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Blaklion set to roar in Randox Health Grand National

Carl Llewellyn, assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies, is hopeful of a good performance from joint-favourite Blaklion (11st 9lb) in the £1-million Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

63 entries remain for the world’s greatest and richest chase, staged over four and a quarter miles and 30 fences following yesterday’s five-day confirmation stage.

Blaklion, the 10/1 joint favourite along with Total Recall (Willie Mullins, 11st 4lb) and Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott, 10st 12lb), with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National, was fourth in the 2017 renewal behind One For Arthur.

The nine-year-old son of Kayf Tara was second under top-weight on his latest start in the Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase on heavy ground at Haydock Park on February 17, and has since had a wind operation.

Successful over the Grand National fences earlier this season by nine lengths in the G3 Randox Health Becher Chase (3m 2f) on heavy ground, Blaklion attempts to provide Twiston-Davies with a third winner in the Aintree showpiece following the victories of Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

Llewellyn, who partnered Twiston-Davies’ Earth Summit to victory in the 1998 Grand National, commented today: “Blaklion is in great form – we couldn’t be happier with him. He had a little wind operation after his latest run at Haydock and had a quiet time for about 10 days after that.

“He hasn’t missed a day’s work and we couldn’t be happier with his physical condition – he looks really well. Some very good horses were pulled up at Haydock last time on ground that was very deep and holding. Blaklion had a lot of weight and I thought he ran a big race despite people picking holes in him because he got tired – I wouldn’t let that performance at Haydock put me off him. He was impressive in the Becher Chase earlier this season. His jumping was superb and very accurate – he won as he liked. If he can be in that sort of form and jump as well as that, then hopefully he will have a good chance.”

Regarding the ground, Llewellyn said: “There’s a big difference between recent heavy rain which makes the ground wet but easier to get through than gluey ground. He can get through wet ground as long as it is not deep and holding. I’ve got no worries about his stamina not lasting out this year.

“I think he jumped and pulled his way to the front too early in last year’s Grand National and we will learn from that. He used too much energy from the fourth last to the final fence. If Sam [Twiston-Davies, jockey] holds on to him for a lot longer in this year’s race, then we would be hopeful of a big run.”

Gloucestershire handler Twiston-Davies is also hoping to run Double Ross (10st 5lb, 100/1), Splash Of Ginge (10st, 66/1) and Cogry (10st, 100/1), although it is doubtful as to whether the last two will get in the final field of 40, plus four reserves, revealed on Thursday morning.

Llwellyn continued: “Double Ross has come out of Cheltenham well and we’re happy with him. He was running well in the 2016 Grand National when the saddle slipped (pulled up 26th fence) and looked to be taking to the track. He was jumping and travelling very well at the time. Who knows what would have happened, but it was pleasing to see the way he was running in the race before the saddle slipped.

“He is getting older, but he’s in good form. Plenty of older horses have done well in this race, and he loves heavy ground, so he has that going for him. He is normally a very good jumper and he could run a lovely race. We were very pleased with his run at Cheltenham last time [fourth, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase] and he doesn’t seem to be going downhill in terms of ability as he is getting older.

“Splash Of Ginge would love the ground if enough horses came out. There’s a possibility he could get in if a lot of horses are taken out of the race due to the ground as I can’t believe all of them will like this ground – he will love it. He ran well at Cheltenham last time and he jumped great. He is an out and out stayer who will relish conditions.

“Cogry is a thorough stayer as well. He had jumping problems a couple of years ago, but he seems to be over those now and he’s much more secure in his jumping. We’ve entered him in the race as all he does is stay and we’ll wait and see as to whether he gets in.”

Reflecting on the build-up to this year’s Randox Health Grand National, Llwellyn added: “Nigel has been very successful in the Grand National and we’re really looking forward to the race – it’s one we focus on all year and hopefully we have a couple of good chances in this year’s renewal.”

A maximum of 40 runners can line up at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14 for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National. The final declaration stage is at 10.00am on Thursday, April 12. The declared runners, plus a maximum of four reserves, will be known shortly after this time. Reserves come into the race if there are any withdrawals among the 40 declared runners prior to 1.00pm on Friday, April 13. The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree runs from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14.

Betway on Baie watch

There has been sustained support for the Ross O’Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles ahead of Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National as eight millimetres of rain fell overnight and this morning at Aintree.

The seven-year-old mare, who is due to be ridden by O’Sullivan’s wife, amateur rider Katie Walsh (an ambassador for the Randox Health Grand National Festival), was a 33/1 chance this morning, but her price has been slashed to 20/1 by Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National.

