Aintree Grand National Horses 5th April 2008 

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Grand National 2008 -
[Runner Fact Files]

gr g Flemensfirth (USA) - Caislain Darai (IRE) (Fujiwara)
9-10-11 Form: 014/3F1P523/1PU22P-2221
Owner: J P McManus
Trainer: Arthur Moore IRE
Breeder: John O’Neill

A winner of his sixth start in Irish point-to-points, King Johns Castle was raced by his breeder John O’Neill in the early part of his career. He won his bumper on his second attempt at Gowran Park on December 16, 2004, and turned out 11 days later for a crack at the Christmas Bumper at Leopardstown, where he ran a fine fourth to Travino. Third on his first start over hurdles 10 months later, he fell next time out at the final flight when holding every chance. Bought by J P McManus and moved to Arthur Moore’s yard, King Johns Castle opened his hurdling account at Naas on January 8, 2006, in a two-mile, three furlong maiden hurdle. Stepped up to three miles, he was pulled up the following week before having his first start over fences a month later. On that occasion, he finished last of five, but improved to chase home stablemate Mansony in the Kilcock Novices’ Chase at Naas on March 13. Reverting back to hurdles for his next outing in April, he was third in a valuable two mile and six furlong handicap hurdle at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. He started the following season with a clear-cut victory in a two mile and one furlong beginners’ chase at Navan on November 12, 2006. Thrown into Grade One company for a two and a half mile novice chase, King Johns Castle was pulled up, while he was running well in a Grade Two novices’ chase at Leopardstown in January, 2007, when making a blunder and unseating his rider three out in a race won by this year’s Irish National winner Hear The Echo. Back at Leopardstown two weeks later, he was a two-length runner-up in the Grade One Irish Arkle and was again second the following month in the Grade Two Flyingbolt Novices’ Chase at Navan. He ended the 2006/07 campaign when pulled up in the Grade One Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse. A run of three seconds over fences, including in the valuable Pierse Handicap Chase at Leopardstown in January, came to an end on his most recent start, when he proved four lengths too good for the field in a Naas handicap hurdle over two miles and three furlongs on March 9.

Race Record: Jumps Starts: 20; Wins: 4; 2nd 6; 3rd 2; Win and Place Prize Money: £71,612


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)


Arthur Moore
As a jockey, Arthur Moore was joint champion Irish amateur in 1969 before turning professional. He won the 1971 Irish Grand National on King's Sprite and rode more than 60 winners. Born on September 15, 1949, Moore spent six years assisting his father Dan, who trained L'Escargot, twice winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as the 1975 Grand National and Tied Cottage, before taking out a training licence himself. Joan Moore, Arthur's mother, also trained before and after Dan's death and made history as the first woman to become a steward of the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee, and the first woman to manage Punchestown Racecourse. Arthur Moore trained his first winner in 1975, while his initial British success came when Royal Bond won at Ascot on October 29, 1980. Moore's stables are at Dereens, near Naas in County Kildare, from where he has sent out a string of big-race winners including Klairon Davis (1994 Dennys Gold Medal Chase, 1995 Arkle Chase, 1996 Queen Mother Champion Chase), Drumgora (1981 Queen Mother Champion Chase), The Brockshee (1982 Arkle Chase) and Feathered Gale (1996 Irish Grand National). Moore's eldest son, J D, is a successful amateur and trainer of Irish point-to-pointers, while his other son, Andrew, rode Mon Oiseau for Arthur in a charity race at Punchestown in April, 2006. Arthur’s daughter Anna, a bloodstock agent with BBA Ireland, is married to fellow bloodstock agent Kevin Ross. Grand National Record: 1982 Mullacurry (Fell 1st), 1984 Clonthturtin (Fell 6th), 1985 Clonthturtin (PU bef 24th), 1990 Thinking Cap (Fell 3rd), 1994 New Mill House (Fell 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Back Bar (Fell 7th), Wylde Hide (UR 22nd), Feathered Gale (PU bef 27th), 2002 Lyreen Wonder (UR 20th), 2005 Glenelly Gale (PU bef 28th), Marcus Du Berlais (UR 22nd), 2006 Native Upmanship (Ref 27th)

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