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2015 Grand National Runner Profiles
Fri, Apr 10th, 2015

The excellent Race News Service have produced 2015 Grand National fact files for all 39 runners to include profiles of horses, jockeys, trainers and owners. This list should be a great resource for Grand National trivia fans in the years to come and might even help you find the winner for 2015.

Aintree Factfiles 2015

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For previous winner profile on this and other big races try our Festivals section.

Across The Bay (IRE) 11-10-06

Breeding: b g Bob’s Return (IRE) - The Southern (IRE) (Glacial Storm  (USA))

Breeder:  Noel McLoughlin

Born: April 9, 2004

Owner: Scotch Piper Syndicate Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: Henry Brooke

Form: 3/14512/49312U2/PP1P8/782425P3/112710/581U0-800B

 

*Has run in the last two renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National, finishing 14th on both occasions after being badly impeded.

*Won four times in Ireland when trained by Noel Meade.

*Joined current connections after selling for £10,000 at the 2011 DBS Spring Horses In Training Sale.

*Has won three times over fences, all on heavy ground, for Donald McCain, most recently in a three and a half mile handicap chase at Haydock Park in December, 2013.

*Also captured the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle at the same course in February, 2013.

*Well-beaten in first three starts this season, including in the Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree in December, before being brought down four out in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 12.

Race record: Starts: 41; 1st: 8; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 3; Win & Place prize money: £142,642

 

Scotch Piper Syndicate

Background: The syndicate derives its name from the Scotch Piper pub at Lydiate north of Liverpool - dating back to 1320, it is said to be the oldest pub in Lancashire. The current Scotch Piper Syndicate comprises Lancashire-based Graham Worsley and the brothers Anthony and Kevin Coyne, while past members have included Graham’s brother Mike, and Ireland-based Frank Towey and Barry Brennan. The idea for racehorse ownership came together over a drink in the pub, and in 2008 the group travelled to trainer Noel Meade’s yard in Ireland, viewed half a dozen horses and bought an unnamed gelding for 25,000 euros - he turned out to be Across The Bay. The syndicate came up with the name of their horse while taking lunch with Meade at a restaurant in Galway that looked ‘across the bay’. Initially their horse ran from Meade’s yard, but at Fairyhouse’s Irish Grand National meeting in April, 2011, the idea of moving him to Britain was discussed. With some syndicate members preferring to pull out, it was decided to achieve the market value for Across The Bay at Doncaster Bloodstock Sales the following month. He was sold for £10,000 to Kevin Coyne, who was acting for himself and his brother, plus Graham Worsley and sent into training with Donald McCain. Worsley, whose interest in racing came from visiting the Grand National with his family, is chairman of St Helens-based GPW Recruitment. A chartered engineer, he joined the family engineering business after graduating in Liverpool with a degree in mechanical engineering. In his late 20s, Graham went on to become a director of Babcock International where he was involved in the design and development of fluidised bed hot gas generators. He spent 20 years as managing director of GPW Recruitment, turning it into one of the North-West’s leading providers of permanent and temporary recruitment services and became chairman in 2009. Kevin Coyne is a lawyer from Crosby and a partner in Coyne Learmonth LLP, which specialises in helping those who have suffered loss or personal injury due to any form of vehicle accident nationwide. He qualified as a solicitor in 1974. His brother Anthony is a dentist at Netherton near Bootle, close to Aintree. His practice is called Saving Faces. Born in Waterloo, Liverpool, Coyne qualified as a dental surgeon in 1985 at Sheffield University. From 1986-1991, he was surgeon lieutenant dentist with the Royal Navy. In 1996 he opened Old Roan Dental Practice, converting it to private practice in 2001 and the named changed to Saving Faces in 2005. The switch to Netherton was made in 2010. Dr Coyne has trained at Harley Street in London, the BICON Dental Institute in Boston, USA, and the University of Cartagena in Columbia.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2013 Across The Bay (14th); 2014 Across The Bay (15th)

 

Donald McCain (Cholmondeley, Cheshire)

Born: June 13, 1970, Background: son of the late Ginger McCain, trainer of the legendary Red Rum, the only horse to win the Grand National three times (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also Amberleigh House, the 2004 victor. Ginger McCain died at the age of 80 on September 19, 2011. Donald learnt to ride on his sister Joanne’s pony Gambol and rode in his first race on the Flat aged 15 (his father told a few white lies so he could ride) at Haydock Park. Subsequently became a jump jockey, firstly as an amateur and then a professional, partnering around 40 winners under Rules. He rode several times over the Grand National fences, finishing fifth aboard Harley in the 1992 Fox Hunters’ Chase and 17th on Sure Metal in the 1996 Grand National. He also spent time working for trainers Luca Cumani, Sir Michael Stoute and Oliver Sherwood. Donald subsequently became assistant trainer to his father and played a significant role in Amberleigh House’s Grand National victory in 2004. He took over the licence from his father in June, 2006, with his first winner coming courtesy of Bearaway in a handicap chase at Newton Abbot on June 8, 2006. The highlight of his training career so far was when Ballabriggs won the Crabbie’s Grand National in 2011. He sent out 100 British winners for the first time in the 2010/11 season and has topped that figure ever since, with 153 British scorers being his best total in 2011/12, and is set to do so again in 2014/15. Achievements: Has sent out six Cheltenham Festival winners and saddled 2011 Crabbie’s Grand National winner Ballabriggs. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2007 Idle Talk (UR 19th); 2008 Cloudy Lane (6th), Idle Talk (14th); 2009 Idle Talk (12th), Cloudy Lane (UR 15th); 2010 Cloudy Lane (8th), 2011 BALLABRIGGS (WON); 2012 Ballabriggs (6th), Weird Al (FELL 26th); 2013 Across The Bay (14th), Weird  Al  (PU  24th), Ballabriggs  (PU 25th); 2014  Kruzhlinin  (10th), Across The Bay    (14th)

 

Henry Brooke

Born Tadcaster, October 31, 1990 Background: Brooke was raised at Easingwold, Yorkshire, by his parents Glen and Julia Brooke, who now live in Middleham where Glen is a blacksmith, and Julia, who rode in point-to-points under her maiden name of Platts, runs a pre- training yard which also houses a veterinary clinic. They have another son, Danny, who takes part in pony races and rides out for trainer Philip Kirby. Henry’s first ride in a race - in a point-to-point - came on Pikachu Blue, a horse that was gifted to him as a birthday present by trainer Sue Bramall. He finished third on that debut, but it took him another two seasons before he broke his duck in points. He flirted with Flat racing and had 14 rides on the level in 2010 and 2011. He became a conditional jockey and now rides as a freelance, having spent four years with Cholmondeley-based Donald McCain. Brooke won the conditional jockeys’ championship with 41 winners in 2011/12.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2013 Across The Bay (14th); 2014 Across The Bay (14th)

Al Co (FR) 10-10-08

Breeding: ch g Dom Alco (FR) — Carama (FR) (Tip Moss  (FR))

Breeder: Jacky Rauch & Collette Rauch

Born: March 5, 2005 Owner: Frank Lloyd Trainer: Peter Bowen Jockey: Denis O’Regan

Form: 413/6355541/49P10/0404/1128/3510201-0P33

 

*Won the 2014 Scottish National, beating Crabbie’s Grand National rival Godsmejudge by a length and a half.

*Was pulled up behind Oscar Time in the Becher Chase in December, 2014 but hinted at a return to form at Doncaster last time out when finishing third behind subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Call The Cops.

*Started his career under the stewardship of Emmanuel Clayeux before moving to Jonjo O’Neill in 2008 and joined Peter Bowen in 2011.

*By Dom Alco, who sired Neptune Collonges to win the 2012 Crabbie’s Grand National.

Race record: Starts - 34; Wins: 7; 2nd: 2; 3rd :5; Win & Place Prize Money: £194,067

 

Frank Lloyd

Frank Lloyd is the owner and chairman of Lloyds Warehousing, which is one of Wrexham’s largest and most successful warehousing and transport companies. Established over 35 years ago, the company is a family-owned business and provides high-quality industrial warehousing, transport and logistics solutions. When Lloyd retired and handed over the day-to-day running of the business to his sons, Stephen and Nigel, he indulged in his passion for horseracing, which he had initially been introduced to by his brother over 40 years ago. The pair bought a horse who was injured and nursed it back to health. The horse then went on to win 10 races. Since then, Lloyd has owned, trained and bred several horses over the years from his Bangor base and Al Co (trained by Peter Bowen) gave him the biggest victory of his career to date when winning the Scottish National at Ayr last year. The horse had initially been with Jonjo O’Neill, who bought Al Co for Lloyd, but moved to Bowen in November, 2011. The Lloyds had been introduced to the Bowens years before and a horse that Lloyd owned and bred provided Bowen’s wife, Karen, with her first winner under Rules. Lloyd was a permit holder for many years and trained 12 horses to victory. He has also bred several winners, all from his farm in Bangor where he still has three mares. As well as Bowen and O’Neill, Lloyd has had horses trained by Ray Peacock, Jonjo O’Neill, Bill Clay and Andy Turnell. Al Co will be his first runner in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Peter Bowen (Letterston, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire)

Born: June 9, 1958 Background: Peter Bowen is married to Karen and has three sons, Michael (who began riding in point-to-points in April, 2012 on Iron Man), Sean (17, now a top conditional jockey who rides Mon Parrain in this year’s Grand National) and James. The son of a haulier and a village postmistress, Bowen trains at Letterston near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and took out his first trainer’s licence in 1995, having previously been a livery yard proprietor and hugely successful point-to-point handler. His wife was a successful rider in point-to-points and under Rules. Bowen’s first winner under Rules came on October 9, 1995 at Sedgefield with Iffeee, who went on to win the 1996 Durham National. Bowen won the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton the following November with Dreams End and the same horse took the Kingwell Hurdle at the Somerset course in February, 1997. A big-race hat-trick was completed by Dreams End in the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock later in the same year. The 1996/1997 campaign saw Bowen set a modern-day record with Stately Home, winner of 10 races that season including the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park. He captured the Badger Ales Handicap Chase at Wincanton in both 2002 and 2003 with Swansea Bay and the same horse won the Edward Hanmer Memorial Chase at Haydock, also in 2003. His stable stars have included Take The Stand and Ballycassidy. The former was second to Kicking King in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005 and finished fifth in the 2006 renewal, the highest placing by a British-trained horse. Ballycassidy, a winner of 15 races, ran in the Crabbie’s Grand National three times and showed up well on the second and third occasions before being found out. Bowen had his highest-ever number of winners in the 2006/2007 season, with 72 successes, including Dunbrody Millar in the Crabbie’s Topham Chase, a race Bowen also captured in 2001 with Gower Slave and memorably with Always Waining in 2010, 2011, 2012. Bowen has also enjoyed Grade One success with Snoopy Loopy in the 2008 Betfair Chase and with Souffleur in the 2007 Challow Hurdle. He went close to Crabbie’s Grand National success in 2007 when McKelvey was the three quarters of a length runner-up to Silver Birch.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2005 Ballycassidy (UR 2nd), Take The Stand (UR 15th); 2006 Ballycassidy (FELL 25th); 2007 McKelvey (2nd), Ballycassidy (UR24th); 2008 Iron Man (UR 3rd); McKelvey (UR 20th); 2013 Always Waining (10th); Mumbles Head (REF 30th)

 

Denis O’Regan

Born: March 24, 1982, to Denis and Derleine O'Regan, in Youghal, Co Cork Background: O’Regan has no immediate family involvement in racing – his father runs Lombards Bar in Youghal. He rode out for his cousin John Crowley as a schoolboy before spending a summer with Francis Flood aged 16. He rode 13 winners as an amateur before turning professional in September, 2003. His first big victory came on Ansar in the 2005 Galway Plate for trainer Dermot Weld and a few months later he rode his first Cheltenham winner when the Michael Hourigan-trained Church Island won a novices' chase at The Open meeting in November. In October, 2006, at Wexford, he rode his first treble and joined the powerful Co Durham stable of Howard Johnson in the summer of 2007. He enjoyed a great start for his new connections at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival, with Tidal Bay in the Arkle Trophy and Inglis Drever in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, which was a third triumph in the race for the great horse. O'Regan led the Grand National field with three to jump in the 2008 renewal but his mount, Bewleys Berry, ran out of steam and ultimately finished fifth. In November, 2008, O'Regan sampled victory over the Grand National course as he partnered Black Apalachi in the Betfred Becher Chase and his major successes at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival include Killyglen in the 2009 Mildmay Novices' Chase and Tidal Bay in the 2008 Maghull Novices' Chase. O'Regan partnered Black Apalachi in both the 2009 and 2010 renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National. Unseated at the 22nd when leading the field in 2009, O'Regan enjoyed another thrilling Crabbie’s Grand National ride when Black Apalachi led for much of the second circuit until headed at the last to finish second to Don’t Push It in 2010. O'Regan and Johnson parted ways on April 17, 2010, when the rider's three- year retainer with the trainer's main patron Graham Wylie came to an end. He teamed up with Newmarket-based John Ferguson for the 2013/14 season and the pair enjoyed Grade One success at Chepstow in 2013 with Ruacana in the Finale Hurdle. O’Regan now rides as a freelance and is due to get married to Louise Grey this summer. Crabbie’s Grand National Record:  2007  Ballycassidy  (UR  24th);  2008  Bewleys  Berry  (5th);  2009  Black  Apalachi  (UR 22nd); 2010 Black Apalachi (2nd); 2011 King Fontaine (11th); 2012 Black Apalachi (FELL 8th); 2013 Big Fella Thanks (UR 8th); 2014 Our Father (UR  8th)

Alvarado (IRE) 10-10-03

Breeding: ch g Goldmark (USA) - Mrs Jones (IRE) (Roselier  (FR))

Breeder: P Joyce

Born: March 23, 2005

Owner: William & Angela Rucker

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien

Jockey:  Paul Moloney

Form: 21/0112P/111/R2/U156R3-51P4-5

 

*Stayed on to take fourth, beaten 16 and a half lengths, in last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Purchased privately by William and Angela Rucker after recording a three-timer over fences for former northern handler Howard Johnson in March, 2011.

*Remarkably, the Ruckers have had a horse placed in the last six renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National, all ridden by Paul Moloney; State Of Play was fourth twice (2009 & 2011) and third in 2010, while Cappa Bleu came fourth in 2012 and second in 2013.

*Alvarado’s only outing since last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National saw him finish fifth in a three-mile veterans’ handicap chase at Doncaster on February 18. He had a racecourse workout at Newbury on March 27.

Race record: Starts: 23; Wins: 8; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £113,632

 

William & Angela Rucker

Background: William Rucker, born on June 18, 1963, is chief executive of Lazard’s London operations and has been since June, 2004. He is also deputy chief executive of the European investment banking business at Lazard (since 2006). The bank dates back to 1848 and is one of the world's pre-eminent financial advisory and asset management firms, operating from 40 cities across 24 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Central and South America. William, who studied economics and politics at Bristol University & did the Advance Management Program at Harvard Business School, joined Lazard in 1987, having previously qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen. He is also non-executive chairman of Quintain Estates and Development plc and Crest Nicholson Holdings Ltd, and was a non-executive director of Rentokil Initial from 2008 to March, 2013. His wife Angela is from a legendary point-to-point family, as the grand-daughter of Major Harold Rushton, who rode 86 winners, and the daughter of Pat Tollitt, who partnered 171 winners between the flags and was champion lady rider on six occasions. Racing interests: Amazingly, six of their seven runners in the Crabbie’s Grand National have been placed. Angela herself is also a talented rider and trains pointers and the couple’s daughter Emily also rides in point-to-points. The Ruckers are based at Himbleton in Worcestershire and also have horses with Evan Williams and a variety of point-to-point trainers, including Sheila Crow, who trained their Cappa Bleu to win the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival. Horses that progress to run under Rules are principally sent to Evan Williams, who has been well supported by Angela’s family since he began training in 2003. Major wins: Hennessy Gold Cup (2006 State Of Play), Charlie Hall Chase (2008 State Of Play), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (2008 High Chimes), Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase (2009 Cappa Bleu). Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2009 State Of Play (4th); 2010 State Of Play (3rd); 2011 State  Of  Play  (4th); 2012  Cappa  Bleu  (4th);  State  Of Play  (UR  5th); 2013 Cappa  Bleu  (4th);  2014  Alvarado  (4th)

 

Fergal O’Brien (Coln Saint Dennis, Gloucestershire)

Born Limerick, Ireland, August 19, 1972 Background: His father was a bus driver and he started riding at the age of nine, as his two older brothers, David and Brian, were keen on horses. Followed his brothers by working at Andrew McNamara’s yard at weekends and during school holidays, before spending two months at the age of 14 in England with Doug Francis, where Brian worked. After finishing his schooling in Ireland, he went to Newmarket’s British Racing School for a nine-week course in 1989 and shortly afterwards was sent to Tim Forster’s Oxfordshire yard, where he worked for three years. Joined private trainer Colin Cowley to pursue a career as a jockey, but, after two rides, realised it was not for him and switched to the Nigel Twiston-Davies team in Gloucestershire in July, 1992. Spent 18 years at Grange Hill Farm, including 16 as head lad. Successfully started training point-to-pointers in 2005, while working for Nigel and was champion point-to- point trainer in the West Midlands area for four seasons. Took out his own licence in September, 2011, and sent out his best total of 47 winners last season. He is based at jockey Timmy Murphy’s Cilldara Stud near Fossebridge in Gloucestershire. Married to Jelly, with two daughters Fern  and  Daisy.  Crabbie’s  Grand National Record:  2014  Alvarado   (4th)

 

Paul Moloney

Born: October 17, 1978, hailing from New Inn, close to Ballydoyle in Co Tipperary, Ireland Background: Paul Moloney used to share a house in Newmarket with former champion Flat jockey Jamie Spencer and was heavily involved in both hunting and show jumping. He rode his first point-to-point winner at Quin in 1996 for trainer Danny O'Connell. He spent school holidays with Jim Bolger, working alongside Tony McCoy and leading Flat rider Ted Durcan, and later joined Michael Hourigan, for whom he rode his first three winners. His initial success under Rules came on Vain Princess at Clonmel in June, 1995. Moloney was one of Ireland's leading amateurs and shared the 1998/99 title with Philip Fenton. Moloney also spent time with Christy Roche while in Ireland. He came to Britain for tuition from Yogi Breisner before turning professional and relocated to Newmarket during the 2002/2003 season when he rode mainly for Ian Williams. He enjoyed big-race success at Aintree in 2006 when he rode State Of Play to victory in a handicap chase on the Mildmay Course and teamed up with the same horse to secure the biggest win of his career so far in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury in November, 2006. Remarkably, Moloney has placed in the last six renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National, all on horses owned by owners William & Angela Rucker. He rides mainly for Evan Williams and his biggest wins include Deep Purple's victory in the 2009 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2002 Iris Bleu (FELL 5th);  2004  Royal  Atalza  (PU  29th);  2007  Graphic  Approach  (FELL 22nd); 2008 Vodka Bleu (PU 19th); 2009  State Of  Play  (4th);  2010  State Of  Play  (3rd); 2011  State  Of  Play  (4th); 2012  Cappa Bleu  (4th),  2013  Cappa  Bleu  (2nd);  2014  Alvarado  (4th)

Ballycasey (IRE) 8-10-13

Breeding: gr g Presenting - Pink Mist (IRE) (Montelimar  (USA))

Breeder:   R  Tanner  Born: April 19, 2007 Owner: Susannah Ricci Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Jockey: Ruby Walsh Form: 1/113/114F-2173P

 

*His career highlight came when beating Don Cossack by four lengths in the Grade One Dr P J Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown in February, 2014.

*Sole victory since came in two and a half mile chase at Gowran Park in November.

*His dam is out of a half-sister to 1995 Grand National winner Royal Athlete.

*Has yet to win beyond two miles and six furlongs, but has been placed over three miles on several occasions.

*Last seen out when pulled up in the Grade One Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 12.

*The most recent of three greys to win was Neptune Collonges in 2012. Before that were Nicolaus Silver (1961) and The Lamb (1868 & 1871).

Race record: Starts: 13; Wins: 6; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 2. Win & Place Prize Money: £125,954

 

Susannah Ricci

The Ricci family horses run in the name of Susannah, wife of American banker Rich Ricci. They live in Kent but have their racehorses trained in Ireland. Rich Ricci, 51, gained a bachelors’ degree in finance from Creighton University in Nebraska and progressed to senior positions at the Bank of Boston and the Bank of New England. Moved to Barclays in 1994 before being appointed chief operating officer of the bank’s global investors in 2002. In 2012, he became co-chief executive of Barclays corporate and investment banking. He resigned from Barclays in April, 2013. His first racing inspiration came when he stood by the rail at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts, USA. He started to own jump horses after watching Clare Balding on BBC television. Through a friend, Pat O’Riordan, he met Willie Mullins, Ireland’s champion jump trainer, and began ownership with Scotsirish in 2005, initially racing as Double R Stables. The first of around 200 winners trained by Mullins in the Ricci name was Pomme Tiepy at Cork in December, 2007, the launch of what is now one of jump racing’s most powerful strings, currently headed by Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen, exciting novice chaser Vautour and top novice hurdler Douvan, all winners at the most recent Cheltenham Festival, while Champagne Fever runs at Aintree this week. He has more than 30 horses in training with Mullins.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2011 The Midnight Club (6th); 2012 The Midnight Club (11th); 2014 Vesper Bell (13th).

 

Willie Mullins IRE (Bagenalstown, County Carlow)

Born September 15, 1956 Background: A six-time champion amateur rider in Ireland, his successes in the saddle included the 1983 Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath (among the also-rans were Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, and former Aintree Racecourse chairman Lord Daresbury). As a jockey in the Crabbie’s Grand National, his rides included The Ladys Master, who ran out in 1983, and Hazy Dawn, who fell at the sixth the following year. He hails from one of Ireland's most famous racing families, being a son of the late Paddy Mullins, the outstanding all-round trainer whose most famous star was Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Training Achievements: Mullins, who took out a training licence in 1988, has been Ireland’s champion trainer nine times, and will win a 10th title this season (and eighth in a row). He has won most of the major prizes in Britain and Ireland, and several in France as well. He has 41 Cheltenham Festival successes to his credit, including Champion Hurdles with Faugheen (one of a record eight at The Festival this year) and Hurricane Fly, and an extraordinary eight in the Champion Bumper, starting with Wither Or Which (which he also rode) in 1996. Mullins’ best chaser to date has been Florida Pearl, who was placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the 1998 RSA Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cups in Ireland as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 Betfred Bowl at Aintree. The brilliant Hurricane Fly won the Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013 and Mullins’ Cheltenham Festival winners include the amazing Quevega who created history by becoming the only horse to win the same race in six consecutive years (the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle). Mullins has over 150 horses at his Closutton yard near Bagenalstown in Co Carlow, including leading 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup fancies Don Poli, Vautour and Djakadam. His first Grand National runner as a trainer, Micko's Dream, fell at the first in 2000. The loquacious Mullins, a former chairman of the Irish Trainers' Federation, also suffered disappointment in 2004 when Hedgehunter departed at the final fence in the Crabbie’s Grand National when looking assured of a place. He overcame bad luck the following year when Hedgehunter came home 14 lengths clear of Royal Auclair and finished second the following year. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2000 Micko’s Dream (FELL 1st); 2002 Alexander Banquet (UR 6th); 2004  Alexander  Banquet  (FELL  18th),  Hedgehunter  (FELL  30th);  2005  HEDGEHUNTER (WON); 2006 Hedgehunter (2nd); 2007 Hedgehunter  (9th),  Homer  Wells  (PU  22nd),  Bothar  Na  (PU  29th),  Livingstonebramble  (UR  6th);  2008  Snowy Morning (3rd), Hedgehunter (13th); 2009 Snowy  Morning  (9th),  Irish  Invader  (11th);  2010  Snowy  Morning  (6th),  Arbor  Supreme  (UR 15th); 2011 The Midnight Club (6th), Dooney’s Gate (Fell 6th), Arbor Supreme (FELL 28th); 2012 The Midnight Club (11th), Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th), On His Own (FELL 22nd); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine  (16th),  Quel  Esprit (PU  24th),  On His Own  (FELL  25th); 2014  Vesper  Bell  (13th),  Prince   De   Beauchene (16th).

 

Ruby Walsh

Born: May 14, 1979. Background: Ruby (Rupert) Walsh is a son of 11-time Irish amateur champion jockey, Ted Walsh, now a trainer and television pundit. He is the second of Walsh's four children; one sister, Katie, is a highly successful amateur rider and another, Jennifer, acts as his agent. Ruby had his first success under Rules aboard Siren Song at Gowran Park on July 25, 1995, and followed in his father's footsteps when capturing the Irish amateurs’ championship at the age of 19 while still studying for his Leaving Certificate. He was champion Irish National Hunt jockey in his first season as a professional (1998/99), has taken the title a further eight times (2000/2001, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2012/13) and is battling with Mark Walsh (no relation) for this season’s title. Walsh has won the Grand National twice on Papillon (2000, trained by his father) and Hedgehunter (2005). He is the most successful jockey of all time at the Cheltenham Festival (with 45 winners), where he was leading rider for the ninth time this year. His Cheltenham Festival victories include the 2007 and 2009 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Kauto Star, three Queen Mother Champion Chases (2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 and 2009 Master Minded), three Champion Hurdles (2011 and 2013 Hurricane Fly, 2015 Faugheen) and four Ladbrokes World Hurdles (2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 Big Buck’s). He is acknowledged as one of the best riders and horsemen of his generation and rides primarily for Ireland’s top stable, that of Willie Mullins. There are few omissions in his list of big-race successes; he won five King George VI Chases on Kauto Star and is one of only two current riders (Tony McCoy is the other) to have won all four national Grand Nationals – as well as Papillon and Hedgehunter, he took the Irish version on Numbersixvalverde (2005), the Welsh version on Silver Birch (2005) and the Scottish version on Take Control (2002). His autobiography was published in October, 2010. He is married to Gillian and the couple have two daughters, Isabelle and  Elsa.  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  Record:  2000 PAPILLON (WON);  2001 Papillon  (4th); 2002  Kingsmark (4th); 2003 Shotgun Willy (PU 22nd); 2005 HEDGEHUNTER (WON);  2006  Hedgehunter  (2nd);  2007  Hedgehunter  (9th);  2008  Hedgehunter (13th); 2009 My Will (3rd); 2011 The Midnight Club (6th); 2013 On His Own (FELL 25th)

Balthazar King (IRE) 11-11-02

Breeding: b g King’s Theatre (IRE) - Afdala (IRE) (Hernando  (FR))

Breeder: Sunnyhill Stud Born: February 12, 2004 Owner: The Brushmakers Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Richard  Johnson

Form:  6/01436422/F211242F06/1142511P/15P001/120P-11112/F11

 

*Set to make third appearance in the Crabbie’s Grand National after finishing 15th in 2013 and second last year.

*Bidding to become the first horse since L’Escargot (1975) to win the Crabbie’s Grand National, having finished second the previous year.

*Has an excellent in record in cross-country chases and made it seven wins from 10 starts in such events with a gutsy victory at Cheltenham in November. Eight of his 16 victories have come at Cheltenham, including two at The Festival in cross-country chases (2014 & 2012). He has not raced since and been kept fresh for Aintree.

*He gained back-to-back victories in the valuable Listed Grand Cross Country de Craon at Craon, France, in September, 2014.