There has also been a market move for Ucello Conti, who finished sixth in the 2016 running of the Randox Health Grand National and unseated jockey Daryl Jacob at Becher’s Brook second time round last year.

The Gordon Elliott-trained 10-year-old is now a 20/1 shot (from 25/1) for the world’s greatest chase.

Blaklion and Tiger Roll are the 10/1 joint-favourites with Betway after Total Recall was eased a point to 11/1 this afternoon. Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Anibale Fly is also an 11/1 shot, while Minella Rocco, Seeyouatmidnight and The Last Samuri are next in the Betway market at 16/1.

Randox Health Grand National – Betway bet: 10/1 Blaklion, Tiger Roll, Total Recall; 11/1 Anibale Fly, Total Recall; 16/1 Minella Rocco, Seeyouatmidnight, The Last Samuri; 20/1 (from 33/1) Baie Des Iles, 20/1 (from 25/1) Ucello Conti, 25/1 Gold Present, I Just Know, The Dutchman, 28/1 Captain Redbeard, Gas Line Boy, Vieux Lion Rouge; 33/1 General Principle, Milansbar, Pleasant Company, Raz De Maree, Regal Encore, Shantou Flyer, Vicente, Vintage Clouds; 40/1 Alpha Des Obeaux; 50/1 Bless The Wings, Buywise, Carlingford Lough, Final Nudge, Houblon Des Obeaux, Saint Are, Valseur Lido, Warriors Tale; 66/1 Bonny Kate, Chase The Spud, Lord Windermere, Pendra, Perfect Candidate, Road to Riches, Splash of Ginge, The Young Master, Thunder And Roses, Walk In The Mill; 80/1 Braqueur d’Or, Childrens List, Delusionofgrandeur, Double Ross, Virgilio; 100/1 Beeves, Cogry, Double Ross, Maggio, Minella Daddy, Mysteree, Phils Magic, Relentless Dreamer, Rouge Angel, Wounded Warrior; 125/1 Henry Parry Morgan, Out Sam, Sir Mangan, Tenor Nivernais; 150/1 Dancing Shadow, Kracatoa King.

1/5 1-2-3-4-5 – Non runner, no bet.

Randox Health Grand National: First Fence Fallers – Betway bet: 8/15 At least one horse to fall or unseat at the 1st fence; 11/8 All runners to jump the first fence safely.

Randox Health Grand National: Winning Distance – Betway bet: 15/8 Under Three Lengths; 6/4 Three to Nine Lengths inclusive; 2/1 Over Nine Lengths.

Randox Health Grand National: Number of Finishers – Betway bet: 6/4 Under 16 Finishers; 16-18 horses (inc.) to finish; 2/1 Over 18 horses to finish.

Randox Health Grand National: Age of Winner – Betway bet: 2/1 7 or 8 year-old; 7/4 9-year-old; 5/2 10-year-old; 3/1 11-year-old or older.

Randox Health Grand National: Special – Betway bet: 11/10Irish Trained Winner.

Randox Health Grand National: Winning Weight – Betway bet: 15/8 10st 7lb or less; 9/4 10st – 10st 11lb inclusive; 11/8 10st 12lb or more.

Randox Health Grand National: Special – Betway bet: 6/1 J P McManus-owned Winner.

Randox Health Grand National: Special – Betway bet: 6/4 to be a False Start.

Randox Health Grand National: Special – Betway bet: 20/1 Female-trained Winner.

Randox Health Grand National: Special – Betway bet: 7/1 Gordon Elliott-trained Winner.

Bristol De Mai looks to bounce back in Betway Bowl

There is a terrific field of eight for the £190,000 G1 Betway Bowl (2.50pm), one of four Grade One events on day one of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, Grand National Thursday, April 12 at Aintree racecourse.

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup second Might Bite (Nicky Henderson, Nico de Boinville), the 8/13 favourite with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National, won the G1 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at last year’s meeting and tasted success in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day this season, before taking part in a tremendous tussle with Native River for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory at The Festival in March.

Nigel Twiston-Davies saddles the talented Bristol De Mai (Daryl Jacob, 5/1), who landed the G2 Charlie Hall Chase over three miles at Wetherby from stable companion and Randox Health Grand National joint-favourite Blaklion on his first start of the season, before registering an emphatic success on heavy ground in the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November.

Six lengths behind Might Bite in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, Bristol De Mai finished third on his latest start in the G2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase behind Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red (Danny Cook, 7/1) at Cheltenham on January 27.

Bristol De Mai came fifth behind Tea For Two (Nick Williams, Lizzie Kelly, 16/1) in the 2017 G1 Betway Bowl. Carl Llewellyn, assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies, commented today: “Bristol De Mai is in really good form.

