This Saturday all roads lead to Liverpool for the greatest show on earth better known as the Aintree Grand National. There will be a maximum field of 40 runners and the start time is a bit later than in recent years at 5.15.
The first running of the race was in 1836 won by The Duke who won again the following year however it was not the same course as the current race which was won by an aptly named horse called Lottery in 1839. This was the same race in which the good Colonel fell off giving his name to Bechers Brook.
There have been many great stories originate from the race over the years in 1956 the Queen Mothers Devon Loch fell 50 yards from the post some say suffering from cramp presenting the race to E.S.B. The Queen Mothers sporting response was thats racing and Jockey Dick Francis said its a total mystery giving him the idea to become an author of best selling racing murder mysteries in his retirement.
We had the car crash of a National in 1967 with a pile up in which Foinavon escaped the melee and went from last to first. Mind you in 1928 Tiperary Tim was the only horse to jump round unscathed and it was rumoured before the race the jockey was heard to say I can only win if all the others fall.
None of us will ever forget the Achievements of the great Red Rum bred to be a 5 furlong sprinter he won three National the last in 1977. Then we have the Aldaniti story of the horse who was a cripple and Bob Champions return to health from cancer both defying the odd to win in 1981. We have Jenny Pitman with Corbiere becoming the first female to train the winner in 1983 and Don’t Push it giving A.P. his first national in 2010.
Now to me the greatest achievement of them all equal to Rummies three Nationals was when in 1935 Golden Miller became the only horse ever to win the Gold Cup and the National in the same year and don’t forget those Aintree fences were not modernised and a lot bigger in those days.
Anyway who is going to win this year and make a romantic story? Well for Howies Hottie I’m going for 2 against the field at big prices lets face it we can all tip favourites. First choice is Saint Are who ran 2nd two years ago and has a decent weight and the silver tongued Davy Russel on top and my second choice is Wonderful Charm ridden by Rubies sister Katie Walsh. The gelding is trained by Paul Nicholls and I love it when a trainer says the horse has too much weight and tries to put you off. I saw the horse fly up the Cheltenham hill last time and what a story if she becomes the first girl to pull it off.
So what ever you back good luck and lets hope all horses and riders come back safe and sound.
Sinfonietta trainer D.Menuisier – Ran well at Doncaster and likes soft ground.
Stormy Antarctic trainer E.Walker – Mugged on the line on seasonal debut and can improve for the race.
Emell trainer R.Hannon – One of the trainers who didn’t run to expectations but none the less well handicapped.
Rocket Man Dan trainer K.Dalgleish – Showed early pace in the Brocklesby and this juvenile will only get better.
Back next Wednesday be lucky.