Race Record: Starts; 45; 1st: 16; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 1; Win & Place prize money: £489,912

 

The Brushmakers

The Brushmakers is a Hampshire-based group involving farmer David Rees, born in 1972 and retired farmer Chris Butler. They take their name from the Brushmakers pub at Upham near Winchester. Rees describes himself as an “arable farmer who also milks cows and keeps pigs and poultry - one of the few truly mixed farms in Hampshire”. His interest in racing was derived through being a neighbour of the late trainer Bill Wightman, whose land Rees farmed. Wightman gave Rees a point-to-pointer and he has been involved in that sport ever since

- one of his first buys was prolific winner Ball In The Net. He also raced Upham Lord, who was subsequently sold to Lincolnshire-based Mike and Jill Dawson and became Britain’s champion between the flags based on wins in 2002 and 2003. Rees says: “I have subsequently been involved in five or six horses trained by Philip Hobbs, including Tamango, who fell at The Chair in the Topham Chase [in 2006]. We bought Balthazar King privately from Diana Whateley [also an owner with Hobbs].” The Brushmakers also own another successful chaser trained by Philip Hobbs – Roalco De Farges.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd)

 

Philip Hobbs (Bilbrook, Somerset)

Born July 26, 1955 Background: Philip was brought up surrounded by horses. His father Tony Hobbs farmed, and had a permit to train for many years, breeding several good horses to run in the family colours. After school at King’s College, Taunton, Philip went on to Reading University and achieved a BSc honours degree. He rode at Hickstead, show jumping as a junior, and gained several point-to-point winners and winners under National Hunt rules as an amateur before turning professional at the age of 21. Partnered 160 winners in a 10-year riding career including the Black and White Gold Cup at Ascot, the Killiney Novice Chase and the Midlands Grand National on such good horses as West Tip and Artifice. Hobbs made four appearances in the Grand National as a professional jockey in the 1980s and, although one of the best horses he rode was West Tip, he didn't get the leg up on him in the National, with those four rides resulting in two falls, one ninth place and an 11th. He started training in August, 1985, with only six horses and was successful with his very first runner, North Yard at Exeter. He is now one of Britain’s top jump trainers and has gone close to winning the Crabbie’s Grand National with What’s Up Boys, second in 2002, Balthazar King in 20914 and Samlee, third in 1998. Philip’s wife Sarah, whom he married in 1982, is the daughter of Bertie Hill, who won a gold medal in three-day eventing at the 1956 Olympics at Stockholm. They have three daughters, Caroline, Katherine and Diana. Achievements: has trained over 2,000 winners, including 18 at the Cheltenham Festival. Major Wins include: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Stan James Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Racing Post Arkle Chase (2011 Captain Chris). Crabbie’s Grand National record: 1990 Gallic Prince (13th); Joint Sovereignty (FELL 19th); 1995 Gold Cap (13th); 1998 Samlee (3rd); Greenhill Tare Away (UR 27th); 1999 Samlee (10th); Bells Life (PU 26th); Mudahim (UR 6th); 2000 Village King (FELL 20th); Stormy Passage (FELL 22nd); 2001 Village King (FELL 8th); 2002 What's Up Boys (2nd); 2004 What's Up Boys (BD 6th); 2005 Double Honour (UR 21st); 2007 Zabenz (PU 7th), Monkerhostin (REF 7th); 2009 Zabenz (FELL 16th), Parsons Legacy (FELL 22nd); 2010 Dream Alliance (PU 24th); 2011 Quinz (PU 16th); 2012 Planet Of Sound (12th); 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd), Chance Du Roy (6th)

 

Richard Johnson

Born: July 21, 1977 Background: Attended Belmont Abbey School, the alma mater of Peter Scudamore, before leaving at 16 to take a job with then champion trainer David Nicholson. He was born and raised at Madley, Herefordshire, where his parents have a farm. Johnson comes from racing stock as his mother Sue holds a licence to train, while his father Keith, who won the 1982 Midlands Grand National on Bridge Ash, and his grandfather Ivor were both good amateur riders. Johnson is unlucky to be riding in the same era as Tony McCoy as he has finished runner-up to his rival in the jockeys' championship on 15 occasions. His first winner came at Hereford aboard Rusty Bridge on April 30,1994, and he has gone on to capture some of racing's biggest prizes, notably the 2000 Gold Cup at Cheltenham aboard Looks Like Trouble and the 2002 Queen Mother Champion Chase on Flagship Uberalles, as well as Rooster Booster's famous triumph in the Champion Hurdle. Other top-flight winners he has partnered include Florida Pearl, Anzum, Mighty Man, Detroit City, Planet Of Sound, Menorah, Landing Light, Menorah, Captain Chris and Reve De Sivola. He has a total of 20 winners at the Cheltenham Festival. He has a good record at Aintree and won the Crabbie’s Topham Trophy over the Grand National course in 2001 on Gower Slave. He has twice finish second in the Crabbie's Grand National - What’s Up Boys (2002) and Balthazar King (2014). In 2007 he married Fiona Chance, daughter of the dual Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Noel Chance and they have three children – Willow, Casper and Percy. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1997 Celtic Abbey (UR 15th), 1998 Banjo (FELL 1st), 1999 Baronet (FELL 4th), 2000 Star Traveller (PU 27th); 2001 Edmond (FELL 15th); 2002 What's Up Boys (2nd); 2003 Behrajan (10th); 2004 What's Up Boys (BD 6th); 2005 Jakari (PU 20th);  2006 Therealbandit (PU 27th); 2007 Monkerhostin (REF 7th);  2008  Turko  (FELL  25th);  2009  Parson’s  Legacy  (FELL  22nd);  2010 Tricky Trickster (9th); 2011 Quinz (PU 16th); 2012 Planet Of Sound (12th); 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd)

Bob Ford (IRE) 8-10-04

Breeding: b g Vinnie Roe (IRE) — Polar Lamb (IRE) (Brush Aside  (USA))

Breeder: Lorcan Allen

Born: May 24, 2007

Owner: The Bob Ford Partnership

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis

Jockey:  Paul Townend

Form: 3113/2527PP1P-120P1P

 

*Winner of the West Wales National at Ffos Las on January 31, 2015.

*Finished 10th in the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase on first run over the Grand National Course on December 6, 2014

*Bought for £20,000 from Brightwells Cheltenham sale on December 14 2012 by Gearoid Costelloe, partner of trainer Rebecca Curtis, after winning an Irish point-to-point by 12 lengths the previous week

Race record: Starts: 18; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £44,451

 

The JJ Partnership

The JJ Partnership was formed only last week, and the name makes reference to Jesse James, who was shot in the back by one of his gang

- Bob Ford - in April, 1882. The new partnership came about through the sale of a 50% share to a couple of the owners of Teaforthree, who finished third in the Crabbie’s Grand National in 2013. Three of the original owners of Bob Ford retained an interest. Roger Whiteman is a retired dairy farmer from Much Wenlock in Shropshire. John Rees is a retired milk tanker driver from near Carmarthen, providing a Welsh link with the trainer. This is continued with Sally Barlow, who is a neighbour of Rebecca Curtis’s on the Pembrokeshire coast. The Teaforthree connection comes from incoming owners Nigel Roddis, who works at Great British Racing, and James Conyers, General Counsel at Sky. Following his third in 2013, Teaforthree unseated his rider, Nick Scholfield, at the Chair last year when favourite for the race. He was ruled out of the 2015 renewal through a recurrence of the injury he incurred in the race last year. Roddis and Conyers have persuaded a couple of friends to join them in Bob Ford - Richard Norris, who works for the Jockey Club, and Geoff Riding, who works for Channel 4. Richard has a share in another horse with Roddis and Conyers, Wild Rover, whilst Bob Ford is Geoff’s first venture into racehorse ownership. Crabbie’s Grand  National  record:  (two  of  the  owners  -  2013  Teaforthree  (3rd),  2014  Teaforthree  (UR   15th)

 

Rebecca Curtis (Newport, Pembrokeshire)

Curtis, who was born on April 1, 1980, grew up on Fforest Farm five miles from Fishguard on the Pembrokeshire coast, a place that has now become her training centre. She has been around horses all her life and started riding aged four, progressing to showjump for the Welsh junior team. She rode in point-to-points and her first job in racing was with nearby trainer Peter Bowen. She spent five years in America with trainers Richard Mandela and Dan Hendricks before coming home to take out a licence in 2008. Her first winner was Mango Catcher at Chepstow on April 5 that year and her reputation has steadily grown in the intervening years. She enjoyed a first Cheltenham Festival winner in 2012 when Teaforthree won the National Hunt Chase and a second when At Fishers Cross took the 2013 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle to give her a first Grade One victory, swiftly followed by a second at Aintree in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle. She has enjoyed four winners at the Cheltenham Festival in all and had a tremendous first experience of the Crabbie’s Grand National, with Teaforthree finishing third in 2013. Curtis is assisted by her partner, bloodstock agent Gearoid Costelloe, and she uses her family’s private beach to exercise  her  horses.  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  Record:  2013  Teaforthree  (3rd),  2014  Teaforthree  (UR  15th)

 

Paul Townend

Born: September 15, 1990 Background: Grew up surrounded by horses in Co Cork and spent his youth riding on the pony racing circuit. He was also involved in show jumping, but had his heart set on a career as a jockey and joined the powerful Willie Mullins stable as a Flat apprentice after leaving school. He made his debut in a maiden at Ballinrobe on May 2, 2007, coming third on Temlett, and enjoyed his first success the following month, partnering the Seamus O’Donnell-trained The Chip Chopman to victory in an apprentice handicap at Limerick on June 22. He finished 2007 with a winner on the final card of the year at Dundalk, giving him 10 victories for the year, and continued to ride successfully on the level for the first half of 2008, before growing concerns over weight problems prompted a switch to jump racing. He enjoyed almost instant success courtesy of the John Kiely-trained Indian Pace, as the pair landed the Galway Hurdle at the end of July, but Townend endured a barren three-month period immediately afterwards. His fortunes changed after Willie Mullins’ number one jockey, Ruby Walsh, sustained a serious injury at Cheltenham in November, 2008, giving Townend a host of plum rides, including successes on Hurricane Fly in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse and Mikael D'Haguenet in the Barry & Sandra Kelly Memorial Novice Hurdle at Navan in mid-December. He was reunited with Hurricane Fly for further Grade One glory in the paddypower.com Future Champion Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. In 2010/11 he went from strength to strength and was crowned champion jockey in Ireland with 80 wins. Townend has also enjoyed Grade One success on Boston Bob, Arvika Ligeonniere and Champagne Fever. He rode two winners at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, Irish Cavalier and Wicklow Brave. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2009 Irish Invader (11th), 2010 Arbor Supreme (UR 15th); 2012 On His Own (FELL 22nd); 2013 Quel Esprit (PU 24th); 2014 Prince De Beauchene (16th)

Cause Of Causes (USA) 7-10-09

Breeding: b g Dynaformer (USA) - Angel In My Heart (FR) (Rainbow Quest (USA))

Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Limited

Born: February 17, 2008 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: Gordon Elliott IRE Jockey:  Paul Carberry

Form: F22/17126131107/6403372220-751

 

*Stayed on well to win the four-mile National Hunt Chase by a length and a half at the Cheltenham Festival on March 10, only his third run of the season after an unplaced effort in a Grade One novices’ chase at Fairyhouse in November and a warm-up over hurdles (last of five) at Gowran Park in January.

*Went close in two competitive handicaps last season, finishing second in both the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

*Purchased by J P McManus after coming seventh to Champagne Fever in the 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

*Won the valuable Ladbroke Hurdle over two miles at Ascot in December, 2013.

*Flat-bred, and very well bred to boot.Won the first of his two Flat races in France & a half-brother to 2003 Derby winner Kris Kin.

Jump Race record: Starts: 27; Wins: 6; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 3. Win & Place Prize Money: £268,042

 

J P McManus

Born: March 10, 1951 in Co Limerick, Ireland. Background: John Patrick 'J P' McManus attended the Christian Brothers school on Sexton Street, Limerick. He left his father's plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well-trodden route of gamekeeper-turned- poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each-way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. He was dubbed "the Sundance Kid" by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after landing a number of major gambles during the 1970s. McManus has a host of business interests including dealing on the financial markets from his Geneva, Switzerland, base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer in 2005. He was in the news shortly after that because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2014, the Sunday Times estimated McManus' wealth at £550 million, making him the 12th richest person in Ireland. Racing interests: McManus purchased his first racehorse, Cill Dara, at the age of 26 and is the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain and Ireland. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O'Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities since purchasing the property in 2001. Mister Donovan provided him with his first Cheltenham Festival success in the 1982 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and McManus has enjoyed 44 winners in total at the meeting. The mighty Istabraq is the most revered horse he has owned following three consecutive victories in the Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), while he has also won a Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with Synchronised (2012) and three Ladbrokes World Hurdles with Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and More Of That (2014). A full 28 years after his first runner in the race, McManus finally achieved a long-held ambition when Don't Push It, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A P McCoy, won the 2010 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree. He has been British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons & has retained A P McCoy as his main jockey since April, 2004. Other interests: McManus does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, which takes place every five years, has raised over 100 million euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. Crabbie's Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (FELL 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU 27th), 1992 Laura’s Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura’s Beau (FELL 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (FELL 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (FELL 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th); 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), L’Ami (FELL 2nd), Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler's Cabin (FELL 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 18th), L'Ami (PU 30th); 2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WON), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 8th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th), King Johns Castle (refused to race); 2011 Don’t Push It (3rd), Blue Sea Cracker (14th), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can't Buy Time (FELL 18th), Arbor Supreme (FELL 28th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (FELL 6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 10th), Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th), Colbert Station (UR 15th), Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR 30th); 2014 Double Seven (3rd), Colbert Station (PU 25th)

 

Gordon Elliott IRE (Trim, County Meath)

Born: March 2, 1978, in Summerhill, Co Meath Background: Gordon Elliott was a successful point-to-point rider, who also partnered winners under Rules. He started his racing career while still at school, working at Tony Martin's stable in County Meath. From there, he moved to Britain, joining Martin Pipe in 2002, and during his spell in Somerset his six rides as an amateur included one winner. Elliott then returned to Ireland for another term at Martin's stables. Training Career: In 2004, Barry Callaghan bought Capranny Stables at Trim in County Meath. When Elliott started his training career, early in 2006, those stables became his base although he moved to a new yard at nearby Longwood in October, 2012. Elliott’s first runner under Rules came at the 2006 Cheltenham Festival, when Brandon Mountain was pulled up in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. He continued to send runners over to the UK and enjoyed almost instant success, most notably with Arresting, who notched up four victories between May and July, 2006. Elliott’s Grand National victory with Silver Birch in 2007 was remarkable not only because he was only 29 at the time, but also because he had yet to saddle a winner in his native country. The winners in Ireland soon followed and Elliott recorded an initial Grade One victory with Jessies Dream in the Drinmore Novice Chase in December, 2010, and celebrated his first Cheltenham Festival successes in 2011 with Chicago Grey in the National Hunt Chase and Carlito Brigante in the Coral Cup. His Cheltenham Festival haul now stands at five with Flaxen Flare taking the 2013 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, Tiger Roll landing the 2014 JCB Triumph Hurdle and Cause Of Causes this year’s Toby Balding National Hunt Chase. Other good performers for Elliott in recent years have been the multiple winners Don Cossack, Roi Du Mee and Clarcam, who have all scored at the highest level. The trainer has also enjoyed a major Flat victory with Dirar in the 2010 Ebor at York.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2007 SILVER BIRCH (WON); 2009 Silver Birch (FELL 22nd); 2010 Backstage (UR 20th); 2011 Backstage (10th); 2012 Tharawaat (8th), Chicago Grey (BD 5th); 2013 Tarquinius 8th, Chicago Grey (PU 30th).

 

Paul Carberry

Born: February 9, 1974, Background: Paul Carberry has inherited a wealth of riding talent from his father Tommy, who won the 1975 Grand National on L'Escargot. He followed in his father's footsteps when partnering Bobbyjo, trained by Tommy, to a popular victory in the 1999 Grand National. That success came two years after he lifted the Topham Trophy over the big Aintree fences aboard Joe White. His brother Philip is also a successful rider, while his sister Nina is a leading amateur rider. For the last 20 years, Carberry has forged a reputation as one of the most stylish jockeys - a talent nurtured through hunting, show jumping and point-to-pointing in Ireland. He rides principally for Noel Meade and Gordon Elliott in Ireland. Carberry was Irish champion in 2001/02 and 2002/03. Nicknamed ‘Alice' in the weighing room, Carberry was a renowned party person and once suffered a bizarre injury when being head-butted in the stomach by a deer while out hunting. He has been successful aboard numerous high-class horses including Harchibald, Iktitaf, Direct Route, Dorans Pride, Beef Or Salmon, Limestone Lad, Go Native, Looks Like Trouble and Pandorama. He has partnered 14 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including Solwhit in the 2013 Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Very Wood in the 2014 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Carberry made the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2006 when he was sentenced to two months imprisonment for setting fire to a newspaper on an Aer Lingus flight, although this was reduced to community service on appeal. In October, 2009, he failed a breath test for alcohol before riding at Naas and was banned from riding for 30 days. He then resolved not to drink again until his riding career was over and recorded the highs and lows of his life to date in the autobiography “One Hell Of A Ride”, which was published in October, 2011. His Grand National success apart, he has completed the course on five other occasions, most recently when seventh last year on Monbeg Dude and also been second, fourth and sixth

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1994 Rust Never Sleeps (FELL 27th); 1996 Three Brownies (6th); 1997 Buckboard Bounce (4th); 1998 Decyborg (PU 27th); 1999 BOBBYJO (WON); 2000 Bobbyjo (11th); 2002 Ad Hoc (BD 27th); 2003 Ad Hoc (UR 19th); 2004 Joss Naylor (PU 19th); 2005 Colnel Rayburn (PU 27th); 2006 Sir Oj (FELL 22nd); 2007 Dun Doire (PU 27th), 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), 2010 King Johns Castle (Refused to Race); 2011 Backstage (10th); 2012 Chicago Grey (BD 5th); 2013 Chicago Grey (PU 30th); 2014 Monbeg Dude (7th).

Chance Du Roy (FR) 11-10-04

Breeding: ch g Morespeed – La Chance Au Roy (Rex  Magna)

Breeder: Jean, Raymond and Jean-Claude  Campos

Born: April 4, 2004 Owner: Daphne Du Pre Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Tom O’Brien

Form: 714515/93/94411/7313P/125412/0F0498/1P46-55

 

*Fifth on both appearances this season. Beaten five lengths by Oscar Time in Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on December 6 and last seen out when keeping on behind Soll in three-mile veterans’ handicap chase at Exeter on February 8.

*Sixth in 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National, beaten 19 lengths.

*Has run six times over the unique Aintree fences in total.

*Won the Betfred Becher Chase in 2013. Has also finished ninth in the 2013 Crabbie’s Topham Chase, fell in the 2012 Betfred Grand Sefton Chase and beat all bar Always Waining in the 2012 Topham Chase.

*He cost €47,000 as an unbroken three-year-old.

*He is French-bred, as have been three of the past six winners. In 2009 Mon Mome became the fourth French-bred horse to win a National (100 years after the third, Lutteur), swiftly followed by Neptune Collonges in 2012 and Pineau De Re in 2014.

Race record: Starts 36; wins 8; 2nd 2; 3rd 3. Win & place prize money: £200,594

 

Daphne Du Pre

Daphne Du Pre is a retired teacher who lives in South Gloucestershire. She has been involved in racehorse ownership since 1988 and started owning horses in her own right at the turn of this century. Her horses have always been trained by Philip Hobbs and the best to date has been Kalca Mome, who won 13 times in a 49-race career, including when beating two-mile champion chaser Voy Por Ustedes in a handicap chase at Cheltenham. Du Pre is not from a racing background but has had a lifelong interest in the sport.

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners: 2014 Chance Du Roy (6th)

 

Philip Hobbs (Bilbrook, Somerset)

Born July 26, 1955 Background: Philip was brought up surrounded by horses. His father Tony Hobbs farmed, and had a permit to train for many years, breeding several good horses to run in the family colours. After school at King’s College, Taunton, Philip went on to Reading University and achieved a BSc honours degree. He rode at Hickstead, show jumping as a junior, and gained several point-to-point winners and winners under National Hunt rules as an amateur before turning professional at the age of 21. Partnered 160 winners in a 10-year riding career including the Black and White Gold Cup at Ascot, the Killiney Novice Chase and the Midlands Grand National on such good horses as West Tip and Artifice. Hobbs made four appearances in the Grand National as a professional jockey in the 1980s and, although one of the best horses he rode was West Tip, he didn’t get the leg up on him in the National, with those four rides resulting in two falls, one ninth place and an 11th. He started training in August, 1985, with only six horses and was successful with his very first runner, North Yard at Exeter. He is now one of Britain’s top jump trainers and has gone close to winning the Crabbie’s Grand National with What’s Up Boys, second in 2002, Balthazar King in 20914 and Samlee, third in 1998. Philip’s wife Sarah, whom he married in 1982, is the daughter of Bertie Hill, who won a gold medal in three-day eventing at the 1956 Olympics at Stockholm. They have three daughters, Caroline, Katherine and Diana. Achievements: has trained over 2,000 winners, including 18 at the Cheltenham Festival. Major Wins include: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Stan James Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Racing Post Arkle Chase (2011 Captain Chris). Crabbie’s Grand National record: 1990 Gallic Prince (13th); Joint Sovereignty (FELL 19th); 1995 Gold Cap (13th); 1998 Samlee (3rd); Greenhill Tare Away (UR 27th); 1999 Samlee (10th); Bells Life (PU 26th); Mudahim (UR 6th); 2000 Village King (FELL 20th); Stormy Passage (Fell 22nd); 2001 Village King (FELL 8th); 2002 What's Up Boys (2nd); 2004 What's Up Boys (BD 6th); 2005 Double Honour (UR 21st); 2007 Zabenz (PU 7th), Monkerhostin (REF 7th); 2009 Zabenz (FELL 16th), Parsons Legacy (FELL 22nd); 2010 Dream Alliance (PU 24th); 2011 Quinz (PU 16th); 2012 Planet Of Sound (12th); 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd), Chance Du Roy (6th)

 

Tom O’Brien

Born: November 28, 1986 Background: set a record for the conditional riders’ championship in the 2006/07 season with 107 successes. His father Jim is a brother of the brilliant trainer Aidan O’Brien and plays a key role at his Ballydoyle stable in Co Tipperary. From the age of 13, Tom rode out at weekends and in school holidays at Ballydoyle, aboard champions such as High Chaparral, Rock Of Gibraltar and Mozart. He joined Philip Hobbs’s stable as a 17-year-old, initially riding as an amateur and in point-to-points and had his first success aboard The Names Bond at Warwick on December 18, 2004. O’Brien also has an association with trainer Peter Bowen, for whom he finished second aboard McKelvey when having his first Grand National ride in 2007. He landed the Coral Welsh National in 2009 on Dream Alliance and has enjoyed one success at the Cheltenham Festival – Silk Affair in the 2009 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Aidan O’Brien still takes a keen interest in his nephew’s progress - “when he sits down to watch me ride, he often gets on the phone to give me a rollicking,” said Tom. He partnered the Peter Bowen-trained Always Waining to two of his record-breaking three successes over the Grand National fences at Aintree and also won the 2013 Becher Chase on the Hobbs-trained Chance Du Roy.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2007 McKelvey (2nd); 2008 McKelvey (UR 20th); 2009 Zabenz (Fell 16th); 2010 Dream Alliance (PU Bef 24th); 2013 Always Waining (10th); 2014 Chance Du Roy (6th)

Corrin Wood (IRE) 8-10-07

Breeding: gr g Garuda (IRE) — Allstar Rose (IRE) (Fourstars Allstar  (USA))

Breeder:  Margaret Nevin

Born: May 22, 2007

Owner: Dermot Hanafin, Robert Rose & Ian Whitfield

Trainer: Donald McCain Jockey: David Casey Form: 3221332/1110-33P

 

*Started his career between the flags in Irish point-to-points (winning once from two starts) before making his debut under rules at Tipperary for Irish handler Michael Barry in May, 2012.

*Joined Donald McCain shortly afterwards and finished second behind subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree on his British debut at Uttoxeter.

*Got off the mark in a Carlisle novice hurdle by 14 lengths in December, 2012 and has won three chases since.

*Finished third behind Crabbie’s Grand National rival Dolatulo in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby earlier this season.

Most recent start came when pulled up in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Limited Handicap Chase at Haydock Park on January 17.

Race record: Starts: 14; Wins: 4; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £44,940

 

Dermot Hanafin, Robert Rose & Ian Whitfield

Dermot Hanafin created MIS Motorsport, which originated from a small desk within a local insurance brokerage and rapidly expanded into a worldwide brand employing agents throughout the world. Under the guidance of Hanafin, the the Leeds-based company quickly flourished into one of the most influential brokers in the motorsport insurance market. In June, 2014, MIS Motorsport became a division of the Lockton Group of Companies and is now known as Lockton MIS Motorsport. Lockton is the largest privately owned global broker with the focus on clients and its people rather than external analysts and shareholders. Hanafin has owned several good horses, including the 2012 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Cinders And Ashes, whom he shared in partnership with Phil Cunningham. Hanafin originally owned Corrin Wood outright but invited Robert Rose, a property developer, and Ian Whitfield, an IT expert, to join him in the ownership of the horse in November, 2014. Rose and Whitfield have not owned horses before this.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Donald McCain (Cholmondeley, Cheshire)

Born: June 13, 1970, Background: son of the late Ginger McCain, trainer of the legendary Red Rum, the only horse to win the Grand National three times (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also Amberleigh House, the 2004 victor. Ginger McCain died at the age of 80 on September 19, 2011. Donald learnt to ride on his sister Joanne’s pony Gambol and rode in his first race on the Flat aged 15 (his father told a few white lies so he could ride) at Haydock Park. Subsequently became a jump jockey, firstly as an amateur and then a professional, partnering around 40 winners under Rules. He rode several times over the Grand National fences, finishing fifth aboard Harley in the 1992 Fox Hunters’ Chase and 17th on Sure Metal in the 1996 Grand National. He also spent time working for trainers Luca Cumani, Sir Michael Stoute and Oliver Sherwood. Donald subsequently became assistant trainer to his father and played a significant role in Amberleigh House’s Grand National victory in 2004. He took over the licence from his father in June, 2006, with his first winner coming courtesy of Bearaway in a handicap chase at Newton Abbot on June 8, 2006. The highlight of his training career so far was when Ballabriggs won the Crabbie’s Grand National in 2011. He sent out 100 British winners for the first time in the 2010/11 season and has topped that figure ever since, with 153 British scorers being his best total in 2011/12, and is set to do so again in 2014/15. Achievements: Has sent out six Cheltenham Festival winners and saddled 2011 Crabbie’s Grand National winner Ballabriggs. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2007 Idle Talk (UR 19th); 2008 Cloudy Lane (6th), Idle Talk (14th); 2009 Idle Talk (12th), Cloudy Lane (UR 15th); 2010 Cloudy Lane (8th), 2011 BALLABRIGGS (WON); 2012 Ballabriggs (6th), Weird Al (FELL 26th); 2013 Across The Bay (14th), Weird  Al  (PU  25th), Ballabriggs  (PU 24th); 2014  Kruzhlinin  (10th), Across The Bay    (14th)

 

David Casey

Born: March 19, 1976 Background: Casey graduated from RACE, Ireland's apprentice school. He had spells with Tony Redmond and Michael Hourigan before joining Willie Mullins, who provided him with his first winner at Tramore in January, 1995. The following year he won the Galway Hurdle for Mullins on Mystical City. In the 1999/2000 season, he took over from Jamie Osborne as stable jockey to Lambourn trainer Oliver Sherwood, but the pair parted company in December, 2000, after Casey, who lived in A P (Tony) McCoy's house, was said to be repeatedly late for work. He turned freelance and returned to Ireland. He tasted Aintree triumph in 2000 when he won the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase aboard Cenkos. Other big race wins include the 2001 Powers Gold Cup and Charlie Hall Chase on Sackville, the Irish Arkle Perpetual Challenge Cup in 2006 on Missed That and in 2010 on An Cathaoir Mor as well as the 2001 James Nicholson Chase and Ericsson Chase on Foxchapel King. His biggest success during 2011 came in the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup, when partnered the Willie Mullins- trained Kempes to victory. He has had two Cheltenham Festival successes - on Fadoudal Du Cochet in the 2002 Grand Annual Chase and Rule Supreme in the 2004 RSA Chase. He was still leading the Crabbie’s Grand National field on Hedgehunter when the pair departed company at the final fence in 2004 but missed the winning ride a year later due to injury. He also came close to Aintree glory in 2008, when third on Snowy Morning.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1997 New Co (15th); 2000 Lucky Town (8th); 2001 Strong Tel (FELL 6th); 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Cregg House (REF 27th); 2004 Hedgehunter (FELL 30th); 2006 Jack High (UR 15th); 2007 Bothar Na (PU 29th); 2008 Snowy Morning (3rd); 2009 Offshore Account (15th); 2010 Snowy Morning (6th); 2011 Arbor Supreme (FELL 28th); 2012 Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th)

Court By Surprise (IRE) 10-10-03

Breeding: b g Beneficial – Garryduff Princess (IRE) (Husyan  (USA))

Breeder: Noel McLoughlin Born: May 21, 2005 Owner: Nick Mustoe Trainer: Emma Lavelle Jockey:  Richie McLernon

Form: 140/3P62/31P0/33265-11

 

*Has won both his starts this season, firstly at Exeter on October 21 and then the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on November 8. In the latter race, he finished second to The Young Master, but was awarded the race subsequently after it was discovered that The Young Master was not qualified to run.

