Aintree Grand National Horses 5th April 2008 

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Grand National 2008 -
[Runner Fact Files]

b g Poliglote - Strictly Cool (USA) (Bering)
8-11-03 Form: 22/4337/311143011-373
Owner: J P McManus
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Breeder: Chris Buckley
Jockey: Tony McCoy

Butler’s Cabin

Butler’s Cabin
Butler’s Cabin was a 25,000 guineas purchase at Tattersalls in October, 2001. He made his racecourse debut for owner J P McManus and trainer Jonjo O’Neill in an extended two mile, one furlong bumper at Folkestone on November 15, 2004, finishing second to Noble Action. He filled the same berth in a Newbury bumper 13 days later to conclude his initial campaign. Butler’s Cabin commenced his second season in December, 2005, with fourth place in a Bangor bumper. He then had three starts in novice hurdles, coming home third twice before a disappointing effort at Leicester on January 24, 2006, brought another premature end to his season. He returned to action for the 2006/2007 season at Worcester on September 3 and posted a promising first effort over fences, coming home third, a length behind Cansalrun. He finally opened his account on October 15, 2006, in a two mile, three furlong handicap chase at Hereford. Success at Aintree came just six days later in the Win At Handicap Chase over two and a half miles. Three days on and Butler’s Cabin secured a rapid hat-trick when winning an extended two and a half mile handicap at Cheltenham. He continued his progress with a fine fourth to Exotic Dancer in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham that November. Third at Newbury later that month, he was then a disappointing 10th behind Exotic Dancer in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and was given a break before returning at the Cheltenham Festival on March 15. Stepped up significantly in trip, he benefited from the fall two out of Gungadu to take the four mile, one furlong National Hunt Chase from Character Building. Jonjo O’Neill then sent his charge to the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on April 9 and Butler’s Cabin ended his campaign with a fantastic victory under Tony McCoy. Butler’s Cabin started out the 2007/2008 season at Leicester on January 8, when he was a promising third to Jack The Giant in an extended two and a half mile handicap chase. He has disappointed on his two most recent outings. At Sandown on February 2, he was a distant last of seven finishers behind Gungadu while, although finishing third at Wincanton in the Country Gentlemen’s Association Chase over an extended three miles and a furlong on February 16, he was 54 lengths behind the winner Neptune Collonges.

Race Record: Starts: 18; 1st: 5; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 6; Win & Place Prize Money: £176,334


J P McManus
Few people have enjoyed a closer association with jump racing in the last 30 years than John Patrick ’J P’ McManus, who was born in Co Limerick on March 10, 1951. He left his father’s plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well-trodden route of gamekeeper-turned-poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each-way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. Although still one of the highest-staking punters on the racecourse, “The Sundance Kid” (as he was dubbed by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after a number of major gambles in the ring during the 1970s) is also the biggest National Hunt owner in terms of numbers in Britain, Ireland and France with over 250 horses and has a string of other business interests including dealing in financial markets from his Geneva base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer. The pair have also invested in the Barchester chain of nursing homes, which was revalued at £1 billion in 2006, Castlebeck care homes, a property company that owns Unilever House in London and leisure clubs, including the Chelsea Harbour Club. Since Mister Donovan landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1982, he has enjoyed 29 Festival successes, headed by three-time Champion Hurdle hero Istabraq and Baracouda, who landed the 2002 & 2003 renewals of what is now the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and finished second in 2004 and 2005. Istabraq and Baracouda are now retired at McManus’s Martinstown Stud in Co Limerick. He does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, where Tiger Woods regularly plays, has raised millions of euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O’Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities. He was British champion owner for the last two seasons (2005/06 & 2006/07) and looks like being so again this season. He has become increasingly serious about trying to win the John Smith’s Grand National, having five runners in 2004, six in 2005, four in 2006 and two in 2007. Clan Royal went close when second in 2004, was carried out when in the lead at Becher’s second time around in 2005 and was third two years ago. The Sunday Times Rich List estimated McManus’ wealth at £561 million in 2007.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (Fell 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU bef 27th), 1992 Laura's Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura’s Beau (Fell 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU bef 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (Fell 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU before 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (Fell 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th)


