Grand National 2017 Fact Files
Double Shuffle (IRE) 7-10-11
Breeding: b g Milan – Fiddlers Bar (Un Desperado)
Breeder: A W Young
Born: April 15, 2010
Owner: Crossed Fingers Partnership
Trainer: Tom George
Jockey: Adrian Heskin
*Bidding to become the first seven-year-old to win the Randox Health Grand National since Bogskar was successful in 1940.
*Went down by half a length to winner Pilgrims Bay in G3 BetBright Handicap Chase (3m) at Kempton Park on February 25, 2017.
*Scored by three and a half lengths in handicap chase over same distance at Kempton Park on December 27, 2016.
*Third in Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m 4.5f) at the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2016.
*Has never fallen or unseated, failing to complete just once when pulled up.
*Has never raced beyond three miles.
Jump race record: Starts 14; Wins 4; 2nd 3; 3rd 1. Win & Place Prize Money: £86,432
Crossed Fingers Partnership
The Crossed Fingers Partnership consists of Max Fawbert and Nic Williamson. Derbyshire-based Max Fawbert is a hairdresser and recalls backing the 1976 Grand National winner Rag Trade, who was owned partly by celebrity hairdresser Teasy-Weasy Raymond. He grew up surrounded by horses and rode in a few point-to-points. His father was an independent bookmaker. Nic Williamson, a Barbados-based businessman, met Fawbert when he popped into the salon for a haircut. The Ferdy Murphy-trained Desperate Dex was the partnership’s first winner when scoring at Uttoxeter in November, 2006. Notable horses for the pair have included God’s Own, who has won three G1 races including the JLT Melling Chase over the Mildmay Course at the 2016 Grand National Festival. Their previous Grand National runner Big Fella Thanks was trained by Ferdy Murphy, who moved to France in 2013, the first time and then Tom George.
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2011 Big Fella Thanks (7th); 2013 Big Fella Thanks (UR 8th)
Tom George (Slad, Gloucestershire)
Born: June 4, 1967 Background: Having left Gordonstoun School in 1984, he worked for trainer Arthur Moore in Ireland, followed by a spell at Kingwood Stud, worked for the British Bloodstock Agency and gaining a diploma in stud management at the National Stud before becoming assistant to Flat trainers Gavin Pritchard Gordon and Michael Jarvis. Spent a year working in France for dual-purpose trainer Francois Doumen, and finally a year with multiple champion Jump trainer, Martin Pipe. He 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 and his first winner, Newton Point, came at Worcester on September 11, 1993. Tom George’s local track is Cheltenham and he won there with Newton Point in his rookie season. A surge for his yard came when Galileo won the G1 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, 2002, 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 G1 success in the Betway Bowl at the 2011 Grand National Festival, while he has also enjoyed G1 success in France, with Halley in the 2011 Prix Maurice Gillois Grand Steeple-Chase 4 Ans. God’s Own has been a flagbearer for the stable in recent years, with three G1 triumphs including in the 2016 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree. He is enjoying his best-ever season in 2016/2017, with 62 winners (up to March 26), many of them ridden by new stable jockey Adrian Heskin. He has another 2017 Randox Health Grand National contender in Saint Are. Tom 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 being sold for 15,000 guineas to trainer Toby Balding who sent the horse out to win the 1989 Grand National.
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2003 Tremallt (9th); 2006 Lord Of Illusion (PU 17th); 2009 Kilbeggan Blade (PU 21st); 2013 Big Fella Thanks (UR 8th); 2015 Saint Are (2nd); 2016 Saint Are (PU 30th)
Born: April 22, 1992 Background: Grew up in Kilworth, County Cork. Started working for trainer Michael Hourigan as soon as he left school at the age of 16. Recorded his first winner when Mystical Breeze won a Naas handicap hurdle on March 14, 2009. Enjoyed a dream end to the 2009/2010 season, gaining an initial Cheltenham Festival success on board A New Story, trained by Hourigan, in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase and taking the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park the following month with the Hourigan-trained Church Island. Appointed retained jockey to owner Barry Connell in October, 2014, and won the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle for him on the Mags Mullins-trained Martello Tower at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Connell replaced Heskin with Denis O’Regan in April, 2016, and the jockey moved across the Irish Sea to become retained rider for Gloucestershire trainer Tom George in September of the same year. The partnership has blossomed, with both George and Heskin enjoying their best seasons yet numerically. Their first winner together was Kilbree Kid in a Perth handicap chase on September 21, 2016. He has had 47 winners (up to March 29) this season.
No previous Randox Health Grand National rides