*Ridden out every day by his trainer, for whom this is a first Crabbie’s Grand National runner

Race record: Starts: 18; Wins: 4; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £77,717

 

Nick Mustoe

Chairman of Kempton Park Racecourse, Nick Mustoe is managing director of Kindred Ltd, an integrated communication agency. It is an independent agency, and one of the top 10 best work places in the UK. Kindred’s HQ is located between the Houses of Parliament and Tate Britain, with advertising, PR, social and digital specialists working together. He has spent his career in advertising, building his own agency, Mustoes, from 1993 until it was sold in 2008. He has other business interests, ranging from online publishing and networking to property investment. He has owned racehorses for many years.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: no previous runners.

 

Emma Lavelle (Little Hatherden, Andover, Hampshire)

Born: April 16, 1973 Background: Emma Lavelle spent a couple of school holidays with Henrietta Knight before starting working for Toby Balding – with whom her father had had horses - as a racing secretary. From there, she went to work for the National Trainer’s Federation in London, before returning to Balding to become his pupil assistant and then assistant for five years. She also spent a season at Belmont Park, New York, working for Shug McGaughey, prior to taking out her own licence in 1998. She has trained two winners at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival (Bouggler, 2009 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, Killyglass, 2013 Champion Open NH Flat Race). She has had two Cheltenham Festival successes, Crack Away Jack and Pause And Clause. She is married to former jockey Barry Fenton and they are based at Cottage Stables Stable in Hampshire. She started with just six horses and now has over 60. Her best season came in 2011/12 with 42 British victories. Crabbie’s  Grand  National  Record:  no  previous    runners

 

Richie McLernon

Born: October 22, 1986 Background: Cork-born Richie McLernon grew up surrounded by horses, riding ponies and hunting. His parents, Philip and Betty, were both successful amateur riders while his uncle, Tommy Carmody, was a leading professional jockey, riding the 1986 Champion Chase winner Buck House and finishing second (1984) and fourth (1985) in the Grand National on Greasepaint. Another uncle, Bill McLernon, is one of Ireland’s winning-most amateur riders. After graduating from the Christian Brothers college in Cork in 2005, McLernon joined leading Irish point-to-point trainer Eugene O’Sullivan, striking up a great acquaintance with Arctic Times, whom he partnered to eight victories. He made the move to become a conditional jockey at Jonjo O’Neill’s stable in 2007 and rode five winners in his first season. In 2012, he partnered his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival on Alfie Sherrin in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase and added a second in 2013 on Holywell in the Pertemps Final. Holywell gave him a third in 2014 in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase. He came agonisingly close to winning the 2012 Grand National on Sunnyhillboy but Neptune Collonges denied the pair by a nose in closest finish in the history of the race. McLernon recently signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Swindon- based Regulatory Finance Solutions.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2010 Can’t Buy Time (FELL 8th); 2011 Can Buy Time (FELL 18th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd); 2013 Sunnyhillboy (UR 30th); 2014 Twirling Magnet (FELL 1st)

Dolatulo (FR) 8-10-11

 

Breeding: ch g Le Fou (IRE) - La Perspective (FR) (Beyssac (FR))

Breeder: Claude Michel Born: May 8, 2007 Owner: Chasemore Farm Trainer: Warren Greatrex Jockey: Dougie Costello

Form: 1/1255/FP2/8232226645111/222132016-028180

 

*In his three chases this season, finished second at Sandown first time out and won the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby in December. In between he jumped round the Grand National fences when eighth of 16 in the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase in early December, his first run at Aintree.

*Has run twice over hurdles since, most recently when 19th of 23 in the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

*Changed hands for only €4,500 in his native France as a five-year-old.

*Has had three trainers, including a spell with Paul Nicholls during the 2010/11 season.

*Provided the 100th winner of his trainer’s career when he scored at Stratford in April, 2014, lost the race in the stewards’ room, and was reinstated at a BHA hearing four days later.

Jump race record: Starts: 36; 1st: 8; 2nd; 11; 3rd: 2. Win & place prize money: £106,481

 

Chasemore Farm

Chasemore Farm, two miles from Cobham in Surrey, has been owned by Andrew and Jane Black since 2007. The 330-acre stud became fully operational as a breeding and boarding centre in 2011. Black, 52, was the co-founder of pioneering betting exchange Betfair. Grandson of Sir Cyril Black, who as Tory MP for Wimbledon ironically campaigned against gambling. After being kicked out of Exeter University, he nursed his terminally ill brother and then worked at B&Q, spent time as a golf caddy on the European tour before getting his first “proper job” at the age of 26. Worked briefly on the New York stock exchange before moving into software development including for the Ministry of Defence. It was during his time working on a secret project for GCHQ that Black, who was all the while a successful gambler, thought up Betfair. He met Ed Wray, the brother of a friend then working for J P Morgan, at a garden party and he became a partner n Betfair, providing the business plan to accompany Black’s model. Betfair launched in 2000 and the company had revenues of £393.6 million in 2014, although Black has reduced his holding following the company’s flotation on the Stock Echange in October, 2010. Racing Interests: Became joint-owner of Cheshire-based Manor House Stables in August, 2009 alongside footballer turned pundit Michael Owen, and Tom Dascombe is the trainer. Prior to his link-up with Owen, Black had horses in training with a variety of trainers including Peter Chapple-Hyam, who trained his Group Three winner Morana. Chapple-Hyam was also responsible for Winker Watson, who was part-owned by Black via the Comic Strip Heroes partnership and won the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2007. He part-owned and bred Ceiling Kitty who won the 2012 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and his current Flat star is Brown Panther, who runs for A Black and Owen Promotions and won the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on World Cup night last month (March).

No previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners

 

Warren Greatrex (Uplands, Upper Lambourn, Berkshire)

Born: February 22, 1975 Background: Rode 13 winners as a jockey before working for trainers David Nicholson, Josh Gifford, Guillaume Macaire and Bryan Smart. Joined Oliver Sherwood's yard in 2002, starting off as head groom before becoming assistant trainer. He took out a licence under his own name in September, 2009, as the salaried trainer to Malcolm Denmark after the owner head-hunted him to replace Carl Llewellyn. Split with Denmark in May, 2012, and moved to Uplands, formerly base of riding and training legend Fred Winter, who saddled Jay Trump and Anglo to National victories in 1965 and 1966. Greatrex’s first winner was Quartano, in the Artemis Fund Managers Hindu Kush "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, at Plumpton on November 16, 2009. He notched his first Cheltenham Festival winner last month with Cole Harden in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, also his first Grade One success in what is already his best-ever season for wins and earnings. Married  to  bloodstock agent  Tessa  (nee  Clark).  Crabbie’s Grand National  record: no previous runners.

 

Dougie Costello

Born: March 4, 1983, in Galway. Background: Dougie Costello began his career with Mary Reveley before moving on to join Martin Todhunter in 2004 and then John Quinn. His first victory came on York Rite at Bangor on August 1, 2003. His biggest successes have been for Quinn, with Countrywide Flame capturing the 2012 JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Recession Proof taking the 2011 Betfair Trophy at Newbury. Countrywide Flame also finished third in the 2013 Champion Hurdle. Costello has also enjoyed significant success at Aintree, winning the 2010 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on Wayward Prince for Ian Williams and the 2010 Old Roan Chase on course specialist Monet’s Garden for Nicky Richards. This season his best success came on Dolatulo in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby in December. His best season for British winners was 2010/11 with 57 successes. John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2012 Postmaster (PU 22nd);  2013  Saint  Are  (9th).

Ely Brown (IRE) 10-10-02

 

Breeding: b g Sunshine Street – Browneyed Daughter (Broken  Hearted)

Breeder:  James Meagher

Born: May 23, 2005

Owner: Countrywide Vehicle Rentals Taxi Hire

Trainer: Charlie Longsdon

Jockey: Brian Hughes

Form: 2123P48U1U203P/13160/10115-P

 

*Has run only once in the past year, when he was pulled up in a handicap hurdle at Wetherby in January. Has had airway surgery since.

*Had been a leading staying novice chaser last season and a strong fancy for the 2014 National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before a minor injury and then a bout of pneumonia cut short his season.

*Has raced only four times over fences, with two victories including a Grade Two novices’ race at Wetherby in February 2014.

*Has run five times at Aintree, all over hurdles, winning twice at the course, most recently a three-mile handicap in October, 2013.

*Sold as a foal for €4,200, and failed to change hands on three subsequent visits to an auction ring.

Race Record: Starts 25; Wins: 7; 2nds: 3; 3rds: 3. Win & place prize money: £70,664.

 

Countrywide Vehicle Rentals Taxi Hire

Mark Scott’s Countrywide Vehicle Rentals Taxi Hire is a Liverpool-based replacement taxi company, founded 17 years ago and based two miles from Aintree racecourse. Scott, 53, is Liverpool born and bred and lives four miles from the track in the south of the city and having a Grand National runner is a long-held dream. He has been involved in racing syndicates under his company name for several years, his previous winners having included ill-fated Kauto Relko, a half-brother to Kauto Star. Ely Brown was bought privately four years ago for around £10,000 from Irish dealer Pat Morrissey and is the best to carry Scott’s orange colours. Though Scott is a Liverpool FC supporter, he admits that his love of racing has overridden his love of football.  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  record:  no  previous   runners.

 

Charlie Longsdon (Hull Farm, Chipping Norton)

Born: October 8, 1975. Background: Grew up in the world of eventing, competing up to 2-star level. He had the ambition to train from an early age and gained work experience with Oliver Sherwood and Nigel Twiston-Davies. While at university (he studied Art at Oxford Brookes), Longsdon spent the summer breaking in youngsters on a game reserve in Kenya. After university, he worked at Kim Bailey's yard in Lambourn as his assistant. In 2001, Longsdon joined Nicky Henderson at Seven Barrows and, during his five years with Henderson, won the Alex Scott Memorial Fund Assistant Trainer's Scholarship (2004), which gave him a sabbatical in the United States, where he worked with champion Flat trainer Todd Pletcher. When he got his licence, Longsdon based himself at Sezincote, near Moreton-on-the-Marsh and in his first season, 2006/07, trained nine winners. In 2009, Longsdon moved to Hull Farm near Chipping Norton on the Oxfordshire/Gloucester border and from there posted a seasonal best of 78 winners in 2013/14. His achievements include four Graded victories, most recently Kilcooley in the National Sprit Hurdle at Fontwell in February. Married to Sophie and they have three children. Crabbie’s Grand National record:  2010  Palypso  De  Creek  (Fell  27th).

 

Brian Hughes

Born: June 27, 1985 Background: Raised in South Armagh. Started out in his native Ireland riding as a Flat apprentice. Having graduated from the Racing Academy and Centre of Education in Kildare in 2002, rode for trainer Kevin Prendergast who provided him with his first winner when Perugino Lady won an apprentice handicap at Downpatrick on October 9, 2002. After three seasons and 19 wins on the Flat, rising weight prompted a full-time switch to jump racing. He was connected to the James Lambe stable for the 2004/05 season but relocated to Britain and the County Durham yard of Howard Johnson for the 2005/06 campaign. His career flourished after becoming stable jockey at Alan Swinbank’s North Yorkshire yard, a move that saw him crowned champion conditional at the end of the 2007/08 season with 39 wins on the board, most of them for Swinbank and County Durham permit holder John Wade. Has an enviable record over the Grand National fences, having partnered Always Waining to success in the 2010 Crabbie’s Topham Chase and Frankie Figg to victory in the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase in November of the same year. He recorded a first Cheltenham Festival win in 2014 on board the Tim Easterby-trained Hawk High in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. The highlight of the current season was winning the valuable Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown for his old boss Kevin Prendergast on Katie T, while he looks almost certain to record his first century of winners (97 winners at the start of racing on Thursday, April 9).

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2010 Beat The Boys (PU 19th); 2011 Tidal Bay (UR 10th); 2012 Viking Blond (FELL 1st); 2014 Vintage Star (PU 26th)

First Lieutenant (IRE) 10-11-03

Breeding: ch g Presenting - Fourstargale (IRE) (Fourstars Allstar  (USA))

Breeder:  Mary O’Connor

Born: April 15, 2005

Owner: Gigginstown House Stud Trainer: Mouse Morris IRE Jockey: Ms Nina  Carberry

Form: 1/41311/3121P223/4232213/34234-24683

 

*Has won three times at Grade One level, including his most recent success, which was the Betfred Bowl at the 2013 Grand National Festival at Aintree, over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay course.

*Has struggled for form in four starts this season and was beaten at odds-on last time out when third of four in a three-mile hurdle at Thurles on March 19.

*Will be having a first start in a handicap since finishing third, beaten eight and a quarter lengths, to Bobs Worth in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in December, 2012.

Race record: Starts: 31; Wins: 7; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 8. Win & Place Prize Money: £511,954

 

Gigginstown House Stud

Gigginstown House Stud, near Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is the residence of Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair. O’Leary was born in Mullingar on March 20, 1961 and educated at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare before reading business studies at Trinity College Dublin. He has developed Ryanair to become one of Europe’s largest airline carriers and his worth was valued at £502 million in the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List. O’Leary started off with horses on the Flat with David Wachman and Mick Halford, but he has rapidly become a major jump owner with a string only rivalled by J P McManus. His team of well over 100 horses is split between a wide range of trainers in Ireland and his racing enthusiasm was kick-started when one of his first horses, War Of Attrition, won the 2006 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. His 13 Cheltenham Festival winners include this year’s hugely-exciting RSA Chase scorer Don Poli. Other Festival winners include Weapon’s Amnesty in the 2009 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and 2010 RSA Chase, First Lieutenant in the 2011 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and the 2013 Betfred Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs in the 2012 JLT Novices’ Chase. Other high-class performers include the 2008 Irish Grand National winner Hear The Echo and this season’s Lexus Chase scorer Road To Riches, who went on to finish third in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. He had another Irish Grand National success in 2015 with Thunder And Roses, partnered by Katie Walsh. O’Leary’s brother Eddie, based at Lynn Lodge Stud in Mullingar, oversees the Gigginstown racing operation; the young horses are brought along at Pat Doyle’s County Tipperary stables and in point-to-points by Gordon Elliott. Bryan Cooper is retained jockey for Gigginstown.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2009 Hear The Echo (FELL 30th); 2012 Tharawaat (8th), 2014 Quito De La Roque (PU 21st).

 

Michael (Mouse) Morris IRE (Fethard, Co Tipperary)

Born: April 4, 1951 Background: Michael Morris has been known as Mouse since his early days as an amateur rider. His late father, Lord Killanin, once headed the International Olympic Committee, while his brother Redmond’s credits as a film producer include The Reader. As a youngster in Ireland, Mouse showed little enthusiasm for school, preferring to spend his mornings riding out for a local trainer and did not enjoy his time when sent to Ampleforth College in Yorkshire. He served his apprenticeship at the celebrated Frenchie Nicholson jockey academy in Cheltenham alongside Pat Eddery and Tony Murray. Back in Ireland, he rode principally for Edward O’Grady, winning the Irish Grand National on Billycan in 1977 and Cheltenham’s Queen Mother Champion Chase twice on Skymas in 1976 and 1977. Training Career: He took out his trainer’s licence in 1980 and immediately established himself as one of Ireland’s leading jump trainers. Morris has seven Cheltenham Festival wins to his credit, the best being Buck House’s victory in the 1986 Queen Mother Champion Chase and War Of Attrition’s 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup success. He saddled First Lieutenant, the 2011 Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham Festival, to take the 2013 Betfair Bowl at Aintree and narrowly missed out on an Irish Grand National winner on Easter Monday when Rule The World finished second to fellow Gigginstown colourbearer Thunder And Roses. Morris trains at Everardsgrange, Fethard, in Co. Tipperary. In 1984, Door Step became his first Crabbie’s Grand National runner, but fell at the 18th fence. Lastofthebrownies finished a best-placed fourth for him in 1989.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1984 Door Step (FELL 18th); 1987 Attitude Adjuster (8th), Hi Harry (Ref 19th); 1988 Attitude Adjuster (5th), Lastofthebrownies (FELL 28th); 1989 Lastofthebrownies (4th), Attitude Adjuster (12th), Cranlome (FELL 2nd); 1990 Lastofthebrownies (5th); 1991 Mick’s Star (13th); 1992 Rawhide (UR 1st); 1995 For William (15th); 1996 Three Brownies (6th); 1997 New Co (15th); 2004 Alcapone (PU 25th); 2008 Baily Breeze (8th); 2009 Hear The Echo (FELL 30th).

 

Nina Carberry

Born: July 21, 1984. Background: Daughter of Tommy, former Irish champion jump jockey who won the 1975 Grand National on L’Escargot, then became a trainer and saddled Bobbyjo to win the 1999 Grand National. She is sister to three jockeys, Paul (rider of Bobbyjo), Philip and Peterjon. The siblings’ mother, Pamela, is sister of top trainer Arthur Moore and the daughter of L’Escargot’s trainer Dan Moore. Nina is married to Ted Walsh Jnr, making her sister-in-law to Katie and Ruby Walsh; she and Katie are regarded as the best female jump jockeys and both amateurs have an Irish National on their CVs, Nina on Organisedconfusion in 2011 and Katie on Thunder And Roses in the latest edition on Easter Monday. Nina has partnered five winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including three successes in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase on Heads Onthe Ground (2007) and Garde Champetre (2008 & 2009). Her most recent victory at that meeting came this year in the St James’s Place Foxhunter on On The Fringe and rides the same horse on the first day of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival (Thursday, April 9) in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’. She rode her first winner on Sabrinsky in the Ladies’ Derby on the Flat at the Curragh on July 15, 2001. Nina is the only female rider to have ridden in the Grand National four times and completed the course on the first three occasions. Nina and Paul Carberry were the first sister and brother to ride in the same Grand National in 2012. She became racing assistant to trainer Noel Meade in 2013 and did that job for a year and then rode out for Aidan O’Brien. She retains strong links with the Meade yard. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2006 Forest Gunner  (9th);  2010  Character  Building  (7th),  2011  Character Building   (15th),   2012   Organisedconfusion   (UR 8th).

Gas Line Boy (IRE) 9-10-04

Breeding: b g Blueprint (IRE) - Jervia (Affirmed  (USA))

Breeder: Mary Fouhy

Born: May 12, 2006

Owner: Mick Fitzgerald Racing  Club

Trainer: Philip Hobbs

Jockey: James Best

Form: 12437/31348U-P11P4

 

*Has improved in five runs this season, winning twice, at Exter on November 4 in a three-mile handicap chase and at Haydock Park on November 22 over three miles & five furlongs.

*Was pulled up in the Welsh National in December but ran much better when fourth on latest start in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park on February 14.

*Successful four times in 16 starts.

*Bought for the present owners for £26,000 at the Doncaster sales at the end of May, 2012

*Started out in Irish point-to-points and won on secpnd of two starts in that sphere.

Race record: Starts: 16; Wins: 4; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £45,857

 

Mick Fitzgerald Racing Club

Gas Line Boy is owned by a 22-man syndicate headed by sports and media agent Jon Holmes, who has been involved in ownership for 15 years with Tim Hailstone, a Dartmouth-based businessman with extensive racing interests, including being a director at Exeter Racecourse. Former jump jockey (who won the 1996Crabbie’s Grand National on Rough Quest) turned television presenter Mick Fitzgerald is one of Holmes’ clients, and trainer Philip Hobbs suggested to Holmes that Fitzgerald should buy him a couple of horses. Gas Line Boy was one of three purchased in the original draft by Fitzgerald and Shane Donohoe, and cost £26,000 at Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in May, 2012. The 22 members of the syndicate come from all over the country and include Jon Ryan, former communications director of the British Horseracing Authority, Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech PLC, and former Leicestershire County Cricket Club chairman Neil Davidson.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: no previous runners.

 

Philip Hobbs (Bilbrook, Somerset)

Born July 26, 1955 Background: Philip was brought up surrounded by horses. His father Tony Hobbs farmed, and had a permit to train for many years, breeding several good horses to run in the family colours. After school at King’s College, Taunton, Philip went on to Reading University and achieved a BSc honours degree. He rode at Hickstead, show jumping as a junior, and gained several point-to-point winners and winners under National Hunt rules as an amateur before turning professional at the age of 21. Partnered 160 winners in a 10-year riding career including the Black and White Gold Cup at Ascot, the Killiney Novice Chase and the Midlands Grand National on such good horses as West Tip and Artifice. Hobbs made four appearances in the Grand National as a professional jockey in the 1980s and, although one of the best horses he rode was West Tip, he didn’t get the leg up on him in the National, with those four rides resulting in two falls, one ninth place and an 11th. He started training in August, 1985, with only six horses and was successful with his very first runner, North Yard at Exeter. He is now one of Britain’s top jump trainers and has gone close to winning the Crabbie’s Grand National with What’s Up Boys, second in 2002, Balthazar King in 20914 and Samlee, third in 1998. Philip’s wife Sarah, whom he married in 1982, is the daughter of Bertie Hill, who won a gold medal in three-day eventing at the 1956 Olympics at Stockholm. They have three daughters, Caroline, Katherine and Diana. Achievements: has trained over 2,000 winners, including 18 at the Cheltenham Festival. Major Wins include: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Stan James Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Racing Post Arkle Chase (2011 Captain Chris). Crabbie’s Grand National record: 1990 Gallic Prince (13th); Joint Sovereignty (FELL 19th); 1995 Gold Cap (13th); 1998 Samlee (3rd); Greenhill Tare Away (UR 27th); 1999 Samlee (10th); Bells Life (PU 26th); Mudahim (UR 6th); 2000 Village King (FELL 20th); Stormy Passage (FELL 22nd); 2001 Village King (FELL 8th); 2002 What's Up Boys (2nd); 2004 What's Up Boys (BD 6th); 2005 Double Honour (UR 21st); 2007 Zabenz (PU 7th), Monkerhostin (REF 7th); 2009 Zabenz (FELL 16th), Parsons Legacy (FELL 22nd); 2010 Dream Alliance (PU 24th); 2011 Quinz (PU 16th); 2012 Planet Of Sound (12th); 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd), Chance Du Roy (6th)

 

James Best

Born: November 30 1990 Background: Brought up on a farm in Callington, Cornwall, James started riding at an early age. His first pony was a Shetland called Lady. His mother Margaret is the district commissioner of the East Cornwall Hunt branch of the Pony Club and James took part in all Pony Club activities, including hunting and eventing. He left school aged 16 and went to work for trainer Luca Cumani in Newmarket for three months before joining Philip Hobbs and he has remained attached with the Minehead-based trainer. His first race- riding experience came in point-to-points and in 2010 he was joint-winner – with Grant Cockburn – of the Wilkinson Sword, given to the leading male rider under 21. However, he received his award on crutches, having broken both legs in an Easter Monday fall in Somerset. He has ridden 88 winners under Rules so far.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: no previous rides

Godsmejudge (IRE) 9-10-08

Breeding: b g Witness Box (USA) — Eliza Everett (IRE) (Meneval  (USA))

Breeder: Cecil and Martin  McCracken

Born: May 15, 2006

Owner: Favourites Racing (Syndication) Ltd

Trainer: Alan King

Form: 251271/2012131/5PP23-P50

 

*Made a promising start between the flags in 2011 before being bought by Highflyer Bloodstock at Brightwells Sales for £38,000 in April that year.

*Won twice for trainer Alan King over hurdles before embarking on a successful chasing career which has spawned three victories to date.

*Gave owners Favourites Racing their biggest winner over jumps in April, 2013 when winning the Scottish National by four lengths.

*Ran another big race in the Scottish National in 2014 when finishing a length and a half behind Al Co.

*Hisd best run this season was fifth in the BetBright Chase at Kempton in February.

Race record: Starts: 21; Wins: 5; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £208,059

 

Favourites Racing (Syndication) Ltd

Favourites Racing is owned by Jim and Jan Cockburn, who are also directors of the company. It was set up in 2002 when the company bought out The Winning Line, which had been run by Mark Gichero and had plenty of success with horses such as General Wolfe and Teeton Mill, who won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 1998. The syndicate is now run by trainer David Dennis, who trains the majority of their horses. The syndicate has had success on both the Flat and over jumps, with Crosspeace being their best horse on the level (winner of the 2006 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood) and Godsmejudge their flagbearer over jumps. At the moment, the Cockburns are the only two members of the syndicate that owns Godsmejudge and both will be present, along with Dennis, on Saturday to watch the nine-year-old in action. Favourites Racing has always had the Crabbie’s Grand National in mind for Godsmejudge but had to miss last year’s race as the horse wasn’t quite ready. Connections are hopeful of a big run given the horse has finished first and second in the past two runnings of the Scottish National at Ayr.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Alan King (Wroughton, Swindon, Wiltshire)

Born into a farming family in Lanarkshire on December 13, 1966, King was a member of a local branch of the Pony Club and also competed on the show jumping circuit before joining David Nicholson in Gloucestershire as an amateur jockey in 1985, having previously worked for John Wilson in his native Scotland. He finished third in a couple of hunter chases and served as assistant for 15 years to Nicholson, from whom he took over the licence at Jackdaws Castle stables near Temple Guiting on December 3, 1999. The following day, Mini Moo Min gave him a first success at Towcester. In that rookie season, King also saddled Relkeel to take a third Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham and won the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot with Anzum. He also sent out Go Ballistic to finish second behind See More Business in the King George VI Chase at Kempton. He was based at Jackdaws Castle, then owned by Colin Smith, until the end of that 1999/2000 season, when he moved (June 1, 2000) to the Barbury Castle estate near Marlborough, Wiltshire, owned by one of his principal patrons, Nigel Bunter. King's first win at the Cheltenham Festival came in 2004, when Fork Lightning won the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase. Among the best horses King has trained are Katchit (2007 Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle, 2007 JCB Triumph Hurdle, 2008 Champion Hurdle), Voy Por Ustedes (2008 & 2009 Melling Chase, 2006 Arkle Trophy, 2007 Queen Mother Champion Chase), My Way De Solzen (2006 Ladbrokes World Hurdle, 2007 Arkle Trophy, 2005 Long Walk Hurdle), Blazing Bailey (2008 Liverpool Hurdle, 2008 Punchestown Champion Stayers’ Hurdle, 2007 Cleeve Hurdle), Penzance (2005 JCB Triumph Hurdle), Stromness (2002 Sefton Novices' Hurdle), Spendid (2002 Long Distance Hurdle), Crystal D'Ainay (2004 Cleeve Hurdle), Walkon (2009 Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle), Nenuphar Collonges (2008 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle),Medermit (2011 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase), L’Unique (2013 Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle) and Godsmejudge (2013 Scottish Grand National). Balder Succes and Uxizandre have won Grade Ones in both 2014 and 2015. When Katchit won the 2008 Stan James Champion Hurdle, he was the first five-year-old to triumph in the championship race for 23 years. He has trained a total of 15 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including Uxizandre in this season’s Ryanair Chase. King and his wife Rachel were married in Antigua in 1998. They have a son, Henry, and a daughter, Georgia.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2000 Call It A Day (6th), Listen Timmy (PU 17th); 2001 Listen Timmy (PU 16th); 2004 Bear On Board (8th); 2007 Kandjar D’Allier (FELL 8th); 2007 Tikram (UR 1st); 2008 D’Argent (UR 27th); 2011 West End Rocker (BD 6th); 2012 West End Rocker (FELL 2nd); 2014 Walkon (PU 29th)

 

Wayne Hutchinson

Born: February 25, 1981, the son of a postman Background: rode his first winner on the Flat at Salisbury aboard Whatevers Right on October 7, 1998. He originally planned to ride as a Flat jockey and spent 18 months with Mark Usher before deciding to try his hand over jumps and took guidance from Stan Mellor and Jeff King. He joined Alan King’s stable in 2002 and partnered Halcon Genelardais to success in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow in 2006. Hutchinson had his first success at the Cheltenham Festival in 2009 on Oh Crick in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase and added a second in 2013 on Medinas in the Coral Cup. He also has also ridden a winner over the National fences, having partnered West End Rocker to victory in the Betfred Becher Chase art Aintree in December, 2011. Hutchinson’s career has gone from strength to strength in recent years and he has developed a fine partnership with the King-trained Balder Succes who he won the Grade One Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival last year. The pair teamed up to win the Grade One Ascot Chase in February of this year.

