Aintree Grand National - 14th April 2012 

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Grand National 2012 [2011 result]


Neptune Collonges Lands National Thriller

1 Neptune Collonges 33/1
2 Sunnyhillboy 16/1
3 Seabass 8/1J
4 Cappa Bleu 16/1
40 ran Distances: nse, 5l, 7l
TIME 9m 5.10s (fast by 4.90s)

Neptune Collonges gave champion trainer Paul Nicholls his first John Smith's Grand National success when getting up on the line to beat Sunnyhillboy in a thrilling race at Aintree. [full result]


Synchronised Heads 40 for Grand National

A maximum 40 runners have been declared to run in Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree. There were no non-runners by the cut-off time of 9am Friday for the utilisation of reserves.

© Caroline Norris


This year’s race is due off at 4.15pm on Saturday, April 14, and boasts record prize money of £975,000, making it Britain’s richest jump contest by far.

Heading the weights on 11st 10lb is last month’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Synchronised. If successful on Saturday, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained nine-year-old would become only the second horse to complete the Gold Cup/Grand National double in the same year after Golden Miller in the 1934.

The last horse to attempt the double was Master Oats in 1995, who followed his Cheltenham victory by finishing seventh at Aintree. Four years earlier in 1991, Garrison Savannah almost pulled off the double when finding only Seagram too good at Aintree.

Synchronised is the 9/1 favourite with Betfred, official betting partner of the John Smith’s Grand National, and one of four remaining entries for his owner J P McManus, successful two years ago with Don’t Push It. McManus also has Sunnyhillboy, successful at Cheltenham last month in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase, Arbor Supreme and Quiscover Fontaine.

West End Rocker
© Grossick Racing Photography

West End Rocker
Junior, who has already won at the Cheltenham Festival and at Royal Ascot during his varied career, is 16/1 with Betfred and represents the stable of David Pipe, successful in 2008 with Comply Or Die, while there are two horses on 14/1 - On His Own and West End Rocker. On His Own is one of 16 remaining Irish-trained contenders and the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old, successful in this season’s Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, is the chosen mount of jockey Ruby Walsh, the only current jockey to have won the John Smith’s Grand National twice (Papillon in 2000 and Hedgehunter in 2005). West End Rocker comes into the race on the back of an impressive success over the Grand National course, having taken the Betfred Becher Chase by 22 lengths at Aintree in December.

Last year’s John Smith’s Grand National was won by Ballabriggs, trained by Donald McCain. The 11-year-old will be attempting to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals since Red Rum in 1973 and 1974, who was famously trained by Donald’s late father Ginger and went on to claim a record-breaking third victory in 1977. The McCain stable is also set to run Weird Al, winner of the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby earlier this season but a disappointment last time out when pulling up behind Synchronised at Cheltenham.

The other previous winner due to run on Saturday is Mon Mome, who is trained by Venetia Williams and famously landed a 100/1 upset in 2009.

Nina Carberry won last year’s Irish Grand National on Organisedconfusion.
© Caroline Norris

A female jockey has yet to win the John Smith’s Grand National but there is a good chance of this statistic changing in 2012 with leading Irish amateurs Kate Walsh and Nina Carberry both having fancied rides. Walsh is set to partner Seabass, trained by her father Ted, responsible for Papillon in 2000, while Carberry is booked to ride Organisedconfusion for her uncle Arthur Moore. Seabass comes into the race on the back of six straight victories, most recently in Grade Two company, while Organisedconfusion won last year’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse and has been given a typical John Smith’s Grand National preparation this season.

The Irish-trained contenders also include Chicago Grey and Tharawaat from the stable of Gordon Elliott, victorious with Silver Birch in 2007, as well as leading contenders Becauseicouldntsee, who ran a fine race when runner-up to Sunnyhillboy at Cheltenham for his owner/trainer Noel Glynn, the Northern Ireland-trained Killyglen, who was still travelling well when falling four from home last year, and Treacle, who is trained by Tom Taaffe for leading Flat owner Bjorn Nielsen and was a fine third in the Grade One Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February.

State Of Play

State Of Play
Kirkland, triumphant way back in 1905, is the only Welsh-trained horse to have ever won the Grand National but trainer Evan Williams, based in the Vale of Glamorgan, is set to field a three-strong team of State Of Play, who has been placed in the past three renewals, Cappa Bleu, a winner at Haydock Park in November and the chosen mount of stable jockey Paul Moloney, plus Deep Purple, a winner four times in Grade Two company and successful in the London National at Sandown earlier this season.

Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are locked in battle for the trainers’ championship and the two handlers each have one entry remaining in the John Smith’s Grand National. Nicholls is set to run the three-time Grade One winner Neptune Collonges, who ran a fine race when second to Giles Cross in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park on February 18. Henderson’s representative is Shakalakaboomboom, a Grade Three winner at Cheltenham in December and runner-up to Calgary Bay in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January.

According To Pete has been in great form this season for North Yorkshire-based Malcolm Jefferson with victories in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby and the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock Park. Another interesting contender for the north is last year’s Scottish Grand National third Always Right, who has disappointed on his latest two outings for Sedgefield-based John Wade but subsequently had a soft palate operation.



