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Aintree Grand National 2011 

grand national 2011 /

 

O'Regan Rides King Fontaine in Grand National
05/04/11

Denis O'Regan has been named as the man charged with getting the best out of Malcolm Jefferson's lively outsider King Fontaine in this weekend's John Smith's Grand National, the Irishman having been revealed as the big-race jockey for the Trevor Hemmings-owned runner just seven days before the big event itself, writes Elliot Slater.

King Fontaine
© Grossick Racing Photography

King Fontaine

Bookies can't make up their collective minds as to whether or not they fancy the progressive eight-year-old gelding with some going as short as 33/1 about his prospects of landing the lion's share of the £950,000 prize money, whilst others go as big as 80/1 about him pulling off a shock win of Mon Mome proportions. That said, there are plenty of other Grand National 2011 horses standing in his way.

For his part, O'Regan will doubtless be hoping that King Fontaine can go just one better than his mount last year, Black Apalachi, who ran such a tremendous race to chase home Don't Push It and who only gave best inside the final furlong on the flat having given his rider the thrill of a lifetime in racing prominently throughout. The Dessie Hughes-trained runner misses this year's renewal and that left O'Regan looking for a ride in Saturday's race. In King Fontaine he could well have picked up a very decent mount.

Jefferson's chaser has done little wrong this term, winning two competitive three-mile handicaps at Haydock in November before finding the heavy ground all against him when eventually pulled up in the Welsh Grand National in early January. His staying-on fifth of the 19-runner field in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival showed that he remains on an upward curve, and with a comfortable racing weight of just 10st 6lbs and the better ground that suits him ideally, the North Yorkshire raider has better prospects of making a bold show than many similarly priced horses in the prestigious contest.

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