic, the impressive five-length winner of the £125,000 Grade One John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase and hopes that the five-year-old can reach the very top in the two-mile division.


The Somerset handler said: “I always prefer to look forward, not backwards, but he was travelling ominously well when he fell in the Arkle.


“I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t won today.


“The track and ground were ideal for him. He also jumps very well too.


“We haven’t had a really good two-miler since Azertyuiop retired but he could be the one and will be trained with the Champion Chase in mind.


“He will now have a break and we will bring him back next year.

“He could maybe start off in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. He doesn’t want a lot of racing this horse. Soft ground would not be suitable for him.”

Reflecting on Twist Magic's victory today and his recent penultimate-fence fall at Cheltenham, jockey Ruby Walsh added: "I suppose he was a bit unlucky at Cheltenham, but whether he would have beaten the winner, My Way De Solzen, we'll never know.


"I thought he had every chance today and he jumped magnificently, and probably too well because I wanted to take my time on him and he kept making ground in the air. He got me to the front way sooner than I wanted.


"The first time I rode him at Fakenham all he did was stand off outside the wings, then he went to Kempton and he was a good bit better. Maybe nudging the second-last at Cheltenham and having that fall taught him a lot. Today he was going into the board [at the bottom of the fence] and still making ground on Lennon [the pace-setter] and I really like that in a horse. That's a sign of a really good jumper."

Second Fair Along’s trainer Philip Hobbs said: “He’s run well and I am very happy with him. He got outpaced around here which we expected. He’s more of a staying chaser.


“We might consider the Chester Cup - I will discuss it with the owner.”

Steve Gollings, trainer of the third Royal Shakespeare , commented: “We were devastated at Ascot last month when we thought he was a stone cold cert. But when we looked at the video we saw that he made a mistake and after couldn’t get the bit out of his mouth and couldn’t breath.

“This was more like it. You won’t get many better novice chases than this and though he made a couple of mistakes, he was never far away. With a bit of luck it’s Punchestown now, but he’ll want good ground that’s the key to him.”



The John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase

BETFAIR REPORT
Winner: TWIST MAGIC Price at off: 3.35 (around 9/4)
LOWEST price matched before off: 3.0 (2/1) (£220 matched)
HIGHEST price matched before off: 4.2 (3.2/1) (£15 matched)
In running LOW: 1.01 (1/100) (£20,232 matched)
In running HIGH: 4.2 (3.2/1) (£15 matched)
The favourite TWIST MAGIC, who had run so well in the Arkle before falling, was always travelling well under Ruby Walsh and was 1.69 in-running four from home and 1.06 two out before sealing victory at the last when he traded at 1.25. Runner-up Fair Along drifted to 50 during the race before shortening up to 2.00 (evens) before his mistake at the last handed victory to the favourite.



THIRD RACE WINNING QUOTES
BALTIKA BEER AINTREE HURDLE (GRADE 1)

AL EILE BACK TO BEST

The John Queally-trained Al Eile, winner of the Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle in 2005, landed the Grade 1 event for a second time when scoring by a length and a half from Gaspara.


“This is his Champion Hurdle and we rode him a bit more positively today” said a delighted Queally. “He wasn’t right for Cheltenham - he was scoping badly - and I was happy enough to miss it as he’s not performed to his best there, even though he was fourth in a Champion Hurdle.


“He’s a good stone better here and will probably not go to Punchestown, he likes this type of track best. He is in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr

“Long term we’ll look at the big Flat handicaps in England such as the Northumberland Plate and Ebor. He was so unwell all winter that I thought why let him go when he’s just come to himself.”

Successful jockey Timmy Murphy added: "That was fantastic. All credit must go to John Queally as this horse hasn't been right all season. It took some guts to come for this race after a layoff and the horse hadn't finished a race all season.


"The horse has come back 110 per cent today. John told me to just to pop him in and keep him handy as he was a bit ring rusty. John said ths should keep him interested and he was right - his instructions are right 99 per cent of the time!

“The horse was probably more fancied the first time he ran this race but he travelled fantastically today and gave me as good a feel as he ever has.”

Winning owner-breeder Michael Ryan, who also owns the current 1000 Guineas favourite Finsceal Beo, commented: "He won this race two years ago but nothing went right last year - he hurt his shoulder and came back with mucus in his lungs.


"We all backed him today at 14/1 and 16/1 this morning and will be going home tonight for a big celebration.”

Al Eile also won the 2004 John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle.



Race 3 Quotes
Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle

GASPARA COPES WITH RISE IN CLASS

Gaspara, the miniscule mare who has been one of the stars of this season, gained more plaudits when second in this Grade 1 event.


After four straight victories, two in novices' hurdles and two in handicap company, she found Al Eile too good on this occasion, but held at bay a number of top-grade performers.


David Pipe, who trains Gaspara for his father, Martin, said: "That was better than we could have expected. He was flat out from the start on this ground, but every time Tom [Scudamore] asks she responds.


"She's not over-big, but she's very tough. She's out-done herself again. Today was totally different after running in handicaps, but she's beaten the Champion Hurdle third [Afsoun] and that says it all. He seems to have run his race and finished third again, running on at the finish, and our filly has run on, too. She's a credit to the yard.


"We might call it a day for now, or we might take her back to France [where she was bred] for a race."

Asked whether Gaspara could one day become a broodmare, Pipe laughed and said: "Don't ask Dad about his breeding operation because it hasn't gone too well so far."

Afsoun stayed on stoutly for third place and trainer Nicky Henderson was in no doubt as to the horse's future.

"We didn't even have to talk as we walked back after the race. Owner, advisor, trainer and jockey, we all know where he's going next year.

“He could go over fences, but he doesn't get any of the allowances, so he'll stay with hurdling and we'll put him up to three miles," said Henderson.



DETROIT CITY DISAPPOINTS

Sent off favourite in the Grade One Smufit Kappa Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month and running poorly, the grey Detroit City was again unable to live up to expectations today when market leader - the 7-4 favourite - and could only finish last.


Following a de-brief with jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Philip Hobbs said: “I don’t know. Like Cheltenham, there is no reason and we are no further forward. He was flat in the race and never travelling. He will have a holiday now.”



BETFAIR REPORT
Winner: AL EILE Price at off: 19.5 (18.5/1)
LOWEST price matched before off: 8.0 (7/1) (£6 matched)
HIGHEST price matched before off: 26 (25/1) (£9 matched)
In running LOW: 1.01 (1/100) (£22,609 matched)
In running HIGH: 27 (26/1) (£52 matched)
AL EILE, hit an in-running high of 27, and came late and strong to repeat his success of two years ago. Last year's winner Asian Maze traded as low as 1.5 in running and on the in-running place market Arcalis was matched at the basement price of 1.01 but finished out of the frame - despite looking the winner at one stage. With a circuit to go, the favourite Detroit City was still trading at 3.8 but quickly drifted when failing to respond to Richard Johnson's urgings.





Race 4 - The John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle

WINNING RUN FOR ALBERTA

Responsible for the first and third, trainer Jonjo O’Neill commented: “The little mare (Refinement) ran a blinder really. You’d be pleased with them both.”

The winning post came in time for ther winner Albertas Run, the 9-2 favourite, and O’Neill commented: “He’s a great lepper and did everythiong right. I can put up with that. We hoped he would be alright on the ground.


“I’d say that’ll be the lot for the season - there might be another race at Haydock or Punchestown. I will have a word with Mick (Meagher - the owner’s racing manager.”

Noel Fehily, the winning jockey, added: “He is a very, very tough horse.


“Jonjo has done a superb job with him and he’s improved all season. Ever since his last run at Sandown, the horse has come on.


“I think he will make a lovely chaser in time. It is beautiful ground out there - just slightly on the slow side of good.”

Trevor Hemmings, the horse’s owner, added: “We work hard with our team - it is a big team that brings the horses on.


“Isn’t he good, I’d like another 10 like him.”



LYES GREEN BOOST FOR MCKELVEY

Oliver Sherwood’s Lyes Green gave a timely boost to John Smith’s Grand National hope McKelvey when he finished in good style to take second place behind Albertas Run in the John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle. Lyes Green had previously been beaten a neck by McKelvey in the Grand National hopes prep race, a hurdle at Bangor-on-Dee last month.


“Actually I thought we were going to win that race,” said Sherwood, “And I was wishing that the Grand National could have been before this race, and McKelvey could have won first and highlighted our form!”

Sherwood did not feel that the way the Aintree race panned out favoured his charge. “ They didn’t go a very strong gallop and our horse needs a strong gallop. The winner was strong though and won his race at the last. Our lad is a good intelligent horse and we’re very pleased with that,” he said.




Race 6 - John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase - Winning Quotes

FIRST RULES WINNER FOR GUERRIERO

Amateur Josh Guerriero, last season’s champion novice point-to-point rider, rode his first winner under rules when partnering Private Be to success for trainer Philip Hobbs in the John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase.


The 12/1 winner survived a mistake at the last to come home three lengths clear of 9/4 favourite Bob Hall.


Philip Hobbs said: “Private Be stayed on well today and this is the first winner under rules for Josh Guerriero.


“He was champion novice point-to-point rider last season and has been with us for three years - he’s a good lad.


“It’s great for him to have had his first rules winner at Aintree.”

