Friday, April 13, 2012
Check out our glance at the 2012 Grand national - will it be a Devon trained horse first past the line, or perhaps a horse ridden by a lady jockey?
If you are looking for a Devon connection to the Grand National at Aintree (4.15pm) then look no further than GILES CROSS, a 10-year-old trained at Brayford in North Devon. Giles Cross is trained by Victor Dartnoll and ridden by Paddy Brennan. Giles Cross seems to give his best performances with soft ground underfoot and would be unlikely to find those conditions in the Grand National but he does attack from the front and that tactic has worked well over the last few years at Aintree. If he could win the early battle for the lead he could go well for a long way. Victor Dartnall’s gelding is tenacious and is generally a sound jumper but with stamina on soft ground his strong suit it must be a worry for connections that he will be found out for pace on goodish ground. He has upped his game this season with two excellent wins in the Southern National at Fontwell and the Grand National trial at Haydock. In between those two wins he was runner-up for the second time in the Welsh National, this time to Le Beau Bai after losing out to subsequent Gold Cup winner Synchronised in 2010. Giles Cross’ supporters look sure to get a good run for their money and if there was persistent rain at Aintree in Grand National week then this horse would almost certainly be very nearly favourite.
Or perhaps you think this is the year a lady rider brings home the first horse in the race. There are two lady riders in 2012.
Sea Bass is a 9-year-old trained by Ted Walsh and ridden by Katie Walsh.
Sea Bass won the recent 40k Leopardstown Handicap Chase and in doing so won his sixth consecutive race. Now finds himself on an official mark in the 140s having started his winning run at a lowly 95. Ted Walsh has done a great job improving this nine-year-old son of Turtle Island over forty pounds and the improvement may not yet be finished. Has yet to win over further than 22 furlongs under Rules but has won a three mile point-to-point so still has stamina to prove for a race like the Grand National. The stable have proved already that they can deliver the ultimate prize with a young, improving horse after guiding Papillon to Grand National success in 2000. Punters should keep a very close eye on this horse and he is a must for any Grand National shortlist.
Organised Confusion is a 7-year-old trained by Arthur Moore and ridden by Nina Craberry. Organised Confusion was the subject of a typical Arthur Moore gamble when winning the Irish National by five lengths in April of last year. Nina Carberry got Organisedconfusion home from Western Charmer by five lengths in the end that day and in the process landed some hefty bets about the gelding who had been available at twice his SP of 12/1 earlier in the day. Moore had campaigned the gelding predominantly over shorter distances in the previous two seasons over fences and had carved out a handicap mark that obviously left him scope once he was given a true test of stamina. The press loved the victory with one of the stalwarts of the Irish NH scene providing a winner for his niece, Nina Carberry, to ride into the winner’s enclosure and the press are sure to run with the story again at Aintree in 2012. The only worry would be his relative inexperience and young age - very few seven-year-olds seem to perform well in the Grand National. Opposed to this is the excellent record of recent Irish National winners at Aintree so it remains to be seen if this horse will be able to take the inevitable hike up the handicap ratings.
There is always a favourite and this year that tag falls on Synchronised. Trained by Jonjo O’Neil and ridden by AP McCoy. Synchronised won the 2010 Welsh National, relishing the soft conditions to score a comfortable success from Giles Cross. Stamina was not in doubt for Chepstow as Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding had already won the four mile two furlongs Midlands Grand National the previous season. Synchronised shot a hole in the theory that he wouldn’t be effective on good ground when he stormed to victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December of last year and then further confounded the theory that he was just a mudlark when storming home to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup under an inspired ride from Tony McCoy. Synchronised is home bred by the McManus family so winning a second Grand National with this fella would probably be the ultimate success.
Here is the full list of the 2012 Grand National runners and riders.
1 Synchronised Form: -P7311 (T: Jonjo O’Neill / J: A P McCoy) Age: 9 Weight: 11st 10lbs Winner of the 2012 Gold Cup and bidding to be the first horse to win both races in a season since 1934. Top weight and winning owner, trainer, jockey combination who won the race in 2010.
2 Ballabriggs Form: 1121-4 (T: D McCain / J: J Maguire) Age: 11 Weight: 11st 9lbs Last year’s winner who is looking to be the first horse to win consecutive Nationals since Red Rum in 1974, trained by Donald McCain’s father Ginger. Big claims to go close again in 2012.
