Aintree Grand National Meeting 2011 

grand national 2011 /


Sun Sets on Dusk's National Hopes

An old tendon problem has resurfaced at exactly the wrong time and scuppered the plans to run the smart handicapper From Dawn To Dusk in the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on April 9, writes Elliot Slater.

From Dawn To Dusk
© Grossick Racing Photography

From Dawn To Dusk

The Philip Hobbs-trained 12-year-old has been a grand servant to connections and despite his age still retains plenty of ability, officially rated in the mid-140s. He had been allocated a racing weight of 10st 7lbs for the Grand National and had been an intended runner, but the injury will take time to overcome and definitely rules him out of 'the world's greatest steeplechase'.

Hobbs and the Lloyd-Baker family, who own the horse, will now have to sit down and decide whether it is time to draw stumps on the career of their grand servant and let him ride off into the sunset to an honourable and well earned retirement. Third in the Byrne Group Plate at last year's Cheltenham Festival behind Great Endeavour, From Dawn To Dusk then went to the Aintree Festival a few weeks later and put up probably the best performance of his career to run out an impressive eight-length winner from Dom D'Orgeval in the Listed John Smith's Handicap chase on the Mildmay course.

This term the Afzal gelding began by running third in a Listed chase at Ascot before twice finishing fifth at Cheltenham behind lively Gold Cup outsider Midnight Chase, most recently in December in the Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase. From Dawn Dusk had been a general 66/1 in the Grand National odds.

Donald McCain's in-form Ballabriggs remains the 14/1 clear favourite for the 'National' in most lists, whilst recent money has seen Gordon Elliot's Backstage backed down to around 16/1 with some firms, alongside Niche Market, The Midnight Club and Oscar Time.

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