BETFAIR REPORT
Winner: PRIVATE BE Price at off: 17.0 (16/1)
LOWEST price matched before off: 13.5 (12.5/1) (£16 matched)
HIGHEST price matched before off: 36 (35/1) (£4 matched)
In running LOW: 1.01 (1/100) (£25,037 matched)
In running HIGH: 30.96 (30/1) (£4 matched)
PRIVATE BE outbattlled the favourite Bob Hall to win the 5.00, the start of which was delayed around 50 minutes. Coming to the last the pair had the race to themselves and Bob Hall traded as low as 1.52 for £132 but had to give second best and was three lengths adrift at the line.




LEADING JOCKEY FINAL STANDINGS

Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd
Tony McCoy 3 3 1
Tony Dobbin 2 1 1
Noel Fehily 2 - -
Ruby Walsh 1 2 1
Mick Fitzgerald 1 1 1
Richard Johnson 1 1 1
Robert Thornton 1 1 1
Graham Lee 1 1 -
Paddy Brennan 1 - 2
Timmy Murphy 1 - 2
Mr Richard Burton 1 - -
Dougie Costello 1 - -
Dominic Elsworth 1 - -
Mr Josh Guerriero 1 - -
Jamie Moore 1 - -
Robert Power 1 - -
Leighton Aspell - 2 1
Tom Scudamore - 2 1
Tom O’Brien - 2 -
Wilson Renwick - 1 1
Mr Richard Harding - 1 -
Mr J T McNamara - 1 -
Liam Treadwell - 1 -
Philip Kinsella - - 2
Miss Nina Carberry - - 1
Tony Evans - - 1
Barry Geraghty - - 1
Mr Richard McLernon - - 1
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen - - 1

LEADING TRAINER FINAL STANDINGS

Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd
Jonjo O’Neill 3 3 1
John Quinn 2 - -
Paul Nicholls 1 2 1
Peter Bowen 1 2 -
Nicky Henderson 1 1 2
Howard Johnson 1 1 2
Philip Hobbs 1 1 1
John Queally IRE 1 - 1
Nicky Richards 1 1 1
Alan King 1 1 -
Ferdy Murphy 1 1 -
Henry Daly 1 - -
Gordon Elliott IRE 1 - -
James Fanshawe 1 - -
James Moffatt 1 - -
Alan Swinbank 1 - -
Ian Williams 1 - -
David Pipe - 2 3
Nick Gifford - 1 1
Richard Barber - 1 -
Niall Madden IRE - 1 -
Oliver Sherwood - 1 -
Venetia Williams - 1 -
Richard Fahey - - 1
Steve Gollings - - 1
Peter Monteith - - 1
Eugene O’Sullivan IRE - - 1
Keith Reveley - - 1
Tom Taaffe IRE - - 1
Nigel Twiston-Davies - - 1


THE JOHN SMITH’S PEOPLE RACE
Kevin Old, a 44-year-old pawnbroker from Bournemouth, realised a lifelong dream when steering the Paul Nicholls-trained Hoo La Baloo to an all-the-way victory in the John Smith's People's Race, thereby raising £55,000 for charity.


The race offered 10 members of the public, who had never previously ridden a racehorse, the chance to train for a unique piece of history, and Old was ecstatic afterwards.


He said: “I am absolutely exhausted but it was the most fabulous feeling. I grabbed hold of his reins, got him balanced and kept kicking, and, though I feared that they would reel us in at the furlong-pole, we managed to hold on.”

It was, in fact, a five-length romp, and Old added:"I have been riding out five times a week with Jonathan Geake (in Hampshire), and the team down at Andover have been such a terrific help.


"The horse I was originally meant to ride got injured, so I got a copy of 'Horses In Training' and rang up Paul, taking the view that he could only say no.


"He rang me back the following morning and told me that I could ride Hoo La Baloo, and Dan Skelton, his assistant, said when I went down to give him a breeze, 'nick six lengths at the start and they won't catch you' And I also borrowed AP's (McCoy) riding gloves!

"I had to lose 10lb which was very hard and have not had a drink for a fortnight, but I might have a couple tonight. It has all been worthwhile as the money goes to the Injured Jockeys Fund.

“Jonathan and Paul have been brilliant, as have Bob Buckler and Toby Balding, who told me to tuck my backside into the horse and keep pushing and kicking. It's just unreal.”

Nicholls, who has had a disappointing week at Aintree, beamed: “What a magical moment, and we have finally had a winner!

“To think Hoo La Baloo won the Grand Military Gold Cup over three miles in the mud at Sandown last time, and here he is winning a nine-furlong race on the Flat. Kevin gave him a terrific ride, and it's been a lot of fun.”

In contrast, it proved a heartbreaking moment for Michael Sweeney, who rode the 5-4 favourite. His horse whipped round at the start and unshipped him.


Similarly, Jamie Robertson experienced an unhappy ending, being dumped after the winning post from Super Sensation. He was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured arm.



WANG WINS CITROËN IN STYLE


A breathless Stephen Wang could hardly believe it when his name was called as the winner of the Looking Good Style Contest on John Smith’s Grand National Day.


“I’ve being rushing around for the last half-hour to get here and then they spring this on me. It’s a major shock, I really expected it to be one of the ladies. I only went in for it for a laugh, but it’s turned out all right in the end,” said the 21-year-old who won a magnificent Citroën C4 coupé by Loeb.


Stephen wore a satiny white suit by Zegna that he bought at Cricket in Liverpool, offset by a black silk scarf and shoes, he almost whispered, “from Burtons”. In the blazing sunshine, wrap-around sunglasses by Dior were de rigueur.


Stephen, from the Liverpool suburb of West Derby, was presented with his prize by Coleen MacLoughlin, fiancée of footballer Wayne Rooney, which was particularly appropriate as Stephen went to the same school, De La Salle in Croxteth, and was in the same year as Rooney.


The most stylish lady prize was won by Charlotte Atherton and The Most Stylish Over-40 was awarded to Faith Almond who has become something of a standing-dish at this event.


Faith was retaining the title she won at last year’s John Smith’s Grand National Day and in the final for the third time overall.



GOING NEWS AT 10.00AM

The going for the final day of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting, John Smith’s Grand National day, remains:

GOOD

on all courses.


Watering of the Grand National course finished at 1.00am this morning while there is selective watering of both the Mildmay and Hurdles courses this morning.


On the hurdles course, new ground will be used on the inside of most of the course.


Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Aintree, said: “The groundstaff, led by head groundsman Mark Aynsley, have done a magnificent job over the last three weeks in watering the courses here at Aintree.

“It has been heartening to hear the complimentary comments from jockeys and trainers about the state of the ground over the previous two days.

“The groundstaff have worked all hours - going to bed very late and getting up extremely early - to make sure that we have had good ground throughout the 2007 John Smith’s Grand National meeting.”


LATEST BETFAIR ODDS FOR THE
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

Joes Edge 9.5-1, Point Barrow 10-1, Hedgehunter 13-1, Mckelvey 16-1, Numbersixvalverde 17.5-1, Billyvoddan 20-1, L'Ami 21-1, Eurotrek 23-1, Idle Talk 24-1, Dun Doire 25-1, Simon 25-1, Monkerhostin 25-1, Bothar Na 26-1, Bewleys Berry 27-1, Longshanks 28-1, Royal Auclair 39-1, Kelami 49-1, Silver Birch 49-1, Jack High 49-1, Clan Royal 49-1, Homer Wells 54-1, Slim Pickings 54-1, Ballycassidy 59-1, Liberthine 64-1, Gallant Approach 74-1, Thisthatantother 99-1, Zabenz 119-1, Philson Run 119-1, Puntal 139-1, Le Duc 139-1, Graphic Approach 149-1, Celtic Son 179-1, Kandjar D’Allier 199-1, Cloudy Bays 219-1, Naunton Brook 299-1, Livingstonebramble 289-1, Tikram 289-1, Knowhere 299-1, The Outlier 329-1, Sonevafushi 349-1

Tony Calvin, spokesman for Betfair, Aintree’s official betting partner, said: “It is not clear yet who will start favourite for the 2007 John Smith’s Grand National with both Joes Edge and Point Barrow vying for favouritism.


“Hedgehunter continues to prove strong while the biggest mover has been McKelvey. To have come into his current price having been 25 earlier in the week in such an established market demonstrates particularly strong trade.

“Numbersixvalverde is weak, as are Eurotrek and Idle Talk.”


TOTE

Today’s on-course tote turnover at Aintree on the John Smith’s Grand National is expected to the reach £1 million on the busiest day of the year.



BETTING NEWS

In the John Smith’s Grand National (4.15pm), the 2005 hero Hedgehunter is proving popular and is now 10/1 (from 12/1) with Blue Square, Stan James and William Hill. McKelvey is into 14/1 (from 16/1) with William Hill and 12/1 (from 16/1) with Blue Square. Eurotrek, successful over the Grand National course in the totesport.com Becher Chase back in November, is 16/1 (from 20/1) with William Hill and 18/1 (from 20/1) with Stan James. Longshanks is 22/1 (from 28/1) with Coral and 18/1 (from 22/1) with William Hill. Other horses coming in for support with William Hill are Simon (16/1 from 20/1), Gallant Approach (50/1 from 100/1) and Thisthatandtother (66/1 from 100/1). Jack High is now 33/1 (from 40/1) with Stan James while Blue Square have seen money for Royal Auclair (33/1 from 40/1) and Monkerhostin (20/1 from 25/1).

Elsewhere, in the opening John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm), Ameeq is now 10/1 (from 14/1) with Stan James while Thunder Rock has been cut to 9/1 (from 12/1) with Blue Square.


In race two, the John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2.15pm) Don’t Push It, who looked to be full of running when falling at Cheltenham, is 11/4 (from 100/30) with Stan James.