3 Weird Al Form: 8P-13P (T: D McCain / J: T Murphy) Age: 9 Weight: 11st 8lbs
Donald McCain’s second string who was last seen pulling up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Winner of Charlie Hall Chase earlier in the season but big question marks over the trip. -
4 Neptune Collonges Form: 6-P422 (T: P Nicholls / J: D Jacob) Age: 11 Weight: 11st 6lbs 11yo who is a Grade 1 winner and has had two decent efforts over longer trips this season off big weights, including second place in Haydock National trial last time out. -
5 Calgary Bay Form: F-8511 (T: Miss H Knight / J: D Elsworth) Age: 9 Weight: 11st 6lbs Return to form for this nine year old trained by Henrietta Knight. Winner of a Grade 3 at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and also won National trial at Doncaster on last start. -
6 Alfa Beat Form: 6741UP (T: J Hanlon / J: D N Russell) Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs
Irish Raider who was a faller here last year in the Topham Chase over the National fences. Winner of the Kerry National last Autumn but not finished on last two starts before coming here. - £250 Free Bet
7 Planet Of Sound Form: /35-23 (T: P Hobbs / J: R Johnson) Age: 10 Weight: 11st 5lbs Grade 1 winner at Punchestown but that was 2 years ago and has failed to win in 4 attempts since. Second in this season’s Hennessy and shaped as though he’ll stay the trip in the National.
8 Black Apalachi Form: U022/2 (T: D Hughes / J: D O’Regan) Age: 13 Weight: 11st 3lbs Second here in 2010. Long injury lay off before finishing second on first race back in Feb. Has won over these fences in Becher Chase and could have each-way claims at a big price.
9 Deep Purple Form: U34-1F (T: E Williams / J: J Moore) Age: 11 Weight: 11st 3lbs Winner of the Peterborough Chase in 2009 has found it hard to get his nose in front since, although won the London National at Sandown in December. Could be an each-way shot at a big price.
10 Junior Form: 321-82 (T: D Pipe / J: T Scudamore) Age: 9 Weight: 11st 2lbs
Hacked up in last season’s Kim Muir by 28 lengths at Cheltenham. Jumping can be questionable but trainer knows how to win the race and is likely to be one of the front runners
11 Chicago Grey Form: -U3732 (T: G Elliott / J: P Carberry) Age: 9 Weight: 10st 13lbs Winner of the four mile contest at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival so should get the trip. Lightly raced since with this race in mind and trainer won here in 2007 with Silver Birch. Decent claims.
12 Tatenen Form: 70-715 (T: R Rowe / J: A Thornton) Age: 8 Weight: 10st 13lbs
One time beaten favourite for the Arkle won a decent handicap at Ascot in January where he seems to reserve his best form. Big price and a doubtful stayer, would be a surprise if he got close.
13 Seabass Form: /11111 (T: T Walsh / J: Ms K Walsh) Age: 9 Weight: 10st 12lbs
Irish Raider who has won on last seven starts including the Grade 2 Paddypower.com Chase at Naas last time out. Katie Walsh to ride for her father Ted who won the race with Papillon in 2000.
14 Shakalakaboomboom Form: 7-1122 (T: N Henderson / J: B Geraghty) Age: 8 Weight: 10st 12lbs Sole entry for Nicky Henderson who has surprisingly never won this race. 7th here last year in the Topham and has performed well this season in some competitive handicaps
15 West End Rocker Form: 1PB-P1 (T: A King / J: W Hutchinson) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 12lbs Brought down in last year’s race but won the Becher Chase over the National fences here in December on heavy going. Will want a bit of cut in the ground but a definite for the shortlists.
16 According To Pete Form: -37112 (T: J M Jefferson / J: H Haynes) Age: 11 Weight: 10st 12lbs Useful handicapper who has found some form this season winning the Roland Merrick on Boxing Day and also the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. Front runner who might run out of puff.
17 On His Own Form: 4P1-B1 (T: W Mullins / J: R Walsh) Age: 8 Weight: 10st 11lbs Halved in price since the news that stablemate Prince De Beauchene would miss the race. Ruby Walsh rides in a bid for his third win in the race but big question mark over trip.
18 Always Right Form: 13-1PP (T: J Wade / J: J Reveley) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 10lbs Lighty raced 10yo who was 3rd in last season’s Scottish Grand National. Trip shouldn’t be a problem but has pulled up on last two starts on soft ground which would be a worry if the rain comes
19 Cappa Bleu Form: 2P/133 (T: E Williams / J: P Moloney) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 10lbs Third in the Welsh National at Christmas, is amongst the top band of fancies and could run a big race. Another who could do with plenty of rain in the build up. - £250
20 Rare Bob Form: 345053 (T: D Hughes / J: B J Cooper) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 9lbs One of four horses trained by Dessie Hughes entered in the race. Fifth here in the Becher Chase in December but plenty in the field have had the beating of him in the past.