Crabbie's Grand National Record: 2007 Tikram (UR 1st); 2009 Darkness (13th); 2010 Eric’s Charm (FELL 1st); 2012 West End Rocker (FELL 2nd); 2014 Walkon (PU 29th)

Lord Windermere (IRE) 9-11-10

Breeding: b g Oscar (IRE) - Satellite Dancer (IRE) (Satco  (FR))

Breeder: Edmond Coleman Born: March 11, 2006 Owner: Dr Ronan Lambe Trainer: Jim Culloty IRE Jockey: TBC

Form: F11418/221231/8761-373P

 

*Reached the pinnacle of the sport when a 20/1 winner of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, 2014.

*Never looked like retaining his crown in this year’s renewal won by Coneygree, eventually being pulled up before the second last.

*Had shaped well in a pair of Grade One contests earlier this season, coming home third in both the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in December and the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February.

*Bidding to become only the third horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Crabbie’s Grand National, following on from Golden Miller and L’Escargot.

Race record: Starts: 20; Wins: 6; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £486,413

 

Dr Ronan Lambe

Dr Ronan Lambe co-founded Icon Plc, a provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, in 1990 along with Dr John Climax. Starting out with just five staff in Dublin in 1990, Icon has grown massively and now employs 7,700 people in 39 countries. Lambe attended the National University of Ireland where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1959, a masters in biochemistry in 1962 and a PhD. in pharmacology in 1976. In 2014, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Lambe’s wealth at £65 million. The best horses to have carried Lambe’s colours to date include Rite Of Passage, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2010, and Hidden Universe, a Grade One bumper winner at the 2010 Punchestown Festival. The majority of his horses are trained by Dermot Weld (including this year’s Cheltenham Festival winner Windsor Park), although he also has a few with Jim Culloty, including 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National contenders Lord Windermere and Spring Heeled.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2011 Majestic Concorde (UR 24th)

 

Jim Culloty IRE (Churchtown, Co Cork)

Born: Killarney, Ireland, on December 18, 1973 Background: Culloty is best known for his partnership in the saddle with Best Mate, who emulated Arkle by winning three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He rode 394 winners as a professional, having also been the champion amateur in 1995/96, and partnered Bindaree to victory in the 2002 Grand National. He retired from the saddle in July, 2005 and started training from his current base in Churchtown, Co Cork. Braun Star provided his first winner as a trainer when scoring a Thurles on November 30, 2006. His biggest winner came when Lord Windermere won the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup in a thrilling finish. Lord Windermere and Spring Heeled will be Culloty’s first runners in the Crabbie’s Grand National. Culloty married Susie Samworth in 2004 and they have three children, Art, Eliza and Hugh. Big race wins: despite a limited number of winners at home, Culloty has sent out three winners at the Cheltenham Festival – Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (2014 Lord Windermere), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (2014 Spring Heeled) and RSA Chase (2013 Lord Windermere).

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: No previous runners

 

Robbie McNamara was Lord Windermere's intended jockey but misses the ride through injury.

Born: September 12, 1988 Background: the younger brother of leading jockey Andrew McNamara. Standing 6'3" tall, Robbie had restricted his riding to the amateur ranks for many years but, in a surprise move, turned professional in November, 2014. His lowest riding weight in previous years has been 11st 5lb. The brothers’ father, Andrew senior, is a trainer based in Croom, County Limerick. Robbie made his riding debut at Cork in November, 2004, and enjoyed his first winner aboard Glenquin Castle, trained by his father, in a bumper at Listowel in September, 2005. In 2006 he began riding for Dermot Weld, both on the Flat and over jumps. The best horses he has partnered for Weld include Majestic Concorde, Rite Of Passage, who was twice placed at the Cheltenham Festival and Hidden Universe, a Grade One bumper winner at Punchestown in April, 2010. His biggest win so far in his career came in March 2014 when he partnered Silver Concorde to success in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and at the same meeting won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase on Spring Heeled. The last-named is a stable mate of Lord Windermere and also runs in the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National. As well as Weld, he has also ridden regularly for trainers Charles Byrnes, John Kiely, Tom Cooper and Jim Culloty. He has ridden Lord Windermere once before, when the horse finished a close third in the Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase in February, 2013. He has partnered six winners in Ireland this season (up to April 7).

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2011 Majestic Concorde (UR 24th)

Many Clouds (IRE) 8-11-09

Breeding: br g Cloudings (IRE) - Bobbing Back (IRE) (Bob Back (USA)

Breeder: Aidan Aherne Born: April 21, 2007 Owner: Trevor Hemmings Trainer: Oliver Sherwood Jockey: Leighton Aspell

Form: 190/21212P/1212B4-1116

 

*Much-improved performer who comes into the Crabbie’s Grand National after finishing sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, his first defeat in four runs this season.

*His three victories this season include a strong renewal of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November and the Grade Two BetBright Cup Chase at Cheltenham on January 24.

*No Hennessy Gold Cup winner has won the Crabbie’s Grand National. The most recent Newbury winner to be placed in the National in the same season was What’s Up Boys, second at Aintree to Bindaree in 2002.

*He is a half-brother to high-class hurdler and chaser The Tullow Tank.

*Both trainer Oliver Sherwood and his wife Tarnya have ridden in the Grand National.

*Owner Trevor Hemmings is after his third Grand National success.

Race record: Starts: 19; Wins: 8; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 0. Win & Place Prize Money: £236,400

 

Trevor Hemmings CVO

Born: June 11, 1935 Background: Brought up in Woolwich Arsenal, South-East London, where his father worked at the Royal Ordnance factory. Was sent to Lancashire as a five-year-old during World War II and began life as a bricklayer’s apprentice after leaving school at 15. Became involved in the Pontins holiday business and eventually owned the business. He sold Pontins to Scottish & Newcastle in exchange for a significant S & N shareholding in 1989. He bought back Pontins in 2000 but retained a stake in S & N, which netted him £218 million when the company was sold in January, 2008. Sold Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens to the North West resort’s town council for £40 million in March, 2010. In 2012, agreed to sell his major shareholding in Arena Leisure Plc, which owned Folkestone, Lingfield, Southwell, Wolverhampton and Windsor racecourses and managed Doncaster and Worcester, to the Reuben brothers. Arena also has a major part of specialist broadcaster At The Races which owns some of British racing’s media rights. Owns a share of Preston North End FC and is chairman of the TJH Foundation, a charity which makes grants to organisations such as Macmillan Cancer Relief, St John Ambulance, Crimestoppers Trust, Royal National Lifeboat Association, the Injured Jockeys’ Fund and Racing Welfare. In 2011, he was appointed a Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO) for his work as vice-president of the Princess Royal Trust Carers. In 2014, the Sunday Times estimated Hemmings’ wealth at £625 million. Also has eventers who are ridden by Zara Phillips – she partnered the Hemmings-owned High Kingdom to win team silver in three-day eventing at London 2012. Racing Interests: Fulfilled greatest ambition when Hedgehunter carried his colours to 2005 Crabbie’s Grand National victory. After years of trying, Hemmings had finally emulated his mentor Fred Pontin, owner of the 1971 National hero Specify, with his 13th Grand National runner. Ballabriggs added a second Crabbie’s Grand National success in 2011. Tried to win Grand National for first time with Stan Mellor-trained Rubika, 14th in 1992. His first winner came on the Flat in 1985. Hemmings brings on young jumping stock at Gleadhill House Stud, near Chorley, Lancashire, managed by former trainer Mick Meagher, and at his Monymusk Stud in Co Cork Hemmings, who was made an honorary Jockey Club member in December, 2006, is based on the Isle of Man and is said to have paid £12 million for the Ballavoddan estate on the island where his retired horses live. Has enjoyed 11 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, headed by dual Ryanair Chase hero Albertas Run. His best horse this season is Many Clouds, winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury & Cheltenham’s BetBright Cup before Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup sixth.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1992 Rubika (14th); 2000 The Last Fling (7th); Esprit De Cotte (FELL 22nd); 2001 The Last Fling (UR 5th), Esprit De Cotte (UR 11th); 2002 Goguenard (FELL 1st), Beau (UR 14th); 2003 Southern Star (14th), Chives (PU 12th); 2004 Arctic Jack (FELL 1st), Southern Star (PU 9th), Hedgehunter (FELL 30th); 2005 HEDGEHUNTER (WON), Europa (20th); 2006 Hedgehunter (2nd), Juveigneur (FELL 1st), 2007 Hedgehunter (9th), Billyvoddan (PU 19th); 2008 Cloudy Lane (6th), Hedgehunter (13th), Idle Talk (14th); 2009 Idle Talk (12th), Battlecry (16th), Cloudy Lane (UR 15th); 2010 Cloudy Lane (8th); 2011 BALLABRIGGS (WON), King Fontaine (11th); 2012 Ballabriggs (6th); 2013 Ballabriggs (PU 24th); 2014 Burton Port (UR 2nd), Vintage Star (PU 26th).

 

Oliver Sherwood (Lambourn, Berkshire)

Born: March 23, 1955, at Chelmsford in Essex. Background: His father Nat was a farmer, racehorse owner, breeder and point-to-point rider. His mother Heather was also a point-to-point rider. Oliver’s brother Simon was a champion amateur jockey who, after turning professional, was most famous for his association with Desert Orchid. Although never joining the paid ranks, Oliver was a highly successful amateur - winning the 1979/80 amateur jump championship

- and rode three Cheltenham Festival winners as well as the 1980 Fox Hunters’ Chase winner Rolls Rambler over the Grand National fences at Aintree among a total of 96 successes. He had one ride in the Grand National when finishing eighth on Venture To Cognac in 1983. He also assisted trainers Gavin Pritchard- Gordon (pupil assistant on Flat 1974), Arthur Moore (assistant trainer 1975-77) and Fred Winter (an assistant 1978-84) before taking out a licence himself in the 1984/85 season from Rhonehurst Stables in Lambourn, the same yard that had Grand National success with Battleship in 1939. Training success: He made his mark in 1987 when The West Awake won what is now the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, where Aldino took that year’s Anniversary 4YO Hurdle. It was the start of a golden decade that featured the top hurdler Large Action as well as Arctic Call, Cruising Altitude, Young Snugfit, Atrabates, Young Pokey, Rebel Song, Lord Of The River, Coulton, Berude Not To, Him Of Praise, Cenkos and Silver Wedge. His first Grand National runner Sacred Path started the 17/2 favourite in 1988 but fell at the first. His latest Grand National runner, Eric’s Charm in 2010, also fell at the first. After a quiet number of years, the last two seasons have seen an upturn in Sherwood’s fortunes with 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup hero Many Clouds the current stable star. Also had Grade Two success with Deputy Dan and Puffin Billy. Married to former jockey Tarnya (47 winners under Rules) in 1993 & they have two children, Sabrina & Archie. The then Tarnya Davis partnered 100/1 chance Numerate in the 1989 Grand National, pulling up before the 21st.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1988 Sacred Path (FELL 1st); 1989 Beamwam (PU 18th); 1998 Him Of Praise (REF 27th); 2010 Eric’s Charm (FELL 1st).

 

Leighton Aspell

Born: June 12, 1976 Background: Won last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National on Pineau De Re, his first ride in public on the horse, but misses the chance of a repeat on the defending champion because of his association with Many Clouds, whom he has ridden in all his races. He is one of the few jockeys to have a dedicated fan club and came close to a fairytale first ride in the National in 2003 when finishing second aboard Supreme Glory. He had another excellent spin in 2006 on Ballycassidy, who took up the running at Valentine's on the first circuit and jumped for fun in the lead before taking a spectacular tumble at Valentine's second time. Aspell, who began his racing life as an apprentice with noted tutor Reg Hollinshead, rode 10 winners on the Flat (the first was Prime Painter at Hamilton in May, 1993), before increasing weight forced him to switch to jumping. He joined the late Josh Gifford's Findon yard and partnered his first winner over jumps at Huntingdon in May, 1995, aboard Karar, trained by Gifford's former stable jockey Richard Rowe. He has won the Welsh National twice, with L'Aventure (2005) and Supreme Glory (2001), and experienced Grade One success in the Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at Punchestown on United in 2005. In July, 2007, Aspell announced his retirement from the saddle and went to work for Flat trainer John Dunlop at Arundel for an 18-month spell. However, he made a return to race riding in April, 2009, stating that he missed the camaraderie of the weighing room and the thrill of race riding. Last season’s National win was the high spot of what proved his best season numerically too, with 65 winners. He is married to Nicola and they have three daughters - Lucy, Niamh and Kitty.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2003 Supreme Glory (2nd); 2004 Skycab (UR 6th); 2005 Take The Stand (UR 15th); 2006 Ballycassidy (FELL 25th), 2007 Billyvoddan (PU 19th); 2011 In Compliance (13th); 2014 PINEAU DE RE (WON).

Mon Parrain (FR) 9-10-11

Breeding: b g Trempolino (USA) - Kadaina (FR) (Kadalko  (FR))

Breeder: Serge Dubois

Born: March 26, 2006  Owner: John & Barbara Cotton Trainer:  Paul Nicholls  Jockey: Sean Bowen

Form: P1P1316112/5312/734/P81-P015

 

*Was trained by Guillaume Macaire in France, where he won five times, before joining Paul Nicholls during the 2010/2011 season.

*Finished second in the 2011 Crabbies Topham Chase over the Grand National fences on his second start in Britain

*Mon Parrain came 11th in the Crabbie’s Becher Chase over the Grand National fences on December 6, 2014

*His two most recent wins have come at Cheltenham – April, 2014 and January, 2015

*He last raced when fifth in the BetBright Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster on February 28.

Race record: Starts: 24; 1st: 8; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 3; Win & Place prize money: £142,169

 

John and Barbara Cotton

Harrogate-based John and Barbara Cotton have significantly increased their racehorse string in recent years. John Cotton was valued at £67 million in the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List with his wealth coming principally from the family’s bedding business. The John Cotton Group, based at Mirfield in West Yorkshire, was founded in 1916 and is now Europe’s largest manufacturer of pillows and duvets. The Cottons have horses with Guillaume Macaire in France and their British trainers have included Tim Easterby, James Ewart, Nicky Henderson, Alan King, Paul Nicholls and John Quinn. Their best performers include 2008 Munster National winner Dear Villez and this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National contender Mon Parrain, who won the Crabbie’s Topham Chase over the Grand National course in 2011.

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners: 2009 Golden Flight (Fell 1st)

 

Paul Nicholls (Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset)

Born: April 17, 1962 at Lydney, Gloucestershire Background: The son of a policeman, he grew up in Olveston. Started out in point-to- points after leaving school at 16 and worked for a couple of yards before becoming a conditional jockey with Josh Gifford for two years and then joining Devon trainer David Barons. He partnered 119 winners between 1980 and 1989, with his biggest British successes coming in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Broadheath (1986) and Playschool (1987). He struggled to keep his weight down and gave up race riding. Between 1989 and 1991, he was assistant trainer to Barons, who trained Broadheath and Playschool and sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National. Has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. Started out with eight horses. The facilities have kept on being improved. His daughter Megan is an apprentice jockey with trainer Clive Cox. Achievements: Eight-time champion Jump trainer (2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14) and became the first handler to accrue more than £4 million in a season in 2007/08. He gained his 2,000th winner at Down Royal on November 5, 2011, less than 20 years after taking his licence, making him the fastest Jump trainer to reach the landmark figure. Has sent out 37 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and is the fourth most successful trainer there ever. His successes there include four victories or more in three of the meeting's showpiece contests - the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 & 2009 Master Minded, 2015 Dodging Bullets), the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business, 2007 & 2009 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman) and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Big Buck’s 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012). He also won the Stan James Champion Hurdle with Rock On Ruby in 2012. At Aintree, he captured the Crabbie’s Grand National with Neptune Collonges in 2012 and sent out Big Buck’s for four consecutive victories (2009 to 2012) in the race which is now the Grade One Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle. He saddled Silviniaco Conti to win the Grade One Betfred Bowl in 2014 and has been leading trainer at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival twice – in 2008 and 2011. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1992 Just So (6th); 1996 Vicompt De Valmont (10th), Deep Bramble (PU 29th), Brackenfield (UR 19th); 1997 Straight Talk (FELL 14th); 1998 What A Hand (FELL 1st), Court Melody (FELL 6th), General Crack (PU 11th); 1999 Strong Chairman (15th), Double Thriller (FELL 1st), 2000 Earthmover (FELL 4th), Torduff Express (FELL 13th), Flaked Oats (FELL 20th), Escartefigue (UR 30th); 2001 Earthmover (FELL 4th); 2002 Murt’s Man (PU 17th), Ad Hoc (BD 27th); 2003 Montifault (5th), Fadalko (UR 6th), Ad Hoc (UR 19th), Shotgun Willy (PU 22nd), Torduff Express (UR 27th); 2004 Exit To Wave (PU 9th); 2005 Royal Auclair (2nd), Heros Collonges (8th), L’Aventure (15th), Ad Hoc (FELL 22nd); 2006 Royal Auclair (FELL 1st), Le Duc (UR 8th), Silver Birch (FELL 15th), Heros Collonges (UR 15th), Le Roi Miguel (PU 19th), Cornish Rebel (PU 19th); 2007 Le Duc (UR 6th), Royal Auclair (FELL 9th), Eurotrek (PU bef 22nd), Thisthatandtother (PU 30th); 2008 Cornish Sett (12th), Turko (FELL 25th), Mr Pointment (PU 30th); 2009 My Will (3rd), Big Fella Thanks (6th), Cornish Sett (17th), Eurotrek (PU 17th); 2010 Big Fella Thanks (4th), Tricky Trickster (9th), My Will (FELL 4th), Nozic (UR 20th); 2011 Niche Market (5th), Ornais (FELL 4th), The Tother One (FELL 6th), What A Friend (PU 27th); 2012 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (WON); 2013 Join Together (12th), What A Friend (PU 19th), Harry The Viking (PU 26th); 2014 Rocky Creek (5th), Hawkes Point (18th), Tidal Bay (UR 8th)

 

Sean Bowen

Born: September 5, 1997 Background: Son of leading trainer Peter Bowen (himself once an amateur rider) and Karen Bowen, who was also an amateur jockey and finished third in the ladies’ championship. 17-year-old Bowen will be aiming to match the feat of Bruce Hobbs who became the youngest rider to win the Crabbies’ Grand National at the same age in 1938 on board Battleship. Hobbs was born on December 20, 1920 and won the Grand National on March 25, 1938. Bowen, more than three months older than Hobbs coming into the race, booked his place in this year’s race when riding a treble at Haydock last weekend, securing his crucial 10th winner over fences on the Paul Nicholls-trained Virak. A career in the saddle looked unlikely in his formative years as Bowen was allergic to horses and ‘hated horses’ until he was five. After a successful stint in the pony racing circuit and in point-to-points (champion UK novice rider), Bowen rode a winner on his first start under Rules as an amateur on Kozmina Bay at Uttoxeter in December 2013. Bowen turned professional at the beginning of this season and is enjoying a fine campaign. He is currently battling it out with Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Nico de Boinville for the conditional jockeys’ championship. He rode a treble on Welsh National day this season and followed it up with a double at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day – including on his Crabbie’s Grand National mount Mon Parrain. He also had trebles at Haydock on Easter Saturday and at Chepstow on Easter Monday. His father runs Al Co in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National and did best in the race with Mckelvey in 2007. Previous  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  rides:  No  previous    ride.

Monbeg Dude (IRE) 10-10-07

Breeding: b g Witness Box (USA) - Ten Dollar Bill (IRE) (Accordion (IRE))

Breeder: Hilary O'Connor Born: April 15, 2005 Owner: Oydunow

Trainer: Michael Scudamore

Jockey:  Liam Treadwell

Form: 26/45213P/U113P/34157-24430

 

*Seventh, beaten 22 lengths by Pineau De Re, in the 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National

*Stayed on after being outpaced when 14th of 24, beaten 25 lengths by The Druids Nephew in the Grade Three Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong at the Cheltenham Festival on March 10 (wore tongue-tie for first time).

*Ran well in three major handicap staying chases earlier this season, taking third in the Betfred Grand National Trial over three miles and five furlongs at Haydock Park on February 14 and fourth in both the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27 and Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup on November 29.

*Enjoyed finest hour to date when edging out Teaforthree by a half-length in a thrilling finish to the Coral Welsh National (nearly three and three quarter miles) on heavy ground at Chepstow in January, 2013.

*Was purchased at a post-racing Brightwells auction at Cheltenham in January, 2010, for £12,000, although Mike Tindall, who was responsible for the winning bid, had never previously seen Monbeg Dude and had his back to the ring when the horse was offered for sale. James Simpson-Daniel and Michael Scudamore were with Tindall and each took a quarter-share. They got in touch with Nicky Robinson and he agreed to take the remaining 25 per cent.

*Has his own Twitter handle - @MonbegDude – and his improved jumping over the past couple of seasons has been attributed in part to schooling sessions with Zara Phillips, wife of part-owner Mike Tindall.

Race record: Starts: 23; Wins: 4; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £156,497

 

Oydunow

The Oydunow syndicate consists of trainer Michael Scudamore plus two former rugby union internationals – Mike Tindall, James Simpson-Daniel and current rugby player Nicky Robinson. Mike Tindall MBE, who was born in Otley, West Yorkshire, on October 18, 1978, has represented England on 75 occasions and captained his country seven times. He spent 10 years playing centre for Gloucester RFC until his retirement from professional rugby in July, 2015, having joined the club from local rivals Bath in 2005. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, and, as well as representing England as a schoolboy, also had trials for the national athletics team as a high-jumper. Tindall was offered a place at Durham University to read psychology but decided to play rugby professionally for Bath – he joined the club aged 18 in 1997. He earned his first England cap in 2000 and played outside centre in the 2003 World Cup Final at Sydney, in which England beat Australia 20-17 after extra time. On July 15, 2014, Tindall announced his retirement from professional rugby after playing for Bath and Gloucestershire. His engagement to Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, was announced in December, 2010, and the pair were married at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, on July 30, 2011 – a ceremony that was attended by all of the senior royals including The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Prince William. Tindall and his wife became parents for the first time on January 17, 2014, with the arrival of Mia Grace Tindall, who is 16th in line to the British throne. Tindall was awarded an MBE for his services to rugby in the New Year’s Honours List in 2003. James Simpson-Daniel, who was born in Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, on May 30, 1982, attended Sedbergh School in Cumbria – an educational establishment that has also produced fellow England internationals Will Carling and Will Greenwood. After representing his county and region while at school, Simpson-Daniel joined Gloucester in 2001 and remained at the club until his retirement in September, 2014, primarily as a winger. He played for England on 10 occasions but missed out on the 2003 World Cup-winning squad with a back problem. On September 2, 2014, Simpson-Daniel announced his retirement due to an ongoing ankle injury after playing for Gloucestershire throughout his professional career. His older brother was initially given the nickname “Sinbad” after the character in Brookside, but the name has subsequently been passed down to James – the Sinbad Testimonial Chase was run his honour at Cheltenham in November, 2010. He succeeded Zara Phillips as president of Cheltenham Racecourse’s 18-24 Club in 2005. Simpson-Daniel set up sports nutrition company Kings Biltong along with his brothers Charlie and Mark, who also both played rugby professionally. He currently lives on the outskirts of Cheltenham with his wife Lucy and two sons. He started working for bookmakers Fitzdares in January, 2015. Nicky Robinson, who was born in Cardiff on January 3, 1982, has won 13 caps for Wales and currently plays fly-half for Bristol RFC, although he recently signed to play for French club Oyonnax for the 2015/16 season. He went to school at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf in Cardiff along with his older brother Jamie, who has also played rugby for Wales. Nicky started his professional career at Cardiff in 2003 before moving to Gloucester in 2009 and then to London Wasps in 2011. Robinson is married to Lynsey, the daughter of legendary Liverpool FC player and manager Kenny Dalglish. He was informed of his ownership of Monbeg Dude when Mike Tindall texted him a photograph of the purchase slip, accompanied with the message: “Congrats, you’ve got a leg of a horse”. If Monbeg Dude were to be successful at Aintree, he would not be the first Grand National winner to have a rugby connection – the 1979 victor Rubstic was owned by John Douglas, who played for Scotland in the 1960s, while the 1928 scorer Tipperary Tim was bred by Irish international John  Ryan.  Crabbie’s Grand  National  Record:  2014  Monbeg  Dude  (7th)

 

Michael Scudamore (Bromsash, Herefordshire)

Born: February 24, 1984 Background: a son of eight-time champion jump jockey Peter Scudamore, who is assistant trainer to Scottish handler Lucinda Russell, and grandson of the late Michael snr, who rode Oxo to victory in the 1959 Grand National at Aintree and also was successful in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase. Mother Marilyn is a point-to-point trainer, while his brother Tom is a successful jump jockey with seven Cheltenham Festival wins to his name, including two at the 2015 four-day meeting in March. Michael grew up surrounded by horses in the Cotswolds – Peter was assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies when the trainer sent out Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002) to win the Crabbie’s Grand National. Michael was a keen pony rider as a child and enjoyed show jumping and one-day eventing, although he initially wanted to become a rugby player and played as a flanker for Gloucester Academy and Wales U-19s. He also spent two seasons playing professionally for Ebbw Vale as well as a spell with Gwent Dragons U-21s. Realising he wouldn’t make it at the highest level as a rugby player, he instead tried his luck as a point-to-point jockey, riding three winners in a season. As well as working with his father, he spent time with Dennis Caro, James Fanshawe and Martin Pipe. Michael became assistant to his grandfather in 2005 before taking over the reins at Eccleswall Court, Bromsash near Ross-On-Wye on April 30, 2008. Major Wins include: Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase (2012 Monbeg Dude), Coral Welsh National (2013 Monbeg Dude), Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase (2013 Monbeg Dude), Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (2015 Next Sensation – his first at the  Cheltenham  Festival)  Crabbie’s Grand  National  Record: 2014  Monbeg  Dude  (7th)

 

Liam Treadwell

Born: January 3 1986 Background: grew up in Arundel, where his parents, Mark and Lorraine, both worked for John Dunlop. A keen sportsman at school, Treadwell represented his county at rugby, football and basketball and excelled at tetrathlon. Treadwell started riding out at weekends for Dunlop, Nick Gifford and Amanda Perrett when he was 14 and spent two working holidays with Kiaran McLaughlin in Dubai, as well as a stint at Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle yard. After leaving school, he started working full time for Dandy Nicholls in 2003, riding 20 Flat winners over the next two seasons, before weight concerns forced him to consider riding over jumps. He strengthened up and joined the stable of Venetia Williams in mid-2004, riding his first winner in that sphere when Little Rort took a handicap hurdle at Towcester on April 25, 2005. He enjoyed a good 2006/07 campaign, riding 30 winners, and shot to prominence on Mon Mome who finished second in the Welsh National in December, 2006. He followed up with 29 wins in the 2007/08 campaign and won the Richard Davies Award, given to the conditional who accumulates the most wins and places during the season at Cheltenham, Chepstow, Hereford, Ludlow, Stratford, Towcester, Warwick and Worcester, following in the footsteps of jockeys such as Timmy Murphy and Robert Thornton. Treadwell shot to national prominence in 2009 when partnering Mon Mome to a famous 100/1 success in the John Smith’s Grand National. After the race BBC presenter Clare Balding remarked on the condition of Treadwell’s teeth and that he could now afford “to get them done”, mistakenly thinking they had been damaged in a fall. However, Treadwell subsequently received several approaches from dentists and eventually underwent extensive cosmetic dentistry, valued at £30,000. The London-based Ultrasmile clinic carried out the work for free as part of a promotional campaign, and he now has a perfect smile. Treadwell enjoyed success at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013 when he partnered Carrickhillboy to success in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate. He has only ridden in the Grand National once since his debut success and was unseated from Nozic in the 2010 running.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2009 MON MOME (WON); 2010 Nozic (UR 20th)

Night In Milan (IRE) 9-10-09

Breeding: b g Milan - Chione (IRE)  (Mandalus)

Breeder: Brendan Healy Born: April 26, 2006 Owner: Richard Collins Trainer: Keith Reveley Jockey: James Reveley

Form: 5/87613155/24122P/512323F1/2301P1-40233

 

*Warmed up for the Crabbie’s Grand National with third place in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster in late February.

