Aintree Grand National Horses 5th April 2008 

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ch g Shernazar - Approach the Dawn (IRE) (Orchestra)
10-11-00 Form: 1/121FP/1236P/420F-2P
Owner: Andrea & Graham Wylie
Trainer: Howard Johnson
Breeder: David Connors
Jockey: Denis O’Regan

Bewleys Berry

Bewleys Berry
Having established a big reputation on the Irish point-to-point scene for Co Wexford-based trainer John Berry during 2003, winning impressively at Wexford (twice) and Loughrea, Bewleys Berry made his first appearance under Rules in a bumper at Gowran Park in April, 2004, when he saw off 15 rivals in fine style to score by eight lengths. That victory prompted big-spending owner Graham Wylie to pull out the cheque book to secure Bewleys Berry, who was transferred to the Co Durham yard of Howard Johnson. He made his debut for his new connections in an extended two-mile novice hurdle at Hexham on December 15, 2004, recording a facile six-length success. On his next start 12 days later at Ayr over an extra half mile, Bewleys Berry suffered his first reverse at the hands of the promising Villon, but regained the winning thread in a Grade Two event over three miles at Doncaster in January, 2005, defeating Indy Mood by 10 lengths. Sent to the Cheltenham Festival that March, Bewleys Berry fell at the fifth flight in the Grade Two Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle, and failed to figure next time at Aintree in the John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, pulling up behind Asian Maze. His chasing career got off to a great start when he recorded a decisive 12-length success at Wetherby in November, 2005, however that was to be his first, and so far, only victory over fences. Although he ran some good races as a novice, including when a close third to Darkness in the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase at Sandown in December, 2005, Bewleys Berry failed to figure at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase behind Star De Mohaison, and pulling up behind that same rival in the Grade Two John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase. Bewleys Berry ran respectably on his first outing of the 2006/2007 campaign at Ascot in October, coming home fourth to See You Sometime in a valuable three-mile contest, and then produced a fine performance to chase home Eurotrek in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on November 19, going down by eight lengths over three miles and a quarter. Next time out in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock, Bewleys Berry trailed home in ninth place behind Heltornic. He ran a fine race for a long way in the John Smith’s Grand National on his final start of last season, taking it up at the 18th fence and finding a good rhythm until unfortunately crumpling at Becher’s second time. He returned to action this term in the Becher Chase at Aintree in November and again finished runner-up, this time to Mr Pointment. For the second year in succession, Bewleys Berry failed to run his race in the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock. The 10-year-old was pulled up four from home in the extended three and half mile contest on February 16, which was won by Miko de Beauchene.

Race Record: Starts: 17; Wins: 4; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 1; Win and Place prize money: £91,917


Andrea & Graham Wylie
Multi-millionaire Graham Wylie, 48, from Whitley Bay, made his money in the computer software industry. After graduating from Newcastle University in 1980 with a degree in Computer Science and Statistics, he founded Sage with David Goldman, Phil Lever and Paul Muller, selling accountancy software in 1981. The company grew through acquisition, floated on the stock exchange in 1989 and continued to get bigger. After stepping down as managing director of Sage in May, 2003, Wylie sold a number of his shares and gained over £120 million. Wylie is the son of Scottish parents - his father was a coalminer from Stirling and his mother a seamstress from Hawick, where Wylie was born. A huge Newcastle United fan, he married Andrea Stone at Slaley Hall, Northumberland in May 2003 - the event was described as the “north-east’s wedding of the decade,” and was attended by over 250 guests, including Alan Shearer and Sir Bobby Robson. Pop superstar Ronan Keating performed at the couple’s wedding (for a reputed £175,000), singing When You Say Nothing At All, from the 1999 film Notting Hill, which the couple saw on their first date. The first horse the pair owned - a flashy grey picked out at Howard Johnson’s County Durham stable - was Lord Transcend, named after Andrea’s hair and beauty salon in Hexham. Lord Transcend won at 33/1 on his debut at Newcastle in March, 2002, and went on to prove himself a high-class horse over hurdles and fences, winning six times in all, before a leg injury sustained at Haydock in January, 2006, cut short his racing career. Having caught the ‘racing bug’ through the success of Lord Transcend, Graham and Andrea Wylie have invested millions of pounds in the racing industry and currently own around 100 horses, all in training with Howard Johnson. At Doncaster’s 2003 May Sale, Graham Wylie set a then record for a jumps horse when paying 340,000 guineas for Royal Rosa, which was a wedding present for his wife. He enjoyed a superb Cheltenham Festival in 2005, taking the World Hurdle with Inglis Drever, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Arcalis and the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle with No Refuge. In 2007, Inglis Drever reclaimed his Ladbrokes World Hurdle title and this season became the first horse to win the race for a third time. Inglis Drever’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle triumph was the highlight of a fantastic 2008 Cheltenham Festival for the Wylies as Tidal Bay also won the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy. Graham Wylie founded a new company, Technology Services Group (TSG), in 2003. He owns Close House Country Club and golf course and Gosforth Shopping Centre, and was awarded a CBE for his services to industry in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list. The Wylies live close to Hexham in Northumberland and Andrea, 35, has also excelled at showing dogs (, another interest they share, winning the best of breed prize at Crufts this year with miniature English bull terrier Transcend Racing Sash.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2007 Bewleys Berry (Fell 22nd)


