Apr 11, 726 days ago

2015 Grand National Round-Up

2015 Grand National Round-Up

There were no late withdrawals from the Grand National so reserves Bailey’s Concerto, Duke Of Lucca, Raz De Maree and The Package all miss out. The going remains good to soft, good in places, after the course was watered ahead of Friday’s racing.

Shutthefrontdoor remains a firm favourite at 7-1 to give Tony McCoy the perfect send-off to his riding career. The champion jockey has made it clear that he would hang up his boots, should Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding provide him with a second Grand National triumph. Bookmakers are bracing themselves for a wave of public support for the horse on Saturday.

Rocky Creek has been well supported against the favourite this week and has been cut to 9-1. Trainer Paul Nicholls was in fine form on the opening day of the meeting with Silviniaco Conti and All Yours giving the yard a double. Rocky Creek would have been given more weight to carry had the handicapper been able to take his Kempton victory into account. He also has experience of Aintree after finishing fifth to Pineau De Re last year.

Trainer Dr Richard Newland is optimistic that Pineau De Re will put up a bold show as he bids to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to win the race in consecutive seasons. He is 8lbs higher in the handicap this year but his preparation has gone smoothly. Newland is also represented by Royale Knight who sneaked in as the last horse in the race.

Philip Hobbs has trained last year’s runner-up Balthazar King specifically for the race this year and he would be a very popular winner. Jockey Richard Johnson has the unenviable record of eighteen previous attempts without winning. At the other end of the scale, 17-year-old Sean Bowen will be having his first ride in the race on Mon Parrain for Paul Nicholls.

Bowen only qualified for the race last weekend when riding his tenth chase winner at Haydock. He is trying to equal the long-standing record of Bruce Hobbs as the youngest winning rider, set on Battleship in 1938.

Nina Carberry will be the only female rider in the race this year after Katie Walsh’s intended mount failed to make the cut. Carberry partners First Lieutenant for Mouse Morris as she bids to improve on Walsh’s third place aboard Seabass in 2012. Alvarado carries the hopes of the Rucker family as they bid to have a placed horse for a remarkable seventh consecutive season. Jockey Paul Moloney has ridden State Of Play, Cappa Bleu and Alvarado and is back on board the chestnut this year.

There is also a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner in the field in top weight Lord Windermere. L’Escargot was the last Gold Cup winner to go on and win a Grand National in 1975. The start time is 4.15 on Saturday with an estimated £80 million expected to be wagered on the race by the British public.

 

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