*The latest of his seven victories came in the same race a year previously.

*Has been ridden to victory only by James Reveley, who partners him in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Well-bred; his dam is out of a half-sister to top-class staying hurdler Rose Ravine, herself dam of Cardinal Red, a novice hurdle winner at Aintree. The family is also that of high-class animals like Shannon Glen, Verrazano Bridge and Buckhouse Boy.

Race record: Starts: 34; Wins: 7; 2nds: 7; 3rds: 6. Win & Place prize money: £94,532.

 

Richard Collins

Richard Collins is a one-time jockey who had some 500 rides and 50 winners for the late Arthur Stephenson and is now a self-made businessman. As a rider he started in 1969 as a Flat apprentice, with Scobie Breasley in Epsom and then Bill Murray in Middleham, before moving to Stephenson at Bishop Auckland. Later he made his fortune from Collins Seafoods, an award-winning international company that he founded in 1980 as a one-man band, driving his van to North Shields to collect fresh fish to supply hotels, restaurants and fish ‘n’ chip shops in Co Durham, storing it in his kitchen freezer and working an 18-hour day - a work ethic he attributes to Stephenson. The firm now takes in fish from waters as far afield as the Faroe Islands, Spain and Russia and expanded in 2011 with the takeover of a wholesale company in Leeds, and delivers around 10,000 tonnes a year. As an owner, Night In Milan and his Reveley stablemate Brave Spartacus, with seven victories apiece, have  been his  most  prolific  winners. Crabbie’s Grand National  record: no previous   runners.

 

Keith Reveley (Lingdale, Saltburn, Cleveland)

Born: April 14, 1963 Background: Keith Reveley enjoyed a short career as an amateur rider and contested point-to-points before assisting his mother, Mary Reveley at the family’s Groundhill Farm stables at Lingdale in Cleveland. Mary Reveley enjoyed a prolific career as a dual-purpose trainer, producing high-class winners over jumps such as Cab On Target, Morgan’s Harbour, Dalkey Sound, Carbisdale, Random Harvest, Brackenfield, Diamond Sal and Marello, as well as major Flat scorers Melottie, Turnpole and Old Red. Keith Reveley took over the trainer’s licence on August 2, 2004, following his mother’s retirement and has continued to keep the stable in the limelight despite training many fewer horses Training Success: Ungaro won the totescoop6 Sandown Handicap Hurdle in 2006 and later that year landed a Grade One triumph in the Feltham Novices’ Chase. Reveley also saddled the promising Tazbar to win the Grade Two Rossington Main Hurdle in January, 2008, as well as the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock the following month. Rambling Minster landed the Grade Three Grand National Trial at Haydock Park in 2009 while Night In Milan captured the 2014 Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster. Crabbie’s  Grand  National  record:  2009  Rambling  Minister  (PU    19th)

 

James Reveley

Born: March 10, 1989. Background: Is the son of successful trainer Keith and grandson of prolific all-purpose handler Mary. He grew up on the family’s Saltburn farm, and started his competitive life showjumping on ponies, becoming national junior champion aged 12. He started riding under rules when he was 16 and won fifth time out, on Time Marches On at Plumpton in May 2005. He turned professional in October that year, riding for his father. He had several rides on the Flat but concentrated on jump racing and had his first significant success on Clouding Over in a valuable mares’ hurdle at Southwell in January 2007. He won over the Grand National fences at his first attempt, on Endless Power in the 2009 Grand Sefton Chase and the same year won the Scottish Borders National at Kelso on Rambling Minister. He spent the summer of 2007 riding for leading French trainer Guillaume Macaire, for whom he scored at Grade One level at Merano, Italy, in 2010 on Rigoureux and has maintained the French connection since, with sereral prestige Auteuil victories including last year’s Prix Troytown for Jacques Ortet. He is set for his best-ever season, just one short of his 2011/12 total of 52 at the start of this week. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2009 Rambling Minister (PU 19th); 2011 That’s Rhythm (FELL 1st); 2012 Always  Right  (UR   15th).

Oscar Time (IRE) 14-10-05

 

Breeding: b g Oscar (IRE) - Baywatch Star (IRE) (Supreme  Leader)

Breeder:  Edmond Coleman

Born:  May  14, 2001  Owner/Trainer: Robert Waley-Cohen Jockey: Sam Waley-Cohen

Form: 4243/2123217/23232214F/73152/2632/4/4U604/11U14

 

*Oldest horse in the line-up and bidding to become the first 14-year-old to win the Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Purchased by Robert Waley-Cohen after finishing second in the 2010 Irish Grand National but remained in the care of Irish handler Martin Lynch, for whom he was placed in two Crabbie’s Grand Nationals – second to Ballabriggs in 2011 and fourth behind Auroras Encore in 2013.

*Moved to Waley-Cohen’s Upton Viva Stud in Oxfordshire after sustaining a leg injury and was nursed back to win a point- to-point and two hunter chases in May, 2014.

*Continued his excellent record over Grand National fences with gutsy victory over Mendip Express in the Betfred Becher Chase partnered by his usual amateur rider, Waley-Cohen’s son Sam, on December 6.

*Last seen out when fourth in three-mile veterans’ chase at Doncaster on February 18.

Race Record: Starts: 40; Wins: 7; 2nd: 11; 3rd; 6: Win & Place Prize Money: £529,958

 

Robert Waley-Cohen (Upton, Oxfordshire)

Born: November 10, 1948. Background: His father Sir Bernard was Lord Mayor of London (1960-1961). Robert Waley- Cohen, educated at Eton, started out in business with fine art auctioneers Christies (1969-1981) and was sent to America where he later started Alliance Imaging Inc (1983-1988). He founded European-wide healthcare giant Alliance Medical where he was chief executive from 1989 to 2006 and deputy chairman from 2006 to 2010 before the business was sold for £600 million, and has been the chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse since 2011 after becoming a director there in 1986. He is based at the 2,000-acre Upton Estate on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border. Racing interests: He rode for a spell as an amateur rider, mainly in point-to-points. He enjoyed one success under Rules and finished third in the 1981 Fox Hunter’s Chase at Aintree. His greatest day as an owner came in March, 2011, when his amateur rider son Sam Waley-Cohen partnered Long Run to win the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, trained by long-time friend Nicky Henderson. The gelding, at six became the youngest Gold Cup winner since Mill House in 1963. The owner’s four other successes at the Cheltenham Festival include Rustle’s victory in what is now the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 1989. He has horses in training with Guillaume Macaire in France as well as Nicky Henderson. He also trains a few horses himself under permit and sent out Katarino to win the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree in 2005 and 2006, again ridden by Sam. A member of the Jockey Club since 1983, where he has been a steward (1995-2000), he keeps a team of around 10 broodmares at Upton Viva Stud. His son Tom died of cancer in July, 2004, and Tom’s Ward at Oxford Children’s Hospital is named in memory. He is married to Felicity and they also have another son, Marcus, and a daughter Jessica.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record as an owner: 2003 Katarino (UR 15th); 2007 Liberthine (5th); 2011 Oscar Time (2nd); 2013 Oscar Time (4th); 2014 Long Run (Fell 9th)

 

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

Born: April 15, 1982. Background: he started his riding career in point-to-points and is now the country’s highest-profile amateur. His first success under Rules came on Moscow Dancer in an amateur riders' hurdle at Kelso on December 1, 2003 and in March 2011 he reached the sport’s pinnacle as a rare amateur rider to partner a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. His victory on Long Run made him the first amateur to take the Festival highlight since Jim Wilson in 1981. His record over the unique spruce fences at Aintree is the envy of most professional riders, with five wins over the Grand National fences courtesy of Katarino (2005 & 2006) and Warne (2014) in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase, Liberthine in the 2006 Crabbie’s Topham Chase and Oscar Time in the 2014 Betfred Becher Chase. He has finished placed in the Crabbie’s Grand National on twice on Oscar Time – second in 2011 and fourth in 2013. He has also partnered four winners at the Cheltenham Festival, most recently on Rajdhani Express in 2013. Waley-Cohen studied politics at Edinburgh University and started out in business as a commodity trader. He founded his own company, Portman Healthcare, in 2009. It now has 27 dental practices. He is a close friend of Prince William and Kate Middleton (who was at school with Sam’s brother Tom, lost to bone cancer in 2004 at the age of 20) and is widely credited with reuniting the pair following their brief break-up in 2007. He married Annabel Ballin in June, 2011 and they have a son, Max. He holds a pilot’s licence for planes and helicopters. Sam’s father is Robert Waley- Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse and owner of Long Run, Oscar Time and many of his son’s other mounts.

Crabbie's Grand National Record: 2007 Liberthine (5th); 2009 Ollie Magern (FELL 2nd); 2011 Oscar Time (2nd); 2013 Oscar Time (4th); 2014 Long Run (Fell 9th)

Owega Star (IRE) 8-10-03

 

Breeding: br g Basanta (IRE) — Los Monteros (IRE) (College  Chapel)

Breeder:  Anthony Callan

Born: April 2, 2007

Owner: Anthony Callan & Siobhan Callan

Trainer: Peter Fahey IRE

Jockey: Robbie Power

Form: 1211544/632168/3621213-8256

 

*Started his career between the flags in point-to-points before making a winning debut in a Killarney bumper.

*Won three races over hurdles, including the Grade Two Tara Hurdle at Navan.

*Got off the mark over fences at the fifth attempt when winning a Listowel Beginners Chase by four and a quarter lengths.

*Showed staying was his forte when finishing the length and three quarter runner-up to Balbriggan in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan earlier this season.

Jump race record: Starts: 24; Wins: 6; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £97,204

 

Anthony Callan & Siobhan Callan

Anthony is married to trainer Peter Fahey’s sister Siobhan. He is assistant manager at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in Co Kildare, and bred Owega Star himself.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Peter Fahey IRE (Cloneygath, Monasterevin, Co Kildare)

Born: May 6, 1979 Background: Peter Fahey is now in his fifth season with a trainer’s licence and is enjoying his best campaign to date, with 12 winners on the board so far. He has around eight horses in training. His family is heavily steeped in racing, with three of his brothers – Jarlath, Seamus and Paul also being trainers. All are based at the same yard in Monasterevin, Co Kildare. Paul also works as a farrier alongside another brother, Thomas, while their sister Siobhan is married to Owega Star’s owner/breeder Anthony Callan. Another brother Brendan is a breeder.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Robbie Power

Born: May 27, 1981 Background: Enjoyed the biggest victory of his career in the 2007 Crabbie’s Grand National when urging Silver Birch to a thrilling three quarters of a length triumph. Power is the son of legendary Irish showjumper and trainer Captain Con Power, who is regarded as the top man in Ireland to deal with jumping issues in horses. A silver medallist at the European Junior Showjumping Championships in 2000, Power made the switch to jump racing the following year and rode his first winner on only his third attempt when partnering his mother's Younevertoldme, trained by Jessica Harrington, in a hurdle race at Punchestown in December, 2001. He is attached to Harrington’s County Kildare stable where he began as an amateur after receiving encouragement from Richard Dunwoody. His first winner as a professional came on the Paddy Mullins-trained Bob What at Leopardstown in February, 2002. He partnered the Mullins-trained Nearly A Moose to success in the 2003 Galway Plate. That victory came after he had sprung to prominence in Britain with a win aboard the Harrington-trained Intelligent in the Midlands Grand National earlier in the year. He was honoured at the 2004 Irish Jump Racing Awards as the leading claiming rider and in August of that year he partnered his first Australian winner to clinch victory in the annual Irish jump jockey challenge down under. A broken bone in a foot, sustained in a schooling accident, cost him the winning ride on Newmill in the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase. He followed his 2007 Crabbie’s Grand National triumph with a sensational victory aboard 20/1 shot Silent Oscar in the ACC Bank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown, defeating hot favourite Mac's Joy by a neck. Power remains affiliated to the Harrington stable and rode the yard’s Bostons Angel to win three Grade One novice chases including the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011. He also rode Oscars Well to a pair of Grade One novice hurdle triumphs for Harrington. Power has completed the course in three of his seven starts in the Crabbie’s Grand National. Power also enjoyed Grade One success on Jezki who landed the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2013 before going on to finish third behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Power now mixes showjumping with racing and won the Speed Derby at Hickstead in 2013.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2005 Spot Thedifference (18th); 2007 SILVER BIRCH (WON); 2008 Nadover (7th); 2009 Silver Birch (FELL 22nd); 2011 Killyglen (FELL 27th); 2012 Killyglen (UR 8th); 2013 Joncol (PU 19th)

Pineau De Re (FR) 12-11-00

Breeding: b g Maresca Sorrento (FR) – Elfe Du Perche (FR) (Abdonski (FR))

Breeder: Michel Hardy

Age: 11

Born: May 8, 2003

Owner:  John Provan Trainer: Dr Richard Newland Jockey:  Daryl Jacob Breeder:  Michel Hardy

Jump  Form: 2617/3/1232/61F540/90501621/60235F27131-0P00

 

*Winner of the 40-runner 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National over 30 fences at 25/1, scoring in great style by five lengths from Balthazar King under Leighton Aspell. He was a first runner in the great race for both owner John Provan and trainer Dr Richard Newland. Carried 10st 6lb to victory in 2014, over four miles

& three and a half furlongs.

*Has run four times over hurdles this season but has not troubled the judge.

*Last seen out when 11th, beaten just under 20 lengths, in the Listed Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival on March 12. He finished third in the same race in 2014 prior to his Crabbie’s Grand National victory.

*His name refers to a fortified wine (Pineau) produced in the Poitou-Charente region of western France, specifically in this case on the Ile de Re, an island linked by a bridge to the mainland.

*Bred by the Ile de Re-based Michel Hardy, Pineau De Re was sold as a three-year-old at a sale at Saint-Cloud for 20,000 euros and moved to Ireland.

*Pineau De Re came to Dr Richard Newland’s small stable in Claines, Worcestershire in the summer of 2013 at the age of 10, after being bought privately before a projected appearance at Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. The horse had been trained in Ireland by Philip Fenton for owner Barry Connell and won the Ulster National by 23 lengths at Downpatrick in April, 2013.

Jump race record: Starts 38; wins 7; 2nd 6; 3rd 4. Win & place prize money: £659,706

 

John Provan

Born: June, 1946 in Glasgow Background: John Provan is a former amateur jockey who rode on the Flat against Princess Anne on a couple of occasions. He worked in various racing yards, including those of Tommy Taylor and John Mackie, and rode out most mornings. He now runs a print and packaging business called Printcut Boxfast and lives in Doveridge, Derbyshire. He first met trainer Dr Richard Newland when he moved into the same village and the pair discovered a mutual love of racing. After picking Provan’s brain over a number of years, as well as owning various horses together, Newland decided to take the plunge into training and the combination has not looked back since. He purchased Pineau De Re, then 10, in a private deal with Barry Connell in the summer of 2013 before the horse went through the sales ring at Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. Provan admitted that Pineau De Re was not the normal type of horse he would buy but both he and Newland saw a ‘window of opportunity’ with the horse and purchased him as a potential Grand National horse, having seen him win the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick in April, 2013. Both Provan and Newland have attended the Crabbie’s Grand National for the past 20 years and Pineau De Re was their first runner in the race.

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners: 2014 PINEAU DE RE (WON)

 

Dr Richard Newland (Claines, Worcestershire)

Born: November 15, 1963 Background: Dr Richard Newland studied medicine at Cambridge University, followed by medical training at St Mary’s Hospital, London. He then undertook specialist training in general practice and, after qualifying, was appointed as principal GP at a practice in Sutton Coldfield, where he worked for 12 years. In 2004, together with Dr Bryan Fehilly, he founded Newhall Medical Practice as Birmingham’s first private GP service. He runs his long- established CHS Healthcare business, which he started in 1995. CHS Healthcare has grown into a major supplier of specialist services to the NHS and employs over 200 people. Newland has also become a successful trainer and is no stranger to big-race victories since taking out a licence in 2006 following success in the point-to-point sphere. Ownership of horses with Philip Hobbs, Richard Lee and John Mackie (first winner in 1996) came before he and wife Laura decided to take the plunge into training from their 12-box yard near Worcester. He hit the ground running in his first full season as a permit holder when Overstrand won a Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown in 2006 and Burntoakboy, his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival, captured the Grade Three Coral Cup in 2007. His other big-race successes include Act Of Kalanisi in a valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot in February, 2011 and Night Alliance, who won the Tommy Whittle Chase in December, 2013. Pineau De Re was Newland’s first runner in the Crabbie’s Grand National when successful in 2014, although he was no stranger to victory over the famous fences, with 50/1 shot Silver Adonis having won the 2010 Fox Hunters’ Chase. Major wins include: Crabbie’s Grand National (2014 Pineau De Re), Coral Cup (2007 Overstrand); Tommy Whittle Chase (2013 Night Alliance), Crabbie’s Foxhunters’ Chase (2010 Silver Adonis), Summer Plate (2014 Mart Lane), Listed December Handicap Hurdle, Sandown (2006 Overstrand), Imperial Cup (2015 Ebony Express)

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners: 2014 PINEAU DE RE (WON)

 

Daryl Jacob

Born: August 28, 1983, in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Background: the son of a fisherman, Jacob initially attended the Racing School in Kildare and then spent two years with Dessie Hughes before having a summer riding out Flat horses with Richard Hannon in Wiltshire. He then joined Robert and Sally Alner’s Dorset stable and rode their point-to-pointers, and after a season with Paul Keane returned to the Alners in the summer of 2006. He enjoyed a fantastic 2006/07 season, highlighted by success on The Listener in the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, 2007, his first victory in his homeland since he switched to Britain in 2003. During his time with Hughes, he became very friendly with Kieran Kelly, who died in a fall in 2003, and Daryl dedicated his Lexus triumph to Kieran, who was instrumental in encouraging him to make the move to England. It was the decision of owner Ray Humphreys to give the ride on The Listener to Jacob, having “jocked off” Andrew Thornton, and the partnership flourished in the 2007/08 season, with further Grade One victories in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown and the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Daryl enjoyed a dream 48 hours at the end of 2009, as he partnered the Nick Williams-trained Me Voici to victory in the Grade One Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on December 27 and landed the Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury two days later on Reve De Sivola, also for Williams. On his first start in the Crabbie’s Grand National in 2007, Daryl finished a gallant fourth on Philson Run, and the jockey has been successful over the famous fences with I Hear Thunder, who triumphed in the 2006 Grand Sefton Chase. He enjoyed aboard the Williams-trained Diamond Harry in the 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and also gained the first of two Cheltenham Festival winners in the 2011 JCB Triumph Hurdle with Zarkandar for Paul Nicholls. The biggest victory of his career came in the 2012 Crabbie’s Grand National when he came with a great late run on Neptune Collonges to score by a nose from Sunnyhillboy, the closest ever verdict in the race. Jacob was appointed stable jockey to Nicholls in the summer of 2013 but was ousted from the job after just a year. He now rides for several different trainers and was appointed to ride as first choice jockey for Jean and Bob Bishop, who own several top horses including multiple Grade One winner Cue Card.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2007 Philson Run (4th); 2008 Philson Run (UR 8th); 2010 Maljimar (FELL 22nd), 2011 What A Friend (PU 27th), 2012 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (WON); 2013 Join Together (12th)

Portrait King (IRE) 10-10-03

Breeding: gr g Portrait Galley (IRE) - Storm Queen (IRE) (Le Bavard  (FR))

Breeder: Seamus Byrne Born: March 28 2005 Owner: Marie Davis Trainer: Maurice Phelan Jockey: Davy Condon

Form: 343/6642F/6302110/P4-8P1292

 

*Started his career with a point-to-point win in Ireland in November 2009. First win under Rules came in February 2012 at Punchestown in the Dobbins & Madigans at Punchestown Grand National Trial

*Biggest win came in the 2012 Eider Chase at Newcastle, and has only enjoyed one victory since - in an amateur chase at Punchestown in January

*The last of three greys to win the Crabbie’s Grand National was Neptune Collonges in 2012. Before that were Nicolaus Silver (1961) and The Lamb (1868 & 1871)

Jump race record: Starts: 23 Wins: 3; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £60,791

 

Marie Davies

Marie Davies is the wife of a farmer local to Phelan’s yard. This is the first horse she has had in training.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: no previous runners.

 

Maurice Phelan (Athy, Co Kildare, Ireland)

Former successful amateur rider Maurice Phelan, who was 50 on St Patrick’s Day 2015, has been training for 20 years. He owns Bert House Stud near Athy in Co Kildare, where he used to stand stallions Broken Hearted and City Honours. He has just six horses in training. His father, also Maurice, stood National Hunt stallions like Little Buskins and Crash Course in Co Waterford. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: no previous runners

 

Davy Condon

Born: December 3, 1984 Background: Davy Condon, whose father Mick was a leading amateur and point-to- point rider, started his career in 2000 as a 15-year-old apprentice Flat jockey with Willie Mullins, had his first winner the next season and ended that year with five successes from 95 rides. In the next three seasons, he took his win tally up to 75 and his most notable association was with the Mullins-trained Holy Orders, whom he rode in 30 races across both codes, including when well beaten in the 2003 Melbourne Cup. As Condon’s weight increased, he looked to the jump world and rode his first winner over hurdles in November, 2004. He had his first, and so far only, Cheltenham Festival success aboard Ebaziyan in the 2007 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the following year moved from Ireland to become stable jockey to Nicky Richards’ Cumbrian yard following Tony Dobbin’s retirement, winning the 2008 Peterborough Chase on Monet’s Garden and 2009 Scottish Champion Hurdle on Noble Alan. He returned home in the 2009/10 season and struck up a good rapport with Go Native on whom he won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton although he missed out on his share of a potential £1 million bonus when the horse was beaten in the 2010 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. He has also enjoyed Grade One success in Ireland on the likes of Pandorama, Realt Mor and Morning Assembly while he won the Grade One Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices' Hurdle on Orsippus in 2010. Condon is a cousin of jockey Paul Townend.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2007 Homer Wells (PU 22nd); 2010 Backstage (UR 20th); 2012 Becauseicouldntsee (FELL 8th); 2014 Raz De Maree (8th)

Rebel Rebellion (IRE) 10-10-12

Breeding: b g Lord Americo - Tourmaline Girl (IRE)  (Toulon)

Breeder: Frances Galloway

Born: April 28, 2005

Owner: Woodhouse, Sutton & Dobson

Trainer:  Paul Nicholls

Jockey: Ryan Mahon

Form: 317/011/6d/1431P24/541320-7454121

 

*Has scored over the Grand National fences, in the two mile, five furlong Betfred Grand Sefton Chase in December, 2013. Since then he has jumped round twice, finishing 15th in the Crabbie’s Topham Chase at the Natioal meeting last year and fifth in the Grand Sefton in December.

*Has won two out of seven races this season, most recently a two and a half mile handicap at Newbury in March, his trainer’s 10oth winner of the season.

*Changed hands at auction for €6,500 as a foal, then £61,000 as an unraced four-year-old. Is from the family of high-class staying chaser Monsieur Le Cure.

Jump race record: Starts: 27; Win: 8, 2nd: 3; 3rd: 3. Win and place prize money: £153,863

 

Woodhouse, Sutton & Dobson

Mark Woodhouse’s business is the Hall & Woodhouse brewery based at Blandford St Mary in Dorset. The company was founded in 1777, 62 years before the first Grand National; Woodhouse, 60, is the chairman and is the seventh generation of his family to be involved. The brewery’s most famous product is its Badger Ales and the firm’s backing of the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton Racecourse – of which Woodhouse is a former chairman – is jump racing’s the second-oldest current sponsorship. North Cheriton-based Woodhouse and his wife Tessa are long-time owners – the Paul Nicholls-trained smart hurdler Rigmarole has been another of their recent colourbearers - and while serving in the Army in Germany he held a permit and trained three winners. He also rode successfully in point-to-points and in 2011 he and Tessa completed a 102-mile charity walk in support of a Paralympian dressage rider. Rosanne Dobson, from Somerton, and Caroline Sutton, from Cucklington, are also long-time owners, individually and in partnerships. The current partners owned one-time Crabbies’s Grand National hope Benvolio, now rerouted to the Scottish version, before his sale earlier this year to David and Patricia Thompson. Crabbie’s Grand National record:  no  previous   runners.

 

Paul Nicholls (Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset)

Born: April 17, 1962 at Lydney, Gloucestershire Background: The son of a policeman, he grew up in Olveston. Started out in point-to-points after leaving school at 16 and worked for a couple of yards before becoming a conditional jockey with Josh Gifford for two years and then joining Devon trainer David Barons. He partnered 119 winners between 1980 and 1989, with his biggest British successes coming in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Broadheath (1986) and Playschool (1987). He struggled to keep his weight down and gave up race riding. Between 1989 and 1991, he was assistant trainer to Barons, who trained Broadheath and Playschool and sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National. Has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. Started out with eight horses. The facilities have kept on being improved. His daughter Megan is an apprentice jockey with trainer Clive Cox. Achievements: Eight-time champion jump trainer (2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14) and became the first handler to accrue more than £4 million in a season in 2007/08. He gained his 2,000th winner at Down Royal on November 5, 2011, less than 20 years after taking his licence, making him the fastest jump trainer to reach the landmark figure. Has sent out 37 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and is the fourth most successful trainer there ever. His successes there include four victories or more in three of the meeting's showpiece contests - the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 & 2009 Master Minded, 2015 Dodging Bullets), the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business, 2007 & 2009 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman) and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Big Buck’s 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012). He also won the Stan James Champion Hurdle with Rock On Ruby in 2012. At Aintree, he captured the Crabbie’s Grand National with Neptune Collonges in 2012 and sent out Big Buck’s for four consecutive victories (2009 to 2012) in the race which is now the Grade One Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle. He saddled Silviniaco Conti to win the Grade One Betfred Bowl in 2014 and has been leading trainer at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival twice – in 2011 and 2008. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1992 Just So (6th); 1996 Vicompt De Valmont (10th), Deep Bramble (PU 29th), Brackenfield (UR 19th); 1997 Straight Talk (FELL 14th); 1998 What A Hand (FELL 1st), Court Melody (FELL 6th), General Crack (PU 11th); 1999 Strong Chairman (15th), Double Thriller (FELL 1st), 2000 Earthmover (FELL 4th), Torduff Express (FELL 13th), Flaked Oats (FELL 20th), Escartefigue (UR 30th); 2001 Earthmover (FELL 4th); 2002 Murt’s Man (PU 17th), Ad Hoc (BD 27th); 2003 Montifault (5th), Fadalko (UR 6th), Ad Hoc (UR 19th), Shotgun Willy (PU 22nd), Torduff Express (UR 27th); 2004 Exit To Wave (PU 9th); 2005 Royal Auclair (2nd), Heros Collonges (8th), L’Aventure (15th), Ad Hoc (FELL 22nd); 2006 Royal Auclair (FELL 1st), Le Duc (UR 8th), Silver Birch (FELL 15th), Heros Collonges (UR 15th), Le Roi Miguel (PU 19th), Cornish Rebel (PU 19th); 2007 Le Duc (UR 6th), Royal Auclair (FELL 9th), Eurotrek (PU bef 22nd), Thisthatandtother (PU 30th); 2008 Cornish Sett (12th), Turko (FELL 25th), Mr Pointment (PU 30th); 2009 My Will (3rd), Big Fella Thanks (6th), Cornish Sett (17th), Eurotrek (PU 17th); 2010 Big Fella Thanks (4th), Tricky Trickster (9th), My Will (FELL 4th), Nozic (UR 20th); 2011 Niche Market (5th), Ornais (FELL 4th), The Tother One (FELL 6th), What A Friend (PU 27th); 2012 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (WON); 2013 Join Together (12th), What A Friend (PU 19th), Harry The Viking (PU 26th); 2014 Rocky Creek (5th), Hawkes Point (18th), Tidal Bay (UR 8th)

 

Ryan Mahon

Born: July 4, 1987 Background: Ryan Mahon comes from a background steeped in point-to-point racing. His grandfather Jim Mahon was a hugely influential figure between the flags as he not only founded the Point-to-Point Owners’ & Riders’ Association but was also instrumental in introducing the first fixture to be run under Jockey Club Rules on a Sunday in Britain - at Ashorne, Warwickshire - on April 25, 1993. Jim also trained Blue Cheek to win the 1997 Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree. Ryan’s father Gabe holds a permit. Ryan’s two sisters, Ella and Lara plus his younger brother Leo have all ridden in point-to-points. Unsurprisingly, Ryan started off in the point-to-point world before joining the stable of Paul Nicholls in 2007. He registered his first success under Rules when partnering Foolish Myth to victory in a hunters’ chase at Newton Abbot on May 8, 2008, for Ditcheat handler David Staddon. After a promising start to his career, Ryan was banned for six months by the BHA in December, 2008, after he attempted to pass off a substitute urine sample at the British Racing School, Newmarket, in August of the same year. He continued to be supported by Nicholls and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in the 2010/11 campaign, riding the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Woolcombe Folly to victory. He was champion amateur in 2010/11 before turning professional at the end of that season. His biggest successes have come on Pacha Du Polder in the Grade Three Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury in 2013 and on Rebel Rebellion in the Betfred Grand Sefton Chase over the Grand National fences, also in 2013. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2011 The Tother One (FELL 6th); 2013 Harry The Viking (PU 26th); 2014   Hawkes   Point (18th).

