Grand National 2016 Fact Files
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
*Stayed on to take fourth, beaten 16 and a half lengths, in the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National.
*Purchased privately by William and Angela Rucker after recording a three-timer over fences for northern handler Howard Johnson in March, 2011.
*The Ruckers have had remarkably 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
*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 (UR5th); 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)
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 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. 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 2nd); 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)