Prince De Beauchene & Beshabar out

March 27th, 2013 by admin

Both Prince De Beauchene and Beshabar have been ruled out of this year’s Grand National due to injuries. Both were leading fancies for the great race.

Irish trainer Willie Mullins says Prince De Beauchene has a minor stress fracture for which he’ll need six weeks or more’s box rest.

This is the second year in a row that the horse has been a late withdrawal from the race. He was also ruled out with a hip fracture in March of last year.

This comes as a blow to the stable but Mullins’ yard still has Prince De Beauchene’s stablemate,

On His Own, which is now a clear cut 7-1 favourite for the National a week on Saturday. The horse’s price shortened further on speculation that the stable’s preferred jockey Ruby Walsh will now ride the favourite.

Ruby Walsh won the National on both Hedgehunter (2005) and Papillon five years earlier. He has the choice of riding for Paul Nicholls in the National who saddles What A Friend, Join Together and Harry The Viking – or his father Ted who trains leading fancy and last year’s third, Seabass. It seems likely that Walsh will opt for On His Own; the horse he was set to (Read more...)

Could Ballabriggs do the impossible?

March 23rd, 2013 by admin

It’s been a long time since a horse regained the National crown having lost it. The last to do so was, of course, the then 12 year-old Red Rum back in 1977, carrying 11-08.
It’s also true that very few 12 year-olds have what it takes to win the world’s greatest horse race these days. In fact, the last 12 year old to win was Amberleigh House back in 2004.
Of course – both the afore-mentioned horses have one other thing in common; they were trained by the late Ginger McCain. So if his son Donald Jnr can pull off what would seem to

be an impossible feat with Ballabriggs in two weeks’ time – there surely won’t be a dry eye in the house.
But let’s be clear; Ballabriggs is no forlorn hope. The 2011 winner was carrying 11-00 when he won – and will again be carrying a potentially winning weight of 11-04 On April 6th. And perhaps more to the point; McCain Jnr says he’s bang on form. His most recent run saw him finish a close third in at Kelso on the Premier Chase on March 2nd which looked an excellent warm-up for the main event.
This will be Ballabriggs’ (Read more...)

This year’s Grand National winner

March 21st, 2013 by admin

If you want to find out what’s going to win this year’s National, then we don’t know, of course, but we do know a few statistical trends when we seem them, so here are a few to ponder – and a few interesting facts from the history of the world’s greatest steeplechase to go with them… The National is open to 7 year-olds and upwards placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in a chase of 3 miles or more before 18th March and rated 120 or better by Feb 10th. But you look at the form of a few recent winners; you need to look for

better than the bare essentials. The course has been made steadily easier since 1990 which has changed the stats. Better rated horses now generally fare better. Most recent winners ran off an official rating between 136 and 157 – with only Bobby Jo (1999 winner) and Little Polveir (1989) more lowly rated. Also – a staggering eight of the last 10 winners ran over hurdles in the season they won and every one of those 10 had won a race worth at least £17k and had run at least 10 times over fences. Gay Trip (the winner (Read more...)

Beshabar looks National type

March 17th, 2013 by admin

If you like to make a selection around now for the big race just three weeks away at a good ante-post price and on a horse which is being laid out for the race, then Beshabar could have exactly what it takes to win a National – and he’s still a big price.

Beshabar won the 2011 Scottish National in good style and his trainer, Wales Vale of Glamorgan-based Tim Vaughan, says it’s now all about the National. He decided recently that the 11 year-old wouldn’t have an extra preparation race before the big day. The horse damaged a tendon in the 2011 Hennessy Gold

Cup at Newbury - and he hasn’t been on the racetrack since.

So he’s a bit of an unknown quantity, but Tim Vaughan is one of the canniest operators around and you can guarantee he’ll have Beshabar as ready as he can possibly be for the race itself.

Vaughan says Beshabar has done a lot of road work in preparation for the National and he surely has what it takes to stay the distance if he’s race-fit.

Beshabar is currently tenth in the betting for the National at 25-1. But if he takes his chance on April 6th, those (Read more...)

Harry The Viking’s long odds shout

March 13th, 2013 by admin

If you’re looking to get on a long-shot for the National in the ante-post market, then the Paul Nicholls–trained Harry The Viking appears to offer excellent value. The eight year-old is currently available at a best-priced 40-1 with the major bookmakers though you may be able to beat that on the exchanges.

The big problem for many long-range National punters is the horse’s ownership, believe it or not. That’s because he’s part-owned by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson. This may seem to you like the irrelevance it is – but it may genuinely be depressing

the horse’s price as so many fans of other clubs dislike Sir Alex and wouldn’t want to see him triumph at Aintree.

Whether this is a genuine reason or not – Harry The Viking is a great price for value seekers. His last outing on a racecourse was in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in December for which he was a 16-1 chance. He didn’t run well on the day, finishing a well-beaten 9th of the 13 finishers. He was well behind fellow National fancy Teaforthree (currently around 20-1), from whom he was receiving 4lbs – the same horse who beat him into second place (Read more...)