Class 1, Grade 3, £975,000 total prize fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 14, 2012, four miles and four furlongs. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 20, 2012, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and which are allotted a rating of 120 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 12, 2012. Horses who are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances up to and including February 12 would merit a minimum rating of 120. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 12, 2012. At the handicapper's discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. The British Horseracing Authority has modified Rule (F)42.2.1 for the purposes of this race, such that racecourse performances up to and including Sunday, February 12, may be taken into account. A novice horse shall only be qualified to run in this race if it has run a minimum of three times in chases in Great Britain, Ireland or France in accordance with Rule (F)42.5. Highest weight 11st 10lb - no penalties after publication of the weights. Entries closed January 31, entries revealed February 1 (82 entries), weights revealed February 14, first scratchings deadline February 28 (77 remained), second scratchings deadline March 20 (59 remained). Five-day confirmation stage April 9 (48 remain), Tuesday, April 10 (47 go forward) final declaration stage 10.00am, April 12. Maximum field size of 40, plus four reserves. Reserves have to be utilised by 9am on Friday, April 13. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Wednesday, April 11.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer

1) 13-P0311 SYNCHRONISED (IRE) 9-11-10 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/A P McCoy

2) 11/1121-4 BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 11-11-09 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain/Jason Maguire

3) 1/10P-13P WEIRD AL (IRE) 9-11-08 Brannon, Dennis, Dick, Holden Donald McCain/Timmy Murphy

4) 106-P422 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (FR) 11-11-06 John Hales Paul Nicholls/Daryl Jacob

5) 2F-0511 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 9-11-06 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight/Dominic Elsworth

6) F-6041UP ALFA BEAT (IRE) 8-11-05 Irvin Naylor John Hanlon IRE/Davy Russell

7) F01/35-23 PLANET OF SOUND 10-11-05 Charles Lloyd-Baker Philip Hobbs/ Richard Johnson

8) 51U/022/2 BLACK APALACHI (IRE) 13-11-03 Teresa Burke Dessie Hughes IRE/Denis O'Regan

9) 6/3U34-1F DEEP PURPLE 11-11-03 Paul Green Evan Williams/Jamie Moore

10) 131/321-02 JUNIOR 9-11-02 Middleham Park Racing LI David Pipe/Tom Scudamore

11) 10-U3032 CHICAGO GREY (IRE) 9-10-13 John Earls Gordon Elliott IRE/Paul Carberry

12) 3100-015 TATENEN (FR) 8-10-13 The Stewart Family Richard Rowe/Andy Thornton

13) F11/-1111 SEABASS (IRE) 9-10-12 Gunners Syndicate Ted Walsh IRE/Ms Katie Walsh

14) 000-1122 SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM (IRE) 8-10-12 Liam Breslin Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty

15) 11PB-P1 WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 10-10-12 Barry Winfield & Tim Leadbeater Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson

16) 22-30112 ACCORDING TO PETE 11-10-12 Peter Nelson Malcolm Jefferson/Harry Haynes

17) 14P1-B1 ON HIS OWN (IRE) 8-10-11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh

18) 2113-1PP ALWAYS RIGHT (IRE) 10-10-10 John Wade John Wade/James Reveley

19) 3F2P/-133 CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 10-10-10 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams/Paul Moloney

20) PU-345053 RARE BOB (IRE) 10-10-09 D A Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE/Bryan Cooper

21) 12-133F5 ORGANISEDCONFUSION (IRE) 7-10-08 Grace Dunlop Arthur Moore IRE/Miss Nina Carberry

22) P/P-51423 TREACLE (IRE) 11-10-08 Bjorn Nielsen Tom Taaffe IRE/Andrew Lynch

23) 3/216-B430 THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (IRE) 11-10-08 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend

24) 63F/-52PP0 MON MOME (FR) 12-10-08 Vida Bingham Venetia Williams/Aidan Coleman

25) 0P2F-60 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 10-10-07 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/MP Walsh

26) 03F-30P01 SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE) 9-10-05 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Richie McLernon

27) F-030341 KILLYGLEN (IRE) 10-10-04 David McCammon Stuart Crawford IRE/Robert Power

28) 2F-4010 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 8-10-04 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE/David Casey

29) 4-P13000 THARAWAAT (IRE) 7-10-04 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE/B O'Connell

30) 42F-63F22 BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 9-10-03 Noel Glynn Noel Glynn IRE/Davy Condon

31) 144/P3/4- STATE OF PLAY 12-10-03 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams/Noel Fehily

32) 2313P20 SWING BILL (FR) 11-10-03 David Johnson David Pipe/Conor O'Farrell

33) FP-26611 POSTMASTER 10-10-02 The Bill & Ben Partnership Tim Vaughan

34) 3/P22-121 GILES CROSS (IRE) 10-10-01 KCMS Partnership Victor Dartnall/Paddy Brennan

35) 21/10P-16 MIDNIGHT HAZE 10-10-00 Kim Bailey Racing Partnership Kim Bailey/Sean Quinlan

36) 0044B-20 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 12-10-00 Seamus Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE/Harry Skelton

37) 431U0-P3 IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 12-10-00 Dessie Hughes Dessie Hughes IRE/Niall Madden

38) 00-143P5 VIKING BLOND (FR) 7-10-00 Caroline Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/Brian Hughes

39) PP-5U654 HELLO BUD (IRE) 14-10-00 Seamus Murphy Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies

40) 0-315045 NEPTUNE EQUESTER 9-9-09 Koo's Racing Club Brian Ellison/Felix De Giles

40 declared runners 16 Irish-trained

There were no non-runners by the cut-off time of 9am Friday for the utilisation of reserves. Therefore, none of the four reserves - Any Currency, Our Island, Abbeybraney and Smoking Aces - will go forward.

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