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Owner Hopes for a Change of Luck with Problem Horse Maljimar

Connections of Maljimar were this morning keeping their fingers crossed that they will sneak into the final line-up for Saturday's John Smith's Grand National.

Having just about got over the heartbreak of seeing the nine-year-old caught and passed by Wichita Lineman in the last strides of the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham last month, Nick and Jane Williams are gearing up for another potentially-fraught afternoon at Aintree as they attempt to keep their unlucky chaser cool in the build-up to the world’s most famous steeplechase.

But first they must hope that Maljimar can even make the final field, as he presently needs one more horse to come out of the race before he will be among the final 40.

“We've been in the same position before with Philson Run (fourth in 2007) and managed to get in to the race, but we've had so much bad luck with Maljimar that it wouldn't be a surprise if we didn't get in," said owner Jane Williams, whose husband Nick trains the horse.

“Nick and I have always liked horses by Un Desperado, the sire of Maljimar, and we went to the Doncaster Sales in 2006 specifically to buy him (they paid 9,000 guineas).

“To be honest, he's been a bit of a problem horse and we have on occasions struggled to keep him in one piece. He's not straightforward and he tends to boil over quickly sometimes.

“It was heartbreaking when he got caught on the line at Cheltenham, as that would have been our first winner at the Festival. But it wasn’t the first time that had happened with him as we thought we were going to have our first-ever winner at Cheltenham with him when he ran at Cheltenham in October 2007, but Knowhere came and caught him on the line.”
If he does make it into the final line-up, the Williams’ family will be doing their best to try and keep him calm during the usual big-race preliminaries.

“Not to put too a fine a point on it, he went absolutely nuts in the build-up to the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on his first start this season and threw his chance away before the race had even started,” explained Mrs Williams.

“He was much better at Cheltenham last month, but I am worried that he won't like the preliminaries, particularly the parade and especially if it’s a hot day.

“He’s very, very well at the moment, so well that he bit somebody yesterday morning. If we can get him down to the start without him boiling up then hopefully he'll run well, but it’s the Grand National and you can’t get your hopes up too high. We’ll come up for the day with two of the children and hopefully have a nice family day out.”

Mrs Williams also has high hopes for John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase contender Cornas the same day.

"He was cruising in the Arkle Chase when he skidded on landing at the second-last fence and he totally lost his rhythm," she said. "He was fine afterwards and is in really good form again now. We're looking for a big run from him."


Latest totesport Grand National betting:

7 My Will, 9 Butler's Cabin, 10 Rambling Minster, 12 State Of Play, 14 Black Apalachi, Hear The Echo, 16 Big Fella Thanks, Comply Or Die, Southern Vic, Parsons Legacy, 20 L'Ami, Darkness, Irish Invader, 22 Kilbeggan Blade, 25 Snowy Morning, Himalayan Trail, Maljimar, 33 Chelsea Harbour, Cloudy Lane, Brooklyn Brownie, Flintoff, Cornish Sett, Offshore Account, 40 bar.

a quarter of the odds 1-2-3-4

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