Strangely Brown is now 14/1 (from 18/1) with Blue Square in the Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle (2.50pm) while Opera De Coeur is now 8/1 (from 10/1) with William Hill and 8/1 (from 9/1) with Blue Square in the John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (3.25pm).


The 2007 John Smith’s Grand National meeting concludes with the John Smith’s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.35pm), where favourite Theatrical Moment is 6/4 (from 15/8) with Stan James.


Over £250 million is expected to be wagered across the UK today, with £150 million of that total bet on the John Smith’s Grand National itself.


With the John Smith’s Grand National, FA Cup semi-finals, Bahrain Grand Prix and the cricket world cup all happening this weekend, Ladbrokes predict that betting turnover of half a billion could be seen over the next 48 hours. Ladbrokes also predict that a win for likely favourite Joes Edge could cost the industry some £10 million.


William Hill are offering odds of 33/1 that Mr Frisk’s record time 8m 47.80s, set in 1990, could be broken today.


With a large number of Irish fancies, both Sky Bet and Paddy Power are offering a separate book on who will come out on top among the horses from the Emerald Isle.



SAM THOMAS MISSES JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL RIDE

Sam Thomas, who took a tumble when Cracking Cliché fell in the John Smith's Mares Only Bumper - the last race at Aintree yesterday - has been ruled out of today's John Smith’s Grand National for which he was due to ride Thisthatandtother

Sam Stronge, Thomas's agent, said this morning: "Sam is suffering from slight concussion, and he also sustained a nasty gash on his shin. He'll hopefully be back early next week.”

Jamie Moore, who won the John Smith’s Topham Trophy yesterday on Dunbrody Millar, replaces Thomas on Thisthatandtother, while Robert (Choc) Thornton substitutes for Thomas on Pepporoni Peter in the opening John Smith's Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle.



LIBERTHINE'S BABY BLUES MIGHT FALL ON DEAF EARS

Plans for Liberthine to carry a baby in today's John Smith's Grand National have been thwarted, but owner Robert Waley-Cohen could stuff cotton wool in her ears during preliminaries for the world's greatest steeplechase.

Liberthine, the only mare in the race, had been covered by stallion Hernando in a bid to prevent her coming into season - the condition has no impact on some horses, but others perform below their best, and it may have been one reason why the Nicky Henderson-trained mare ran below par at Cheltenham last month.


Waley-Cohen, whose son Sam rides Liberthine in the race, said: "She was tested by the vet on Thursday evening and was found not to be in foal. We haven't given up and she will go back to Hernando after today's race - in theory we can go on doing that until June.


"She's not due to come into season until next week, but these things are never as precise as you think so we're keeping our fingers crossed.


"One idea we have put to Nicky is to stuff her ears with cotton wool while she's in the parade ring. I wouldn't want her to race like that [a ploy used successfully on top-class Exotic Dancer this season], but if it blocks out all the noise and distractions before the race it might be worth doing."

Asked how he and Sam are coping with the build-up to the John Smith's Grand National, Waley-Cohen said: "Sam seems very relaxed and his weight is low so he'll be able to enjoy lunch. I'm anxious and excited."


MOORE GETS NATIONAL RIDE

Jamie Moore, whose last ride on the Grand National fences was a victory in yesterday’s John Smith’s Topham Chase on Dunbrody Millar, has landed the ride on the Paul Nicholls-trained Thisthatandtother after Sam Thomas pulled out suffering from slight concussion.


“I’m delighted to get the ride though I’m gutted for Sammy as we’re good mates, but I suppose somebody had to get the ride,” said Moore.


Moore has had two previous rides in the John Smith’s Grand National, finishing 13th on Royal Predator in 2003 and unseating at the Canal Turn last year when he was riding Le Duc, also trained by Nicholls.


This will be the first time that Moore has partnered Thisthatandtother. “I haven’t spoken to Mr Nicholls yet and I don’t know much about the horse, but he does have a touch of class which is why he has a big weight. I think the first thing will be to ride him to get the trip as most of his successes have been over around two and a half miles,” he said.


Moore will certainly have no worries about the ground. When he finished the Topham on Friday, he was eulogising about the conditions, comparing it to a snooker table on the John Smith’s Grand National course.



THERE’S ONLY ONE HOMER WELLS

If the John Spearing-trained Simon wins the John Smith’s Grand National this afternoon, according to research undertaken by Simon Clare of Coral Bookmakers, there are 303,387 people in Britain who could be jumping for joy - well, they will be if they’ve backed the horse named after themselves.


Coral did not try to contact all the Simons - about one person in every 200 in Britain is a Simon - but they did track down some more select groups.


There are, give or take a few current births, about 385,000 Jacks in the UK, but only two Jack Highs, one in Norfolk and the other in Cumbria. Both were offered free bets by Coral and both politely refused.


Joe Edges are even rarer on the ground, the company uncovering just a single person in Britain with that name, but unable to contact him. So, Joe, if you read this, there’s a free bet waiting for you.


There are no Billy Voddens in Britain at all, but you can bet that one of the three William Voddens listed on the electoral roll is called Billy by his mum.


In total, Coral reckon that over £250 million will be bet on the John Smith’s Grand National and a significant proportion will be placed by the Simons, Joes, Jacks and Billys on their namesakes.


All the latest money at Corals, however, has been for Willie Mullins’ Hedgehunter (no, there’s no Mr & Mrs Hedgehunter) and Peter Bowen’s McKelvey, and yes, there are 890 McKelveys in the UK.


Which leaves us only with... Homer Wells was a character in John Irving’s novel Cider House Rules, which was published in 1985, but the first name was popularised by The Simpsons, first aired on the Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. In Britain, there is a Homer Wells, just the one, but Corals couldn’t offer him a bet, because he’s too young.



STAR SIGNS OF THE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL CONTENDERS

CAPRICORN
Sonevafushi (January 1, 1998)

AQUARIUS
Hedgehunter (January 25, 1996)

PISCES
Celtic Son (February 28, 1999)
Tikram (March 1, 1997)
Homer Wells (March 7, 1998)
Clan Royal (March 14, 1995)

ARIES
Gallant Approach (March 21, 1999)
Le Duc (March 21, 1999)
Monkerhostin (March 21, 1997)
Ballycassidy (March 24, 1996)
Eurotrek (April 4, 1996)
The Outlier (April 4, 1998)
Silver Birch (April 6, 1997)
Livingstonebramble (April 12, 1996)
Dun Doire (April 17, 1999)

TAURUS
Graphic Approach ( April 20, 1998)
Kandjar D’Allier (April 20, 1998)
Billyvoddan (April 21, 1999)
Puntal (April 21, 1996)
Longshanks (April 22, 1997)
Simon (April 27, 1999)
Cloudy Bays (May 2, 1997)
Slim Pickings (May 2, 1999)
L’Ami (May 3, 1999)
Kelami (May 5, 1998)
Bothar Na (May 6, 1999)
Royal Auclair (May 8, 1997)
Naunton Brook (May 8, 1999)
Liberthine (May 10, 1999)
Point Barrow (May 12, 1998)
Joes Edge (May 14, 1997)
Knowhere (May 16, 1998)
Jack High (May 19, 1995)
Numbersixvalverde (May 20, 1996)
Thisthatandtother (May 20, 1996)

GEMINI
Philson Run (May 26, 1996)
Idle Talk (June 1, 1999)
Bewleys Berry (June 9, 1998)

LEO
McKelvey (August 5, 1999)

SAGITTARIUS
Zabenz (November 24, 1997)



JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL MEETING
FINAL DAY, SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2007

FIRST RACE RESULT

1.45pm JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA SMOOTH HANDICAP HURDLE (LISTED)
£50,000 guaranteed, 2m 1/2f, For 4yo+ Weights raised 14lb Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after April 7, a winner of a hurdle 7lb Orcadian’s Handicap Mark 140 Entries 48 pay £200 Penalty Value 1st £28,510; 2nd £10,695; 3rd £5,355; 4th £2,670; 5th £1,340; 6th £670

1 KINGS QUAY (Marie Taylor) John Quinn 5-10-02t Dougie Costello (3) 16/1
2 DIEGO CAO (IRE) (Vetlab Supplies Ltd) Nick Gifford 6-10-13 Leighton Aspell 25/1
3 DANCING LYRA (Aidan J Racing) Richard Fahey 6-9-11 Phil Kinsella (3) 50/1
4 SUNDAY CITY (JPN) (Robin Greenway) Donald McCain Jnr 6-10-05 Tom Greenway (3) 40/1
5 HILLTIME (IRE) (John Wainwright) John Wainwright 7-9-11 Mr Robert Tierney (7) 100/1
6 ORCADIAN (Jeff Smith) James Eustace 6-11-12 Mark Bradburne
7 THE DUKE'S SPEECH (IRE) (The Ivy Syndicate) Tom Tate 6-10-11 Jason Maguire
8 FORTHRIGHT (Mrs B Quinn) Tony Carroll 6-10-04 Wayne Hutchinson 13/2f
9 OSLOT (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 5-11-01 Ruby Walsh
10 NEVER SO BLUE (FR) (The Moody Blues) Venetia Williams 6-10-01 Liam Treadwell (3)
11 JUBILANT NOTE (IRE) (Chronicle Crony’s Syndicate) Michael Murphy IRE 5-10-13b Timmy Murphy
12 AMEEQ (USA) (C Stedman) Gary Moore 5-10-12 Jamie Moore
13 BUSTER HYVONEN (IRE) (Simon Gibson) James Fanshawe 5-10-11 Tony Dobbin
14 PEPPORONI PETE (IRE) (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 6-11-00t Robert Thornton
15 PRAIRIE MOONLIGHT (GER) (Martin Baker) Liam Burke IRE 7-11-02 Davy Russell
16 JOHN FORBES (R Wagner) Brian Ellison 5-10-06 Graham Lee
17 CLASSIC CROCO (GER) (Chilled Out Syndicate) Tom Hogan IRE 6-10-04tb Davy Condon
P bef three out WARNINGCAMP (GER) (Lady Sarah Clutton) Lady Herries 6-10-13 Mick Fitzgerald
P bef three out I'M SO LUCKY (Sandra Brookhouse) Roger Brookhouse 5-10-09t Alan O'Keeffe
P bef three out SLEW CHARM (FR) (Premier Chance Racing) Noel Chance 5-10-13t Tom Doyle
P bef three out THUNDER ROCK (IRE) (Gay Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 5-10-06b1 Noel Fehily
P bef two out PRINCELET (IRE) (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson 5-10-10b1 Tony McCoy

