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Grand National Pinsticker Guides


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Sporting Life- PINSTICKERS' GUIDE TO THE NATIONAL LE COUDRAY Irish chaser who earned top weight with cracking second-place runs behind superstars Best Mate and Florida Pearl, but that was over a year ago and must improve considerably on recent performances to play a leading role. Fell at second Becher's last year. Rating (out of 10) 5 FIRST GOLD French veteran who was top-class in his pomp, when victories included a King George VI Chase. Unlikely to run. 5 ROYAL AUCLAIR Has improved this season to be within sight of the best, and ran a cracking race to finish fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month. Third in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup last November and should have no problems with the trip, but any rain would severely dampen his chances. 7 FONDMORT Tough-as-teak campaigner who jumps well and came right back to his best with runner-up spot in a thrilling finish to the new Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy at Cheltenham. Trainer clinging to the old belief that two-and-a-half-milers do well in the National, but stamina a major doubt. 6 MONTY'S PASS Impressive gambled-on winner of the National in 2003 and fourth carrying a much bigger weight last year, without ever threatening to get in amongst the leaders. Has been given a bit of respite by the handicapper and could run another big race despite his advancing years. 6 BALLYCASSIDY Prolific winner of novice chases last season but has been found wanting in top company this campaign, including when eighth in Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out. Better chance back among handicappers and would be helped if rain stayed away from Aintree. 4 TAKE THE STAND Ran the race of his life to finish second to Kicking King in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month on his favoured quick ground, and under similar conditions would have a massive chance at the weights, which were framed before that run. Belted the first couple of fences before he warmed to the task, which would be a worry around here. 8 BALLYBOUGH RASHER Shock 40-1 winner of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November 2003 and has hardly been seen over fences since, so is still stuck with the massive rise in the handicap brought about by that result. Pulled up at Cheltenham, and hard to be enthusiastic about his chances. 2 RISK ACCESSOR Got no further than first Becher's in last year's National and very little in his form suggests he is going to get this trip after a career spent tackling much shorter distances. Very capable handicapper on his day, but not one for the shortlist. 4 AMBERLEIGH HOUSE Aintree specialist who landed a fairytale victory for Red Rum's trainer Ginger McCain in last season's Grand National when steaming past tired horses up the run-in. Loves jumping the big National fences and looks sure to go well again, but at age 13, time has surely caught up with him. 7 BINDAREE Sent off one of four 10-1 co-favourites last year, but got no further than first Becher's after being hampered. Won the National in 2002 and sixth when out of form the following year, so another course specialist who will love the big fences. Will be fresh after a rest and is not out of it. 6 HEDGEHUNTER Led for much of the way in the race last year but was still in contention though tired when suffering a heartbreaking fall at the last. Kept ticking over with a hurdles campaign this term until bouncing right back to form when winning a Grade Three event at Fairyhouse over fences last time. Must have a great chance with top jockey Ruby Walsh on board. 10 FOLY PLEASANT Ex-Henrietta Knight inmate who ran a cracker for new connections when second in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham. Seems to have acquired more stamina with age, but it is hard to see him getting this kind of extreme trip. 3 ASTONVILLE Totally outclassed when running in both the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup and is out of his depth again here. No chance. 1 AD HOC Was travelling well when unluckily brought down four out in the race three years ago and has had his problems since. Hard to draw much encouragement from his unplaced run at Sandown in February and looks to have had his chance now. 3 CLAN ROYAL Runner-up in the race last year and would have a great chance if it were not for the cloud hanging over Jonjo O'Neill's yard. Pleasing run over hurdles at Bangor in December and has not run since, although he did have a long break before last year's National, too. Must be in with a big shout if at his best. 7 GLENELLY GALE Has not won since 2003 but has been running over trips way short of his best this season. The step back up in distance will help but he still looks to be pitched in above his level. 