I am happy to finish 7th in the top performers table for March with +£54.30 profit and keeping the strike rate at 42% and 19.19 return on investment.
Robins Reef was an easy winner for us this week at Kempton and looks a horse to keep on the right side of when going over hurdles, and Global Thrill at 6/1 was a sound E/W bet the other day beating the odds on shot for us down South. I am looking forward to the flat now especially when i get back to HQ the heart of British flat racing picking up all the news from the press room and racing paddock.
There are 74 horses going forward for the £1-million Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree next Saturday following the scratchings’ stage. Last year 73 went forward at this stage and 57 in 2013.
A maximum of 40 runners can line up for the 168th running of the world’s most famous jump race at 4.15pm on Saturday, April 11.
One of the main talking points this year is the participation of A P McCoy for the final time in the Crabbie’s Grand National, which he won on Don’t Push It in 2010.
At the moment, he is expected to partner the favourite, Shutthefrontdoor, who is owned by J P McManus and trained by Jonjo O’Neill in Gloucestershire. Shutthefrontdoor is 8/1 with Betfred, official betting partner of the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National Festival.
McManus retains the rider who is about to win his 20th and final jockeys’ championship.
McCoy will break another record if participating as expected in the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National. Last year he equalled the record for the most rides in the race – 19, matching Tom Olliver, who was successful three times (1842, 1843 & 1853).
The weights continue to be headed by Lord Windermere (trained by Jim Culloty) on 11st 10lb. The nine-year-old won the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2014 and could bid to become only the third horse to win both races following Golden Miller and L’Escargot.
Six of the first seven horses home in last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National remain engaged, headed by the victorious Pineau De Re (Dr Richard Newland). The 2014 runner-up Balthazar King (Philip Hobbs), fourthAlvarado (Fergal O’Brien), fifth Rocky Creek (Paul Nicholls), sixth Chance Du Roy (Philip Hobbs) and seventhMonbeg Dude (Michael Scudamore) also go forward.
A P McCoy said: “The Grand National is the most famous horserace in the world and to be able to take part each year is very exciting.”
“It was one of the greatest moments of my racing career to win the Grand National on Don’t Push It. I had 14 attempts before Don’t Push It came along. Jonjo (O’Neill) had him in unbelievable form and to win the Grand National for Noreen and J P McManus was amazing. It is a day I will never forget – I felt a lot of fulfilment.”
“We have Shutthefrontdoor and the Cheltenham winner Cause Of Causes – they are two I am most likely to have to choose from. Shutthefrontdoor won the Irish National and has not run since winning at Carlisle in November. If you look through the form book, the Carlisle race and the Irish National were not particularly strong, but he is trained by Jonjo O’Neill who has an unbelievably good record in training horses for staying chases. If I am on Shutthefrontdoor, he has a very good chance.”
“I have dreamt a lot in my life but I would not be silly enough to dream about winning the National again – it would be nice if it happened. Looking at the betting, the bookmakers seem to think it is going to happen and hopefully they are right.”
“I am sorry for all the failures I have had in the Grand National over the years and this will be the last time I let anybody down but hopefully I will go out on a high and shut the front door behind me!”
“Outside of the Grand National my favourite moment at Aintree was beating Istabraq on Pridwell.”
McCoy and other jockeys visit Alder Hey Hospital every year during the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival.
He added: “Going to Alder Hey is a very humbling experience. The staff, the nurses and the doctors do a fantastic job. You go there in the morning and it puts a lot of things into perspective.”
The Cheltenham Fox Hunters hero On The Fringe is bang on course to bid for a prestigious big-race double at Aintree in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’Chase.
Leicester racecourse has named a hospitality suite in memory of King Richard III, whose bones were discovered under a Leicester car park back 2012. The racecourse aims to make its King Richard III Stakes raceday an annual event after changing the name of the Listed Leicestershire Stakes in his honour two years ago.
Nicky Henderson is not ruling out a return for Sprinter Sacre this season but did hint that retirement was still under consideration. Henderson said ”The horse is really, really well in himself. We’re discussing all plans but are not ready to make a decision yet.”
Dubai Gold night winner Brown Panther could seek a richer prize in Japan next time out with over $2.6m in prize money up for grabs.
News hit the press room last week that Ryan Moore will be getting the first call from Aidan O’Brien this year for Ballydoyle’s best horses.
Gallant Oscar has been backed (9/1 from 11/1 with Paddy Power) for the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
At Kempton on Saturday Outback Traveller is one to be on.
Yours in sport
Back Next Thursday.
Kevan Minter – The Colonel.