22 ran
Distances: 1, 2, sh, 3/4, 3/4, 1 1/4, 2 1/2, 2 1/2, 3 1/2, sh, 12, 1, hd, 21, 10, 28
Breeding: b h Montjeu (IRE) - Glen Rosie (IRE)
Breeder: Newsells Park Stud Limited)
Totes: Win: £23.60 Places: £5.30; £7.90; £13.20; £9.10 Exacta: £829.40

Winning Trainer: John Quinn Based: Highfield Stables, Malton, North Yorkshire Background: former jockey now a dual purpose trainer. Saddled Blythe Knight to win the 2006 Lincoln Handicap on the Flat Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Imagine Appeal Top Novices’ Hurdle (2007 Blythe Knight), John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2007 Kings Quay) Other Big Race Wins (Jumps): Elite Hurdle (2006 Crow Wood); Scottish County Hurdle (2006 Crow Wood) Wins in 2001/02-2005/6: 4; 1; 5; 11; 19 Wins this season: 32

Winning Jockey: Dougie Costello Born: March 4, 1983 Based: Darlington, County Durham Background: Hails from Galway. Briefly based with Mary Reveley but moved to Martin Todhunter in the spring of 2004 and then joined Malton trainer John Quinn. Moved to Shropshire trainer Heather Dalton at the end of April 2006. First Winner in Britain: York Rite, Bangor, August 1, 2003, Bettisfield Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle First career Double: Sedgefield, July 26, 2004 (Magic Box and Super Lucky at combined odds of 441-1) Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2007 Kings Quay) Other Notable Wins: Durham National (2005 Prince Of Slane); Elite Hurdle (2006 Crow Wood); North Yorkshire Grand National (2006 Prince Of Slane) Number of Wins (2003/04-2005/06): 3; 16; 23 Wins This Season: 30




SECOND RACE RESULT

2.15pm JOHN SMITH’S MAGHULL NOVICES’ CHASE (GRADE ONE)
£125,000 guaranteed, 2m Mildmay Course, For 5yo+ Weights 5yo 11st 1lb; 6yo+ 11st 4lb Allowances mares 7lb Entries 10 pay £450 Penalty Value 1st £71,275; 2nd £26,737.50; 3rd £13,875.50; 4th £6,675; 5th £3,350; 6th £1,675

1 TWIST MAGIC (FR) (Barry Fulton, Tony Hayward, Michael Lynch) Paul Nicholls 5-11-01 Ruby Walsh 9/4f
2 FAIR ALONG (GER) (Alan Peterson) Philip Hobbs 5-11-01 Richard Johnson 7/2
3 ROYAL SHAKESPEARE (FR) (John Webb) Steve Gollings 8-11-04 Robert Thornton 20/1
4 LENNON (IRE) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 7-11-04 Paddy Brennan
5 DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 7-11-04 Tony McCoy
6 JACK THE GIANT (IRE) (Hanbury Syndicate) Nicky Henderson 5-11-01 Mick Fitzgerald

6 ran
Distances: 5, 4, 1 1/2, 15, dist
Breeding: b g Winged Love (IRE) - Twist Scarlet (GER)
Breeder: Gr Georg Hastrich & Co
Totes: Win: £3.30 Places: £1.90; £2.30 Exacta: £13.80

Winning Trainer: PAUL NICHOLLS Date of birth: 17/05/62 Based: Heighes House, Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset Date of first trainer’s licence: 01/11/91 Previous Occupation: Professional jockey 1980-89. Rode 130 winners including Hennessy Gold Cup (1986 & 87), Irish Gold Cup (1988), Welsh Grand National (1987) Aintree Festival Wins include: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2002 Armaturk, 2003 Le Roi Miguel, 2007 Twist Magic), John Smith’s Melling Chase (2001 Fadalko), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2006 Star De Mohaison), Citroen C4 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Natal), John Smith’s Fox Hunter Chase (2002 Torduff Express), Betfair Bowl (2000 See More Business) Cheltenham Festival Wins (17): Irish Independent Arkle Novices’ Chase (1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2003 Azertyuiop), Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business, 2007 Kauto Star), Christie’s Foxhunter Chase (2004 Earthmover, 2005 Sleeping Night), Johnny Henderson Grand Annual (2004 St Pirran, 2007 Andreas), County Hurdle (2004 Sporazene, 2006 Desert Quest), Ryanair Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother, 2007 Taranis), Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2006 Star De Mohaison, 2007 Denman) Other big race wins: Aon Chase (2000 See More Business, 2001 Shotgun Willy, 2003 Valley Henry, 2007 Kauto Star), Betfair Chase (2006 Kauto Star), Betfred Gold Cup (2001 & 2003 Ad Hoc), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Neptune Collonges), Bula Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman), Charlie Hall Chase (1999 and 2000 See More Business), totesport Classic Chase (2006 Eurotrek, 2007 Ladalko), Desert Orchid H’cap Chase (2000 Fadalko, 2002 Valley Henry), Feltham Novices’ Chase (1993 See More Indians), Game Spirit Chase (2000 lagship Uberalles, 2005 Azertyuiop), Greatwood Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole), Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (1995 Captain Khedive, 1999 Fadalko, 2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother), King George VI Chase (1997, 1999 See More Business, 2006 Kauto Star), Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Be Be King), Mitsubishi Shogun Ascot Chase (2000 Rockforce), Scottish Champion Hcap Hurdle (1999 Fadalko), Rehearsal Chase (1996 Belmont King, 1997 and 1998 See More Business), Pendil Novices’ Chase (2006 Napolitain, 2007 Natal), Peterborough Chase (2004 Le Roi Miguel), Pillar Chase (1998, 2001 See More Business), Scottish Grand National (1997 Belmont King), Tingle Creek Chase (2005 Kauto Star), Tolworth Hurdle (2003 Thisthatandtother, 2006 Noland, 2007 Silverburn), totesport.com becher Chase (2006 Eurotrek), Vodafone Gold Cup (2006 Cornish Sett), Coral Welsh National (2004 Silver Birch, 2005 L’Aventure), William Hill Haldon Gold Cup Chase (1998 Lake Kariba, 1999 Flagship Uberalles, 2004 Azertyuiop), Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (2007 Gungadu) 1000th Domestic Winner: Noble Action (Bumper, Folkestone, November 15, 2004) First Trainer to Saddle Six Winners on One Card: Saturday, January 21, 2006, at Wincanton Number of Winners (1992/03-2005/06): 20; 29; 28; 53; 56; 82; 110; 71; 83; 136; 152; 127; 152; 148 Wins this Season: 117

Winning Jockey: Ruby Walsh Born: May 14, 1979 First Winner: Siren Song, Gowran Park, July 25, 1995 Aintree Festival Wins include: John Smith’s Grand National (2000 Papillon (His first National ride), 2005 Hedgehunter), John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2003 Le Roi Miguel, 2007 Twist Magic), Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle (2002 Ilnamar, 2006 Asian Maze) Cheltenham Festival Wins (14): 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, 2006 Desert Quest), Ryanair Chase (2005 Thisthatandtother, 2007 Taranis) Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Noland), William Hill Trophy (2006 Dun Doire), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2007 Denman), totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup (2007 Kauto Star) Leading Rider at The Festival: 2004 (3), 2006 (3). Other Big Race Wins: Betfair Chase (2006 Kauto Star), Betfred Gold Cup (2003 Ad Hoc); Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Cornish Rebel, 2006 Denman); Stan James Christmas Hurdle (2005 Feathard Lady); totesport Classic Chase (2006 Eurotrek) December Festival Hurdle (2006 Brave Inca), Dipper Novices’ Chase (2005 My Will); Feltham Novices’ Chase (2003 Strong Flow); Game Spirit Chase (2004, 2005 Azertyuiop); Greatwood Hurdle (2003 Rigmarole); Haldon Gold Cup (2004 Azertyuiop); Heineken Gold Cup (1999 Imperial Call, 2000 Commanche Court); Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup (2003 Strong Flow); Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (2003 Thisthatandtother); Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (2002 Azertyuiop, 2003 Thisthatandtother); Irish Grand National (2000 Commanche Court, 2005 Numbersixvalverde); King George VI Chase (2006 Kauto Star); Kingwell Hurdle (2004 Rigmarole); Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Be Be King); Old Roan Chase (2006 Kauto Star); Peterborough Chase (2004 Le Roi Miguel); Racing Post Chase (2004 Marlborough); Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase (2007 New Little Bric); Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase (2003 Le Roi Miguel); Tied Cottage Chase (2007 Nickname); Tingle Creek Trophy (2002 Cenkos, 2006 Kauto Star); Tolworth Hurdle (2006 Silverburn), Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase (2005 Hoo La Baloo); Coral Welsh National (2004 Silver Birch) Number of Wins in Britain (1998/99-2005/06): 1; 1; 5; 13; 77; 62; 81; 69 Other Details: Son of Ted Walsh, former leading Irish amateur rider who is now a trainer and broadcaster in Ireland. Divides his time riding for Paul Nicholls in Britain and Willie Mullins in Ireland. Wins in Britain This Season: 65

