Apr 7, 730 days ago

Katie Walsh hoping Buffalo makes the cut

Katie Walsh hoping Buffalo makes the cut

Katie Walsh rode 20-1 outsider Thunder And Roses to victory in the Irish Grand National on Monday but is not certain to have a ride at Aintree on Saturday. She came very close to winning the Grand National on Seabass finishing third in 2012.

Walsh has been provisionally booked to partner Broadway Buffalo for David Pipe but the gelding needs five to drop out above him if he is to sneak in. Pipe was relieved to see Soll make it safely into the top forty but must wait to see whether Broadway Buffalo or The Package are able to join him.

The Irish National proved to be a minefield for punters with the first four home returned at 20-1, 20-1, 40-1 and 50-1. Hopes that Tony McCoy could win the race on his final ride were dashed when Cantlow weakened in the home straight to finish sixth.

Thunder And Roses is trained by Sandra Hughes who took over the yard following the death of her father, Dessie, in November last year. She also has an entry on the fringes of the National field with Raz De Maree, runner-up in the Midlands Grand National last time out. Raz De Maree has not won since 2012 when his three victories included the Munster National. The ten-year-old needs three more to come out if Hughes is to have a chance at a remarkable National double.

Thunder And Roses carries the colours of Gigginstown House Stud who also own the runner-up and the fourth at Fairyhouse. Their hopes of adding the Aintree National to the Irish equivalent rest with First Lieutenant, trained by Mouse Morris.

Morris believes that First Lieutenant is his best chance so far of winning the race having once been considered a live Gold Cup contender. He will be ridden by Nina Carberry and the stable must have been delighted with the performances of Rule The World and Band Of Blood, second and fourth at Fairyhouse.

Carberry has come in for the ride owing to Bryan Cooper’s whip suspension incurred at the Cheltenham festival last month. She has ridden in four times previously in the big race, her best being seventh place on Character Building in 2010.

Perhaps the most significant withdrawal at the latest declaration stage was Nicky Henderson’s Hadrian’s Approach. His absence means that the Lambourn trainer must wait at least another year to end his long wait for a National winner. He was second with Zongalero in 1979 but the National remains one of the few top races to elude him.

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