River Choice (FR) 12-10-03

Breeding: ch g River Mist (USA) - Noraca (FR) (Akarad  (FR))

Breeder: Haras de Preaux & Mme J Papin-Piron

Born: May 16, 2003 Owner: Fergus Wilson Trainer: Richard Chotard Jockey: David Cottin

Form: 11/O/0P54/7/46011PP73263P/7125234344/P2434266/18181549F1-6U58P14

 

*First run in Britain for this horse, who won on his penultimate start, a claiming chase in November at Enghien, France, when trained by Christophe Aubert

*Has won 10 times over hurdles and fences. Would be the first French-trained horse to win the Crabbie’s Grand National since Cortolvin, trained by Englishman Harry Lamplugh in Chantilly, in 1867

*Bought by current owner Fergus Wilson after the horse’s most recent victory in a claimer.

Jump race record: Starts: 56; Wins: 10; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £512,476

 

Fergus Wilson

Judith and Fergus Wilson are former maths teachers who scraped together enough money to buy a second home to rent out and now boast a property portfolio of over 700 houses situated throughout Kent. Judith has spent almost £7 million on property in one afternoon and they have been known to buy, on average, a property every day. The couple’s business was based on buying houses that are easy to let and they were estimated to have a personal wealth of £90 million in the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List. Even in the height of their success, Judith and Fergus refused to let their wealth go to their heads and they still live “modestly - like former maths teachers”. Fergus used to race pigeons and has previously won the Pigeon Grand National. He attracted controversy at the Cheltenham Festival when running outsiders Astonville and Turnium in the 2006 Champion Hurdle, and a vet prevented the pair lining up three days later in the Gold Cup. There are now minimum rating levels for horses who want to compete in championship races. Many critics were forced to eat their words after the 2009 Crabbie’s Grand National as the Wilsons’ Cerium took fifth in the race, despite running with a fractured skull for much of the contest after being kicked by a faller, while Arteea also completed in 10th. Cerium finished 10th the following year.

Crabbie’s Grand National record (as Fergus Wilson or Fergus & Judith Wilson): 2005 Astonville (PU 13th); 2008 Milan Deux Mille (15th), Contraband (FELL 11th); 2009 Cerium (5th), Arteea (10th); 2010 Cerium (11th)

 

Richard Chotard FR (Chantilly, France)

Born: March 22, 1961 Background: Dual-purpose trainer Richard Chotard is based in Chantilly. His parents were oyster farmers in the Charente-Maritime region of south-west France, and Chotard had nothing to do with horses until he was 14. But he developed racing connections through the clientele of his father’s restaurant near Maisons-Laffitte, Paris, and after a brief period as an apprentice on the Flat, he became a jump jockey. He won many of France’s big races, including the Prix du President de la Republic (French Grand National), but a bad fall meant he retired in 1995. He started training soon afterwards and has acquired a reputation for his shrewd purchases, such as Thousand Stars, whom he bought out of a Saint-Cloud claimer in 2007 and turned into a Listed-class performer on the Flat before being sold to Willie Mullins, for whom he won the French Champion Hurdle.  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  Record:  no  previous   runners

 

David Cottin

Born: April 2, 1990. Background: David Cottin is one of France’s most successful jump jockeys, and has won the Cravache d’Or d’obstacles (French jump jockeys’ championship) three times (2009, 2010, 2012). He has ridden in Britain on a number of occasions, but has not yet ridden a winner here. The son of jockey Philippe Cottin, he rode as an amateur before turning professional in 2008. He won six races on 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run when the horse was in training in France with Guillame Macaire, including the Grade One Prix Cambaceres and the Prix Maurice Gillois Grand Steeple-Chase 4 Ans, both at Auteuil.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: no previous rides

Rocky Creek (IRE) 9-11-03

Breeding: b g Dr Massini (IRE) - Kissantell (IRE) (Broken  Hearted)

Breeder: Colm Griffin

Born: March 28, 2006

Owner: The Johnson & Stewart Families

Trainer:  Paul Nicholls Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Form: 218/21113/225-2P1

 

*Fifth, beaten 19 lengths, in last year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Officially 9lb well in after a decisive six-length victory in the Grade Three BetBright Chase over three miles at Kempton Park on February 21.

*Second to Road To Riches in Grade One JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in November, but disappointed when pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury later the same month.

Jump race Record: Starts: 14; Wins: 5; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £224,150

 

The Stewart Family

The Stewart Family comprises husband and wife, Andy and Judy Stewart, and their two sons, Mark and Paul. The latter broke his back in a snowboarding accident in December, 2008, but has made tremendous progress to walk again and the family have sponsored several races at Cheltenham, including the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the December Gold Cup for the benefit of Spinal Research. Andy Stewart, born on August 15, 1951 in Romford to parents who were both doctors, went to Felsted School in Essex and bunked off to go point-to-pointing at Marks Tey. He would also hitchhike to Liverpool to attend the Grand National Festival. He began work aged 17 in the fixed-interest department of Simon & Coates, eventually becoming a senior partner at that stockbroking firm. He became chief executive of Chase Manhattan Securities when it took over Simon & Coates. Stewart co- founded broker Collins Stewart in 1991 and was executive deputy chairman when it floated on the Stock Exchange worth £326 million in 2000 before leaving the business in 2003. He then founded Cenkos Securities, named after his first top-class racehorse, but stepped down in 2010. Cenkos won 15 races and over £500,000 in prize money and was twice third in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Stewart is now chairman of Ravenscroft Limited (formerly Cenkos Channel Islands) which has offices in Guernsey and Jersey. He is also a major shareholder in the CHAPS Restaurants Barbados where he has a home. Racing interests: Andy was first involved with ownership in 1986 and the family enjoyed the first of six Cheltenham Festival successes when Celestial Halo won the JCB Triumph Hurdle in 2008. Outstanding staying hurdler Big Buck's became the first horse to win four renewals of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2012 and broke Sir Ken's record by winning his 17th consecutive race over jumps in the Liverpool Hurdle at the 2012 Grand National Festival. Big Buck’s retired in March 2014 after attempting a comeback from injury. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2007 Le Duc (UR 6th); 2008 Turko (FELL 25th), 2009 My Will (3rd); 2010 My Will (FELL 4th); 2011 Ornais (FELL 4th); 2012 Tatenen (UR 8th); 2013 Tatenen (FELL 12th); 2014  Rocky  Creek  (5th)

 

The Johnson Family Horses owned by the late David Johnson continue to run in his famous blue and green silks under The Johnson Family following his death from cancer on July 6, 2013. David was a self-made businessman and is survived by his wife Shirley, whom he married in 1968, and two children - Stephen and Lisa. A docker’s son, born in 1944, from the East End of London, he began working at the Midland Bank in East Ham for £9 a week aged 16. He subsequently built up some very successful mortgage companies and established himself as one of the most innovative figures in the sector. Racing interests: David formed a formidable partnership with Martin Pipe (now retired) and then his son David. He enjoyed 13 winners at Cheltenham Festival, headlined by four successes in the Racing Post Arkle Chase (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve, 2004 Well Chief & 2005 Contraband) and Our Vic’s front-running success in the 2008 Ryanair Chase. Johnson captured a first owners’ championship in 1997/98 and took the title again in 2001/2, 2002/3, 2003/4 and 2004/5. Comply Or Die’s victory in the 2008 John Smith’s Grand National helped Johnson secure a sixth leading owner title, with over £1.4 million in prize money for that 2007/8 season. Crabbie’s Grand National Record (David Johnson): 1998 Challenger Du Luc (FELL 1st); 1999 Eudipe (FELL 22nd), Tamarindo (FELL 6th); 2002 Iris Bleu (FELL 5th);  2003  Iris Bleu (PU bef 16th); 2004 Lord Atterbury (3rd), Jurancon II (FELL 4th), Montreal (FELL 6th); 2005 It Takes Time (4th), Lord Atterbury (FELL 1st); 2006 Therealbandit (PU 27th), It Takes Time (PU 29th); 2007 Celtic Son (PU 22nd); 2008 COMPLY OR DIE (WON), Vodka Bleu (PU 19th); 2009 Comply Or Die (2nd); 2010 Comply Or Die (12th), The Package (UR 19th); 2011 Comply Or Die (PU 29th); 2012 Swing Bill (10th); 2013 Swing Bill (6th); 2014 (The Johnson Family) Rocky Creek (8th), The Package (12th), Our Father (UR 8th)

Paul Nicholls (Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset)

Born: April 17, 1962 at Lydney, Gloucestershire Background: The son of a policeman, he grew up in Olveston. Started out in point-to-points after leaving school at 16 and worked for a couple of yards before becoming a conditional jockey with Josh Gifford for two years and then joining Devon trainer David Barons. He partnered 119 winners between 1980 and 1989, with his biggest British successes coming in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Broadheath (1986) and Playschool (1987). He struggled to keep his weight down and gave up race riding. Between 1989 and 1991, he was assistant trainer to Barons, who trained Broadheath and Playschool and sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National. Has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. Started out with eight horses. The facilities have kept on being improved. His daughter Megan is an apprentice jockey with trainer Clive Cox. Achievements: Eight-time champion Jump trainer (2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14) and became the first handler to accrue more than £4 million in a season in 2007/08. He gained his 2,000th winner at Down Royal on November 5, 2011, less than 20 years after taking his licence, making him the fastest Jump trainer to reach the landmark figure. Has sent out 37 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and is the fourth most successful trainer there ever. His successes there include four victories or more in three of the meeting's showpiece contests - the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 & 2009 Master Minded, 2015 Dodging Bullets), the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business, 2007 & 2009 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman) and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Big Buck’s 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012). He also won the Stan James Champion Hurdle with Rock On Ruby in 2012. At Aintree, he captured the Crabbie’s Grand National with Neptune Collonges in 2012 and sent out Big Buck’s for four consecutive victories (2009 to 2012) in the race which is now the Grade One Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle. He saddled Silviniaco Conti to win the Grade One Betfred Bowl in 2014 and has been leading trainer at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival twice – in 2008 and 2011.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1992 Just So (6th); 1996 Vicompt De Valmont (10th), Deep Bramble (PU 29th), Brackenfield (UR 19th); 1997 Straight Talk (FELL 14th); 1998 What A Hand (FELL 1st), Court Melody (FELL 6th), General Crack (PU 11th); 1999 Strong Chairman (15th), Double Thriller (FELL 1st), 2000 Earthmover (FELL 4th), Torduff Express (FELL 13th), Flaked Oats (FELL 20th), Escartefigue (UR 30th); 2001 Earthmover (FELL 4th); 2002 Murt’s Man (PU 17th), Ad Hoc (BD 27th); 2003 Montifault (5th), Fadalko (UR 6th), Ad Hoc (UR 19th), Shotgun Willy (PU 22nd), Torduff Express (UR 27th); 2004 Exit To Wave (PU 9th); 2005 Royal Auclair (2nd), Heros Collonges (8th), L’Aventure (15th), Ad Hoc (FELL 22nd); 2006 Royal Auclair (FELL 1st), Le Duc (UR 8th), Silver Birch (FELL 15th), Heros Collonges (UR 15th), Le Roi Miguel (PU 19th), Cornish Rebel (PU 19th); 2007 Le Duc (UR 6th), Royal Auclair (FELL 9th), Eurotrek (PU bef 22nd), Thisthatandtother (PU 30th); 2008 Cornish Sett (12th), Turko (FELL 25th), Mr Pointment (PU 30th); 2009 My Will (3rd), Big Fella Thanks (6th), Cornish Sett (17th), Eurotrek (PU 17th); 2010 Big Fella Thanks (4th), Tricky Trickster (9th), My Will (FELL 4th), Nozic (UR 20th); 2011 Niche Market (5th), Ornais (FELL 4th), The Tother One (FELL 6th), What A Friend (PU 27th); 2012 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (WON); 2013 Join Together (12th), What A Friend (PU 19th), Harry The Viking (PU 26th); 2014 Rocky Creek (5th), Hawkes Point (18th), Tidal Bay (UR 8th)

 

Sam Twiston-Davies

Born: October 15, 1992 Background: Sam Twiston-Davies was still studying for AS-level exams at school in Gloucestershire when he had both his first Cheltenham Festival winner and first Grand National ride. The son of trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his estranged wife, Cathy, (who both rode as amateurs), Sam was successful in pony racing before starting in point-to- points in the 2008/09 season when becoming eligible at the age of 16. Within a few weeks, on December 28, 2008, he rode his first winner between the flags, taking a race at Cottenham in Cambridgeshire on Grenfell, trained by his mother. At Ludlow on February 18, 2009, he scored his first success under Rules when partnering Baby Run, owned and trained by Nigel, to victory in a hunter chase. A career that was bound to flourish gained added lift through Baby Run, for he and Sam went on to finish third in the following month's CGA Foxhunter Chase at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival and later gained one of the season's biggest prizes in the Champion Hunters' Chase at the Punchestown Festival. Sam and Baby Run capped that in March, 2010, when returning to Cheltenham and running out easy winners of the CGA Foxhunter Chase at The Festival. Sam then went to Aintree and partnered Hello Bud into fifth on his Grand National debut. He turned professional shortly afterwards. Sam partnered Hello Bud to victory in the 2010 Betfred Becher Chase over the Crabbie’s Grand National course at Aintree and that same month gave Little Josh a brilliant ride to land the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Twiston-Davies rode his father's The New One to win the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival in 2013 and partnered Big Buck’s to finish fifth in the legendary staying hurdler’s final start in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle the same year. In the summer of 2014, he was appointed stable jockey to Paul Nicholls and has enjoyed a fine first season in the job. He has ridden 140 winners (up to & including 09/04/15) in 2014/15, which included a double at this year’s Cheltenham Festival (bringing his total there to four) with Aux Ptits Soins (Coral Cup) and Dodging Bullets (Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase) and success on All Yours in yesterday’s Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2010 Hello Bud (5th); 2011 Hello Bud (PU 29th); 2012 Hello Bud (7th); 2013 Imperial Commander (PU 22nd); 2014 Tidal Bay (UR 8th)

Royale Knight 9-10-02

Breeding: b g King’s Theatre (IRE) — Gardana (FR) (Garde  Royale)

Breeder: R D and Mrs J S  Chugg

Born: March 14, 2006

Owner: Chris Stedman & Rob Corsan Trainer:  Dr  Richard Newland Jockey:  Brendan Powell

Form: 0P05/000P4/0/411113P/113227913723-4132

 

*Started his career in Ireland under the care of John O’Neill but failed to trouble the judge in 10 starts.

*Ran in 12 point-to-points in the 2011/12 season, eventually getting off the mark on his 11th start between the flags and followed up on his next start.

*Was bought out of that sphere by Dr Richard Newland for his current owners and racked up a sequence of four victories after finishing fourth on his British debut at Newton Abbot.

*Has won eight races so far for Newland and showed he stayed very well when winning the Borders National at Kelso in 2013 and the Durham National at Sedgefield earlier this season.

Jump race record: Starts: 33; Wins: 8; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 5; Win & Place Prize Money: £68,129

 

Chris Stedman & Rob Corsan

Owner Chris Stedman is the cousin of Dr Richard Newland and is the man that the trainer credits with introducing him to horseracing, having invited him to the Cheltenham Festival when he was 18. Stedman has owned several horses throughout the years with various people, including Ardkilly Witness and Act Of Kalanisi. He has also owned horses with Gary Moore and had horses trained in France as well. Stedman has been friends with Rob Corsan for many years and the pair tasted Aintree glory in 2010 as owners when Silver Adonis won the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at odds of 50/1. They have been friends for years and are now both retired. Stedman worked in the oil industry for years, while Corsan was an accountant before his retirement. Stedman and Corsan are hopeful that Royale Knight can run a big race in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National and were buoyed by the fact that Denys Smith, who trained Red Alligator to win the Aintree showpiece in 1968, presented them with the prize after the horse won the Durham National earlier this season. Red Alligator had taken the same route to the National and Smith thought that Royale Knight was an Aintree horse ‘through and through’. Both Stedman and Corsan will be present at Aintree for all three days and will have plenty of family and friends with them to support their tilt at the National.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Dr Richard Newland (Claines, Worcestershire)

Born: November 15, 1963 Background: Dr Richard Newland studied medicine at Cambridge University, followed by medical training at St Mary’s Hospital, London. He then undertook specialist training in general practice and, after qualifying, was appointed as principal GP at a practice in Sutton Coldfield, where he worked for 12 years. In 2004, together with Dr Bryan Fehilly, he founded Newhall Medical Practice as Birmingham’s first private GP service. He runs his long-established CHS Healthcare business, which he started in 1995. CHS Healthcare has grown into a major supplier of specialist services to the NHS and employs over 200 people. Newland has also become a successful trainer and is no stranger to big-race victories since taking out a licence in 2006 following success in the point-to-point sphere. Ownership of horses with Philip Hobbs, Richard Lee and John Mackie (first winner in 1996) came before he and wife Laura decided to take the plunge into training from their 12-box yard near Worcester. He hit the ground running in his first full season as a permit holder when Overstrand won a Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown in 2006 and Burntoakboy, his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival, captured the Grade Three Coral Cup in 2007. His other big-race successes include Act Of Kalanisi in a valuable handicap hurdle at Ascot in February, 2011 and Night Alliance, who won the Tommy Whittle Chase in December, 2013. Pineau De Re was Newland’s first runner in the Crabbie’s Grand National when successful in 2014, although he was no stranger to victory over the famous fences, with 50/1 shot Silver Adonis having won the 2010 Fox Hunters’ Chase. Major wins include: Crabbie’s Grand National (2014 Pineau De Re), Coral Cup (2007 Overstrand); Tommy Whittle Chase (2013 Night Alliance), Crabbie’s Foxhunters’ Chase (2010 Silver Adonis), Summer Plate (2014 Mart Lane), Listed December Handicap Hurdle, Sandown (2006 Overstrand), Imperial Cup (2015 Ebony Express)

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners: 2014 PINEAU DE RE (WON)

 

Brendan Powell

Born: January 26, 1995 Background: The son of Crabbie’s Grand National-winning jockey and successful trainer Brendan Powell (who partnered the 1988 winner Rhyme ‘N’ Reason), Powell cut his teeth on the pony racing circuit in Ireland, making his debut in that sphere at the tender age of 14. He returned to England and turned professional in September, 2011 as a 16-year-old. Attached to the Colin Tizzard yard in Dorset, he quickly made a name for himself and had his first Cheltenham Festival winner in March, 2012 on Golden Chieftain in the Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase. He notched a unique double at the Crabbie’s Grand National meeting the following month, when he guided the Kevin Bishop-trained Battle Group to victory in both the Grade Three Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle on the first day and the Betfred TV Handicap Chase on Grand National day. He also won on Oiseau De Nuit in the Grade Three Silver Cross Red Rum Handicap Chase on the opening day of the same meeting. Powell recorded his second Cheltenham Festival winner ast when piloting Present View in the novices’ handicap chase for trainer Jamie Snowden. Major Wins include: Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase (2012 Golden Chieftain); Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (2013 Battle Group); Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase (2013 Oiseau De Nuit); CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase (2014 Present View).

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National rides: 2014 Battle Group (Refused to race)

Rubi Light (FR) 10-10-09

Breeding: b g Network (GER) - Genny Lights (FR) (Lights Out (FR))

Breeder: Patrice and Valerie Vagne

Born: March 16, 2005 Owner: Bill Hennessy Trainer: Robbie Hennessy Jockey: Andrew Lynch

Form: 269P1/2312294/117213/312154/3237/36265-545211

 

*Started his racing career with Francois Cottin in France before being sold to the Hennessys in November, 2009.

*Only won once for his new trainer over hurdles but has blossomed since being sent over fences, winning seven times over the larger obstacles.

*Biggest career win to date came when winning the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown by five lengths from Joncol in 2011. Also landed the Grade Two Red Mills Chase over two and a half miles in February, 2012.

*Has won twice this season at Thurles and Wexford – his first victories since 2012.

Jump race record: Starts: 39; Wins: 9; 2nd:9; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £282,013

 

Bill Hennessy

William (Bill) Hennessy is best associated with the 2007 Champion Hurdle winner Sublimity, whom he bought for 32,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale in October, 2004. The horse was trained by John Carr initially but was transferred to Hennessy’s son Robbie when he decided to set up his own training yard after Sublimity’s Champion Hurdle victory. Hennessy got involved in racehorse ownership in the 1980s and had horses with Jim Dreaper and Oliver Finnegan, with whom he won the Troytown Chase twice (Papa Buskins in 1985 and Roberts Rhapsody in 1992). His first horse of note was Kharasar, who won the Grade Two December Hurdle at Leopardstown in 1995 for trainer Tony Mullins. Hennessy made his fortune via his hearing aid business, Bonavox, and was the inspiration for the nickname assumed by rock star Paul Hewson – better known as U2’s Bono. Hennessy also owns the A1 pub in Artane, Dublin, where he and his friends celebrated Sublimity’s Champion Hurdle victory and also the fact that his owner backed him on the exchanges at 600/1! Hennessy’s best horse in recent years has been Rubi Light, who gave him another Grade One success when winning the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in 2011. Rubi Light will be Hennessy’s first runner in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Robbie Hennessy (Bodeen, Ratoath, Co Meath)

Born: January 4, 1970. Background: Son of owner Bill Hennessy, Robbie Hennessy had always wanted to train racehorses since learning to ride horses in the summer of 1978. He left school as early as possible and joined the apprentice jockey centre in Kildare, where he was a classmate of top Flat jockey Johnny Murtagh. Hennessy’s career as a rider soon moved on and he joined Dermot Weld as an apprentice before joining Michael Kauntze. However, it wasn’t until Hennessy moved to Australia that he finally rode a winner and he rode two winners on his first two rides for Aussie handler Colin Hayes. Hennessy’s weight finally got the better of him though and he switched to jumps on his return to Ireland. He joined Tony Mullins for a couple of years and rode Uncle Bart to victory in a novices’ hurdle at the 1993 Galway Festival and also rode his father’s Kharasar in the 1995 County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. It became clear though that Hennessy’s career as a jockey was stalling and he quit the saddle to help his brothers run the family pub in Artane. Hennessy still rode out twice a week for John Carr, who was pre-training several horses. Hennessy suggested that if Carr took out a full trainer’s licence, then they would send him a couple of horses. It was this arrangement which led to Sublimity joining Carr after being bought by the Hennessys at Tattersalls in October 2004. After a couple of successful seasons with Carr, Hennessy decided to take out his own training licence and started out at the beginning of the 2008/09 season. Sublimity was his first runner, in the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Wetherby (after Newcastle had been abandoned) and he was only beaten a head. The son of Selkirk gave Hennessy his first training success in the Grade One December Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown. Hennessy’s big race successes since include Rubi Light, who landed another Grade One victory for the stable in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in 2011.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: No previous runners

 

Andrew Lynch

Born: October 5, 1984, and raised in Ashbourne, Co Meath Background: Lynch made his debut as an amateur in a Fairyhouse bumper in April, 2001, and enjoyed a first success 13 months later when Tristernagh landed a novice hurdle at Downpatrick on May 18, 2002. But he struggled for winners over the next two years before a more productive 2004/05 campaign persuaded Lynch to turn professional at the end of July, 2005. He recorded a first Grade One success when scoring on the Jim Dreaper-trained Notre Pere in the Knight Frank Ganly Walters Novice Chase at Leopardstown in December, 2007. He posted a first big- race success in Britain in March, 2006, when he partnered the Ado McGuinness-trained Victram to success in the Imperial Cup at Sandown and he was also on board Notre Pere when he triumphed in the 2008 Welsh National at Chepstow. Lynch has enjoyed a pair of wins at the Cheltenham Festival in both 2010 and 2011, including the superb victories of Sizing Europe in the Arkle Trophy Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He also enjoyed three Grade One victories on Flemenstar for trainer Peter Casey. Lynch is bidding to complete a notable Derby-Grand National double, having won the Amateur Derby on Tender Falcon at Epsom Downs in August, 2004.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2011 Vic Venturi (BD 2nd); 2012 Treacle (FELL 10th); 2014 Buckers Bridge (11th)

Saint Are (FR) 9-10-06

Breeding: b/br g Network (GER) - Fortanea (FR) (Video Rock  (FR))

Breeder: Jacques Cypres Born: April 5, 2006 Owner: David Fox Trainer: Tom George Jockey: Paddy Brennan

Form: 7/53172F31/02524U01/F43090/84PF-3331

 

*Finished ninth in the 2013 Crabbie’s Grand National when trained by Tim Vaughan.

*Dual winner over the Mildmay Course at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival, having captured the Grade One Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 and the Listed Betfred Handicap Chase in 2012.

*Joined Tom George ahead of this season and came third in first three outings, including when three and three quarter lengths behind Oscar Time in the Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National Course on December 6.

*Recorded first victory for almost three years in a three mile, one and a half furlong handicap chase at Catterick on February 9, scoring by seven lengths.