THIRD RACE RESULT

2.50pm BALTIKA BEER AINTREE HURDLE (GRADE ONE)
£160,000 guaranteed, 2m 4f, For 4yo+ Weights 4yo 11st; 5yo+ 11st 7lb Allowances fillies and mares 7lb Entries 17 pay £600 Penalty Value 1st £91,232; 2nd £34,224; 3rd £17,136; 4th £8,544; 5th £4,288; 6th £2,144

1 AL EILE (IRE) (Michael Ryan) John Queally IRE 7-11-07 Timmy Murphy 12/1
2 GASPARA (FR) (Martin Pipe) David Pipe 4-10-07 Tom Scudamore 11/1
3 AFSOUN (FR) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 5-11-07 Mick Fitzgerald 13/2
4 ARCALIS (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 7-11-07 Paddy Brennan
5 KAWAGINO (IRE) (K Pike) Seamus Mullins 7-11-07 Wayne Kavanagh
6 ASIAN MAZE (IRE) (Sheila Moore) Thomas Mullins IRE 8-11-00 Ruby Walsh
7 STRANGELY BROWN (IRE) (We Didn’t Name Him Syndicate) Eric McNamara IRE 6-11-07 David Casey
8 WHISPERED PROMISES (USA) (Sandra Brookhouse) Roger Brookhouse 6-11-07 Alan O'Keeffe
9 JAZZ MESSENGER (FR) (RST Syndicate) Noel Meade IRE 7-11-07 Niall Madden
10 DETROIT CITY (USA) (Terry Warner) Philip Hobbs 5-11-07t Richard Johnson
P bef three out STAR ANTIQUE (FR) (Mr & Mrs Redmond) Kahlil Burke 4-10-07t Davy Russell

11 ran
Non-runners: 4 Black Jack Ketchum (vet’s certificate); 5 Blazing Bailey (vc)
Distances: 1 1/2, 3, 2, 2, 4, 7, 27, 6, 3
Breeding: b g Alzao (USA) - Kilcsem Eile (IRE)
Breeder: Michael Ryan
Totes: Win: £15.60 Places: £3.10; £2.30; £2.30 Exacta: £183.90

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’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Al Eile), Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle (2005 & 2007 Al Eile) Other Big Race Wins: Bonusprint.com Champion Hurdle Trial (2006 Al Eile) Wins in Britain 2003/04-2005/06: 2; 1; 1 Wins in Britain this season: 1

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, 2005 Fontanesi), Pertemps Final (2004 Creon), Irish Independent Arkle (2005 Contraband) Aintree Festival Wins: Cordon Bleu Hcap Hurdle (1999 Kinnescash), Unwins Wine Group Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Al Eile), Baltika Beer Aintree Hurdle (2005 & 2007 Al Eile), Betfair Bowl (2006 Celestial Gold) Other major wins: Agfa Diamond Hcap Chase (1999 Clever Remark); Ascot totesport Chase (2006 Our Vic); Betfair Bowl (2006 Celestial Gold); Betfred Celebration Chase (2005 Well Chief); Charlie Hall Chase (2006 Our Vic); Commhoist Logistics Champion Hurdle Trial (2006 Al Eile); Ericsson Chase (2002 Beef Or Salmon); Faucets For Mira Showers Silver Trophy Chase (2006 Our Vic); Game Spirit Chase (2006 Don’t Be Shy, 2007 Well Chief); Hennessy Gold Cup (2004 Celestial Gold); Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (2004 Contraband, 2005 Racing Demon); Irish Hennessy Gold Cup (2003 Beef Or Salmon); John Smith’s Hurdle (2006 Redemption); Old Roan Chase (2005 Impek); Paddy Power Gold Cup (2004 Celestial Gold, 2005 Our Vic); Pierse Leopardstown Handicap Chase (2007 Point Barrow); Pillar Property Chase (1998 See More Business); Pricewaterhousecoopers Ascot Hurdle (1998 Juyush); Rehearsal Chase (1998 See More Business); Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (2004 Our Vic); Rising Stars Novices’ Chase (2005 Celtic Son); Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Nous Voila); Sunderlands Imperial Cup (2005 Medison); Swinton Handicap Hurdle (2003 Macs Joy); Tolworth Hurdle (2005 Marcel); Fraser Steele HBLB Chase (2007 Dempsey); Victor Chandler Chase (2005 Well Chief); woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle (2006 Celestial Wave) Number of Wins (1995/96-2005/2006): 26; 28; 60; 73; 64; 54; 98; 42; 57; 143; 87 Wins This Season: 91




FOURTH RACE RESULT

3.25pm JOHN SMITH’S EXTRA COLD HANDICAP HURDLE (LISTED)
£50,000 guaranteed, 3m 1/2f, For 4yo+ Weights Raised 6lb Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after Aoril 7, a winner of a hurdle 4lb Lord Sam’s Handicap Mark 150 Entries 60 pay £230 Penalty Value 1st £28,510; 2nd £10,695; 3rd £5,355; 4th £2,670; 5th £1,340; 6th £670

1 ALBERTAS RUN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Jonjo O'Neill 6-10-04 Noel Fehily 9/2f
2 LYES GREEN (P Gardner) Oliver Sherwood 6-10-06p Leighton Aspell 10/1
3 REFINEMENT (IRE) (Michael Tabor) Jonjo O'Neill 8-11-10b Tony McCoy 9/1
4 PENNY PICTURES (IRE) (Terry Neill) David Pipe 8-10-09 Tom Scudamore 40/1
5 IRISH WOLF (FR) (The Hacking Partnership) Peter Bowen 7-11-11p Tom O'Brien
6 JOCKSER (IRE) (The DML Partnership) Seamus Mullins 6-10-00 Wayne Kavanagh (5)
7 OSCATELLO (USA) (Rye Braune) Philip Hobbs 7-10-11 Richard Johnson
8 MISTANOORA (Nigel Twiston-Davies) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-10-13b Tony Evans
9 MAHOGANY BLAZE (FR) (Lorna Berryman) Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-10-12 Paddy Brennan
10 MAC FEDERAL (IRE) (H Morris) Sheena West 5-10-06 Jamie Goldstein
11 GIDAM GIDAM (IRE) (Jennifer Woodward & Caroline Lawson) John Mackie 5-10-07p Phil Kinsella (3)
12 ARCTIC ECHO (R Dineen) Alan Swinbank 8-10-06 Dougie Costello (3)
13 JUST BETH (Joe Fierro) Joe Fierro 11-10-00 Derek Laverty (5)
14 OPERA DE COEUR (FR) (The Hon Mrs E Heber-Percy) Henry Daly 5-10-08 Mark Bradburne
15 FREETOWN (IRE) (S Blumberg & R Nairn) Len Lungo 11-10-07b Brian Harding
16 LORD SAM (IRE) (Plain Peeps) Victor Dartnall 11-11-12p James White
17 VERASI (F Ledger, J Bateman) Gary Moore 6-11-00b Jamie Moore
B three out LIVINGONAKNIFEDGE (IRE) (Concertina Racing) Ian Williams 8-10-06 Wayne Hutchinson
F three out OVERSTRAND (IRE) (Dr Richard & Mrs L Newland, C Stedman)Dr Richard Newland 8-11-03 Mr Tom Weston (7)
P bef two out VALLEY RIDE (IRE) (George Ward) David Arbuthnot 7-10-12 Tom Doyle
P bef four out FASTAFFARAN (IRE) (Dunalastair Estates) Lucinda Russell 6-10-06t Peter Buchanan

21 ran
Non-runner: 22 Hills Of Aran
Distances: 1/2, 1 1/4, 2, 1, 9, 1 1/2, 1 1/2, 1 1/4, 3 1/2, 1, 10,9, 5, 5, 3 1/2, 14
Breeding: b g Accordion - Holly Grove Lass
Breeder: Oliver & Salome Brennan
Totes: Win: £4.80 Places: £1.90; £3.70; £2.00; £8.30 Exacta: £54.70