“We’ve been pleased with his work at home and he’s had a good preparation. The wet weather is perfect for him as most of his best form has been on soft and heavy ground.

“In many ways, it looks like he needs soft ground, so the worse the ground is, the better his chance. He ran OK in the race last year, but he has matured a lot in the past 12 months – we’re hopeful of a good run.”

Double Shuffle (Tom George, Adrian Heskin, 7/1), second to Might Bite in the King George VI Chase, Clan Des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls, Harry Cobden, 16/1), Sub Lieutentant (Henry de Bromhead, Sean Flanagan, 25/1) and Sizing Codelco (Colin Tizzard, Robbie Power, 100/1), complete the eight-runner field for the three mile and one furlong event.

Nine horses have been declared for the £250,000 G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle (3.25pm) over two miles and four furlongs. Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae (Robbie Power)heads the sponsor’s market at Evens, following the defection of last year’s winner Buveur D’Air. Supasundae drops down in trip, having finished second to Penhill in the G1 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle over three miles at the Cheltenham Festival. The eight-year-old son of Galileo was second over an extended three miles in the G1 Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival.

Opposition in the G1 event is headed by Nigel Twiston-Davies’ The New One (Sam Twiston-Davies, 4/1), successful in the 2014 renewal and third to Buveur D’Air last year.

The New One was a well-beaten 12th on his first start over three miles last time in the G1 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Carl Llewellyn reported: “The New One is also really well at home. He has come out of his run at Cheltenham and we’re pleased with him.

“Things didn’t work out at Cheltenham, but returning to this trip will suit and if the ground is not gluey, he should have a good chance. If he is able to get through the ground, then conditions should suit him. He’s been a great horse for the yard and hopefully he can run another big race on Thursday.”

Britain’s champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson is set to be represented by 11-year-old My Tent Or Yours (Barry Geraghty, 9/2), who was five lengths behind Buveur D’Air in the 2017 renewal. The Desert Prince gelding defeated The New One in the G2 Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham on his latest start. L’Ami Serge (Daryl Jacob, 7/1), eighth in the G1 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last time, will also take his chance for the Seven Barrows maestro.

Air Horse One (Harry Fry, Noel Fehily 25/1) and Clyne (Evan Williams, Adam Wedge, 25/1), who finished third and fourth respectively in the G2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell in February, also run.

Diakali (Gary Moore, Joshua Moore, 25/1), Cyrus Darius (Ruth Jefferson, Brian Hughes, 33/1) and French raider Izzo (Carina Fey, Richard Johnson, 50/1) complete the field for the two mile and four furlong event.

Might looks to Bite back in Bowl

Might Bite is the 8/13 favourite with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, after a field of eight was declared for the £190,000 G1 Betway Bowl Chase at Aintree on Thursday.

The Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old finished a gallant runner-up behind Native River in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out and he will be looking to make it two from two at Aintree following his victory in the Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase 12 months’ ago.

Charlie Hall Chase and Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai is next in the market at 5/1, while Definitly Red and Double Shuffle have both been chalked up at 7/1.

Supasundae is now the red-hot even money favourite to land the G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle following the defection of Buveur d’Air and the Jessica Harrington-trained eight-year-old heads a field of nine for the £250,000 two and a half mile event.

The New One, who won the Betway Aintree Hurdle in 2014, is next in the market at 4/1 while My Tent Or Yours is a 9/2 shot.

Big Buck’s Manifesto Novice Chase – Betway bet: 7/2 Brain Power, Petit Mouchoir; 4/1 Cyrname, Finian’s Oscar; 11/2 Renes Girl; 6/1 Terrefort; 7/1 Modus; 9/1 Kalondra; 10/1 Black Corton; 16/1 Snow Falcon; 33/1 Calino Dairy, Delegate, Kauto Riko; 66/1 Ballyhill.

1/5 1-2-3

Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle – Betway bet: 13/8 Apples Shakira; 15/8 We Have A Dream; 11/2 Malaya; 13/2 Style de Garde; 15/2 Nube Negra; 14/1 Beau Gosse; 18/1 Sussex Ranger; 22/1 Et Moi Alors, Padleyourowncanoe; 28/1 Gumball, Les Arceaux, Taxmeifyoucan; 33/1 Cristal Icon.

1/5 1-2-3

Betway Bowl – sponsors bet: 8/13 Might Bite; 5/1 Bristol de Mai; 7/1 Definitly Red, Double Shuffle; 16/1 Clan Des Obeaux, Tea For Two; 25/1 Sub Lieutenant; 100/1 Sizing Codalco.