3 HEROS COLLONGES Looked a useful performer as a novice before suffering leg problems which kept him off the track for three years. Made a good impression when winning at Wincanton in February but subsequently ran a lifeless race when pulled up at Cheltenham. A big, bold-jumping type who might go well for a long way. 5 IT TAKES TIME Looked to have a very bright future over fences but has genrally been disappointing, although he did come good when beating Ollie Magern in the Ascot Chase at Lingfield in February. Cannot be discounted as an inmate of Martin Pipe's yard, but there are others with better credentials. 4 NIL DESPERANDUM Highly-promising Irish novice two seasons ago, he has had his problems but returned to form with a facile victory at Down Royal last month. Still has questions to answer, but connections feel he is back to his best. If taking to the fences, he could surprise a few people. 5 JAKARI A useful performer who booked his place when an eyecatching fifth to Kelami at the Cheltenham Festival. Not certain to stay the trip and is not an obvious contender. 2 JOLY BEY Bought as a 21st birthday present for amateur David Dunsdon. Looks an Aintree type and staked his claim with victory at Sandown in February. His last run is best ignored as he was badly hampered and his rider's saddle slipped. 6 LORD NOELIE Was a classy performer in his younger days but seems to be feeling his advancing years now. Put in a good performance in the cross country chase at the Festival and seemed to enjoy the challenge of those fences, but this is likely to prove a step too far. 5 FRENCHMAN'S CREEK A quality performer on his day but hard to catch right and has turned into something of a reluctant character. Tends to sulk when things are not going his way and it is hard to have any faith in such a mercurial runner. 5 IZNOGOUD Excelled himself when runner-up to the ill-fated Farmer Jack in the Racing Post Chase in February but subsequently disappointed when making no sort of show at Cheltenham. Fell in the Topham Chase over the National fences last year and his jumping might not stand up to this kind of test. 5 DOUBLE HONOUR Has been a consistent performer this season and showed he can handle the Aintree fences when fourth in the Becher Chase, although he was not exactly fluent over his obstacles. Ran a good race last time when second to Forest Gunner at Haydock but hard to see him figuring here. 5 POLAR RED His recent wins have come at a lower level and he was well-beaten last time out at the Cheltenham Festival. Hard to fancy here, but he does act on most types of ground. 3 FOREST GUNNER Unbeaten at Aintree, including two wins over the Grand National fences. Jumps for fun and was an impressive winner of a good National trial at Haydock in February. Hard to find fault with him, although there is a slight doubt over his stamina. His female partner is talented, but women jockeys in the Grand National do not a have a good record. 9 COLNEL RAYBURN Useful handicapper and finished a good third in a National trial at Punchestown in January. However, the winner of that race did not advertise the form in the Irish National. Could make the frame if jumping round, especially if the rain arrives. Recent addition of Paul Carberry to the saddle enhances his claims. 8 JUST IN DEBT Unseated his rider in this 12 months ago but finished an honourable second in the Becher Chase over the National fences in November. Pulled up on his last outing, but that was over hurdles, and sure to run a sound race under Grand National-winning rider Tony Dobbin. 8 SPOT THEDIFFERENCE Cross-country specialist who did well to finish fifth in this last year. Loves a unique course and despite his advancing years - now 12 - could squeeze into the frame, but he is surely not good enough to win. 6 SHAMAWAN Has not been seen out since November and has not raced over fences since January 2003. His stable has been laid low for most of the season and with massive doubts over his stamina, he is best left alone. 1 LORD ATTERBURY Ran the race of his life to finish third in the National last year and should have come on for his prep run, when a good fourth in the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival. Appeals as an each-way shot but is prone to jumping errors. 6 TURNIUM Finishing stone-cold last in the Champion Hurdle is hardly an ideal prep run and has no chance. 1 INNOX Has recently been snapped up by leading owner J P McManus and has been in good form too, easily landing the Agfa Chase at Sandown on his last start. Should relish the marathon distance and given the regard he is held in by his trainer, is a lively outsider. However, his record of three wins from 33 starts dampens enthusiasm. 6 EUROPA Looked promising earlier in the season but has lost his way since and, with a track record of sketchy jumping, is readily dismissed, especially as staying is not his game. 2 MERCHANTS FRIEND His win over an extended three and a half miles in the mud at Haydock earlier in the season would give him a decent chance. However, he is an in-and-out performer and an unlikely winner. 4 ARCTIC COPPER Has shown nothing in his native Ireland this season and has it all to do upped significantly in distance. 