Winning Trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Career: former National Hunt jockey Cheltenham Festival Wins (14): Pertemps Final (1991 Danny Connors, 2003 Inching Closer, 2004 Creon); National Hunt Chase (1995 Front Line, 2002 Rith Dubh, 2003 Sudden Shock, 2004 Native Emperor, 2007 Butler’s Cabin); Vincent O’Brien County H’cap Hurdle (2000 Master Tern), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Black Jack Ketchum, 2007 Wichita Lineman), Christie’S Foxhunter Chase (2007 Drombeag) Aintree Festival wins: Betfair Bowl (2007 Exotic Dancer), betfair.com Handicap Chase (2000 Radiation, 2002 Carbury Cross, 2003 Master Tern), John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2002 Sudden Shock, 2006 Refinement, 2007 Alberta’s Run), John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2002 Quazar), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), John Smith’s Topham Chase (2003 Clan Royal), Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Iris’s Gift, 2006 Black Jack Ketchum), John Smith’s Champion Standard National Hunt Flat Race (2003 Classic Native), John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), S&N Aintree Hurdle (2004 Rhinestone Cowboy) Other Big Race Wins: Ballymore Properties Champion Stayers’ Hurdle (2004 Rhinestone Cowboy), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Black Jack Ketchum), Challow Hurdle (2002 Coolnagorna, 2006 Wichita Lineman), Christmas Hurdle (2002 & 2003 Intersky Falcon), Cleeve Hurdle (2006 Fire Dragon), Edward Hanmer Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Emo Oil Champion Hurdle (2003 Quazar), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), Greatwood Hurdle (2005 Lingo), John James McManus Memorial Hurdle (2002 & 2003 Intersky Falcon), Kingwell Hurdle (2003 Rhinestone Cowboy), Paddy Power Champion INH Flat Race (2005 Refinement), Paddy Power Gold Cup (2006 Exotic Dancer), Punchestown Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle (2002 Quazar), Reynoldstown Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Swinton Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), Tommy Whittle Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Tripleprint Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right), Totesport Becher Chase (2003 Clan Royal), Totesport Silver Cup (2000 Legal Right), Totesport Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle (2002 Native Emperor), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation) Number of Winners (1995/96-2005/06): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113; 114; 102; 96; 105 Wins this Season: 118

Winning Jockey: Noel Fehily Date Of Birth: December 24, 1974 Based: c/o Charlie Mann, Whitcoombe Stables, Maddle Road, Upper Lambourn, Berkshire Background: Stable jockey to Charlie Mann and named as Jonjo O’Neill’s second jockey in November 2005. Riding Weight: 9st 9lb First Winner: Ivy Boy, Plumpton, November 16, 1998 Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle (2007 Two Miles West), John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2007 Alberta’s Run) Other Big Race Wins: Anglo Irish Private Banking Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Moon Over Miami); Ashelybank Investments Future Champions Novices’ Chase (Keltic Bard 2004); Britannia Building Society English Summer National (2005 Rheindross); totesport Lanzarote Hurdle (2006 Buck Whaley (dead-heated with Rayshan)) Number of Wins (1998/99-2005/06): 13; 16; 42 (Top conditional rider of 2000/01); 36; 35; 52; 56; 52 Wins This Season: 71


FIFTH RACE RESULT

4.15pm JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE THREE)
£700,000 guaranteed, 4m 4f Grand National Course, For 6yo+ which are allotted a rating of 110 or more Minimum Weight 10st Hedgehunter’s Handicap Mark 158 Entries 119 pay £450 1st Forfeit 106 pay £500 2nd Forfeit 81 pay £500 Confirmed 68 pay £550 Penalty Value 1st £399,140; 2nd £149,730; 3rd £74,970; 4th £37,380; 5th £18,760; 6th £9,380

1 SILVER BIRCH (IRE) (Brian Walsh (Co Kildare)) Gordon Elliott IRE 10-10-06t Robert Power 33/1
2 MCKELVEY (IRE) (Noel Elliott) Peter Bowen 8-10-04p Tom O'Brien 12/1
3 SLIM PICKINGS (IRE) (Doubtful Five Syndicate) Tom Taaffe IRE 8 -10-08 Barry Geraghty 33/1
4 PHILSON RUN (IRE) (Gale Force One) Nick Williams 11-10-05 Daryl Jacob 100/1
5 LIBERTHINE (FR) (Robert Waley-Cohen) Nicky Henderson 8-10-06 Mr Sam Waley-Cohen 40/1
6 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE (IRE) (Bernard Carroll) Martin Brassil IRE 11-11-03 Niall Madden 14/1
7 LONGSHANKS (Alan Halsall) Kim Bailey 10-10-07 Tony Dobbin
8 PUNTAL (FR) (Terry Neill) David Pipe 11-10-05tp Tom Scudamore
9 HEDGEHUNTER (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Willie Mullins IRE 11-11-12 Ruby Walsh
10 L'AMI (FR) (J P McManus) Francois Doumen FR 8-11-08p Tony McCoy
11 CLAN ROYAL (FR) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 12-10-09 Mr J T McNamara
12 GALLANT APPROACH (IRE) (Byrne Bros (Formwork) Ltd) Charles Egerton 8-10-09 Jimmy McCarthy
13 KELAMI (FR) (Halewood International) Francois Doumen FR 9-10-12 Mick Fitzgerald
F1 POINT BARROW (IRE) (Mrs P Clune Hughes) Pat Hughes IRE 9-10-12 Philip Carberry 8/1 co-fav
U1 TIKRAM (Mike Charlton & Rodger Sargent) Alan King 10-10-05 Wayne Hutchinson
F6 LE DUC (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 8-10-02 Dominic Elsworth
U6 LIVINGSTONEBRAMBLE (IRE) (Favourites Racing) Willie Mullins IRE 11-10-09 Davy Russell
F6 JACK HIGH (IRE) (Brenda Ross, M McShane, D Montgomery, W Moore) Ted Walsh IRE 12-10-03B Richard McGrath
R7 MONKERHOSTIN (FR) (Martin St Quinton) Philip Hobbs 10-11-06 Richard Johnson 8/1 co-fav
P bef 7 ZABENZ (NZ) (Michael Watt) Philip Hobbs 10-10-08b Barry Fenton
U8 KNOWHERE (IRE) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-10-13 Tom Doyle
F8 KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) (Let’s Live Racing) Alan King 9-10-08 Robert Thornton
F9 ROYAL AUCLAIR (FR) (Clive Smith) Paul Nicholls 10-11-01t Joe Tizzard
Ref bef 15 CLOUDY BAYS (IRE) (Cloudy Bay Syndicate) Charles Byrnes IRE 10-11-00P Andrew McNamara
P bef 19 BILLYVODDAN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 8-11-04b Leighton Aspell
U19 IDLE TALK (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Donald McCain Jnr 8-11-02 Jason Maguire
U19 THE OUTLIER (IRE) (Pat Murphy) Venetia Williams 9-10-05 Paul O'Neill
P bef 20 JOES EDGE (IRE) (Chemipetro Limited) Ferdy Murphy 10-10-02 Graham Lee 8/1 co-fav
P 22 HOMER WELLS (IRE) (Madeleine McMahon) Willie Mullins IRE 9-10-06 Davy Condon
P bef 22 EUROTREK (IRE) (Paul Green) Paul Nicholls 11-11-08 Liam Heard
P bef 22 CELTIC SON (FR) (David Johnson) David Pipe 8-10-11t Timmy Murphy
F22 BEWLEYS BERRY (IRE) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 9-10-07 Paddy Brennan
F22 GRAPHIC APPROACH (IRE) (Mr & Mrs Peter Orton) Charles Egerton 9-10-06 Paul Moloney
P bef 23 NAUNTON BROOK (David Langdon) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-10-04tb1 Noel Fehily
U 24 BALLYCASSIDY (IRE) (Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar) Peter Bowen 11-10-09 Denis O'Regan
F25 SIMON (Mercy Rimell) John Spearing 8-10-11 Andrew Thornton
P bef 27 DUN DOIRE (IRE) (Dunderry Racing Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE 8-10-08 Paul Carberry
P29 BOTHAR NA (IRE) (Helen O’Dwyer) Willie Mullins IRE 8-10-06 David Casey
P bef 29 SONEVAFUSHI (FR) (Brian Dice) Venetia Williams 9-10-03 Mr T Greenall
P bef 30 THISTHATANDTOTHER (IRE) (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 11-11-05 Jamie Moore

40 ran
Time: 9m 13.6s
Distances: 3/4, 1 1/4, 15, 5, 21, 1 1/4, 13, 1 1/2, dist, 14, 2, 29
Breeding: b g Clearly Bust - All Gone
Breeder: J & Mrs Power
Totes: Win: £41.90 Places:£.20; £4.20; £9.80; £29.30 Exacta: £667.60

Winning Trainer: Gordon Elliott Age: 29 Based: Capranny, Trim, Co Meath, Ireland Background: Former point-to-point ride. Started out at Tony Martin’s Meath stables. Moved to Martin Pipe in 2002 and rode one winner from six amateur rides. Began training in 2006 at Capranny Stables, owned by Barry Callaghan, head of the Dun Doire Syndicate. Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2007 Silver Birch) Wins in Britain this season: 4

Winning Jockey: Robert Power Age: 25 Background: Robert Power is the son of legendary Irish showjumper and trainer Con Power, who is regarded as the top man in Ireland to deal with horses who find it difficult to learn to jump properly. A silver medallist at the European Junior Showjumping Championships in 2000, Power made the switch to jump racing the following year. First winner as a professional came on the Paddy Mullins-trained Bob What at Leopardstown in February, 2002. He was honoured at the 2004 Irish Jump Racing Awards as the leading claiming rider Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2007 Silver Birch) Other Big Race Wins Include: John Smiths Midlands Grand National (2003 Intelligent), Galway Plate (2003 Nearly A Moose) Wins in Ireland (2001/02-2005/6): 8; 12; 28; 35; 25 Wins in Ireland this season: 15 Wins in Britain (2002/03-2005/06): 1; 0; 0; 0 Wins in Britain in this season: 2



SIXTH RACE RESULT

5.00pm JOHN SMITH’S NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE
(CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ AND AMATEUR RIDERS’ RACE)
£30,000 guaranteed, 2m 4f Mildmay Course, For 5yo+ Weights raised 7lb Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after April 7, a winner of a chase 6lb L’Antartique’s Handicap Mark 142 Entries 33 pay £150 Penalty Value 1st £18,789; 2nd £5,550; 3rd £2,775; 4th £1,389; 5th £693; 6th £348