1/5 1-2-3

Betway Aintree Hurdle – sponsors bet: Evs Supasundae; 4/1 The New One; 9/2 My Tent Or Yours; 7/1 L’Ami Serge; 25/1 Air Horse One, Clyne, Diakali; 33/1 Cyrus Darius; 50/1 Izzo.

1/5 1-2-3

Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase – Betway bet: 5/1 Balnaslow; 6/1 Grand Vision, Wonderful Charm; 9/1 On The Fringe; 12/1 Mendip Express, Sir Jack Yeats, Unioniste, Wells De Lune; 16/1 Barrakilla, Gallery Exhibition, Monsieur Gibraltar; 20/1 Bears Affair, Distime; 25/1 Mon Parrain, Winged Crusader; 40/1 Eddies Miracle, Premier Portrait, Rouge Et Blanc; 50/1 Curraigflemens, Never Complain; 66/1 Bound For Glory, Lilbitluso, Warden Hill; 100/1 Greensalt; 150/1 Vincitore.

1/5 1-2-3

Red Rum Handicap Chase – Betway bet: 7/1 Le Prezien; 8/1 Diego Du Charmil, Kings Socks, Theinval; 9/1 Bun Doran; 11/1 Double Ws; 12/1 Bouvreuil, Gino Trail, Kauto Riko; 14/1 Forest Bihan, Top Gamble; 14/1 Vanitieux; 16/1 Doitforthevillage, Overtown Express, Tommy Silver; 18/1 Dandridge; 20/1 Ashoka, Baby King, Calino Dairy, Copain De Classe, Poker School; 22/1 Bentelimar; 25/1 Kapstadt, Robinshill, Tara Bridge, Vosne Romanee; 33/1 Noche De Reyes, Our Dougal, Savello, Sizing Platinum, Theflyingportrait, Wisty; 50/1 Bright New Dawn, Lake Takapuna; 66/1 Un Beau Roman.

¼ 1-2-3-4

 

Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle – sponsors bet: 15/8 Global Citizen; 5/1 Claimantakinforgan; 13/2 Apples Shakira; 15/2 Scarlet Dragon, Vision Des Flos; 12/1 Whatswrongwithyou; 14/1 Impact Factor, Irish Roe, Mont Des Avaloirs, Slate House, Storm Home, Style De Garde; 18/1 Solomon Grey, Trainwreck; 20/1 Lalor, Nube Negra; 22/1 Ornua; 25/1 Distingo, Minds Eye; 28/1 Better Getalong, Simply The Betts; 33/1 Bedrock; 40/1 Midnight Shadow; 50/1 Coolanly, Irish Prophecy.

1/5 1-2-3

JLT Melling Chase – Betway bet: 6/4 Min; 2/1 Balko Des Flos; 3/1 Politologue; 13/2 Cloudy Dream; 7/1 Top Notch; 12/1 Frodon, L’Ami Serge, Le Prezien; 16/1 Forest Bihan; 25/1 Flying Angel, Kings Socks, Sizing Granite.

¼ 1-2

Randox Health Topham Chase – Betway bet: 10/1 O O Seven, Theatre Territory; 12/1 Mall Dini, Pairofbrowneyes, Patricks Park; 14/1 Bouvreuil, Flying Angel, Top Gamble; 16/1 Ballyalton, Gas Line Boy, Go Conquer, Highland Lodge, Kylemore Lough, Polidam, Shantou Flyer, Sizing Tennessee; 20/1 Art Mauresque, Bigbadjohn, Kilcrea Vale, Pleasant Company, Rathlin Rose, Ultragold; 22/1 Full Glass; 25/1 Blazer, Knockgrafton, Lovely Job, Marracudja; 28/1 Shanahans Turn; 33/1 Band Of Blood, Beau Bay, Captain Redbeard, Childrens List, Clarcam, Days Of Heaven, Double Treasure, Eastlake, Gentleman Jon, Henri Parry Morgan, Heron Heights, Imjoeking, Indian Temple, Junction Fourteen, Katachenko, Mystifiable, Pearl Swan, Rouge Angel, Sizing Granite, Un Guet Apens, Village Vic, Westerner Point; 40/1 Casino Markets, Chic Name, Cold March, Deauville Dancer, Devils Bride, Enjoy Responsibly, Federici, Midnight Shot, Sonneofpresenting, Vibrato Valtat, Wadswick Court; 50/1 Flying Eagle, Greybougg, Lord Windermere, Minella On Line, Newsworthy, Notarfbad, Pain Au Chocolat, Portrait King; 66/1 Sambremont, Thunder And Roses, Western Miller.

