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Joe’s National Bid No Joke for Jesters

Owner Robert Aplin admits to feeling ‘nerve-wracked’ ahead of Drop Out Joe’s tilt at the Randox Health Grand National this Saturday at Aintree.

Bristol-based Aplin, who heads up The Jesters partnership, owns the nine-year-old together with business associates Josh Llewellyn, who lives in Barry Island, and Steve Corcoran, who hails from Knutsford, with the aim of winning a race.

But the trio are now looking forward to having a runner in the world’s greatest chase after Drop Out Joe showed himself to be more than useful when winning the Listed Summer Cup, a three and a quarter mile handicap chase at Uttoxeter on June 26, 2016.

The Charlie Longsdon-trained contender has not run since landing that particular prize and, as Aplin explains, it was touch and go whether the horse would ever race again after a freak injury while he was turned out to rest.

“The Jesters are a three-strong syndicate of long-time business colleagues who have various roles in the tool hire industry,” explained Aplin today.

“We’d been racing many times together, including at Aintree, and thought it might be a bit of fun to buy a horse together and win a race.

“Tessa Greatrex of Highflyer Bloodstock was with us at the DBS Hennessy Sale at Newbury after racing in December, 2012 and we decided to buy Joe then. It was getting dark and all I saw was this ginger shadow coming through the gloom!

“I liked him on paper as he was by Generous, out of a hardy French mare, so we bought him (for £35,000).

“Our only hope with him was to win a race so to actually win two Listed chases with him has been amazing. However, after he won the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter last summer, he got a serious stifle injury while out in the field.

“The injury was so serious that, even at Christmas time, we didn’t think he would race again, let alone run in a race like the Grand National. However, he has made a remarkable recovery and all the staff at Donnington Grove vets in Newbury were brilliant in helping him through this injury.

“We’ll all be there on Saturday to cheer him on but I’m not sure what state I’ll be in. I’m obviously excited but it’s a feeling I’ve never had before as it’s a mixture of excitement, nerves and the fact that everything is out of my hands.

“It’s been a rush to get him ready but he’s as fit as we can possibly get him at home. Whether he’s fit enough to win a National after such a long lay-off though, only time will tell.”

Oxfordshire-based Longsdon has trained Drop Out Joe, who has 11st 1lb in Saturday’s £1-million Randox Health Grand National, to win six races and earn £127,235 in total prize money. Drop Out Joe is priced at 40/1 by Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.

DECLARED RUNNERS FOR GRADE ONE CONTESTS ON GRAND OPENING DAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 6

2.50pm £150,000 Betway Bowl Chase 3m 1f Mildmay Course

1 Aso (FR) (Sheepskin C/P) – Venetia Williams 11st 7lb Charlie Deutsch
2 Bristol de Mai (FR) – Nigel Twiston-Davies 11st 7lb Daryl Jacob
3 Cue Card (Tongue Strap) – Colin Tizzard 11st 7lb Paddy Brennan
4 Empire of Dirt (IRE) (Tongue Strap) – Gordon Elliott, Ireland 11st 7lb Bryan Cooper
5 Silviniaco Conti (FR) (Blinkers, Tongue Strap) – Paul Nicholls 11st 7lb Noel Fehily
6 Smad Place (FR) – Alan King 11st 7lb Wayne Hutchinson
7 Tea For Two – Nick Williams 11st 7lb Lizzie Kelly

Betting from Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival:

5/4 Cue Card

11/4 Empire Of Dirt
6/1 Bristol de Mai
8/1 Silviniaco Conti
14/1 Smad Place, Tea For Two
20/1 Aso
Each-Way – ¼, 1-2

3.25pm £200,000 Betway Aintree Hurdle 2m 4f

1 Buveur d’Air (FR) – Nicky Henderson 11st 7lb Barry Geraghty
2 Identity Thief (IRE) – Henry de Bromhead, Ireland 11st 7lb Bryan Cooper
3 My Tent Or Yours (IRE) (Hood) – Nicky Henderson 11st 7lb Aidan Coleman
4 Old Guard – Paul Nicholls 11st 7lb Harry Cobden
5 Rashaan (IRE) – Colin Kidd, Ireland 11st 7lb Sean Flanagan
6 The New One (IRE) – Nigel Twiston-Davies 11st 7lb Sam Twiston-Davies

Betting from Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival:

2/5 Buveur d’Air
7/1 The New One
8/1 My Tent Or Yours
9/1 Identity Thief
33/1 Rashaan
40/1 Old Guard
Each-Way – ¼, 1-2

LATEST GOING NEWS

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course at Aintree, gave the latest going news at 1.45pm.

He said: “The Grand National course is mostly Good to Soft. There is a bit of Soft ground by the Canal Turn – it is always a bit easier down there. Going down to Becher’s there is a bit of Good about it. The ground is just drying out a bit each day.

“We have lovely blue skies and a nice breeze. We will keep any eye on it and will put a bit of water on if we need to maintain conditions on the easier side of good.

“The Mildmay Course is a mixture of Good to Soft and Good – you could call it either. We are putting a bit of water on the Melling Road side of the Mildmay Course, the area which dries up first, just to maintain good safe jumping ground for Thursday.

“The Hurdle Course is similar, Good to Soft with a bit of Good in it.”

FIRST HORSES TO ARRIVE AT AINTREE

The first horses to arrive for the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree are Rashaan and Balnaslow. They were stabled in the racecourse yard at 8.30pm on Monday, April 3.

Rashaan, running in the Grade One Betway Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm), the fourth race on the card on Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 6. Trained by Colin Kidd, the Manduro gelding is quoted by the sponsors at 33/1. The dual Graded winner is due to be ridden by Sean Flanagan.

Balnaslow, an 8/1 chance with Betway for the Randox Health Fox Hunters’ (4.05pm) on the same day, is trained by Graham McKeever in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, and the mount of Derek O’Connor, the only Irish point-to-point jockey to have reached the remarkable total of 1,000 wins.

From the track to your home – brand new mobile service launched by Randox Health

Horse Power is driving the future of preventive healthcare, with the launch of brand new service from the sponsor of the Grand National, Randox Health.

With increasing demand for the healthcare service stemming from the build-up to the world’s most popular horserace, the global diagnostics giant has introduced mobile phlebotomists.

It marks a departure from traditional models of healthcare provision and is in line with the company’s passion for innovation.

The trained Randox health professionals can be booked on the phone or via the newly launched Randox Health App. People will be able to book an appointment which suits them at a place of their choosing.

Randox Health Global Business Manager, Katie Coyle, who announced the launch at the inaugural Randox Health Week at Liverpool John Moore University said: “This is a ground-breaking development that will transform the delivery of healthcare in the UK and Ireland.

“The fact that we’re benefitting already from the sponsorship of the world’s most iconic horse race – the Grand National – is incredible.

“We’ve delighted with our new app, which will enable people to book an appointment in one of our clinics if they want or at the comfort of their own home or office, and view their personalised, private results. This is the future of preventive healthcare – making it accessible to all.”

For over 35 years, Randox has driven technological breakthroughs in diagnostics science. Originally working with hospitals universities and laboratories the Randox Health division was developed as a means of directly offering the future of healthcare to the public, through walk-in clinics.

Dr Peter FitzGerald, founder of Randox said: “We have no qualms about being disruptive when the end result is that lives are being saved and people are staying healthier for longer. Randox Health is the most exciting offering in healthcare for a generation.

“We believe health is a right, and we want to ensure that anyone who wants to take control of their future through preventive healthcare can do so.”

The app is available to download now from Apple and Android stores.