1 HUNTERS TWEED Formerly a useful sort but has done nothing in three runs after a late start to the season. Best avoided. 1 SIMPLY GIFTED Last seen finishing third at the Cheltenham Festival and has been running well at a time when his stable wasn't firing. Stablemate of leading contender Clan Royal and could easily be involved if he stays. The sort to run a good race at a big price. 7 STRONG RESOLVE Has proved himself a leading staying chaser this term, winning twice before finishing second in the Welsh National. He should love the trip, jumps superbly, goes on any ground and at the foot of the handicap, is a must for any shortlist. 9 L'AVENTURE A talented mare who often runs in snatches and is well held by Forest Gunner on their Haydock running. Has the stamina to run a good race but is unlikely to get things her own way and will be pushing for minor honours at best. 4 MARCUS DU BERLAIS Has finished in the frame in the last two runnings of the Irish National and landed the valuable Pierse Handicap Chase earlier in the season. However, had a hard race when third at Fairyhouse just two weeks ago and may fall short of what is required. 5 NATIVE EMPEROR Capped off a successful novice campaign with victory in the 2004 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. However, has totally lost his way since then and after a disappointing few runs this term, there is nothing to recommend him. 2 A PIECE OF CAKE Returned from injury when making his debut for new connections last month. Ran well for a long way before his lengthy lay-off took its toll. A past winner of the Borders National, he has a degree of class and could have another big race in him, but at 12, it is hard to imagine it being the Grand National. 6 SUPREME GLORY Last win came in the Welsh National in 2001 and although he has run well since, including when runner-up to Monty's Pass in the 2003 National, it will require a real improvement in form to get competitive. 3 LONGSHANKS Looked a National type when winning at Kempton in January and this race has been his target all season. Proved he acts on the track when a determined runner-up in the Topham last April, but stamina, or lack of it, could be his undoing. 6 SMARTY Belied his 100-1 starting price when sixth in the race last year and has had plenty of experience over the National fences, including when second to Red Marauder in 2001. However, has disappointed his last two runs and hard to see him doing much better than 12 months ago. 5 WILD TEMPO Failed to complete on his last two starts. No chance. 1 PRESENT BLEU Showed nothing on debut for new connections latest start, and has no chance. 1 GARVIVONNIAN Tough and honest handicapper who stays well, but will be out of his depth here. 2 CONCLUSION: HEDGEHUNTER, who took a crashing fall at the final fence 12 months ago, can emerge victorious in this year's renewal following a campaign that will have him cherry-ripe for the big day. After several races over hurdles, Willie Mullins launched the nine-year-old back over fences, and he saw off the high-class Pizarro in a thrilling finish. Top jockey Ruby Walsh will be aboard and with both rider and horse in red-hot form, he looks a worthy selection. Forest Gunner is likely to emerge as the housewives' choice with Carrie Ford on his back and this Aintree specialist looks sure to be involved in the finish, along with Scottish raider Strong Resolve, who gets in off a handy weight. Best of the rest could be Colnel Rayburn, who will have the assistance of Paul Carberry and looks a real National sort. 1 Hedgehunter, 2 Forest Gunner, 3 Strong Resolve, 4 Colnel Rayburn.

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Re: Grand National Pinsticker Guides The BBC-

John Smith's Grand National 1610 BST, Aintree, Saturday 9 April, 4m 4f Number, form, horse's name, age, weight, trainer, jockey. Honest Frank's choice: 1 Forest Gunner 2 Strong Resolve 3 Innox 4 It Takes Time Top tips: National 1-2-3-4
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1 F-7P LE COUDRAY 11-11-12 Christy Roche IRE Conor O'Dwyer Former top-class chaser whose career has been blighted by injury. First run in the National but has an excellent Aintree record. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 50-1
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2 302-132334 ROYAL AUCLAIR 8-11-10 Paul Nicholls Christian Williams Much improved since a breathing operation last summer and was fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Thrives on fast ground. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 33-1
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3 0004-3F00 MONTY'S PASS 12-11-06 Jimmy Mangan IRE Barry Geraghty Won the race two years ago and was fourth last year. Also goes well on good ground. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 25-1
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4 4F-0002 FONDMORT 12-11-06 Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald Brilliant jumper for one of the best trainers around. Two-mile specialist. Could run a fair race. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 66-1