Balthazar King looks ideal National type

March 9th, 2013 by admin

Winner of last season’s Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Balthazar King, looks like a shrewd National selection for ante-post value hunters at 33-1 or better.

Balthazar King is set to run in next week’s Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival for which he’s a 6-1 shot, so we may get a few more clues from that running and trainer, Philip Hobbs’ comments after the race about his Grand National prospects. But if he runs a big race and Philip Hobbs states his intention to go all out for Aintree, then you can certainly wave that 33-1 goodbye.* Such

is the danger and excitement of backing ante-post of course. But Balthazar King certainly has all it takes to win at Aintree on April 6th on paper at least. The 146-rated nine year-old finished a creditable second in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham in November – his most recent outing - after having won the Ryman the Stationer Handicap Chase, also at Cheltenham, the previous month; both on good-to-soft. He generally prefers firmer going as was the case when he landed the prestigious Cross Country Chase at last year’s Festival, so as long as the going isn’t too heavy, (Read more...)

How to find the National winner

March 7th, 2013 by admin

As we really begin the countdown in earnest now, with the National a little over four weeks away, we’ll be taking a look at a few lively looking prospects at good ante-post odds over the next couple of weeks.

But before we look at any specific Aintree hopefuls, let’s have a look at the type of horse that’s most likely to win on April 6th – and what characteristics it’s probably going to have…

It's all about the weights .. First off, the National is, of course, a handicap and although in recent years, the winning weights have been creeping up a little, weight

remains the single biggest factor to consider.

Last year’s winner Neptune Collonges was anomalous in that he carried 11-06 to win. This was a rarity and owes much to the fact that the course has been made far easier in recent times and that the going was good. He was also a top-rated horse.

The previous year’s winner Ballabriggs carried 11-0 whilst Don't Push It carried 11-05 to victory in 2010. Otherwise, apart from 2005 winner Hedgehunter, the last time a horse carried 11 stones or more to win was Corbiere in 1983 with 11-04.

In other words, top-weighted horses are (Read more...)

Ballabriggs right on target – Katenko out

March 3rd, 2013 by admin

Ballabriggs remains bang on course for Aintree after an excellent warm-up performance at Kelso yesterday. Trainer Donald McCain junior has now confirmed that the 2011 National winner’s next run will be in the main event itself on April 6th and that his preparation has been going exactly according to plan.

Ballabriggs will carry 11 stones in the race – his winning weight from two years ago.
This was the third year in a row that he’d run in the same preparation event at Kelso - the Premier Chase. The race was won by Always Right who just got up to beat

Garleton in a thrilling finish, with Ballabriggs back in third.

Ballabriggs appeared to be running strongly for the race and was very much in the mix as they came to the last, but didn’t have the turn of pace required to get amongst the winners on soft going he didn’t like. But that won’t be a big concern to his connections as Aintree is the main target. The only thing going against the horse now is his age. A 12 year old hasn’t won the National since Donald’s father Ginger had the winner with Amberleigh House back in 2004.
McCain junior pointed out (Read more...)

Mullins concentrates his National targets

February 28th, 2013 by admin

Ireland's champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has withdrawn three of his Grand National contenders but still has four very likely looking prospects left for the Aintree showpiece on April 6th.

Mullins withdrew Call The Police, Lambro and Shakervilz from the National field, but that still leaves the champion trainer with the much-fancied Prince De Beauchene and On His Own, who are currently vying with the Ted Walsh-trained Seabass for favouritism for the race. Mullins also still has Quel Esprit and Quiscover Fontaine, both around 40-1 chances down to race.

Mullins’ three withdrawals were included among 11 horses

scratched from the National at the first deadline. This now leaves 73 runners going forward for the £975k Grand National.

In other news, trainer Kim Bailey who won the 1990 National in record time with Mr Frisk, believes good going would suit his The Rainbow Hunter - who was a creditable 4th in a Listed handicap chase behind fellow National hopefuls Cappa Bleu and Saint Are at Ascot on 16th February.

Bailey said the nine year-old came out of the race very well and is on target for the National for which he’s currently a 66-1 chance, though you can expect that price to shorten if the (Read more...)

Wyck Hill right on course for Aintree

February 26th, 2013 by admin

Thirty-three to one shot Wyck Hill is still right on course for the Aintree spectacular according to his trainer David Bridgwater, despite disappointing in the three mile Racing Plus Chase at Kempton last Saturday.

The nine year old could only manage a modest 11th place in the race for his new owner ‘JP’ McManus and came home with a gash on one of his hind legs which needed to be stitched up by the course vet.

The trainer said Wyck Hill was sore the following morning and suspected his horse may have been caught by Mister Hyde who fell at the first. But it

seems the run wasn’t indicative of the horse’s National chances and David Bridgwater also confirmed that he was still very much on course for a tilt at the National as the injury was discomforting but only superficial.

Nevertheless, the bookies generally widened Wyck Hill’s odds from around 16s out to more than double that price which may present an opportunity for punters who see the Kempton run as irrelevant due to the injury. Wyck Hill’s previous appearance on a racecourse at Ascot in December saw him win with relative ease over 3 miles in a listed chase on heavy ground, (Read more...)