¼ 1-2-3-4

Dennis is nudging towards Grand National glory

Trainer David Dennis is one of the few people in the British countryside who has welcomed the recent very wet weather. His Randox Health Grand National runner – Dennis’s first – Final Nudge relishes soft ground.

“The rain has been a bonus for us,” admitted Dennis, who trains at Hanley Swan in Worcestershire. “He’s a soft-ground horse and has good form on it. He was third in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow [on January 6] and if he brings that form to Aintree, he should run well.”

He continued: “Final Nudge is in good order, and seems fresh and well after his run at Cheltenham [he finished ninth in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at The Festival last month]. It was a satisfactory performance; he jumped well and travelled well but was a bit one-paced from two fences out.”

Dennis said that the nine-year-old gelding, a son of Kayf Tara, was “very straightforward” to train and handle.

“We mix up his routine and tend to take him up the Malvern Hills, which are near to my yard, every two weeks to keep him sweet. He eats well and is easy to train,” said Dennis.

Final Nudge, who carries a weight on 10st 5lb in Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National, is currently available at odds of 50/1 with official betting partner Betway.

Can Walsh and Baie Des Iles smash the ‘glass ceiling’?

Trainer Ross O’Sullivan reported his first Randox Health Grand National runner, Baie Des Iles, to be “in great form” this afternoon.

“I’m delighted with her in every way,” said O’Sullivan. “She will travel to Liverpool on the Thursday afternoon boat.”

Baie Des Iles, a seven-year-old grey mare, will be ridden in Saturday’s big race by O’Sullivan’s wife, Katie Walsh.

The pair will have to defy a number of statistics to win: no mare has won the Randox Health Grand National since Nickel Coin in 1951; only three grey horses have ever won the great race (The Lamb, 1868 and 1871; Nicolaus Silver, 1961; Neptune Collonges, 2012); the last seven-year-old to be victorious was Bogskar in 1940 and no woman jockey has ever won the Grand National.

But Katie Walsh already holds the record for the highest finishing position by a member of her sex (third with Seabass in 2012), and Baie Des Iles has proven her ability to cope with soft ground conditions. She was third in her most recent run, the Boylesports Grand National Trial at Punchestown in February – a race she won in 2017 – on heavy ground.

O’Sullivan said: “She is a straightforward mare who is a good eater and likes her routine. Tom Harley rides her every day at home, and she can be fresh so you always have to watch her, but she’s pretty easy to do everything with.”

Baie Des Iles, who carries 10st 7lb in the Randox Health Grand National, is currently priced at 20/1 with official betting partners Betway.

Going now Soft all over

Following eight millimetres of rain at Aintree in the last 24 hours, the going at Aintree is now SOFT on all courses.

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said at 4.00pm today: “Following the eight millimetres of rain we have had in the last 24 hours, I am now calling the ground Soft on all courses – Hurdle, Mildmay and Grand National.

“On the Grand National Course, the going is approaching heavy at the Canal Turn.

“The rain today cleared by 11.00am and, looking at the forecast going forward, most of the rain should now be behind us. Further precipitation is set to come in the form of showers for the rest of the week.”

The GoingStick readings at 2pm were Mildmay 4.2, Hurdle 4.1, and Gran National 3.7.

Tuesday – rain cleared late morning, cloudy & overcast, 12C.

Wednesday – cloudy, breezy with drizzle overnight, 13C.

Thursday – dry with sunny spells, 12C. Possible shower overnight.

Friday – cloudy, possible showers through afternoon, 12C.

Saturday – cloudy am, showers pm, 12C.

20 years since Earth reached the Summit

Carl Llewellyn today reflected on the 20-year anniversary since his success in the 1998 Randox Health Grand National aboard Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Earth Summit.

The well-supported 7/1 favourite for the four and a quarter-mile contest, Earth Summit remains the only horse to win the Welsh, Scottish and English Grand Nationals as he held off the Charlie Brooks-trained Suny Bay, ridden by Graham Bradley, to score by 11 lengths.

Just six horses finished in soft ground and Llewellyn believes conditions were a pivotal factor in the Celtic Cone’s gelding success.

Earth Summit was owned by The Summit Partnership, which included Wirral local government officer Mike Bailey, former footballer Rick George, the late Peter Earl, Bob Sims, Gordon Perry and Aintree Racecourse’s press officer Nigel Payne.

Llewellyn had 15 rides in the Grand National and also tasted success in 1992 aboard Party Politics, owned by Patricia Thompson.

Llewellyn recalled: “Earth Summit was a fabulous jumper and an out-and-out stayer who really enjoyed tackling the fences.