21 Organisedconfusion Form: -133F5 (T: A Moore / J: Miss N Carberry) Age: 7 Weight: 10st 8lbs Winner of last season’s Irish Grand National and the mount of lady jockey Nina Carberry. Not shown a lot of form this season but been ticking over with this race in mind
22 Treacle Form: -51423 (T: T Taaffe / J: A E Lynch) Age: 11 Weight: 10st 8lbs
The 2009 Munster National winner shouldn’t be too worried by the trip and was last seen finishing third in the Irish Hennessy. Could run a big race at genuine each-way prices. -
23 The Midnight Club Form: 6-B439 (T: W Mullins / J: P Townend) Age: 11 Weight: 10st 8lbs Sent off the favourite here twelve months ago when finishing a well beaten 6th. A bit slow over his jumps which would be of a concern and the betting suggests he’ll be out of the frame in 2012
24 Mon Mome Form: /52PP0 (T: Miss V Williams / J: A Coleman) Age: 12 Weight: 10st 8lbs Winner of this race in 2009 at odds of 100/1 and then fell when returning in 2010. Missed race last year following that fall and hasn’t shown much form since. One of two C&D winners in the field.
25 Arbor Supreme Form: P2F-60 (T: Jonjo O’Neill / J: P Walsh) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 7lbs Third attempt in the race and yet to complete, although in a new yard this season having moved to Jonjo O’Neill. Some very moderate efforts so far this season, easy to avoid.
26 Sunnyhillboy Form: -37P91 (T: Jonjo O’Neill / J: R McLernon) Age: 9 Weight: 10st 5lbs Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and third in the Irish National last season. Each-way claims here.
27 Killyglen Form: 030341 (T: S Crawford / J: R M Power) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 4lbs A faller here last season at 66/1, but looks set to go off a lot shorter price this year. A winner last time out in Ireland and another with each-way claims who could be subject to an Irish gamble.
28 Quiscover Fontaine Form: F-4910 (T: W Mullins / J: D J Casey) Age: 8 Weight: 10st 4lbs French bred who has been hurdling this campaign. Fourth in the Irish Grand National and one of four horses owned by JP Mcmanus in the race. Big ask in this company
29 Tharawaat Form: P13077 (T: G Elliott / J: B T O’Connell) Age: 7 Weight: 10st 4lbs No real form to speak of although he’ll want some cut in the ground. 38 lengths to find over On His Own from last time they met in January. Easy to avoid when looking for a bet.
30 Becauseicouldntsee Form: -63F22 (T: N Glynn / J: D J Condon) Age: 9 Weight: 10st 3lbs Lively chance going into last year’s race but fell early on. The trip shouldn’t be a concern and had an encouraging run last time out finishing second in the Kim Muir.
31 State Of Play Form: 4P3/4- (T: E Williams / J: N Fehily) Age: 12 Weight: 10st 3lbs Placed on his three runs in the Grand National, but now the grand old age of 12. Only runs in this race these days off a career low mark in the National could be a lively outsider
32 Swing Bill Form: 313P20 (T: D Pipe / J: C O’Farrell) Age: 11 Weight: 10st 3lbs
An outsider from the David Pipe yard. Fifth in last season’s Topham but pulled up in the Becher Chase on heavy ground. Fair to say he won’t be making many people’s shortlists.
33 Postmaster Form: -26611 (T: T Vaughan / J: Undecided) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 2lbs Much raced ten year old who will be amazingly running his 98th race under rules. The trip will be a concern for this genuine outsider. One to avoid in the office sweepstake
34 Giles Cross Form: 22-121 (T: V Dartnall / J: P Brennan) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 1lbs A true stayer who won the Grand National trial at Haydock on heavy ground. Second in the Welsh National, if the ground comes up soft he’s sure to have a big say
35 Midnight Haze Form: 17P-16 (T: K Bailey / J: S Quinlan) Age: 10 Weight: 10st 0lbs Sixth in the Glenfarclas Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Won four of his ten starts over fences but this looks a big ask and another of the big outsiders in the field.
36 Vic Venturi Form: B-2110 (T: D Hughes / J: H Skelton) Age: 12 Weight: 10st 0lbs Another one of the old boys. A winner of the 2009 Becher Chase but yet to complete in two starts in the National and despite two point-to-point wins this year he’s an outsider here
37 In Compliance Form: 1U0-P3 (T: D Hughes / J: N P Madden) Age: 12 Weight: 10st 0lbs Completed the course last year finishing 13th. Pulled up on debut this season and beaten 38 lengths by Killyglen on his last start. Easy to avoid in the betting and won’t make many shortlists.
38 Viking Blond Form: -143P5 (T: N Twiston-Davies / J: B Hughes) Age: 7 Weight: 10st 0lbs Pulled up in the Welsh National and novices’ have a poor record in this race as a rule. Betting suggests he doesn’t stand much of a chance and one to avoid on Saturday
39 Hello Bud Form: -5U654 (T: N Twiston-Davies / J: S Twiston-Davies) Age: 14 Weight: 10st 0lbs Loves Aintree and finished fifth here two years ago. Getting on in years now and this season’s form suggests it’ll be a tall order for him to place again in 2012. -
40 Neptune Equester Form: 315045 (T: B Ellison / J: F De Giles) Age: 9 Weight: 10st 0lbs Just squeezed in at the weights, fifth in the Grimthorpe last time out but has won over three and a half miles on good to soft. Outsider.