Grand National 2017 Fact Files
Saint Are (FR) 11-10-10
Breeding: b/br g Network - Fortanea (Video Rock)
Breeder: Jacques Cypres
Born: April 5, 2006
Owner: David Fox
Trainer: Tom George
Jockey: Davy Russell
*Has contested three Grand Nationals, with his best effort at Aintree coming when second to Many Clouds in 2015. He finished ninth of the 17 finishers in the 2013 renewal (when trained by Tim Vaughan) and was pulled up before the last fence on testing ground after leading at the start of the second circuit in 2016.
*Has also raced over the Grand National fences three more times in December's Betfred Becher Chase, falling at the first in 2016, finishing seventh in 2015 and coming home third in 2014.
*He was moved to Tom George's Gloucestershire yard during the summer of 2014.
*Dual winner over Aintree's Mildmay Course during the Randox Health Grand National Festival, capturing the Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle in 2011 and the Listed Betfred Handicap Chase in 2012.
* Warmed up for this year's Randox Health Grand National with a gallant head second in a veterans' handicap chase at Doncaster on February 22, 2017.
Jump race record: Starts: 41; Wins: 5; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 7; Win & Place Prize Money: £389,695
David Fox lives in Staffordshire and is CEO and chairman of West Midlands-based PP Control and Automation Limited, formerly known as Power Panels Electrical Systems Limited. The company 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." The company employs more than 200 people at a 40,000 square feet manufacturing facility in Cheslyn Hay near Walsall, but due to new technology he says that number could rise in the 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. The current target is £20 million a year. 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 grandchildren, has enjoyed two Aintree victories with Saint Are - the Sefton Novices' Hurdle (2011) and Listed Betfred Handicap Chase (2012) - and second in the 2015 Grand National. He also has other horses in training, some in his name, and others racing for PP Control and Automation Limited including novice chaser Some Are Lucky, novice hurdler Sumkindofking and handicap chaser A Good Skin, who was second at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.
Randox Health Grand National record: 2013 Saint Are (9th); 2015 Saint Are (2nd); 2016 Saint Are (PU 30th)
Tom George (Slad, Gloucestershire)
Born: June 4, 1967 Background: 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, 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. 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. George 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 Double Shuffle. 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: June 27, 1979 Background: Hails - like fellow National Hunt jockey Denis O'Regan - from Youghal in County Cork and progressed from pony racing to become one of Ireland's leading point-to-point riders, winning the championship outright in 2001 and sharing the title with J T McNamara in 2002. His first Aintree success came in 2000 when he rode the Pat Fahy-trained Quadco to win the Champion National Hunt Flat Race at 33/1. The retirement of another one-time Irish point-to-point star, Adrian Maguire, saw him travel over to Britain as stable jockey to Ferdy Murphy and he turned professional on November 12, 2002, with his first success in that sphere coming on Inn Antique at Sedgefield on November 12. He enjoyed his first big success when Truckers Tavern won the 2003 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock and the same horse went on to be second to Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Russell lost his job as number one jockey to Murphy in January, 2004, after 14 months as he also wanted to continue riding in Ireland at weekends. He returned to Ireland and had a first Cheltenham Festival success in 2006 when Native Jack won the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase. Russell won the Irish jockeys' championship in 2011/12 and 2012/13. He was retained jockey to Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, whose horses run in the maroon and white silks of Gigginstown House Stud, until January 1, 2014. He enjoyed several high-profile successes for the owner, including eight Cheltenham Festivals victories - Weapon's Amnesty (2009 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle & 2010 RSA Chase), First Lieutenant (2011 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle), Carlito Brigante (2011 Coral Cup), Sir Des Champs (2012 JLT novices' Chase), Tiger Roll (2014 JCB Triumph Hurdle) and Savello (2014 Grand Annual Handicap Chase). He enjoyed a fantastic treble on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival 2014, winning on aforementioned Tiger Roll and Savello as well as landing the greatest victory of his career when he won the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Lord Windermere. His total number of Cheltenham winners currently stands at 18. He took the Topham Chase on Cregg House over the Grand National fences in 2005. He currently rides in both Britain and Ireland on a regular basis and is retained jockey to leading owner Dai Walters.
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2003 Ballinclay King (PU bef 15th); 2004 Takagi (UR 15th); 2005 Arctic Copper (19th); 2006 Joes Edge (7th); 2007 Livingstone Bramble (UR 6th); 2008 Chelsea Harbour (9th); 2009 Hear The Echo (Fell 30th); 2010 Cerium (11th); 2011 Becauseicouldntsee (Fell 2nd); 2012 Alfa Beat (Fell 7th); 2014 Lion Na Bearnai (PU 27th); 2016 Morning Assembly (8th)