1 PRIVATE BE (David & Daphne Walsh) Philip Hobbs 8-10-10 Mr Josh Guerriero (7) 12/1
2 BOB HALL (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-07t Mr J T McNamara 9/4 f
3 TIME TO SELL (IRE) (Joseph Buckley) Eugene O'Sullivan IRE 8-10-02 Mr Richard McLernon (7) 20/1
4 CHIEF YEOMAN (B Moore & E Stephens) Venetia Williams 7-11-01 Liam Treadwell (3)
5 KING REVO (IRE) (J P McManus) Pat Haslam 7-10-06 Mr Alan Berry (5)
6 KINGS BROOK (Tony Gale) Nick Williams 7-10-12 Daryl Jacob (3)
7 BOUGOURE (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Sue Smith 7-10-01 Tjade Collier (7)
F10 SOME LEGEND (IRE) (Tir Conaill Syndicate) Edward O'Grady IRE 7-10-06 Martin Ferris (5)
P after 12th DAY OF CLAIES (FR) (Hogarth Racing) Harry Hogarth 6-9-12 Phil Kinsella (3)
U3 L'ANTARTIQUE (FR) (Mary Durkan) Ferdy Murphy 7-11-09 Tom Dreaper (3)

11 ran
Non-runners: 7 Bold Fire (withdrawn on vet’s advice), 6 Ofarel D’Airy (withdrawn vc)
Distances: 3, 4, 5, 1 1/2, 3, 24
Breeding: b g Gunner B - Foxgrove
Breeder: Mrs C Middleton
Totes: Win: £17.70 Places: £4.10; £1.50; £3.50 Exacta: £85.50

Winning Trainer: PHILIP HOBBS Based: Sandhill, Bilbrook, Minehead, Somerset Date of Birth: 26/7/55 Riding Career: Professional NH 1975-86, rode 160 winners Date of first trainer’s licence: August 1, 1985 Aintree Festival wins: John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase (2007 Private Be), John Smith’s Topham Chase (1997 Bells Life, 2001 Gower-Slave), Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1996 Pleasure Shared), John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle (1996 Pleasure Shared), John Smith’s Extra Cold H’cap Hurdle (1999 Papo Kharisma), John Smith’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Phardante Flyer, 2001 Ilico II, 2002 In Contrast), John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase (2000 Bells Life), John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Lord Brex, 2006 Detroit City), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2001 What’s Up Boys), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2006 Wellbeing) Cheltenham Festival Wins (11): Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (1990 Moody Man, 2002 Rooster Booster), Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup Handicap (1996 Kibreet), Coral Cup H’cap Hurdle (2000 What’s Up Boys, 2004 Monkerhostin), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Smurfit Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2003 One Knight), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2004 Made In Japan, 2006 Detroit City), Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle (2007 Massini’s Maguire) Other major wins include: Anglo Irish Bank Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Boychuk), Aon Chase (2005 Farmer Jack), Betfred Gold Cup (2006 Lacdoudal), Bonusprint.com Gold Cup (2004 Monkerhostin), boylesports.com International (2002 Rooster Booster, 2006 Detroit City), Concord At jet.com Juv Nov’s Hurdle (2005 Fair Along), Edinburgh Woollen Mill Champion Novices’ Chase (1999 Bouchasson), Greatwood H’cap Hurdle (2002 Rooster Booster, 2006 Detroit City), Haldon Gold Cup (2005 Monkerhostin), Hennessy Gold Cup (2001 What’s Up Boys), Independent Newspaper Novices’ Chase (2006 Fair Along), Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase (1989 Joint Sovereignty), Racing Post Chase (1999 Dr Leunt, 2002 Gunther McBride, 2005 Farmer Jack), Bonusprint.com Champion Hurdle Trial (2004 Rooster Booster), Rendlesham Hurdle (2004 Monkerhostin), Scottish Champion Hurdle (2003 In Contrast, 2006 Noble Request), Sodexho Prestige Henry VIII Nov Chase (2006 Fair Along), Totesport Becher Chase (1997 Samlee), Vodafone Gold Cup (2005 Supreme Prince), William Hill Handicap Hurdle (1998 Polar Prospect), Unicoin Homes Novices’ Chase (2006 Boychuk) Number of Winners (1990/91-2005/06): 33; 51; 37; 64; 86; 77; 64; 71; 84; 120; 82; 119; 134; 121; 121; 112 Winners this Season: 102

Winning Jockey: Josh Guerriero Born: January 22, 1989 Based: c/o Philip Hobbs Sandhill, Bilbrook, Minehead, Somerset Background: Champion novices’ male point-to-point rider in 2006. Born in Italy, of an English mother and Italian father, he moved to Cumbria at the age of nine. His father, who is in the restaurant business, lives in Florence and his mother lives in Penrith. Was recommended to Philip Hobbs by Tony Dobbin. Broke his collarbone in a point-to-point fall in February but has returned in great form Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase (2007 Private Be) First Winner Under Rules: Private Be, John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase, April 14, 2007 Wins this season: 1



ABANDONED

SEVENTH RACE

5.35pm JOHN SMITH’S CHAMPION STANDARD OPEN NH FLAT RACE
(GRADE TWO)






THE VALUE BETTING COLUMN EVERY SATURDAY

AINTREE, SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2007

4:15pm £700,000 John Smith’s Grand National (Handicap), Grade 3, 4m 4f

GOING: GOOD



for the best odds go to www.BritOdds.com
BP= the best price at the time of writing



1) 222-59 HEDGEHUNTER Willie Mullins IRE 11-11-12 Ruby Walsh
High-class chaser, runner-up to War Of Attrition in the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup, who landed the 2005 Grand National in scintillating style and ran a blinder when second to Numbersixvalverde last year under top weight. His welter burden means he’s there to be shot at but certain to handle the fences, loves decent ground and sure to give his supporters a run for their money. BP= 14/1

2) 411P-1 EUROTREK Paul Nicholls 11-11-08 Liam Heard
Talented but fragile sort who is very lightly-raced for his age. Only seen the racecourse once this season, but that yielded a decisive victory over the Grand National fences in the Becher Chase in November. Will handle the ground and jumps and stays well but lot do under his weight. BP= 18/1

3) -53427 L’AMI Francois Doumen FR 8-11-08p Tony McCoy
Does not win very often - his last victory was over two years ago - but has a touch of class, finishing runner-up in a Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, a Racing Post Chase and when almost toppling the mighty Kauto Star in the Aon Chase at Newbury in February. The chosen mount of Tony McCoy and bound to be popular with punters but has questions to answer regarding the track and trip. BP= 20/1

4) 43-344 MONKERHOSTIN Philip Hobbs 10-11-6 Richard Johnson
A grand servant to his connections whose overall from is just below the top level, but ran as well as ever when fourth to Kauto Star in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month. Not tested over this track/trip but has had a light campaign and could be the type to take to the Aintree fences; each-way chance. BP= 25/1

5) F-2527 THISTHATANDTOTHER Paul Nicholls 11-11-05 Sam Thomas
Consistent chaser who falls just below top class but can usually be relied upon to run his race. Decent second to Monet’s Garden at Ascot in February but disappointing when only seventh in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last month. Most of his form is at two and a half miles and big stamina queries here. BP= 80/1

6) 9U-513 BILLYVODDAN Henry Daly 8-11-04b Leighton Aspell
Showed useful novice chase form last season and improved for the application of blinkers when storming home in a valuable Ascot handicap over three miles before Christmas. Ran a blinder when a close third to Taranis in the Ryanair Chase last time, looks to be on the upgrade and could be in the shake-up if handling the unique Aintree course though his weight is daunting. BP= 20/1

7) 31-494 NUMBERSIXVALVERDE Martin Brassil IRE 11-11-03 Niall Madden
Given a superb ride by Grand National debutant Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden when scoring impressively last year, staying on strongly to defeat Hedgehunter by six lengths. Has an extra 9lb to carry this year which makes his task significantly harder but jumped for fun that day, and given a similar preparation to last season, must have a fine chance of reaching the frame. BP= 16/1

8) 4-26UU IDLE TALK Donald McCain Jnr 8-11-02 Jason Maguire
Novice chase form last season included an excellent second to Star De Mohaison in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham. Has not had much luck this season, unlucky to be unseated in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time when bumped by a rival. Normally a reliable jumper and every chance of staying the four and a half mile trip but just a feeling this race could come a year too soon. BP= 18/1

9) -65736 ROYAL AUCLAIR Paul Nicholls 10-11-01t Joe Tizzard
Ran the race of his life to chase home Hedgehunter in the 2005 Grand National but not in the best of form so far this season, most recently when beaten a long way in sixth behind Heads Onthe Ground in a cross-country event at Cheltenham on March 13. Likely to get round but possible his bets days are behind him and passed over. BP= 40/1

10) 8FP18F CLOUDY BAYS Charles Byrnes IRE 10-11-00p Andrew McNamara
Useful front runner in his native Ireland up to three miles, last appearance over hurdles at the Cheltenham festival when falling at the fifth in the Pertemps Final. Expect him to be prominent in the early stages but unlikely to have the stamina to stay there and also prone to the odd mistake. BP= 150/1

11) F22380 KNOWHERE Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-10-13 Tom Doyle
Picked up some soft novice events in the early part of this season and ran well against the top-class Exotic Dancer at Cheltenham in December, but form has rather tailed off the last twice, running a well-beaten 12th in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase when last seen. Far from the finished article in terms of his jumping and looks a risky proposition, although his trainer knows what it takes to win this race. BP= 150/1