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5 126PF32 TAKE THE STAND 9-11-05 Peter Bowen Leighton Aspell Looks well in with the handicap after coming second in the Gold Cup. Won the Summer National at Uttoxeter last year - must have good ground. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 18-1
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8 1112P-25P0 BALLYCASSIDY 9-11-05 Peter Bowen Seamus Durack Not the most fluent jumper. Trainer has never had any previous runners in the National. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 66-1
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7 P4P/21-U42P BALLYBOUGH RASHER 10-11-04 Howard Johnson Alan Dempsey If he clears the first few fences, he could be in with a shout. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 66-1
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8 232120F RISK ACCESSOR 10-11-04 Christy Roche IRE Alan Crowe Unseated his rider at the sixth last year. Does not appear to be the best hope for owner JP McManus. Rating: 4/10. Odds: 66-1
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9 216F-56 BINDAREE 11-11-03 Nigel Twiston-Davies Carl Llewellyn The forgotten horse who won the race in 2002 and was sixth in 2003 but unseated rider at sixth fence last year. Has also won Welsh National. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 25-1
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10 P51-04540 AMBERLEIGH HOUSE 13-11-03 Ginger McCain Graham Lee Scored famous victory for Red Rum trainer last year but despite McCain's confidence, no horse over 12 has won in more than 80 years. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 10-1
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11 1F-024061 HEDGEHUNTER 9-11-01 Willie Mullins IRE Ruby Walsh Fell at the last in 2004 when still in contention. Jockey has excellent National record, with three placed finishes in his four rides - including victory on Papillon at his first attempt in 2000. Rating: 8/10. Odds: 8-1
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12 0/P3010-122 FOLY PLEASANT 11-11-00 Karen Marks Andrew Thornton Used to belong to Best Mate owner Jim Lewis. Unlikely to see the trip out. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 66-1
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13 43-0450P00 ASTONVILLE 11-10-13 Michael Scudamore Brian Crowley Completing a big-race hat-trick this season of Champion Hurdle/Gold Cup/Grand National - he wasn't placed in the first two and will be nowhere in the third. Rating: 3/10. Odds: 500-1
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14 1/66F-540 AD HOC 11-10-12 Paul Nicholls Joe Tizzard Another Aintree hard luck story - he was brought down four fences from home when going very well in 2002. That looked to have been his best chance. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 40-1
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15 31111//-51P HEROS COLLONGES 10-10-11 Paul Nicholls JP McNamara Nicholls is one of jump racing's leading trainers but has a poor record in the National - from 23 runners, only four have got round. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 66-1
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16 00-460343 GLENELLY GALE 11-10-11 Arthur Moore IRE Tom Greenall Has plenty of stamina but none of the trainer's previous seven runners have got round. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 100-1
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175P-554310 IT TAKES TIME 11-10-11 Martin Pipe Timmy Murphy Champion owner David Johnson has never had a National winner. But this one could be well in at the weights. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 16-1
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18 411/12-4 CLAN ROYAL 10-10-11 Jonjo O'Neill Tony McCoy Second last year and could have won if rider had not dropped whip after the last. Stable has had miserable season with virus but McCoy will be determined to land the one big race missing from his CV. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 10-1
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19 13-4P5S341 NIL DESPERANDUM 8-10-11 Frances Crowley IRE Jim Culloty Back to something like his best and could go well. Jockey Culloty - best known as rider of Best Mate - won the race on Bindaree in 2002. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 25-1
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20 15F-0541P JOLY BEY 8-10-10 Nick Gifford David Dunsdon Trainer's father won the race in fairytale fashion with Aldaniti in 1981. Owner-rider would be first amateur winner since 1990. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 16-1
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21 115103-05 JAKARI 8-10-10 Henry Daly Richard Johnson Big step up in distance but trainer believes he will stay the course and jockey could have ridden others in the race. Bold jumper who has good outsider credentials. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 40-1
