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Horse Racing

Final Field Declared for Grand National

The famous Grand National race will be held next Sunday at Aintree Race Track in the UK.

The famous Grand National race will be held next Saturday at Aintree Race Track in the UK.

The final 40-strong field for the world’s most famous race, the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree at 4.15pm on Saturday, has been declared.

Ante-post favourite is Willie Mullins’ On His Own, ridden by Ruby Walsh. The same trainer and jockey teamed up for National glory with Hedgehunter in 2005. Mullins also runs Quel Esprit and Quiscover Fontaine.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who claimed his first National last season in such thrilling circumstances, has Join Together (Daryl Jacob), What A Friend (Sam Thomas) and Harry The Viking (Ryan Mahon) in his bid to emulate Neptune Collonges’ victory.

What A Friend and Harry The Viking are part-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Donald McCain runs 2011 winner Ballabriggs, Weird Al and Across The Bay, while Nicky Henderson, still searching for his first win in the race, is represented by Roberto Goldback.

Chicago Grey and Tarquinius run for another former successful trainer in Gordon Elliott. Elliott was set to have a third runner in Backstage, but he scoped on Thursday morning.

Cappa Bleu, fourth last year, is aiming to maintain Evan Williams’ great recent record of having had a placed runner for the last four years.

Oscar Time, second two years ago, is back again and will be ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen.

Nigel Twiston-Davies will have three runners in Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National after Viking Blond was the final horse to make the field.

He also saddles top weight Imperial Commander, 2010 Gold Cup winner, and Major Malarkey.

The three-day meeting starts on Thursday 4th April, with two Grade 1 races taking the spotlight.

Tony McCoy rides Oscar Whisky as he bids to win the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle at 3.05pm for the third successive season.

The eight-year-old is looking to bounce back after a rare below-par run when sent off favourite for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Barry Geraghty prefers Grandouet of the Nicky Henderson pair with Binocular missing from the final line-up.

A star-studded field of nine includes Stan James Champion Hurdle third and fourth Countrywide Flame and Zarkandar, the latter wearing blinkers for the first time.

Ruby Walsh rides Zarkandar with Daryl Jacob aboard stablemate Prospect Wells.

Brilliant novice hurdler The New One represents Sam and Nigel Twiston-Davies and Raya Star, Saphir River and Thousand Stars complete the field.

Silviniaco Conti will bid to resume winning ways in the Betfred Bowl (2.30pm) at Aintree on Thursday.

Paul Nicholls’ charge, winner of the Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase on his first two starts this term, was still travelling strongly when falling three out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time.

He faces a rematch with The Giant Bolster and Cape Tribulation who finished fourth and fifth respectively behind Bobs Worth at Prestbury Park.

Ryanair Chase runner-up First Lieutenant (Bryan Cooper) and Quito de La Roque (Paul Townend) form a strong Irish team.

(Article prepared by GBI Racing. U Bet and Maltco Lotteries will be offering odds and betting on the Grand National)


About Kenneth Vella

A horse racing enthusiast and journalist. He started his career in 1992 and today is the main correspondent on horse racing for In-Nazzjon, Il-Mument and the Times of Malta. He also writes on a number of international magazines and produces TV programmes for E22 and TVM.Kenneth is the proud winner of two consecutive awards of the Malta Broadcasting Awards for the best sport programmes with documentaries.


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