There is a maximum of 40 runners for the 2015 £1-million Crabbie’s Grand National, the spectacular highlight of the third and final day of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival this Saturday at Liverpool the home of the worlds most famous race viewed around the world by millions.
Staged over four miles, three and a half furlongs and 30 fences at Aintree, the Crabbie’s Grand National is being run for the 168th time in 2015.
Shutthefrontdoor (trained by Jonjo O’Neill) is the 7/1 favourite with Betfred, official betting partner of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival, and is set to be the 20th and final Crabbie’s Grand National ride for soon-to-be 20-time champion jockey A P McCoy.
What a fairy tale end to his career it would be if he could lift the prize,he has told us press boys that if he won the National he would hang up his boots straight after the race,he would lift the roof if he does. Jonjo O’Neill believes he can do it.
The eight-year-old landed the Irish Grand National in 2014 and won on his only subsequent appearance in a graduation chase at Carlisle in November. Shutthefrontdoor is owned by J P McManus, meaning he has the same set of connections as 2010 scorer Don’t Push It.
Next best at 10/1 with Betfred are last year’s runner-up and cross-country specialist Balthazar King (Philip Hobbs) and Rocky Creek (Paul Nicholls), who finished fifth in 2015 and landed the Grade Three BetBright Chase last time out at Kempton Park in February.
Nicholls, triumphant with Neptune Collonges in 2012, could be four-handed on Saturday with Unioniste (25/1),Rebel Rebellion (33/1) and Mon Parrain (50/1) also going forward.
Third in the betting is The Druids Nephew (Neil Mulholland, 12/1), who was victorious in the Grade Three Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month. The eight-year-old will be bidding to follow in the footsteps of Seagram, who won both races in 1991.
Another contender to have won at the Cheltenham Festival is Cause Of Causes (Gordon Elliott IRE, 14/1), who landed the four-mile Toby Balding National Hunt Chase. Like Shutthefrontdoor, he will carry the famous J P McManus silks.
Heading the weights on 11st 10lb is Lord Windermere (Jim Culloty IRE, 40/1), who won the 2014 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup but ran a disappointing race when he pulled-up in this year’s renewal.
He is bidding to become only the third horse to win both races following Golden Miller and L’Escargot.
Culloty is also responsible for Spring Heeled (20/1), who enjoyed his biggest success in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. If successful with either of his two likely starters, Culloty, who rode Bindaree to victory in the 2002 Grand National, would become the sixth person since 1900 to have both ridden and trained a Grand National winner following Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter.
Last year’s winner was Pineau De Re (Dr Richard Newland, 25/1), who scooted to a five-length success over Balthazar King.
He is attempting to become the first horse to land back-to-back renewals of the world’s greatest chase since the mighty Red Rum in 1973/1974 and will be joined by stable companion Royale Knight(25/1), who enjoyed his finest hour when taking the Scottish Borders National at Kelso in 2013 and is guaranteed a run, being number 40 on today’s list.
In addition to Pineau De Re, Balthazar King and Rocky Creek, several other horses who ran well last year are set line up again including fourth home Alvarado (Fergal O’Brien, 16/1), sixth Chance Du Roy (Philip Hobbs, 40/1), seventh Monbeg Dude (33/1 Michael Scudamore) and eighth Raz De Maree (Sandra Hughes, 50/1).
Three horses have won at both the Scottish Grand National and at Aintree since the contest north of the border was transferred to Ayr in 1966. Al Co (Peter Bowen, 25/1) is aiming to be the fourth this year, having scored at Ayr in 2014, when he was a length and a half too strong for Godsmejudge (Alan King, 20/1).
David Pipe captured the 2008 renewal of the Grand National with Comply Or Die and has four aspirants remaining, headed by Soll (25/1), successful in two veterans’ chases this season and last month’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase victor The Package (33/1).
The Colonel’s Crabbie’s Grand National Selection Box
2. The Druids Nephew
3. Rocky Creek
4, Pineau De Re
5. The Package
Good luck to you all lets hope they all come home safe.