Jump race record: Starts: 31; Wins: 4; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £149,561

 

David Fox

David Fox lives in Staffordshire and is chairman and chief executive of Walsall-based Power Panels Electrical Systems, which, according to the company’s website, was founded in 1967 and is one of the global leaders in electrical control systems, cable harnesses and sub contract manufacturing solutions’. Fox says his company deals with “12 of the world’s number one companies in the field of electrical systems”. He adds: “We make the machinery that makes parts for industries ranging from automotives to aerospace and medical. Most people in the UK will have something in their homes that we have put our hands on.” He employs more than 200 people, but due to new technology he says that number could rise dramatically in the near future as the company expands into fields such as airport security and food packaging. Fox was an apprentice in his field who bought a failing company in 1979 and built it up. He remembers with delight the day the company turned over £1,000,000, but says it now generates that level of business every month. His interest in racing formed as a young man - “somewhere between football and cricket and probably through having a bet”. In 2005 he entertained some business clients at Worcester races and enjoyed the experience so much he decided to get involved as an owner. He says it is his ambition to own a Cheltenham Festival winner. Fox, who has a son, two daughters and six grandchildren, has enjoyed two Aintree victories with Saint Are - the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle and Listed Betfred Handicap Chase.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2013 Saint Are (9th)

 

Tom George (Slad, Gloucestershire)

Born: June 4, 1967 Background: Tom George began his training career in 1993 with 14 horses from his base at Springbank Stables in Slad, near Stroud, Gloucestershire. At the age of 26, he was one of the youngest jump trainers in the country, but he had plenty of experience, having previously worked for Martin Pipe, Arthur Moore and Francois Doumen, three of the most successful trainers in England, Ireland and France respectively. Tom George’s local track is Cheltenham and he won there with Newton Point in his rookie season. In the 2003/2004 season he sent out 50 winners for the first time from 65 horses. A surge for his yard came when Galileo won the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, 2002, under Jason Maguire, providing the trainer with an initial success at The Festival. The horse was racing for only the second time over hurdles, having been bought off the Flat in Poland. Nacarat provided George with a Grade One success in the Betfred Bowl at the 2011 Grand National Festival while he has also enjoyed Grade One success in France, with Halley taking the Prix Maurice Gillois Grand Steeple-Chase 4 Ans in 2011. George trained God’s Own to land the Grade One Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival in 2014 and the same horse gave him success in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter earlier this season. He is married to Sophie, daughter of former trainer John Edwards, who helps source horses for the yard. Edwards trained Little Polveir, who had had three previous runs in the Grand National, up until two months before the horse was sold for 15,000 guineas to trainer Toby Balding who sent the horse out to win the 1989 Grand National. Edwards trained the 7/1 favourite Dixton House that year, who fell at the sixth, and had his best Grand National finish when Sandy Sprite led at the last in 1971 before finishing fifth.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2003 Tremallt (9th), 2006 Lord Of Illusion (PU 17th), 2009 Kilbeggan Blade (PU 21st), 2013 Big Fella Thanks (UR 8th)

 

Paddy Brennan

Born: April 13, 1981, Ardrahan in Co Galway, Ireland Background: spent the summer of 1995 working for County Kildare handler Gerry Stack before embarking on a five-season apprenticeship with the leading Irish Flat trainer Jim Bolger, for whom he rode eight winners. The first of those came on Ivory Isle at Gowran Park in August, 1998. He became too heavy and tall for the Flat and moved to Paul Nicholls' stable in England as a conditional jockey in 2001. He stayed there for two and a half years, riding winners for Nicholls and Jeff King, before joining Philip Hobbs in the 2003/04 season as one of that yard's conditionals. Brennan also struck up a good rapport with Ashley Brook, on whom he won the Grade One Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree in 2005, and enjoyed a first Cheltenham Festival success that year aboard Shamayoun in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. Brennan was appointed as retained rider to owners Andrea and Graham Wylie for the 2006/07 season after dropping into trainer Howard Johnson's County Durham yard for a cup of tea and toast. He rewarded those connections when guiding Inglis Drever to victory in the 2007 Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham - the gelding's second success in the race. Brennan left Johnson and joined Gloucestershire-based handler Nigel Twiston-Davies in the 2007/08 season. The 2010 victory aboard Imperial Commander in the Cheltenham Gold Cup provided Brennan with what he described as the best day of his life and he has ridden a total of six winners at the Cheltenham Festival. He has a good record at Aintree, including Ashley Brook’s win in the 2005 Maghull Novices’ Chase and Hakim’s victory in that year’s Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the big fences. He was on Pettifour when taking the 2008 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, rode Irish Raptor in 2009 when scoring over the National fences in the Crabbie’s Topham Chase, took the 2009 Manifesto Novices’ Chase on Tartak, captured the 2010 Aintree Hurdle on Khyber Kim and was successful on Nacarat in the 2011 Betfred Bowl. He left Twiston-Davies after four years to become a freelance in March, 2011. His best British tally of winners was 104 in 2007/8 and he was on 74 winners this season (up to Tuesday, April 1), when mainly riding for Tom George and Fergal O’Brien.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2005 Double Honour (UR 21st); 2007 Bewleys Berry (FELL 22nd); 2008 Fundamentalist (FELL 3rd); 2009 Knowhere (PU 25th); 2010 Irish Raptor (FELL 14th); 2012 Giles Cross (PU 11th)

Shutthefrontdoor (IRE) 8-11-02

 

Breeding: b/br g Accordion - Hurricane Girl (IRE) (Strong  Gale)

Breeder: Deirdre Connolly Born: April 28, 2007 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: A P McCoy

Form: 111/31114/12461-1

 

*Ante-post favourite and likely mount of A P McCoy, who is about to gain his 20th jockeys’ championship & retire.

*Emerged as a potential Aintree contender when staying on well to land the Irish Grand National by three quarters of a length at Fairyhouse in April last year.

*Has been saved for the Crabbie’s Grand National since beating Vintage Star by eight lengths in an extended three-mile graduation chase at Carlisle in November.

*Owner, trainer and jockey combined to win the Crabbie’s Grand National with Don’t Push It in 2010.

*Has completed the course in all 14 starts.

Jump race record: Starts: 14; Wins: 9; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £179,358

 

J P McManus

Born: March 10, 1951 in Co Limerick, Ireland. Background: John Patrick 'J P' McManus attended the Christian Brothers school on Sexton Street, Limerick. He left his father's plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well- trodden route of gamekeeper-turned-poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each- way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. He was dubbed "the Sundance Kid" by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after landing a number of major gambles during the 1970s. McManus has a host of business interests including dealing on the financial markets from his Geneva, Switzerland, base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer in 2005. He was in the news shortly after that because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2014, the Sunday Times estimated McManus' wealth at £550 million, making him the 12th richest person in Ireland. Racing interests: McManus purchased his first racehorse, Cill Dara, at the age of 26 and is the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain and Ireland. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O'Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities since purchasing the property in 2001. Mister Donovan provided him with his first Cheltenham Festival success in the 1982 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and McManus has enjoyed 44 winners in total at the meeting. The mighty Istabraq is the most revered horse he has owned following three consecutive victories in the Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), while he has also won a Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with Synchronised (2012) and three Ladbrokes World Hurdles with Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and More Of That (2014). A full 28 years after his first runner in the race, McManus finally achieved a long-held ambition when Don't Push It, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A P McCoy, won the 2010 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree. He has been British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons & has retained A P McCoy as his main jockey since April, 2004. Other interests: McManus does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, which takes place every five years, has raised over 100 million euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. Crabbie's Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (FELL 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU 27th), 1992 Laura’s Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura’s Beau (FELL 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (FELL 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference  (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (FELL 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th); 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), L’Ami (FELL 2nd), Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler's Cabin (FELL 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can't Buy Time (FELL 18th), L'Ami (PU 30th); 2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WON), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 8th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th), King Johns Castle (refused to race); 2011 Don’t Push It (3rd), Blue Sea Cracker (14th), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can't Buy Time (FELL 18th), Arbor Supreme (FELL 28th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (FELL 6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 10th), Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th), Colbert Station (UR 15th), Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR last); 2014 Double Seven  (3rd),  Colbert  Station  (PU 25th)

 

Jonjo O’Neill (Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire)

Jonjo O’Neill has established himself as one of the top Jump trainers and enjoyed his best season in 2013/14, with 134 British Jump winners and over £1.5 million in prize money. He is set to top 100 winners again this season and has ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor, the likely final Crabbie’s Grand National ride for legendary A P McCoy, in Aintree’s £1-million showpiece on Saturday, April 11. The trainer’s biggest success came when he sent out the 2010 Crabbie’s Grand National winner Don’t Push It, owned by J P McManus and ridden by A P McCoy. It was a first Crabbie’s Grand National success for all of them. He has also saddled the runner-up twice, with Clan Royal (2004) and Sunnyhillboy (2012), plus two thirds. However, as a jockey, he endured terrible luck in the race and failed to complete the course on each of his eight rides. He retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season, having been champion Jump jockey twice. O’Neill survived a battle with lymphatic cancer not long after that. He started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987 and moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire, near Cheltenham, when the yard was bought by J P McManus in 2001. There has been considerable investment in facilities since and a growing ambition. He has been leading training at Aintree’s Crabbie’s Grand National Festival four times, with three wins over the three days in 2010, the same number in 2007, four in 2003 and four again in 2002. He has also sent out 25 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and trained two Royal Ascot winners on the Flat. Born - April 13, 1952. Background - Champion Jump jockey twice (1977/78 and 1979/80) and set a then-record for winners in a season (149) in his first championship year. The most sensational moment of his riding career came when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Dawn Run in 1986 as the mare became the only horse to win that trophy after having previously captured the Champion Hurdle (1984), again with O’Neill in the saddle. He also won the Gold Cup on Alverton (1979) and the Champion Hurdle on Sea Pigeon (1980). He enjoyed nine Cheltenham Festival successes and partnered 901 winners in all. First winner as a trainer - Shelbourne, Ayr, January 30, 1987 Other major wins at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival: Aintree Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle: 2002 Quazar; Betfred Bowl: 2007 Exotic Dancer, Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle: 2004 Rhinstone Cowboy; Betfred Mildmay Novices’ Chase: 2014 Holywell, Aintree Melling Chase: 2010 Albertas Run; Crabbies Topham Chase: 2003 Clan Royal, Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle: 2003 Iris’s Gift, 2006 Black Jack Ketchum, Weatherbys Private Banking Champion Standard Open NHF Race: 2003 Classic Native, Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle: 2004 Iris’s Gift Other big-race wins as a trainer  include:  Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (2012 Synchronised), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift, 2014 More

Of That), RSA Chase (2008 Albertas Run), Ryanair Chase (2010 & 2011 Albertas Run), JLT Novices’ Chase (2014 Taquin Du Seuil), Christmas Hurdle (2002 & 2003 Intersky Falcon), Fighting Fifth Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), Irish Grand National (2007 Butler’s Cabin, 2014 Shutthefrontdoor), Betfred Becher Chase (2003 Clan Royal), December Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right, 2006 Exotic Dancer), Lexus Chase (2008 Exotic Dancer, 2011 Synchronised), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation, 2010 Synchronised), Champion Stayers’ Hurdle (2007 Refinement), Paddy Power Gold Cup (2006 Exotic Dancer, 2013 Johns Spirit)

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2003 Carbury Cross (7th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Joss Naylor (PU 19th); 2005 Simply Gifted (3rd), Shamawan (21st), Native Emperor (UR 9th), Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Clan Royal (11th); 2008 Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler’s Cabin (FELL 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 18th); 2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WON), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 8th); 2011 Don't Push It (3rd), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 18th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (FELL 6th) Arbor Supreme (UR 10th); 2013 Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR 30th); 2014 Twirling Magnet (FELL 1st), Burton Port (UR 2nd)

 

A P McCoy

Born Moneyglass, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland on May 4, 1974 Background: 19-time champion A P (Tony) McCoy is the greatest jump jockey of his era and many would argue of all time. He is the son of Peadar McCoy, who bred the 1993 County Hurdle victor Thumbs Up. McCoy started out with Billy Rock, riding out from the age of 12, before trying his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger and rode his first winner on Legal Steps at Thurles on March 26, 1992. Since growing too heavy and turning to Jump racing, he has not looked back. He partnered his first British winner, Chickabiddy, at Exeter on September 7, 1994 and was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/5 with a then record 74 winners when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard. He took his first senior title the following season with 174 wins. He linked up with trainer Martin Pipe in 1997. McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 wins in the 1997/8 season with 253 successes and broke his own record for the fastest 200 winners in the 1999/2000 season, ending up with 245 successes. His 1,000th Jumping win came on Majadou at Cheltenham on December 11, 1999. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Flat jockey Sir Gordon Richards. He became the most successful Jump jockey of all time when passing Richard Dunwoody’s tally of 1,699 winners in August, 2002. His 2,000th Jumping win came on Corporate Player at Wincanton on January 17, 2004. In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe's stable after accepting a reportedly huge retainer from J P McManus and rides a lot for the owner’s principal trainer in Britain, Jonjo O'Neill. His 3,000th Jumping win came on Restless D’Artaix at Plumpton on February 9, 2009. He scored a long-awaited victory in the Grand National aboard Don’t Push It in 2010, his 15th ride in the famous Aintree race. The landmark win helped towards him being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year that December. On November 7, 2013, he achieved an amazing 4,000th career success on Mountain Tunes at Towcester. His domination has brought 19 consecutive Jump jockeys’ titles and he is about to gain his 20th title. He has had a total of 31 Cheltenham Festival successes (the third-highest total ever), including the Gold Cup on Mr Mulligan (1997) and Synchronised (2012) and the 1997, 2006 and 2010 Champion Hurdles with Make A Stand, Brave Inca and Binocular. He equalled and passed former trainer Martin Pipe’s win total of 4,191 in July, 2014. McCoy tried to ride 300 winners this season. He broke his own records for the fastest 50 and 100 winners but then injury intervened. On February 7, after partnering his 200th winner of the season at Newbury, McCoy shocked racing by saying he would be retiring towards or at the end of the current season. He will break another record if participating in the 2015 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on April 11. Last year he equalled the record for the most rides in the race - 19, matching Tom Olliver, who was successful three times (1842, 1843 & 1853). His wife Chanelle gave birth to their daughter Eve late in 2007 and their son Archie in 2013. McCoy was made an MBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and his achievements were recognised with a reception at Stormont, the seat of government in Northern Ireland, in August, 2009. In the 2010 Birthday Honours List he was made an OBE. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1995 Chatam (FELL12th), 1996 Deep Bramble (PU 29th); 1998 Challenger Du Luc (FELL 1st); 1999 Eudipe (FELL 22nd); 2000 Dark Stranger (UR 3rd); 2001 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2002 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2003 Iris Bleu (PU 16th); 2004 Jurancon II (FELL 4th); 2005 Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th); 2008 Butler’s Cabin (FELL 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th): 2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WON); 2011 Don’t Push It (3rd); 2012 Synchronised (FELL 6th);  2013  Colbert Station (UR 15th); 2014  Double Seven  (3rd).

Soll (GB) 10-10-02

Breeding: ch g Presenting - Montelfolene (IRE) (Montelimar  (USA)

Born: May 4, 2005 Owner/Breeder: Derrick Mossop Trainer: David Pipe

Jockey:  Tom Scudamore

Form: 1/21B/8917/54750-P11

 

*Finished seventh to Auroras Encore in the 2013 Crabbie’s Grand National when trained by Jo Hughes.

*Has also raced over the Grand National fences in the 2014 Crabbie’s Topham Chase when staying on to be 11th after being hampered.

*Joined David Pipe (his fourth trainer after John Quinn, Willie Mullins and Hughes) after pulling up in the Grade One Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris in May, 2014.

*Made a winning debut for new stable when staying on dourly to beat fellow Aintree contender Rebel Rebellion in a three-mile veterans’ handicap chase at Exeter on February 8.

*Officially 7lb well in after doubling up in another veterans’ handicap chase over the same distance at Newbury on February 28.

*A grandson of smart racemare Tri Folene, who won 13 times and jumped round one circuit of the Grand National fences in the 1994 Topham Chase.

*He was broken in at Mickley Stud in Shropshire by Steve Brookshaw, who trained Lord Gyllene to win the 1997 Grand National.

Jump race record: Starts: 16; Wins: 5; 2nd: 1; 3rd: 0. Win & Place Prize Money: £70,399

 

Derrick Mossop

Derrick Mossop is a timber merchant; his company Jacksons Timber is based in Cumbria, with branches at Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow-in-Furness. His hobby and family interest is racing, which he shares with wife Lesley, children Paul, Daniel and Louisa, and grand- daughter Jadan. Mossop, 60, has owned horses for some 20 years, including Flat winners Jadan and Eternal Legacy with Eric Alston and dual bumper winner Paul Kristian with Willie Mullins. Soll is the best horse to have carried his blue colours; his other winners include Gentleman Jon, Overyou, Overquest and this season Papillon Parc. Mossop acquired Soll’s dam Montelfolene for 20,000 euros at a Goffs auction when she was pregnant with the Grand National contender.

John Smith’s Grand National record: 2013 Soll (7th).

 

David Pipe (Nicholashayne, Somerset)

Born: February 7, 1973 Background: son of 15-time champion jump trainer Martin Pipe. He started out riding in point-to-points in 1992, going on to gain 22 wins over the next five seasons, plus two under Rules, which included victory aboard Bonanza Boy in the Ludlow Gold Cup. After finishing as a rider, he had spells with Michael Dickinson in the US, Criquette Head-Maarek in France and Joey Ramsden in South Africa, before setting up as a point-to-point trainer, handling Horus, Lord Atterbury and Celestial Gold, who went on to have successful careers under Rules when transferred to his father’s yard. Based at Purchas Farm, a mile away from his father’s Pond House, he sent out 164 point-to-point winners over six seasons, including Well Armed, successful 15 times. He picked up the reins at Nicholashayne after his father retired in 2006 and promptly won with the first runner under his own name, Standin Obligation at Kelso on May 9, 2006 and less than two years later emulated his father’s 1994 Grand National victory with Miinnehoma when he saddled Comply Or Die to take the great Aintree race. Comply Or Die finished second in the following year’s Grand National. His nine Grade One winners include Western Warhorse (2014 Arkle Trophy), Dynaste (2014 Ryanair Chase) and Moon Racer (2015 Champion Bumper), while he has enjoyed 13 Cheltenham Festival successes including two this year. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2007 Puntal (8th), Celtic Son (PU 22nd); 2008 COMPLY OR DIE (WON), Milan Deux Mille (15th), Madison Du Berlais (FELL 8th), Vodka Bleu (PU 19th), Joaaci (FELL 20th); 2009 Comply Or Die (2nd), Arteea (10th); 2010 Comply Or Die (12th), Piraya (13th), Pablo Du Charmil (Fell 2nd), Madison Du Berlais (FELL 19th), The Package (UR 19th); 2011 Piraya (19th), Or Noir De Somoza (FELL 6th), Comply Or Die (PU 29th); 2012 Swing Bill (10th), Junior (FELL 2nd); 2013 Swing Bill (6th); 2014 Swing Bill (9th), The Package (12th), Our Father (UR 8th).

 

Tom Scudamore

Born May 22, 1982 Background: Tom Scudamore was appointed stable jockey to David Pipe in the 2006/2007 season, marking a return to Pond House in Somerset where he began his career as an amateur for Pipe's father Martin, and where his own father Peter Scudamore, was also stable jockey. Tom comes from an illustrious line of jockeys. His great-grandfather Geoffrey rode winners as an amateur, grandfather Michael was Oxo's pilot when winning the 1959 Grand National and his father was eight-time champion jockey with 1,677 successes but never won the Crabbie’s Grand National, achieving his best finishing position on third-placed Corbiere in 1985. Tom has made a big impression since leaving Cheltenham College after A-levels in 2000. He won the amateur riders' title in the 2000/01 season and also landed the 2001 Flat amateurs' championship. After 52 unpaid successes, he turned professional in October, 2001, and alongside the backing of Martin Pipe (to whom he was a conditional jockey) he was supported by Nigel Twiston-Davies, to whom his father was formerly assistant. His biggest victories have come aboard Madison Du Berlais in the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Betfred Bowl at Aintree while he has enjoyed Grade One success on the tough staying hurdler Lough Derg. At the Cheltenham Festival, he has ridden a total of seven winners, including a double this year on Moon Racer for David Pipe in the Champion Bumper and Next Sensation for his brother Michael in the Grand Annual Chase. Scudamore lives with his wife Charlotte and two daughters near Tiverton in Devon. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2001 Northern Starlight (UR 6th); 2002 Smarty (PU 9th); 2003 Blowing Wind (8th); 2004 Shardam (UR 3rd); 2005 Iznogoud (12th); 2006 Iznogoud (PU 27th); 2007 Puntal (8th); 2008  Madison  Du  Berlais  (FELL  8th),  2009  Battlecry  (16th),  2010  Madison  Du  Berlais  (FELL19th);  2012  Junior  (FELL  2nd);  2013  Major  Malarkey  (11th);  2014  The  Package    (12th)

Spring Heeled (IRE) 8-10-12

Breeding: b g Old Vic - Central Arch (Dilum  (USA))

Breeder: Isidore & Padraic  Murtagh

Born: April 30, 2007 Owner: Dr Ronan Lambe Trainer: Jim Culloty IRE Jockey: Nick Scholfield

Form: 1481P/5334/21328015-44

 

*Emerged as a potential Aintree contender when making all the running in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2014.

*Subsequently came home fifth in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park and fourth in the Galway Plate won by Road To Riches in July.

*Only outing since when fourth, beaten just over 18 lengths, in the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on February 21.

Jump race record: Starts: 19; Wins: 4; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £92,023

 

Dr Ronan Lambe

Dr Ronan Lambe co-founded Icon Plc, a provider of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, in 1990 along with Dr John Climax. Starting out with just five staff in Dublin in 1990, Icon has grown massively and now employs 7,700 people in 39 countries. Lambe attended the National University of Ireland where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1959, a masters in biochemistry in 1962 and a PhD. in pharmacology in 1976. In 2014, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated Lambe’s wealth at £65 million. The best horses to have carried Lambe’s colours to date include Rite Of Passage, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2010, and Hidden Universe, a Grade One bumper winner at the 2010 Punchestown Festival. The majority of his horses are trained by Dermot Weld (including this year’s Cheltenham Festival winner Windsor Park), although he also has a few with Jim Culloty, including 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National contenders Lord Windermere and Spring Heeled.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2011 Majestic Concorde (UR 24th).

 

Jim Culloty (Churchtown, Co Cork)

Born: Killarney, Ireland, on December 18, 1973 Background: Culloty is best known for his partnership in the saddle with Best Mate, who emulated Arkle by winning three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He rode 394 winners as a professional, having also been the champion amateur in 1995/96, and partnered Bindaree to victory in the 2002 Grand National. He retired from the saddle in July, 2005 and started training from his current base in Churchtown, Co Cork. Braun Star provided his first winner as a trainer when scoring a Thurles on November 30, 2006. His biggest winner came when Lord Windermere won the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup in a thrilling finish. Lord Windermere and Spring Heeled will be Culloty’s first runners in the Crabbie’s Grand National. Culloty married Susie Samworth in 2004 and they have three children, Art, Eliza and Hugh. Big race wins: despite a limited number of winners at home, Culloty has sent out three winners at the Cheltenham Festival – Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (2014 Lord Windermere), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (2014 Spring Heeled) and RSA Chase (2013 Lord Windermere).

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: No previous runners

 

Nick Scholfield

Born: June 25, 1989 Background: son of British champion point-to-point rider Philip Scholfield. Brought up riding ponies in his native Devon and went to the Horse of the Year Show and the Royal International to show Chiddock Over The Limit at the age of 15. He always wanted to be a jockey – his first mount under Rules was also his first winner, Lou Du Moulin Mas, in an amateur riders' event at Newbury in November, 2006. By the end of his first season, Scholfield had ridden six winners from just 14 rides under Rules, and had gained the national novice riders’ title in point-to-points with a record 25 winners. His impressive strike-rate continued into the 2007/08 season as, backed by the powerful Somerset stable of Paul Nicholls, he became champion amateur with 20 victories to his name. Decided to turn professional immediately after the 2007/08 campaign and enjoyed success with his first ride as a paid jockey aboard Double The Trouble at Towcester on April 28, 2008. Scholfield was appointed as retained jockey to the Andy Turnell stable in April, 2009. He was second behind Rhys Flint in the conditional jockeys’ championship in 2009/2010, going down by four wins in a tight battle for the title. He struck up a burgeoning partnership in the 2013/14 season with Melodic Rendezvous, whom he guided to victory in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown. He tasted Grade One glory earlier on this season when partnering Irving to victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and recorded his first Cheltenham Festival success on Qualando in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle last month, both trained by Nicholls. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2008 Cornish  Sett  (12th);  2009  Cornish  Sett  (17th);  2010  My  Will  (FELL  4th);  2011  Ornais (FELL  4th);  2013  Teaforthree  (3rd);  2014  Teaforthree  (UR   15th).

Super Duty (IRE) 9-10-04

Breeding: b g Shantou (USA) – Sarah’s Cottage (IRE)  (Topanoora)

Breeder: Mrs A  Connolly

Born: April 10, 2006

Owner: Andrew Brannon, Andrew Dick, Phil Hernon & Philip Holden

Trainer: Ian Williams

Jockey: Will Kennedy

Form: 1/11F12/221224/P2-67

 

*Has run twice at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival, finishing second to Simonsig in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle in 2012 and fourth behind Dynaste in the Mersey Novices’ Chase in 2013

*Finished a close second in the 2013 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival

*Trained by Donald McCain until the end of 2013; missed the whole of 2014 and has been sixth and seventh on his two runs for Ian Williams in 2015

Jump race record: Starts: 16; Wins: 5; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 0; Win & Place Prize Money: £72,817

 

Andrew Brannon, Andrew Dick, Phil Hernon and Philip  Holden

Andrew Brannon was born in London in February, 1960, and grew interested in racing when at school in Chester, watching the action at the local course from the city walls. He has owned horses for about 10 years and was involved in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing partnership that won the 2008 King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot with Colony. He, Andrew Dick and Philip Holden owned 2011 Charlie Hall Chase winner Weird Al, who ran in the 2012 and 2013 runnings of the Crabbie’s Grand National. Brannon, keen on the sport of fencing, is a chartered accountant and licensed insolvency practitioner who co-founded the LCL Group, a specialist provider of insurance services with Philip Holden. Holden, born in 1965, is the CEO of the Bradford-based Drydensfairfax Solicitors, the UK’s largest debt recovery law firm. Andrew Dick is based in Manchester and a partner of Begbies Traynor, Britain’s biggest independent corporate rescue and recovery specialists. Andrew, born in 1965, was one of the original four when Traynor and Partners was formed in 1989. Phil Hernon, who works in the insurance business in London, is the latest member of the syndicate. The partnership also own a six-year-old full-brother to Super Duty, in training with Ian Williams. Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2012 Weird Al (Fell 27th); 2013  Weird  Al  (PU  25th)

 

Ian Williams (Alvechurch, West Midlands)

Son of Devon trainer Billy Williams, Ian was born on June 27, 1968. He initially studied accountancy at college prior to a brief stint working for bookmakers William Hill. He spent three years working as an assistant to Jenny Pitman (1988-1991) prior to a six-month spell at Martin Pipe’s stable in late 1991. He moved on to Francois Doumen in January 1992 and enjoyed four years at the French trainer’s yard before returning to Britain and setting up on his own near Oxford in August 1997. He now trains at Alvechurch in Worcestershire. Date of First Trainer’s Licence: August 1996 Aintree Festival Wins: Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (2010  Wayward  Prince), Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase (2007 Bambi De L’Orme) Other Big Race Wins: Albert Bartlett (2004 Brewster), Challow Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Brewster), Hyde Novices' Hurdle (1999 Majestic, 2004 Brewster), Towton Novices' Chase (2010 Weird Al) Number of Winners (1996/97-2008/09): 5, 14, 31, 42, 42, 48, 51,

50, 40, 28, 19; 20; 14; Wins this Season: 35. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: no previous runners

 

Will Kennedy

Born: October 2, 1981 Background: Will Kennedy grew up in Co Kildare. His father Vivian was a Flat jockey who then became a trainer, although he has now retired. His mother Kathleen makes racing silks. Will’s older brother Vivian jnr, also a jockey, was killed in a fall at Huntingdon in November ,1988. After leaving school, Will spent six months working for Godolphin in Dubai before joining Michael Grassick as assistant trainer. He moved to Britain to ride for Noel Chance in 2002, and was champion conditional in 2006. He is enjoying his best season since he was a conditional jockey, with 27 winners in Britain to date, and rode Ebony Express to win the Imperial Cup at Sandown in March.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: no previous rides

The Druids Nephew (IRE) 8-10-09

 

Breeding: b g King’s Theatre (Ire) – Gifted (Shareef  Dancer)

Breeder: Patrick Collins

Born: April 28, 2007

Owner: The Stonehenge Druids Trainer:  Neil Mulholland Jockey: Aidan Coleman

Form: 316/623166/4F2P-12751

 

*Has been progressive in staying handicaps since joining his current trainer this season, his latest success an eyecatching Grade Three victory in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong at the Cheltenham Festival.