“A major factor was the rain. It rained all day Friday and the more it rained, the more it improved his chances.

“By the Saturday, a lot could have gone wrong but on a horse like him, who was a very good jumper and with the right amount of luck, I was hopeful of a big run.

“Suny Bay and us were clear of the rest. I knew Earth Summit wouldn’t stop galloping and we were getting so much weight, that I always thought we were going to hold on after the last.

“It was a brilliant performance by Suny Bay, possibly one of the best weight-carrying performances from a horse in the Grand National.

“I was never bullish about my horse’s chances, but I was happy that if I didn’t mess up too much aboard him, then he would have a big chance.

“Earth Summit loved this track and he was very safe round the fences. He was eighth in the 1999 Grand National behind Bobbyjo when the ground was too fast for him, but it was another great run.

“I don’t think he made a mistake round this course, he was a fabulous horse.

“I dreamt about coming to the Grand National as a kid and to get a ride in the race was enough for me, let alone winning it.

“It was as big a dream as you can get and whilst 20 years has gone fast, it is something that no-one can take away from you.

“I love coming back to Aintree every year. I love Liverpool, I support the football club and I’ve got some good mates from Liverpool – I love the place.”

Llewellyn walks the walk and talks the talk

Jockey mentoring and coaching was introduced by the Professional Jockeys Association and the British Horseracing Authority in 2011 and Carl Llewellyn, dual Randox Health Grand National-winning jockey, is one of the former jockeys bringing on the new generation of riders.

Llewellyn will also conduct jockey course walks around the Randox Grand National course, an initiative started in 2017, Brian Harding walks the course Thursday and Llewellyn on Friday and Saturday mornings in 2018.

Llewellyn commented today: “The jockeys’ mentoring and course walk is a new thing that hopefully will grow with time. We tried a course walk at the Cheltenham Festival and had very few takers, maybe that is because jockeys were in and out on the day rather than staying in the area.

“For Aintree jockeys stay locally and come in early on Grand National Day to avoid the traffic so we should have a good take up as we have had in the past.”

The 2017 Randox Health Topham Chase-winning jockey, Harry Cobden, attributed his victory in part to the course walk he took on the morning of the race with Carl Llewellyn.

 

“I won the Topham on Ultragold,” said Cobden, “and Carl’s advice and insight proved invaluable, so much so I walked the course with him again the next day before the Randox Health Grand National!

“Whilst luck wasn’t repeated, I did complete the course on Just A Par and I couldn’t recommend this initiative enough.”

Llewellyn continued: “The young jockeys get an email from the PJA, but like most young kids they don’t read it. When I was riding, I wanted to speak to everyone and to get as much information as I could, then you take on board and absorb what you want to.

“I would always be trying to gather information, it is the way I am.

“The more you have done something, the more you have experienced the highs and lows and what can go wrong. It is not just a case of what I did right, but also what I did wrong.

“You are trying to help the new jockeys not to make the same mistakes as you did. I got round a few times but I also fell a few times as well. There were reasons for that, and if you can prevent that it has to be better. You learn as much from people’s mistakes as from their successes.

“The standard of jockeys is definitely higher today because of coaching and mentoring but especially because of the pony racing programme.

“The kids are now are having 50 or a 100 rides before they are 14 or 15 years old.

“That experience is invaluable.

“I saw Tom Marquand when he rode in a pony race at a point-to-point when he was 14 and I thought he could ride a race now; that is how good he was.

“The lads are now way ahead of where we were at the same age. As long as the kids are not told that they are very good too early. Talking to people in other sports, the general worry is that the kids who are very good and are told that they are very good lose focus.

“They should be told that they are potentially very good and to keep working. The ones that are told you’re brilliant, you could be anything – in the end they stop working. They think that they are there already. They have to be told that they have to keep working.

“It is similar to young footballers, I was at Leicester City football club training ground two years ago. I was watching training and there is a guy who is not doing a tap of work. The other guys are running around but not him, I said to the coach who is that over there,’ he replied ‘oh that is so and so, the club paid three million for him at 18.

“I asked ‘what is going on with him’, the coach replied, ‘he thinks he doesn’t need to train, he thinks he knows it all already and that he is already good enough’.

“I said that if I was coaching that young man, I would have sent him home! I don’t care what you get paid, you are not on my training pitch until you are ready and want to run.

“I say to my young protégés the same thing. What is the point in coming to see you if you think you know it already?”

Llewellyn partnered Earth Summit to victory in the Randox Health Grand National in 1998 and Party Politics in 1992. His main job is as assistant trainer to two-time Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, who scored with Bindaree (2002) and Earth Summit (1998).