Yours in sport
The 40 horses entered for the 4.15 at Aintree are:
(Horse’s name (nationality), age, weight, owner, trainer)
LORD WINDERMERE (Ire), 9, 11-10, Dr Ronan Lambe, Jim Culloty
MANY CLOUDS (Ire), 8, 11-09, Trevor Hemmings, Oliver Sherwood
UNIONISTE (Fra), 7, 11-06, John Hales, Paul Nicholls
ROCKY CREEK (Ire), 9, 11-03, The Johnson & Stewart Families, Paul Nicholls
FIRST LIEUTENANT (Ire), 10, 11-03, Gigginstown House Stud, Mouse Morris
BALTHAZAR KING (Ire), 11, 11-02, The Brushmakers, Philip Hobbs
SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR (Ire), 8, 11-02, JP McManus, Jonjo O’Neill
PINEAU DE RE (Fra), 12, 11-00, John Provan, Dr Richard Newland
BALLYCASEY (Ire), 8, 10-13, Susannah Ricci, Willie Mullins (Ire)
SPRING HEELED (Ire), 8, 10-12, Dr Ronan Lambe, Jim Culloty (Ire)
REBEL REBELLION (Ire), 10, 10-12, Woodhouse, Sutton & Dobson, Paul Nicholls
DOLATULO (Fra), 8, 10-11, Chasemore Farm, Warren Greatrex
MON PARRAIN (Fra), 9, 10-11, John & Barbara Cotton, Paul Nicholls
CARLITO BRIGANTE (Ire), 9, 10-10, 06 Zoo Ltd, Karen McLintock
NIGHT IN MILAN (Ire), 9, 10-09, Richard Collins, Keith Reveley
RUBI LIGHT (Fra), 10, 10-09, Bill Hennessy, Robert Hennessy (Ire)
THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (Ire), 8, 10-09, The Stonehenge Druids, Neil Mulholland
CAUSE OF CAUSES (US), 7, 10-09, JP McManus, Gordon Elliott (Ire)
GODSMEJUDGE (Ire), 9, 10-08, Favourites Racing (Syndication) Ltd, Alan King
AL CO (Fra), 10, 10-08, Frank Lloyd, Peter Bowen
MONBEG DUDE (Ire), 10, 10-07, Oydunow, Michael Scudamore
CORRIN WOOD (Ire), 8, 10-07, Dermot Hanafin, Robert Rose & Ian Whitfield, Donald McCain
THE RAINBOW HUNTER, 11, 10-07, May We Never Be Found Out Partnership, Kim Bailey
SAINT ARE (Fra), 9, 10-06, David Fox, Tom George
ACROSS THE BAY (Ire), 11, 10-06, Scotch Piper Syndicate, Donald McCain
TRANQUIL SEA (Ire), 13, 10-05, Jean & Clemmie Shipp, Warren Greatrex
OSCAR TIME (Ire), 14, 10-05, Robert Waley-Cohen, Robert Waley-Cohen
BOB FORD (Ire), 8, 10-04, The Bob Ford Partnership, Rebecca Curtis
SUPER DUTY (Ire), 9, 10-04, Brannon, Dick, Hernon & Holden, Ian Williams
WYCK HILL (Ire) 11, 10-04, JP McManus, David Bridgwater
31) GAS LINE BOY (Ire), 9, 10-04, Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club, Philip Hobbs
CHANCE DU ROY (Fra) 11, 10-04, Daphne Du Pre, Philip Hobbs
PORTRAIT KING (Ire), 10, 10-03, Marie Davis, Maurice Phelan (Ire)
OWEGA STAR (Ire), 8, 10-03, Anthony Callan/Siobhan Callan, Peter Fahey (Ire)
RIVER CHOICE (Fra), 12, 10-03, Fergus Wilson, Richard Chotard (Fra)
COURT BY SURPRISE (Ire), 10, 10-03, Nick Mustoe, Emma Lavelle
ALVARADO (Ire), 10, 10-03, William & Angela Rucker, Fergal O’Brien
SOLL, 10, 10-02, Derrick Mossop, David Pipe
ELY BROWN (Ire), 10, 10-02, Countrywide Vehicle Rentals Taxi Hire, Charlie Longsdon
ROYALE KNIGHT, 9, 10-02, Chris Stedman & Robert Corsan, Dr Richard Newland