Howard Johnson
Born in Barnard Castle, Co Durham, on August 11, 1953, Howard Johnson began training in 1984 and sent out his first winner, Tabriz Gold, at Kelso on February 26, 1985. He was involved with the pony club from a young age and assisted his father Roy, who trained a few horses under permit at the family's White Lea Farm on the outskirts of Crook in Co Durham as well as tending a 100-strong dairy herd. Johnson spent two years learning the ropes with legendary Northern trainer Arthur Stephenson and initially harboured hopes of becoming a Flat jockey, something that never materialised, and his achievements as a rider amounted to just one win on the veteran Trim Lawns. He still combines cattle farming with training at White Lea Farm, although over the past five years he has considerably stepped up his training operation, thanks to the huge investment of owner Graham Wylie. Wylie's involvement in the Johnson yard played dividends at the 2005 Cheltenham Festival with three winners - Arcalis in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, No Refuge in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle and Inglis Drever in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. Inglis Drever landed a second Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the 2005 Cheltenham Festival and scored an historic third victory in the race at this year’s Festival, when Tidal Bay also won the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy. Other significant successes for Johnson include the Betfred Gold Cup (1994 Ushers Island) and the National Hunt Challenge Cup Chase at Cheltenham (1993 Ushers Island). His victories at Aintree include the John Smith's Melling Chase with Direct Route in 1999 and 2000 and Grey Abbey in the 2005 totesport Bowl, while the latter also won the 2004 Scottish Grand National. His owners include former Newcastle United captain Alan Shearer. Wylie owns most of the horses he has in training although Johnson shares ownership of horses that run under the Transcend Bloodstock banner. John Smith’s Grand National record: 1991 Old Applejack (8th); 1992 Old Applejack (7th); 1994 Ushers Island (UR 3rd); 1995 Over The Deel (3rd); 1996 Over The Deel (9th), 1998 Joe White (PU bef 15th), Winter Belle (PU bef 21st); 1999 Castle Coin (UR 24th); 2005 Ballybough Rasher (Ref 22nd); 2006 Tyneandthyneagain (Fell 1st); 2007 Bewleys Berry (Fell 22nd)


Denis O’Regan
Denis O’Regan, 26, enjoyed the thrill of briefly leading the John Smith’s Grand National field on the second circuit in his first ride in the great race last year. Unfortunately, O’Regan’s mount, Ballycassidy, blundered and deposited him on the turf at the Canal Turn. O’Regan rode 13 winners as an amateur before turning professional at Downpatrick in September, 2003. Born in Youghal, Co Cork, on March 24, 1982, to Denis and Derleine O’Regan, the jockey has no family involvement in racing – his father runs Lombards Pub in Youghal. O’Regan is good friends with Niall Madden - who rode Numbersixvalverde to victory in the 2006 John Smith’s Grand National. He joined the powerful Co Durham stable of Howard Johnson in the summer of 2007 but prior to that his biggest 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 held in November. In October, 2006, at Wexford, he rode his first treble on Hard Scuffle and Irish National for boss Noel Meade, and Mission Impossible for Philip Rothwell. He has enjoyed a fantastic start to his association with Johnson and owners Andrea & Graham Wylie. O’Regan partnered two winners for the connections at the Cheltenham Festival in March, guiding Tidal Bay to success in the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and sealing an historic win aboard Inglis Drever in the Ladbrokes World Hudle, a third triumph in the race for the great horse.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2007 Ballycassidy (UR 24th) .

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