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Aintree News 7th - 9th April 2005

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Ruby Walsh steers Hedgehunter to Grand National win
09/04/05
HedgehunterIrish raider Hedgehunter, the 7-1 favorite ridden by Ruby Walsh, romped to a 14-length victory in the Aintree Grand National yesterday. Second place went to 40-1 shot Royal Auclair, the mount of Christian Williams, who had a head to spare over 66-1 outsider Simply Gifted partnered by Brian Harding. Only 21 horses finished the race out of the 40-strong field.

Hedgehunter, who fell at the last fence last year when still in contention for a place, took over after Clan Royal's exit and galloped clear from the last fence. Hedgehunter is trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins, who was won the race on his fifth attempt, and it was 13th time lucky for owner Trevor Hemmings who has been trying since 1992.

Ruby said, "He gave Valentines first time a fair old clout, but after that he was going super all the way. I thought to myself that whatever happens I wouldn't move until the elbow. When we got there, away he went - brilliant."

Grand NationalNo ground concerns for Hegehunter says Mullins
06/04/05

John Smith's Grand National favourite Hedgehunter will travel to Aintree in the next 24 hours with his trainer Willie Mullins satisfied about the ground conditions at Liverpool.

After falling at the final fence last year when still in contention, the nine-year-old is now as low as 7-1 for Saturday's marathon, in which he will be ridden by Ruby Walsh.

"He will travel over later on Wednesday evening or Thursday - we will just see what the weather is like," said Mullins. "I'd be happy with the ground the way it is for him but really, it is a case of the softer the ground the better as we know that he can go on reasonably soft ground."

Hedgehunter, who came back to form after several runs over timber when landing the Grade Three Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on his last outing, made most of the running in last year's National when ridden by David Casey.

However, Mullins is keeping his cards close to his chest when asked about tactics in this year's renewal.

"Myself and Ruby will discuss the tactics before the race, but at this moment, we are not going to comment on it," he said.

Hedgehunter takes step towards Aintree
03/12/04
Hedgehunter did his John Smith's Grand National prospects no harm at all when running an encouraging second over hurdles at Thurles.

Sent off the 6-4 favourite, the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old made the running for much of the second circuit of the Rock Of Cashel Hurdle, but began to struggle three from home when he lost touch with the leaders.

However, the gelding stayed on for Paul Carberry and was only three and a half lengths behind surprise 50-1 winner Dalvento at the line.

Hedgehunter had finished ninth on his reappearance at Clonmel last month.

" He's coming along and that was a much better effort than Clonmel," Mullins said.

" I'm happy with the run today, although I thought he would win.

" We've no plans apart from Aintree in April. That's the only day we are planning for." British Horseracing Board

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