48-hour declarations for Aintree on Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

2:50pm £190,000 G1 BETWAY BOWL CHASE

3m+ 5yo+ No of Decs 8

Sc  Horse Trainer Weight Jockey
1  Bristol de Mai (FR) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11st 7lb Daryl Jacob
2  Clan des Obeaux (FR) Paul Nicholls 11st 7lb Harry Cobden
3  Definitly Red (IRE) Brian Ellison 11st 7lb Danny Cook
4  Double Shuffle (IRE) (Hood) Tom George 11st 7lb A. P. Heskin
5  Might Bite (IRE) Nicky Henderson 11st 7lb Nico de Boinville
6  Sizing Codelco (IRE) Colin Tizzard 11st 7lb Robbie Power
7  Sub Lieutenant (IRE) (Tongue Strap) Henry de Bromhead, Ireland 11st 7lb Sean Flanagan
8  Tea For Two Nick Williams 11st 7lb Lizzie Kelly

 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

3:25pm £250,000 G1 BETWAY AINTREE HURDLE

2m 4f 4yo+ No of Decs 9

Sc  Horse Trainer Weight Jockey
1  Air Horse One Harry Fry 11st 7lb Noel Fehily
2  Clyne Evan Williams 11st 7lb Adam Wedge
3  Cyrus Darius Ruth Jefferson 11st 7lb Brian Hughes
4  Diakali (FR) (Blinkers) Gary Moore 11st 7lb Joshua Moore
5  Izzo (GER) (Hood) Carina Fey, France 11st 7lb Richard Johnson
6  L’Ami Serge (IRE) (Hood) Nicky Henderson 11st 7lb Daryl Jacob
7  My Tent Or Yours (IRE) (Hood) Nicky Henderson 11st 7lb Barry Geraghty
8  Supasundae Mrs J. Harrington, Ireland 11st 7lb Robbie Power
9  The New One (IRE) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11st 7lb Sam Twiston-Davies
 

 

         
           

 The Randox Health Grand National

Grade 3 handicap chase, £1 million total prize fund. Aintree, 5.15pm Saturday, April 14, 2018. 4m 2f 74yds over the Grand National fences. For seven-year-olds and upwards which, have started in a chase during the current season and who, up to and including March 19, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a steeple chase with an official distance description of’ two miles seven and a half furlongs’ or more and which are allotted a rating of 125 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 11. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 11 would merit a minimum rating of 125. Entries closes January 30, entries revealed January 31 (105 entries), weights revealed February 13 (104 go forward – 1 not qualified), first scratchings deadline February 27 (90 entries remained), second scratchings deadline March 20 (73 entries remained), five-day confirmations April 9 (63 confirmations), final declarations 10am April 12. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.

 

  Horse Age Wgt Owner Trainer
1) MINELLA ROCCO (IRE) 8 11-10 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
2) BLAKLION 9 11-09 Simon Such & Gino Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies
3) ANIBALE FLY (FR) 8 11-07 J P McManus Tony Martin IRE
4) THE LAST SAMURI (IRE) 10 11-07 Paul & Clare Rooney Kim Bailey
5) VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 9 11-06 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
6) TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 11-04 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
7) ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR) 8 11-03 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
8) GOLD PRESENT (IRE) 8 11-03 John & Barbara Cotton Nicky Henderson
9) PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE) 11 11-02 ISL Recruitment Fergal O’Brien
10) SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) 8 11-01 Carl Hinchy Richard Hobson
           
11) TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 11 11-00 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams
12) CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE) 12 11-00 J P McManus John Kiely IRE
13) VICENTE (FR) 9 10-13 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
14) TIGER ROLL (IRE) 8 10-12 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
15) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 10 10-12 J P McManus Anthony Honeyball
16) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) 9 10-12 Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent David Pipe
17) CHASE THE SPUD 10 10-11 Christine Banks Fergal O’Brien
18) WARRIORS TALE 9 10-11 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
19) SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT 10 10-11 Patricia Thompson Sandy Thomson
20) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) 12 10-10 The Three Graces Ian Williams
           