*From a family of classy Flat stayers; his dam is a half-sister to Goodwood Cup winner and Ascot Gold Cup second Sergeyevich.

*Commanded a price of £40,000 as a four-year-old at Doncaster Sales, three days after winning an Irish point-to-point, the first of his five career victories.

*Was bought by Andy Turnell, who trained Maori Venture to win the 1987 Grand National. Switched to Neil Mulholland when Turnell suffered a bout of ill health.

Jump race record: Starts: 20; Wins: 5; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 2. Win & place prize money: £93,004.

 

The Stonehenge Druids

The Stonehenge Druids are a four-strong syndicate of Wiltshire businessmen - Robert Atwell, Max Crofts, Garry Villis and Mike Hill – who are mostly involved in the world of property. Atwell is a chartered surveyor and Crofts a one-time president of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Atwell is a long-time racing fan and owner, having had horses with Andy Turnell in various partnerships and others currently running include recent winners Candide, who took a novice chase at Chepstow for Turnell and Fingerontheswitch, who won on his bumper debut at Towcester for Neil Mulholland, ridden by A P (Tony) McCoy. Atwell put together the Stonehenge Druids syndicate after Turnell acquired The Druids Nephew as a youngster and describes his progress – his Cheltenham Festival win and his Crabbie’s Grand National bid - as “a dream we never thought could happen.”

No previous Crabbie’s Grand National runners

 

Neil Mulholland (Conkwell Grange, Limpley Stoke, Bath)

Born: October 27, 1980. Background: He was brought up in Glenavy, near Belfast, to a horsey background – his father Brian, who ran a dental supplies business, bred and owned racehorses - and rode ponies as a youngster. At the age of 11 he started riding out for a local trainer, Ian Duncan, and as an enterprising 12-year-old wrote secretly to Aidan O’Brien asking for work experience. O’Brien, then training jumpers, not only replied but offered a job. Mulholland spent six years with O’Brien at Piltown and then Ballydoyle and had the privilege of exercising Istabraq. He acknowledges his injury-prone jockey career was that of a journeyman rather than a superstar but that brought 120 winners in Britain and Ireland. His first for O’Brien was Petasus at Listowel in 1966, and the total included a prestige Leopardstown handicap on Call Me Dara in 2000. Mulholland switched to training in 2008 and in his first season had 16 winners, a total that has steadily risen this term to a best-ever total 50 at the start of Grand National week, and included his first Cheltenham Festival victory with The Druids Nephew in the Grade Three Ultima Business Solutions Chase. Other significant successes came with Midnight Chase, whose 12 victories included the 2012 Argento Chase at Cheltenham. He and wife Becky moved to newly-refurbished Conkwell Grange Stables in June 2012 and now have an 80-strong string. Crabbie’s Grand National record: no previous runners.

 

Aidan Coleman

Born on August 17, 1988, and brought up in Cork, where his parents are both teachers, Aidan Coleman learned his trade on the Irish pony racing circuit, where he had over 100 winners as a young teenager. He followed his brother Kevin as a jockey, but in England, not Ireland, joining Henrietta Knight, for whom he had his first ride under rules on Silverbar in December 2006. At the end of the 2006/07 season, Coleman moved to Venetia Williams’ stable at King’s Caple and his first winner arrived in the shape of Tashkandi, who was successful in a selling hurdle at Uttoxeter in October, 2007. That victory put him on the fast track to success. In 2009, he partnered a Cheltenham Festival winner when Kayf Aramis won the Pertemps Network Final. Coleman won on his first ride at Aintree as he partnered Stan to capture the Red Rum Handicap Chase and he rode the same horse in the following year’s Grand National, thus famously missing out on winning ride on Mom Mome. Coleman rode Stewarts House to success in the Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase in over the Grand National fences in December, 2011. Crabbie’s Grand National Record:  2008  Mon  Mome  (10th);  2009  Stan  (FELL  7th);  2010  Mon Mome (FELL 26th); 2011 Grand Slam Hero (FELL 13th); 2012 Mon Mome (PU 22nd); 2013 The Rainbow Hunter (UR  8th);  2014  The  Rainbow  Hunter  (UR 9th).

The Rainbow Hunter 11-10-07

Breeding: b g Rainbow High - Sobranie (High  Top)

Breeder:  Michael Massarella

Born: May 28, 2004

Owner: May We Never Be Found Out Partnership

Trainer: Kim Bailey

Jockey: David Bass

Form: 341S26/P41432202/FF204/311P4UP/261U-P

 

*Failed to complete in the last two renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National, unseating his rider at the Canal Turn (eighth of the 30 fences jumped) in 2013 and again at Valentines (ninth) in 2014, when he was badly hampered.

*Has only run once since last year’s race when pulling up in the Grade Three BetBright Handicap Chase won by Rocky Creek at Kempton Park on February 21 on unsuitably soft ground. Trainer in good form.

“Registered biggest victory of his career in the Listed Sky Bet Chase over three miles at Doncaster in January, 2014, which came on the back of a wind operation.

Race Record: Starts: 32; Wins: 5; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 3; Win & Place prize money: £86,340

 

May We Never Be Found Out Partnership

The May We Never Be Found Out Partnership comprises Dermot Clancy, Kevin Clancy and Stephen Cannon, three members of Middlesex-based the Clancy Group and Oli Bell, 27, who is a presenter for Racing UK after a spell working on a horseracing channel in Australia. The Clancy Group Plc is a privately owned family business – through fellow operating company Clancy Docwra Limited and subsidiary and associate companies Clancy Plant Limited and Clancy Developments Limited – is well established as one of the UK’s leading contractors within the construction industry. Clancy Docwra has successfully developed from a ground works, drainage and road works contractor into a national construction company with a strong base in the water sector, as well as a significant presence in the gas, electricity, rail, highways, new build and refurbishment industries. Joint chairman Dermot Clancy joined the family company in 1970. He was appointed joint managing director along with his brother Kevin after the death of their father, founder Michael J. Clancy, in 1984. Born in 1951, Dermot’s life revolves around sport. He and his wife Vicky live in Penn, Buckinghamshire and have four sons and one daughter. Joint chairman Kevin Clancy joined the company in 1968. Born in London in 1950, Kevin remembers his father starting M J Clancy & Sons Limited in 1958 and the purchase of R E Docwra in 1974 before the creation of Clancy Docwra Limited in 2001. He trained and qualified as a civil engineer at Hatfield Polytechnic, while working at the company part-time. When he’s not at work, Kevin can be found following rugby and wine around the globe. He has five children and lives with his wife Mary in Farnham Royal. Kevin retired as a director of London Irish Rugby Club at the end of 2013, but remains a committed and enthusiastic fan. Bell, son of broadcaster Rupert Bell and nephew of trainer Michael Bell, went to Oundle School with Kevin Clancy’s daughter and started his media career in radio covering a variety of racing and sporting events and moved into television with Racing UK in 2006. He then spent a two-year stint in Sydney where he fronted the International racing coverage on Sky Racing Australia. He is now back with the channel as one of the main presenters, either in the studio, on-course or also out and about fronting features. The quartet purchased The Rainbow Hunter after speaking to Kim Bailey at Royal Ascot in June, 2012. Bailey told them that the horse would not only win at Ascot over fences later on that year but could end up being the perfect type for the Crabbie’s Grand National. The Rainbow Hunter completed the first part of the bargain when obliging at odds of 16/1 in the Mitie Events & Leisure Handicap Chase at Ascot on November 23, 2012, and has a chance of fulfilling the second part of the deal.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 2013 The Rainbow Hunter (UR 8th); 2014 The Rainbow Hunter (UR 9th)

 

Kim Bailey (Thorndale Farm, Andoversford, Gloucestershire)

Born: May 25, 1953. Background: Bailey was bred for the jump game as his father Ken was a successful handler. Bailey currently trains at Thorndale Farm, Andoversford, Gloucestershire, having relocated from his native Northamptonshire in the summer of 2006, after beginning his training career at Old Manor Stables in Upper Lambourn. Following a low-profile riding career, he served as assistant to Humphrey Cottrill, Tim Forster and Fred Rimell before recording his first win as a trainer with Shifting Gold on January 7, 1978, at Sandown in the Anthony Mildmay Chase, a mere six days after taking over the reins from his father. He has trained some top-class jumpers who have rewarded him with training's highest accolades, notably the Crabbie’s Grand National (Mr Frisk, 1990), Cheltenham Gold Cup (Master Oats, 1995) and Champion Hurdle (Alderbrook, 1995). His highest total of British jump winners in a season was 86 in 1993-94 and he is enjoying his best season since 1996-97 with 55 successes (up to March 29, 2015). Achievements: Bailey is only one of two current trainers to have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National. The other is Paul Nicholls. Mr Frisk was ridden to victory at Aintree by Marcus Armytage, the latest amateur to win the Crabbie’s Grand National. Mr Frisk’s course record of 8m 47.80s still stands today. Bailey has trained four winners in total at the Cheltenham Festival, registering his first victory there for 16 years when Darna won the 2015 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase in March. Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1983 Menford (REF 19th); 1986 Late Night Extra (PU 11th); 1990 MR FRISK (WON); 1991 Docklands Express (FELL 1st), Mr Frisk (PU 22nd); 1992 Docklands Express (4th); 1994 Master Oats (FELL 13th); 1995 Romany King (6th), Master Oats (7th); 1996 Over The Stream (13th); 1997 Master Oats (5th), Glemot (UR 7th); 2000 Druid's Brook (UR 12th); 2001 Supreme Charm (UR 15th); 2002 Supreme Charm (5th); 2003 Wonder Weasel (FELL 3rd), 2004 Wonder Weasel (PU 28th); 2007 Longshanks (7th); 2012 Midnight Haze (15th); 2013 The Rainbow Hunter (UR 8th); 2014 The Rainbow Hunter (UR 9th)

 

David Bass

Born: June 30, 1988 Background: Bass grew up in Ringstead, Northamptonshire and went to Bishop Stopford School in Kettering. He hails from a musical family as his mother, Rowena, is a vicar who teaches and plays the harp and his father instructs viola and violin at schools in Northampton. His youngest sister Elizabeth also performs on the harp and was named Young Musician of the Year at the Oundle Festival of Music in 2009 at the age of 14. Bass could have followed in the family footsteps as he was a drummer with a punk band during his school days but got the racing bug after riding ponies as a youngster. He went to point-to-points with his father Philip and grandfather Albert. Following a trip to Stratford Racecourse at the age of 16, he contacted the British Racing School shortly afterwards. After completing a course at the Newmarket-based BRS, he was given a job at Richard Phillips’ yard near Stow-On-The-Wold in Gloucestershire. Although attached to the Phillips yard, he rode his first winner for the late John Manners on Man From Highworth at Towcester in April, 2009. He joined Nicky Henderson shortly afterwards and scored on his first ride for the powerful stable when Scots Dragoon won at Sandown in November of the same year. His breakthrough success came in the Grade Three Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in May, 2010 when he guided Eradicate to success for owner Alan Spence. He won on Lifestyle to in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the 2012 Crabbie’s Grand National meeting and also tasted Cheltenham Festival success this season when riding Darna to victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stables Plate.

Previous Crabbie’s Grand National rides: 2014 Shakalakaboomboom (PU 20th)

Tranquil Sea (IRE) 13-10-05

Breeding: b g Sea Raven (IRE) — Silver Valley (IRE) (Henbit (USA))

Breeder: Edward Curtin

Born: April 17, 2002

Owner: Jean & Clemmie Shipp Trainer: Warren Greatrex Jockey: Gavin Sheehan

Form: 210/213811/1556/2112196/117/U1P23415/25325562/50231P0-5

 

*At 13 years of age, he is the second oldest contender in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Has had a long and illustrious career which includes two Grade One victories in the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown and the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse for trainer Edward O’Grady.

*Other career highlights include a four and a half-length success in the 2009 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and back-to-back victories in the Clonmel Oil Chase.

*Joined trainer Warren Greatrex from O’Grady in November 2013 and rolled back the years when winning a veterans’ chase over three miles at Doncaster in February, 2014.

*Was fifth behind Crabbie’s Grand National rival Soll in a veterans’ handicap chase at Newbury on February 28.

Race record: Starts: 47; Wins: 13; 2nd: 9; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £446,677

 

Jean & Clemmie Shipp

Mother and daughter Jean (73) and Clemmie Shipp (32) have been around horses all their life and bought their first horse, Oscar’s Secret, for Jean’s 70th birthday. Trained by Kim Bailey, the horse was placed on three occasions and is now with Clemmie, having been retrained as an eventer. The pair live in Weybridge, Surrey and Jean took a young Clemmie to Sandown which helped foster their love of racing. Jean is now retired, having worked for Ford for a number of years at their Dagenham plant and also for the BBC in London. Clemmie has horses at home and competes as an event rider. She has ridden in a charity race at Newbury and hopes to ride in several more over the next few years. The Shipps were introduced to Warren Greatrex after Clemmie was looking for a horse to ride in the Newbury charity race, which ended up being Oscar Prairie, trained by Greatrex. At the end of last season, Tranquil Sea’s previous owners, the No Dramas Partnership, decided they no longer wanted the horse so Greatrex contacted the Shipps to see if they wishe to take him on with a view to retraining him after he retired. The plan was to run the horse in hunter chases this year but they found out that he was ineligible having won at Doncaster last season. Luckily for the Shipps, Tranquil Sea was eligible to run in the Crabbie’s Grand National and will fulfil a lifetime dream for the pair when he lines up this year.

Crabbie’s Grand National record: No previous runners

 

Warren Greatrex (Uplands, Upper Lambourn, Berkshire)

Born: February 22, 1975 Background: Rode 13 winners as a jockey before working for David Nicholson, Josh Gifford, Guillaume Macaire and Bryan Smart. Joined Oliver Sherwood's yard in 2002, starting off as head groom before becoming assistant trainer. He took out a licence under his own name in September, 2009, as the salaried trainer to Malcolm Denmark after the owner head-hunted him to replace Carl Llewellyn. Split with Denmark in May, 2012, and moved to Uplands, formerly base of riding and training legend Fred Winter, who saddled Jay Trump and Anglo to National victories in 1965 and 1966. Greatrex’s first winner was Quartano, in the Artemis Fund Managers Hindu Kush "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle, at Plumpton on November 16, 2009. He notched his first Cheltenham Festival winner last month with Cole Harden in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, also his first Grade One success in what is already his best-ever season for wins and earnings. Married to bloodstock agent  Tessa  (nee  Clark).  Crabbie’s Grand National  record: no previous    runners.

 

Gavin Sheehan

Born: June 23, 1992 Background: Originally from Dunmanway, Cork, Sheehan was a champion pony race rider in Ireland and is from a sporting family as his brother, Alan, played for Cork City. He had stints with Irish trainers Michael Hourigan and John Murphy as an amateur before moving to Britain to join Charlie Mann as a conditional. Sheehan was crowned champion conditional for the 2013/14 season and joined Warren Greatrex in August, 2014. He has enjoyed a fine campaign with Greatrex this season, which culminated in a victory for the pair in the Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Cole Harden at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Crabbie's Grand National Record: No previous rides

Unioniste (FR) 7-11-06

Breeding: gr g Dom Alco (FR) - Gleep Will (FR) (Cadoudal (FR)

Breeder: Haras De Saint-Voir Et Al

Born: February 28, 2008 Owner: John Hales Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey:  Noel Fehily

Form: 2422165/113114/31838-613

 

*Bidding to become first seven-year-old to win the Crabbie’s Grand National since Bogskar in 1940.

*Has won five of 14 starts over fences for current connections, most recently taking a valuable three-mile handicap chase by 10 lengths at Sandown Park on January 3.

*Last seen out when beaten 10 and half lengths into third by subsequent Betfred Gold Cup winner Coneygree in the Grade Two Denman Chase over three miles at Newbury on February 7.

“Trainer and owner combined to win Crabbie’s Grand National with another grey, Neptune Collonges, by a nose in 2012.

*Half-brother My Will finished third to Mom Mome in 2009 Crabbie’s Grand National.

*Has never fallen or been pulled up in 21 starts.

Jump race record: Starts: 21; Wins: 7; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £213,981

 

John Hales

John Hales is a successful businessman in the toy trade and hit the jackpot in making Teletubbies dolls. He formed Golden Bear Products in 1979 with Christine Nicholls and the company, which has its headquarters in Telford, Shropshire, is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of quality and reliable toy products. Hales, who was previously managing director of Chad Valley Toys, is now chairman of Golden Bear Products, which produced soft toys of Wenlock, Mandeville and Pride the Lion - the official mascots of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Paralympics and Team GB. The company has recently developed a new line of toys based on the CBeebies series Twirlywoos. In the horseracing world, Hales is a successful owner and One Man, one of the most popular chasers, carried his colours with distinction and won 17 races for him. Tragically he sustained a fatal injury in the Melling Chase over the Mildmay Course at Aintree in 1998. Trained for him by Gordon Richards, the grey had provided him with some unforgettable memories, winning the King George VI Chase twice, the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Hales may have felt one success in that latter race was as much as could be asked, but along came the Paul Nicholls- trained Azertyuiop to win the contest again in 2004, having taken the Arkle Trophy in 2003. Other good horses he has had in recent years include Cheltenham Festival winners Noland (2006), Al Ferof (2011) and Aux Ptits Soins (2015). His biggest success came in the 2012 Crabbie’s Grand National when Neptune Collonges took the honours in the closest finish ever to the great chase, finishing a nose ahead under Daryl Jacob and becoming the first grey to triumph since 1961 Hales has also tasted success with top-class show jumper Arko, ridden by Nick Skelton, whose son Dan trains also trains for him. The owner’s daughter Lisa runs Shaw Farm Stud in Shropshire, one of the UK’s leading breeding operations for equestrian sport horses, and Neptune Collonges retired there and took up  dressage.  Crabbie’s  Grand  National  Record:  2012  NEPTUNE  COLLONGES  (WON)

 

Paul Nicholls (Manor Farm Stables, Ditcheat, Shepton Mallet, Somerset)

Born: April 17, 1962 at Lydney, Gloucestershire Background: The son of a policeman, he grew up in Olveston. Started out in point-to-points after leaving school at 16 and worked for a couple of yards before becoming a conditional jockey with Josh Gifford for two years and then joining Devon trainer David Barons. He partnered 119 winners between 1980 and 1989, with his biggest British successes coming in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Broadheath (1986) and Playschool (1987). He struggled to keep his weight down and gave up race riding. Between 1989 and 1991, he was assistant trainer to Barons, who trained Broadheath and Playschool and sent out Seagram to win the 1991 Grand National. Has been training at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset, since taking out a licence on November 1, 1991. Started out with eight horses. The facilities have kept on being improved. His daughter Megan is an apprentice jockey with trainer Clive Cox. Achievements: Eight-time champion Jump trainer (2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14) and became the first handler to accrue more than £4 million in a season in 2007/08. He gained his 2,000th winner at Down Royal on November 5, 2011, less than 20 years after taking his licence, making him the fastest Jump trainer to reach the landmark figure. Has sent out 37 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and is the fourth most successful trainer there ever. His successes there include four victories or more in three of the meeting's showpiece contests - the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (1999 Call Equiname, 2004 Azertyuiop, 2008 & 2009 Master Minded, 2015 Dodging Bullets), the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (1999 See More Business, 2007 & 2009 Kauto Star, 2008 Denman) and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Big Buck’s 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012). He also won the Stan James Champion Hurdle with Rock On Ruby in 2012. At Aintree, he captured the Crabbie’s Grand National with Neptune Collonges in 2012 and sent out Big Buck’s for four consecutive victories (2009 to 2012) in the race which is now the Grade One Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle. He saddled Silviniaco Conti to win the Grade One Betfred Bowl in 2014 and has been leading trainer at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival twice – in 2011 and 2008.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 1992 Just So (6th); 1996 Vicompt De Valmont (10th), Deep Bramble (PU 29th), Brackenfield (UR 19th); 1997 Straight Talk (Fell 14th); 1998 What A Hand (Fell 1st), Court Melody (Fell 6th), General Crack (PU 11th); 1999 Strong Chairman (15th), Double Thriller (Fell 1st), 2000 Earthmover (Fell 4th), Torduff Express (Fell 13th), Flaked Oats (Fell 20th), Escartefigue (UR 30th); 2001 Earthmover (Fell 4th); 2002 Murt’s Man (PU 17th), Ad Hoc (BD 27th); 2003 Montifault (5th), Fadalko (UR 6th), Ad Hoc (UR 19th), Shotgun Willy (PU 22nd), Torduff Express (UR 27th); 2004 Exit To Wave (PU 9th); 2005 Royal Auclair (2nd), Heros Collonges (8th), L’Aventure (15th), Ad Hoc (Fell 22nd); 2006 Royal Auclair (Fell 1st), Le Duc (UR 8th), Silver Birch (Fell 15th), Heros Collonges (UR 15th), Le Roi Miguel (PU 19th), Cornish Rebel (PU 19th); 2007 Le Duc (UR 6th), Royal Auclair (Fell 9th), Eurotrek (PU bef 22nd), Thisthatandtother (PU 30th); 2008 Cornish Sett (12th), Turko (Fell 25th), Mr Pointment (PU 30th); 2009 My Will (3rd), Big Fella Thanks (6th), Cornish Sett (17th), Eurotrek (PU 17th); 2010 Big Fella Thanks (4th), Tricky Trickster (9th), My Will (Fell 4th), Nozic (UR 20th); 2011 Niche Market (5th), Ornais (Fell 4th), The Tother One (Fell 6th), What A Friend (PU 27th); 2012 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (WON); 2013 Join Together (12th), What A Friend (PU 19th), Harry The Viking (PU 26th); 2014 Rocky Creek (5th), Hawkes Point (18th), Tidal Bay (UR 8th)

 

Noel Fehily

Born: December 24, 1974 in County Cork, Ireland Background: After gaining experience on the point-to-point circuit and in hunter chases in his home country, he began riding in Britain as an amateur and gained his first success on Ivy Boy at Plumpton on November 16, 1998. He rode 12 winners in that first campaign and turned professional after two successes in 1999/2000, which he ended with a score of 17. Has been dogged by injury throughout his career, but is currently enjoying a fine run as a freelance and has won several Grade One races in recent years, including a memorable success in the 2014 King George VI Chase at Kempton on board Silviniaco Conti. Fehily has enjoyed two Cheltenham Festival winners, the biggest being aboard Rock On Ruby in the 2012 Champion Hurdle. Fehily rides several of the second-string horses for Paul Nicholls as well as many of Harry Fry’s top horses. The latter provided him with a Grade One success recently when Bitofapuzzle won the EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse.

Crabbie's Grand National Record: 2001 Moral Support (REF 8th); 2002 Celibate (6th); 2003 Good Shuil (PU 19th); 2004 Alcapone (PU 25th); 2005 Merchants Friend (FELL 10th); 2006 Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Naunton Brook (PU 23rd); 2008 Bob Hall (PU 19th); 2009 Can’t Buy Time (FELL 18th); 2012 State Of Play (UR 5th); 2013 Treacle (UR 8th); 2014: Rocky Creek (5th)

Wyck Hill (IRE) 11-10-04

Breeding: b g Pierre – Willow Rose (IRE) (Roselier  (FR))

Breeder: Tom Simmons Born: March 25, 2004 Owner: J P McManus Trainer: David Bridgwater Jockey:  Tom Cannon

Form: 666/34493/11F2/1103/99P16-2F

 

*Won the 2013 Eider Chase at Newcastle, but fell in the same race this year on his last start

*Bought by leading Irish owner J P McManus in early 2013 from the SAB Partnership, becoming the first horse McManus has in training with David Bridgwater

*Aimed at the 2013 Crabbie’s Grand National but incurred an injury to a hind leg during at race at Kempton in February 2013 and missed the race

Race record: Starts: 23; Wins: 5; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 3; Win & Place Prize Money: £88,842

 

J P McManus

Born: March 10, 1951 in Co Limerick, Ireland. Background: John Patrick 'J P' McManus attended the Christian Brothers school on Sexton Street, Limerick. He left his father's plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well-trodden route of gamekeeper-turned- poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each-way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. He was dubbed "the Sundance Kid" by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after landing a number of major gambles during the 1970s. McManus has a host of business interests including dealing on the financial markets from his Geneva, Switzerland, base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer in 2005. He was in the news shortly after that because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2014, the Sunday Times estimated McManus' wealth at £550 million, making him the 12th richest person in Ireland. Racing interests: McManus purchased his first racehorse, Cill Dara, at the age of 26 and is the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain and Ireland. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O'Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities since purchasing the property in 2001. Mister Donovan provided him with his first Cheltenham Festival success in the 1982 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and McManus has enjoyed 44 winners in total at the meeting. The mighty Istabraq is the most revered horse he has owned following three consecutive victories in the Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), while he has also won a Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with Synchronised (2012) and three Ladbrokes World Hurdles with Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and More Of That (2014). A full 28 years after his first runner in the race, McManus finally achieved a long-held ambition when Don't Push It, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A P McCoy, won the 2010 Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree. He has been British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7, 2008/9, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons & has retained A P McCoy as his main jockey since April, 2004. Other interests: McManus does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, which takes place every five years, has raised over 100 million euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. Crabbie's Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (FELL 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU 27th), 1992 Laura’s Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura’s Beau (FELL 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (FELL 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (FELL 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th); 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), L’Ami (FELL 2nd), Bob Hall (PU 19th), Butler's Cabin (FELL 22nd); 2009 Butler's Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can't Buy Time (FELL 18th), L'Ami (PU 30th); 2010 DON’T PUSH IT (WON), Can’t Buy Time (FELL 8th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th), King Johns Castle (refused to race); 2011 Don’t Push It (3rd), Blue Sea Cracker (14th), Quolibet (UR 11th), Can't Buy Time (FELL 18th), Arbor Supreme (FELL 28th); 2012 Sunnyhillboy (2nd), Synchronised (FELL 6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 10th), Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th), Colbert Station (UR 15th), Lost Glory (PU 17th), Sunnyhillboy (UR last);  2014 Double Seven (3rd), Colbert Station (PU    25th)

 

David Bridgwater (Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham,  Gloucestershire)

Born on January 5 1971, David Bridgwater is the son of trainer Ken Bridgwater. David left home aged 14 to become an apprentice with Lester Piggott, then moved codes to National Hunt racing and was a conditional jockey with David Nicholson and Nigel Twiston-Davies. He became first jockey to Martin Pipe and finished second in the jockeys’ championship. He rode 473 winners, including five at the Cheltenham Festival, but had to retire aged 27 because of an arm injury. He started training in November 1998 and his first runners on both the Flat and over fences won. He has enjoyed considerable success in recent years with The Giant Bolster, who finished second in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup. He trains at Wyck Hill, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire and is married to Lucy. They have two children, Poppy and George. First Winner (and first runner): Rake Hey, 'Racing for Gain' Conditional Jockeys' Novices' Handicap Hurdle, Kempton,  November 18,  1998.  Crabbie’s Grand National  Record:  no previous    runners

 

Tom Cannon

Born: June 7, 1991. Background: Tom Cannon, based in Chilworth, Surrey, is from a racing family – both his mother Linda and grandmother rode in point- to-points – and started riding ponies at the age of three. He competed in pony racing, show jumping and eventing and began point-to-pointing aged 16. He has been champion novice under-21 point-to-point rider, champion south-east point-to-point rider and under Rules was amateur runner-up in 2010/11, then a close third for the conditional title the following season, riding out his claim in two seasons. He has been leading rider at Fontwell for the past three seasons. The best horse he has ridden is Gold Cup-placed The Giant Bolster (stablemate of David Bridgwater-trained Wyck Hill), whom he partnered twice this season when fifth in the Grade One Betfair Bowl at Haydock and fourth in the Grade Two Betbright Cup at Haydock. Though 30 different trainers have used him this season – his best to date, with 47 winners at the start of the Crabbie’s Grand National meeting - he rides mainly for Chris Gordon, based at Morestead in Hampshire. His only previous ride on Wyck Hill ended with a sixth-fence fall in the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February. He shares his name with the Tom Cannon who trained the 1888 Grand National winner Playfair, and was previously Flat champion jockey, winner of 13 Classics and who became great-grandfather of Lester Piggott. Crabbie’s  Grand  National  record:  no  previous   rides.

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