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22 13//-3P340 FRENCHMAN'S CREEK 11-10-09 Hughie Morrison Jimmy McCarthy Sound jumper but has a suspect temperament and may decide the Aintree marathon is not for him. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 50-1
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23 P132F6-020 IZNOGOUD 9-10-09 Martin Pipe Tom Scudamore Had a crashing fall over National fences at this meeting last year and struggled at Cheltenham last time out. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 66-1
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24 31-120500 POLAR RED 8-10-08 Martin Pipe Tom Malone Trained by champion Martin Pipe, but other runners from the same stable are preferred. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 150-1
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25 1354432 DOUBLE HONOUR 7-10-08 Philip Hobbs Paddy Brennan Jockey making his debut in the race but horse finished fourth in a race over the National fences last December. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 25-1
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26 12/315-11 FOREST GUNNER 11-10-07 Richard Ford Carrie Ford Horse and jockey have both won over National fences - can Carrie become the first woman to win the big one? Rating: 8/10. Odds: 10-1
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27 41F-1P235 COLNEL RAYBURN 9-10-07 Paul Nolan IRE Paul Carberry Ireland's dark horse who has been the subject of some decent ante-post gambles. Will need it soft. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 16-1
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28 1UP-012P JUST IN DEBT 9-10-07 Martin Todhunter Tony Dobbin Unseated rider at 23rd fence last year but was subsequently second in the Becher Chase (run over National fences). Rating: 6/10. Odds: 25-1
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29 55-101141 SPOT THEDIFFERENCE 12-10-07 Enda Bolger IRE Robert Power Fifth last year and won the cross-country race at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Rating: 6/10. Odds: 28-1
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30 6603021 INNOX 9-10-06 Francois Doumen FR Robert Thornton One of six runners in the famous JP McManus colours. Has come to form at the right time but not the best jumper. Would be the first French-trained winner since 1909. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 20-1
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31 4621122 STRONG RESOLVE 9-10-06 Lucinda Russell Peter Buchanan Has good each-way credentials. Would be only third grey to win the National and first Scottish-trained winner since Rubstic in 1979. Rating: 8/10. Odds: 10-1
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32 F132/5-4 SHAMAWAN 10-10-06 Jonjo O'Neill JR Barry Has not had a recent run over fences and can easily be overlooked in this competitive field. Rating: 4/10. Odds: 100-1
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33 11/1P3-44 LORD ATTERBURY 9-10-06 Martin Pipe Mark Bradburne Third last year and better off in the weights with the two horses that beat him in 2004. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 25-1
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34 0P133F0B EUROPA 9-10-06 Ferdy Murphy Jason Maguire Shown some promise in the past, but not enough to get overly-excited about. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 100-1
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35 2P-3P1P0 MERCHANTS FRIEND 10-10-06 Charlie Mann Noel Fehily Stays well but depends if he's in the mood. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 66-1
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36 U41-05443 SIMPLY GIFTED 10-10-06 Jonjo O'Neill Brian Harding Outside hope for the stable which has been suffering with illness for the last few months. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 66-1
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37 4-60200 ARCTIC COPPER 11-10-06 Noel Meade IRE Davy Russell Little from his form in Ireland to suggest he'll be raising the rafters here. Rating: 4/10. Odds: 100-1
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38 62-4120P0 NATIVE EMPEROR 10-10-05 Jonjo O'Neill Dominic Elsworth A late addition to the field but recent form is not particularly encouraging Rating: 5/10. Odds: 66-1
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39 003103 MARCUS DU BERLAIS 12-10-05 Arthur Moore Barry Cash Interesting contender who has twice been placed in the Irish National. Potential dark horse. Rating: 7/10. Odds: 33-1
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40 11024644 L'AVENTURE 6-10-05 Paul Nicholls Bobby McNally Young and inexperienced but was fourth in Welsh National. Rating: 5/10. Odds: 50-1