21) THE DUTCHMAN (IRE) 8 10-10 SprayClad UK Colin Tizzard
22) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) 10 10-10 Malcolm Denmark Willie Mullins IRE
23) UCELLO CONTI (FR) 10 10-09 Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott IRE
24) SAINT ARE (FR) 12 10-09 David Fox Tom George
25) BEEVES (IRE) 11 10-09 Paul & Clare Rooney Jennie Candlish
26) RAZ DE MAREE (FR) 13 10-08 James Swan Gavin Cromwell IRE
27) I JUST KNOW (IRE) 8 10-07 Michael Scholey & the late Ray Scholey Sue Smith
28) VIRGILIO (FR) 9 10-07 C J Edwards, D Futter, A H Rushworth Dan Skelton
29) BAIE DES ILES (FR) 7 10-07 Zorka Wentworth Ross O’Sullivan IRE
30) MAGGIO (FR) 13 10-07 Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont Patrick Griffin IRE
           
31) PENDRA (IRE) 10 10-07 J P McManus Charlie Longsdon
32) BUYWISE (IRE) 11 10-07 T Hywel Jones Evan Williams
33) CHILDRENS LIST (IRE) 8 10-07 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
34) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) 12 10-06 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE
35) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE) 9 10-06 Stuart Coltherd Stuart Coltherd
36) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 11 10-06 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams
37) BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) 13 10-05 Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor Gordon Elliott IRE
38) MILANSBAR (IRE) 11 10-05 Robert Bothway Neil King
39) FINAL NUDGE (IRE) 9 10-05 Corbett Stud David Dennis
40) DOUBLE ROSS (IRE) 12 10-05 Options O Syndicate Nigel Twiston-Davies
           
41) ROAD TO RICHES (IRE) 11 10-04 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
42) THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE) 10 10-04 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
43) DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE) 8 10-04 McGoldrick Racing 3 Sue Smith
44) WALK IN THE MILL (FR) 8 10-03 Baroness Harding Robert Walford
45) VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE) 8 10-03 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith
46) GENERAL PRINCIPLE 

(IRE)

9 10-01 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
47) WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE) 9 10-01 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
48) SPLASH OF GINGE 10 10-00 John Neild Nigel Twiston-Davies
49) BONNY KATE (IRE) 8 10-00 Patricia Hunt Noel Meade IRE
50) COGRY 9 10-00 Graham and Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies
           
51) SIR MANGAN (IRE) 10 10-00 Frank McAleavy Dan Skelton
52) MYSTEREE (IRE) 10 10-00 Lynne Maclennan Michael Scudamore
53) MINELLA DADDY (IRE) 8 9-13 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
54) BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR) 7 9-13 Corsellis & Seyfried Paul Nicholls
55) RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE) 9 9-13 Nigel Morris Rebecca Curtis
56) THE YOUNG MASTER 9 9-11 Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland
57) HENRI PARRY MORGAN 10 9-09 Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan Peter Bowen
58) PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE) 8 9-09 Lyreen Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
59) ALFIE SPINNER (IRE) 13 9-09 Alan Beard & Brian Beard Kerry Lee
60) DANCING SHADOW (IRE) 9 9-08 The Dancing Shadows Victor Dartnall
           
61) ROGUE ANGEL (IRE) 10 9-08 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
62) OUT SAM 9 9-06 D Charlesworth Gordon Elliott IRE
63) KRACKATOA KING 10 9-03 J C Harrison Lee & T Howard Partnership Kerry Lee

 

63 five-day confirmations

22 Irish-trained

 

THE RANDOX HEALTH GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL

 

Grand National Thursday – Thursday, April 12, 2018

 

Time  Race Distance Prize Money

1.45pm Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f  £100,000

2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)  2m 1f  £100,000

2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)      3m 1f  £190,000

3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)    2m 4f  £250,000

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase (GNC)   2m 5f  £45,000

4.40pm Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)    2m  £90,000

5.15pm Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m 1f £45,000

 

TOTAL £820,000

 

Ladies Day – Friday, April 13, 2018

 

Time  Race Distance Prize Money

1.45pm Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)    2m 4f  £75,000

2.20pm Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)    2m ½f  £100,000

2.50pm Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)    3m 1f  £100,000

3.25pm JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)      2m 4f  £250,000

4.05pm Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) GNC   2m 5f  £140,000

4.40pm Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)    3m ½f  £100,000

5.15pm Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m 1f £45,000

 

TOTAL £810,000

 

Grand National Day – Saturday, April 14, 2018

 

Time              Race                              Distance       Prize Money

1.45pm Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)    3m ½f  £75,000

2.25pm Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)    2m 4f  £100,000

3.00pm Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)    2m  £100,000

3.40pm Betway Handicap Chase (Grade 3)    3m 1f  £75,000

4.20pm Ryanair Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)    3m ½f  £180,000

5.15pm Randox Health Grand National (Grade 3) GNC   4m 2½f £1,000,000

6.20pm Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional & Amateur Jockeys) 2m ½f £50,000

 

TOTAL £1,580,000

 

MEETING TOTAL £3,210,000