Jonjo O’Neill
Jonjo O’Neill was a highly successful jump jockey and has established himself at the top of the training ranks in recent seasons. In spite of an appalling list of injuries, he was champion jockey on two occasions (1977-78 and 1979-80), and he set a then record for a season of 149 winners in his first championship year. The most sensational moment of his riding career came when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Dawn Run in 1986 as the mare became the only horse to win that trophy after having previously taken the Champion Hurdle (1984), also with O’Neill in the saddle. He also won the Gold Cup on Alverton in 1979, though he had a dreadful record in the Grand National, in which he never completed the course in spite of having had a number of fancied rides. He retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season and, having survived lymphatic cancer not long after that, started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987. He forged a reputation with horses such as Vicario Di Bray, winner of the 1989 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock, and Legal Right, who landed the Grade Three Tripleprint (now Boylesports) Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 1999 and went on to capture the BGC Silver Cup at Ascot as well as the Grade Two Tommy Whittle Chase. He moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire, not far from Cheltenham, when the yard was bought by owner J P McManus in 2001. His victories at the Aintree Festival as a trainer include Quazar in the John Smith’s Anniversary 4YO Novices’ Hurdle in 2002, Clan Royal in the 2003 John Smith’s Topham Chase, Iris’s Gift (2003) and Black Jack Ketchum (2006) in the Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, Iris’s Gift in the 2004 John Smith’s Liverpool Long Distance Hurdle, Refinement(2006) and Alberta’s Run (2008) in the John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle, Two Miles West (2007) in the John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle, Exotic Dancer (2007) in the totesport Bowl. His Cheltenham haul consists of wins in the National Hunt Chase with Front Line, Rith Dubh, Sudden Shock, Native Emperor and Butler’s Cabin, the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Spectroscope, the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle with Master Tern, the Pertemps Hurdle Final with Danny Connors and Inching Closer, the 2004 Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Iris’s Gift, the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle with Black Jack Ketchum and Wichita Lineman, the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase with Drombeag and the Royal & SunAlliance Chase with Alberta’s Run. His Cheltenham Festival tally rose to 15 this term with the win of Alberta’s Run in the Royal & SunAlliance Chase.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2003 Carbury Cross (7th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Joss Naylor (PU bef 19th); 2005 Simply Gifted (3rd), Shamawan (21st), Native Emperor (UR 9th), Clan Royal (CO bef 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Clan Royal (11th)


Tony McCoy
Born May 4, 1974, Tony McCoy is the greatest jump jockey of his era and many would argue the greatest of all time. McCoy started out with Billy Rock before trying his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger. Since growing too heavy and turning to jump racing he has not looked back. He was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/95 when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard and took his first senior title the following season with 174 wins. His domination has brought 12 consecutive jump jockey's titles and he is currently heading for number 13 as he is over 20 winners clear of his nearest challenger approaching the John Smith's Grand National meeting. McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 wins in the 1997/8 season with 253 successes and broke his own record for the fastest 200 winners in the 1999/2000 season, ending up with 245 successes. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Sir Gordon Richards. He has passed the double century mark five times. He had a fairytale 1998 Cheltenham Festival, riding five winners, and also rode a rare double the previous year on Make A Stand in the Champion Hurdle (for his boss Martin Pipe) and Mr Mulligan in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. McCoy added a second Champion Hurdle when successful on Brave Inca in 2006. In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe's stable after accepting a reportedly huge offer from J P McManus and rides for McManus's principal trainer in Britain, Jonjo O'Neill. McCoy, O'Neill and McManus teamed up to capture the Irish Grand National with Butler's Cabin just five days before the 2007 John Smith's Grand National at Aintree. That was the jockey's first success in the race. He failed to complete the course on each of his first five rides in the John Smith’s Grand National before Blowing Wind took third in 2001 and again in 2002. McCoy teamed up with Clan Royal in 2005 and the pair were steaming along in front before being unluckily carried out by a loose horse at Becher's Brook on the second circuit. He finished third for a third time in 2006 when Clan Royal crossed the line just over seven lengths behind Numbersixvalverde. McCoy cracked a vertebra in a terrible fall Warwick in January but was back in winning action with Alberta’s Run at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1995 Chatam (Fell 12th), 1996 Deep Bramble (PU bef 2 out); 1998 Challenger Du Luc (Fell 1st); 1999 Eudipe (Fell 22nd); 2000 Dark Stranger (UR 3rd); 2001 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2002 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2003 Iris Bleu (PU bef 16th); 2004 Jurancon II (Fell 4th); 2005 Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th)

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