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Re: Grand National Pinsticker Guides Sky- Le Coudray - trainer Christy Roche, jockey Conor O'Dwyer One of six runners for legendary owner JP McManus, there is only a small ray of hope for punters with this horse who fell at Becher's on the second circuit 12 months ago. ** Royal Auclair - trainer Paul Nicholls, jockey Christian Williams Likely to be a popular choice given his name but, should the rain stay away to allow Royal Auclair to take his chance, the burden of 11st 10lbs will be too much. ** Monty's Pass - trainer Jimmy Mangan, jockey Barry Geraghty Don't Pass up the 2003 winner, who was fourth 12 months ago, lightly. Has an enviable Aintree record, with the major concern being the big weight. *** Fondmort - trainer Nicky Henderson, jockey Mick Fitzgerald If you are Fond of picking the National winner then give this one the swerve. A talented horse on his day but has little chance of staying the four-and-a-half mile trip. ** Take The Stand - trainer Peter Bowen, jockey Leighton Aspell Take a Stand on the Cheltenham Gold Cup second who has plenty in his favour. He jumps well, stays solidly and is well weighted on his last run so he must be in the shake-up. **** Ballycassidy - trainer Peter Bowen, jockey Seamus Durack Stablemate of Take The Stand and, while possessing ability, has been off-key this season and it is asking a lot to bounce back in such a competitive race. * Ballybough Rasher - trainer Howard Johnson, jockey Alan Dempsey It would be Rash to put this one forward as a likely winner despite the fact he reportedly worked well over National-type fences at home. ** Risk Accessor - trainer Christy Roche, jockey Alan Crowe If you take a Risk by backing this Irish raider then don't expect to Access any winnings. Fell in this last year and can't see it getting round again. * Bindaree - trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, jockey Carl Llewellyn Connections will be hoping a return to the scene of his most famous hour will rekindle the 2002 winner's enthusiasm. The more rain the better and that could help this horse sneak into a place. *** Amberleigh House - trainer Ginger McCain, jockey Graham Lee Don't put your House on McCain saddling a record-breaking fifth National winner. The wet weather is against Amberleigh House, while, at the age of 13, he will have to defy the stats to follow up last year's emotional victory. *** Hedgehunter - trainer Willie Mullins, jockey Ruby Walsh If you're Hedging your bets about which horse to back, then be advised the value has gone with this Irish horse. Took a tired fall at the last 12 months ago and is a short price, despite holding obvious claims. **** Foly Pleasant - trainer Miss K Marks, jockey Andrew Thornton It would be Foly to suggest that the former Henrietta Knight inmate can win the National but he could show up well for a long way. *** Astonville - trainer Michael Scudamore, jockey Brian Crowley There is more chance of the Aston Villa football team winning this race than this former French horse who was unplaced in both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. * Ad Hoc - trainer Paul Nicholls, jockey Joe Tizzard Don't take an Ad Hoc decision by backing this horse, who held a live chance when being brought down in the 2002 renewal. On the wane for the past two years but these Aintree fences could see a revival. *** Heros Collonges - trainer Paul Nicholls, jockey JP McNamara His trainer would certainly be a Hero if he works the oracle on this lightly-raced sort, whose career has been hampered by injury. ** Glenelly Gale - trainer Arthur Moore, jockey Tom Greenall Aptly-named given this week's weather conditions but it is hard to see this Irish horse blowing away his rivals. ** It Takes Time - trainer Martin Pipe, jockey Timmy Murphy Murphy will certainly be taking his Time on this Grade 1 winner due to his stamina doubts. If he stays and takes to the fences he could provide leading owner David Johnson with a first National winner. **** Clan Royal - trainer Jonjo O'Neill, jockey Tony McCoy With Camilla joining the Royal clan on Saturday, last year's second would be a popular winner. Has ticks in most boxes - the only concern is whether he has been troubled by the virus which has affected O'Neill's yard this season. **** Nil Desperandum - trainer Frances Crowley, jockey Jim Culloty Wouldn't be the most desperate of selections with plenty in his favour, including a National-winning jockey on board. Back to form last time and in with a shout. **** Joly Bey - trainer Nick Gifford, jockey David Dunsdon There will be a Joly old party if this eight-year-old wins. The race has been Joly Bey's target all season and there is much in his favour although he did fall in the Topham Chase last year. **** Jakari - trainer Henry Daly, jockey Richard Johnson We can Jak it all in if this horse pockets National glory. The likely soft underfoot conditions are not going to help this one preserve his stamina. ** Frenchman's Creek - trainer Hughie Morrison, jockey Jimmy McCarthy This 11-year-old has sent many a punter, but maybe not a Frenchman, up the Creek. Highly rated by connections, he has had his problems and rarely seems to put his best foot forward these days. ** Iznogoud - trainer Martin Pipe, jockey Tom Scudamore Not as bad as