12) 8392P2 KELAMI Francois Doumen FR 9-10-12 Mick Fitzgerald
French-based contender who is often seen on these shores, winning the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham two years ago, but was brought down at the first in the 2004 Grand National. Finished runner-up at Auteuil last month in his prep race and has the assistance of Mick Fitzgerald; likes good ground and is respected. BP= 33/1

13) 04B133 POINT BARROW Pat Hughes IRE 9-10-12 Philip Carberry
Strongly fancied Irish contender who thrives at this time of year, landing the Irish Grand National a year ago and taking the Pierse Leopardstown Chase in January. Ran well in his warm-up race when third over hurdles at Navan last month, will not lack for stamina, versatile as regards ground and looks primed for a bold run. BP= 11/1

14) 4420-P CELTIC SON David Pipe 8 10-11t Timmy Murphy
One-time decent performer but only one credible effort from last five outings. Pulled-up on only start this campaign in Racing Post Chase at Kempton in February behind Simon and unlikely to be troubling the judge in race of this nature. BP= 100/1

15) -52611 SIMON John Spearing 8-10-11 Andrew Thornton
Improving eight-year-old, formerly trained in Ireland, who has really clicked into gear recently with two decisive wins, capturing the Sky Bet Chase at Southwell in January and following up in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton in February. Those successes were gained on testing ground, however, and though he acts on better ground, possible that conditions will be too quick for him. BP= 20/1

16) 20P5P0 BALLYCASSIDY Peter Bowen 11-10-09 Denis OìRegan
In the process of running a cracker until unseating five out in last year’s National when in the lead. Last five starts less impressive, however, and supporters must hope the Aintree fences have a rejuvenating effect. BP= 50/1

17) 13-6FP CLAN ROYAL Jonjo OìNeill 12-10-09 Mr J T McNamara
Has been the nearly horse in this race for the past few seasons, finishing second in 2004 when his rider lost his whip and almost took the wrong course, being unluckily carried out of the race in 2005 when travelling well, and then running third last year. Capable of running into a place but likely his best chance has gone. BP= 33/1

18) 25-137 GALLANT APPROACH Charles Egerton 8-10-09 Jimmy McCarthy
Inexperienced eight-year-old who has run with credit all starts this term, finishing seventh, not beaten too far, behind Joes Edge in the William Hill Trophy last time out. Seems to relish cut in the ground and trainer has expressed concerns about the prospect of quick ground, but looks a thorough stayer and open to improvement. BP= 66/1

19) 442250 LIVINGSTONEBRAMBLE Willie Mullins IRE 11-10-09 Davy Russell
Best run this season when chasing home stablemate Homer Wells in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January. Goes on good ground but does not look good enough and trainer looks to have stronger candidates. BP= 125/1

20) -0F251 DUN DOIRE Tony Martin IRE 8-10-08 Paul Carberry
Thorough stayer who rattled off a six-timer last term, culminating with victory in the William Hill Trophy at the Cheltenham festival. Whole season has been geared around the Grand National - fell when hampered in the Becher Chase in November - but loves a soft surface and trainer is worried that he may lack the gears on decent ground. BP= 20/1

21) 17-710 KANDJAR D’ALLIER Alan King 9-10-08 Robert Thornton
Has scored on good ground in the past but all his best form has come on ground with plenty of give. Has a light weight and a top jockey on his back. A live outsider. BP= 100/1

22) 33P3F5 SLIM PICKINGS Tom Taaffe IRE 8-10-08 Barry Geraghty
Only second run for current handler when a fine fifth in the Racing Post Plate at Cheltenham last month, staying on well having been outpaced at one point. Best form against the likes of Missed That and Sir Oj suggests he has a touch of class, trainer thinks he will like the ground and could surprise at a decent price. BP= 33/1

23) 49-232 ZABENZ Philip Hobbs 10-10-08b Barry Fenton
Often runs commendably in the face of stiff tasks and again ran well, although beaten 12 lengths, when second to Billyvoddan at Ascot in December. Will enjoy the ground and is a safe jumper but plenty to find, including with his recent conqueror, if he is to get competitive. BP= 66/1

24) 6P-429 BEWLEYS BERRY Howard Johnson 9-10-07 Paddy Brennan
Looked to have a great future in the chasing game, having been a useful pointer and hurdler, when hacking up at Wetherby in November, 2005, but has not managed to get his head in front since. Disappointing at Haydock in the mud in February but claims on earlier effort at Aintree when second to Eurotrek in the Becher Chase. Could run into a place. BP= 25/1

25) 46/7-1 LONGSHANKS Kim Bailey 10-10-07 Tony Dobbin
Gets his Grand National chance having been denied a run for the past two years. Goes well fresh, so absence since Newbury win in November of no great concern. Has completed, and run very well, in both tries over the Grand National fences and looks set to give his supporters a run for their money. BP= 22/1

26) 5115UP BOTHAR NA Willie Mullins IRE 8-10-06 David Casey
Ex-hunter chaser who made a great start to his career in handicap company, landing competitive events at Tralee and Listowel. Last two outings have not been so encouraging, however, failing to complete on both occasions, and some guess work needed on his current well-being. He has jumped these fences but is not out of it. BP= 22/1

27) 63-53U GRAPHIC APPROACH Charles Egerton 9-10-06 Paul Moloney
Like stablemate Gallant Approach, would have a squeak of reaching a place on his best form. Unseated last time out in the Racing Post Plate - the third time he has either fallen or unseated under Rules - and will need to jump a lot better if he is have any chance in this contest. BP= 100/1

28) 3-0F11 HOMER WELLS Willie Mullins IRE 9-10-06 David Condon
In grand form of late, getting the better of Jack High in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on heavy ground in February. Would almost certainly have preferred to see some rain going into the Grand National and could find things happening too quickly but he is on the upgrade. BP= 40/1

29) 14-489 LIBERTHINE Nicky Henderson 8-10-06 Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
Tough mare who has a victory to her name over the Grand National fences, having captured the Topham Chase a year ago. Goes well for her amateur jockey but should have done a bit better at Cheltenham last month and yet to show that extreme distances are her forte. BP= 33/1

30) F-8242 SILVER BIRCH Gordon Elliott IRE 10-10-06t Robert Power
Finest hour came when galloping to victory in the Welsh National for Paul Nicholls in 2004. Has returned to form for current handler and ran very well over Cheltenham’s cross-country course when last seen in March. Safe jumper and looks to hold sound each-way claims. BP= 40/1

31) 21P6-8 PHILSON RUN Nick Williams 11-10-05 Daryl Jacob
Out and out stayer who relishes marathon trips, taking the Midlands National in 2005 and the Eider Chase last year. Only run this year was full of promise - would have finished a lot closer but for blundering two fences form home in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock in February - and, although well suited when the mud is flying, could well be running on when others have cried enough. BP= 80/1

32) -5527P PUNTAL David Pipe 11-10-05tp Tom Scudamore
Produced a fine effort when sixth to Numbersixvalverde a year ago. Poor form the last twice but has proved he handles the Aintree fences and could go well without being good enough to make a real impact. BP= 100/1

33) 1O21PP THE OUTLIER Venetia Williams 9-10-05 Paul OìNeill
Ploughed through the mud when scoring at Haydock in January, slamming subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup third Turpin Green by 12 lengths, but below that level on next two starts, pulling up each time. Softer ground would suit better and bypassed. BP= 150/1

34) 8-0440 TIKRAM Alan King 10-10-05 Wayne Hutchinson
Has plenty of ability, with a Cheltenham festival success to his name for previous handler, and several decent efforts this campaign, including when fourth to Rambling Minster at Sandown in February. However has never won over three miles and hard to see him taking a leading role. BP= 150/1

35) -41761 MCKELVEY Peter Bowen 8-10-04p Tom OìBrien
Not many miles on the clock and comes into the race in winning form, having landed a three-miles handicap hurdle at Bangor in March. Previously finished a staying-on sixth to Eurotrek in the Becher Chase and will be suited by the extra distance here. Should give Tom O’Brien a fine first National ride. BP= 20/1

36) 11530P NAUNTON BROOK Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-10-04tb Noel Fehily
Two good wins earlier in the season but form has rather tailed off since, pulling up last time in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham. Stamina for this trip not guaranteed by any means and will be an achievement just to get round in one piece. BP= 100/1

37) 700472 JACK HIGH Ted Walsh IRE 12-10-03b Richard McGrath
Fancied for this last year but got no further than the Chair. Decent effort latest and stays very well but reaching the veteran stage now and unlikely to be good enough. BP= 33/1

38) 0-5129 SONEVAFUSHI Venetia Williams 9-10-03 Mr Tom Greenall
Lost his form badly last season and was switched to hunter chase company this year by his trainer, which yielded a victory at Wincanton in February. Never landed a blow at Cheltenham last time and has a mountain to climb here. BP= 200/1

39) 76-781 JOES EDGE Ferdy Murphy 10-10-02 Graham Lee
Has been all the rage in the betting in recent days and in-form yard have been making positive noises over his chances. Comes to hand at this time of the year, getting up on the line a dramatic finish to the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham, and will relish the decent ground. Saying that, was well-beaten in this race last year and his price offers no value. BP= 9/1

40) U-0743 LE DUC Paul Nicholls 8-10-02 Dominic Elsworth
Has run some crackers over the Aintree fences although unseated at the Canal Turn in the National 12 months ago. An enigmatic customer, he has plenty of talent and could nick a place if in a going mood. BP= 80/1

SUMMARY
In an open race, SLIM PICKINGS appeals as the type who could be suited by Aintree, and represents each-way value.


GOOD LUCK


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