his name implies but fell in last year's Topham and easily passed over. ** Polar Red - trainer Martin Pipe, jockey Tom Malone A rank outsider who may struggle to make it round to the second circuit. * Double Honour - trainer Philip Hobbs, jockey Paddy Brennan There would be no Honour lost in backing this redoubtable grey who will stay all day. His jumping over the National fences didn't convince when fourth in the Becher Chase but has place possibilities if he does not come to grief. *** Forest Gunner - trainer Richard Ford, jockey Carrie Ford Will arguably be the most popular winner as Miss Ford looks to become the first woman to win the Grand National. Ginger says she won't but, if Miss Ford's stamina holds up, she may be able to Carrie this dual course winner home. **** Colnel Rayburn - trainer Paul Nolan, jockey Paul Carberry The nine-year-old has the stamina to see out the trip and the pace to burn off his rivals having won over two miles this season. Carberry skipped his rides on Friday to be fit for the National, the horse has been well backed and he comes here fresh. ***** Just In Debt - trainer Martin Todhunter, jockey Tony Dobbin The chances are you won't be in Debt by backing this horse, who was second in the Becher Chase in the autumn. He unseated his rider in this last year but Dobbin is a jockey in form and is relishing the ride. **** Spot Thedifference - trainer Enda Bolger, jockey Robbie Power The difficulty will be Spotting this horse among the six McManus runners. Fifth last year, Spot Thedifference handles the fences and the trip and The Cheltenham Festival winner could easily run into the first six. **** Innox - trainer Francois Doumen, jockey Robert Thornton Another McManus contender, the French raider has been laid out for this and is attractively weighted but Gallic hopefuls rarely sparkle in the National. *** Strong Resolve - trainer Lucinda Russell, jockey Peter Buchanan The Welsh National runner-up has plenty of Resolve and he will need that for this marathon trip. Should be thereabouts and any further rain would help his cause. **** Shamawan - trainer Jonjo O'Neill, jockey Shay Barry Shamawan needs a van to stay this trip. * Lord Atterbury - trainer Martin Pipe, jockey Mark Bradburne Almost Lorded it over his National foes when third last year but his jumping remains a sticking point, despite his fine run 12 months ago. ** Europa - trainer Ferdy Murphy, jockey Jason Maguire Maguire was on standby for the mount on Amberleigh House and he will probably have to settle for a rear view of last year's winner. * Merchants Friend - trainer Charlie Mann, jockey Noel Fehily Has occasionally been a punters' Friend and should stay the trip. There are worse outsiders. *** Simply Gifted - trainer Jonjo O'Neill, jockey Brian Harding Quite Simply, this horse hasn't been Gifted with enough stamina to become a Grand National winner. * Arctic Copper - trainer Noel Meade, jockey Davy Russell Carberry prefers to ride Colnel Rayburn and that is a hint in itself so don't have more than a few Coppers on this Irish horse. ** Marcus Du Berlais - trainer Arthur Moore, jockey Barry Cash The Irish Grand National third will stay the mammoth distance of this race but his exertions at Fairyhouse less than a fortnight ago will surely have taken their toll. ** L'Aventure - trainer Paul Nicholls, jockey Bobby McNally This will be a grand adventure for McNally on the Welsh National fourth. The mare stays longer than the mother-in-law and she will still be going when others have cried enough. *** Native Emperor - trainer Jonjo O'Neill, jockey Dominic Elsworth A four-mile winner at last year's Cheltenham Festival, the horse appears to have been affected by the virus which ravaged O'Neill's yard. **

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Re: Grand National Pinsticker Guides Grand National day. :D I love this race and always have a flutter (my one time of the year on the horses). I'm rubbish picking winners of horse races so feel free to lay my picks if you want? (I'm on Ralphies turf today so I better behave myself.. :( )

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Re: Grand National Pinsticker Guides Right I've cross referenced all the experts comments (as I know nothing about horses) and have come to the following conclusions. My bets will be on Strong Resolve - right age, right weight, will get the trip. (£10 EW) Colnel Rayburn - will get the trip and will be there or there abouts if he gets round. (£10 EW) Clan Royal - trainer has had a virus in his yard but that aside this horse has proved he can go round and has a decent weight. (£10 EW) It Takes Time - great stable and decent weight. (£10 EW) I thought about some others but discounted them for the following reasons. Forest Gunner - lady rider. I'm with Ginger on this one. HedgeHunter - won't get the distance & too much weight for its stamina anyway. Amberleigh House - too old. (I said this last year too :o ). Binderee - past its best form (I won on him in 2002 though :D ).

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