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Crabbie's Grand National

Sam to Partner Tidal Bay in Grand National
Wednesday 19th March 2014

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With Ruby Walsh out of action for a while, after breaking his arm and dislocating a shoulder in a heavy fall at the Cheltenham Festival, Sam Twiston-Davies appears to be at the head of the queue to ride top weight Tidal Bay in the Crabbie's Grand National on April 5.

Tidal Bay
© Racehorse Photos

Tidal Bay

At yesterday's Northern Media Lunch at Aintree Racecourse, Tidal Bay's trainer Paul Nicholls said: “I have four in the Crabbie’s Grand National but the two main ones are Tidal Bay and Rocky Creek.

“His form off top-weight in his last three handicaps has been very good. He is in good shape and ran very well in Ireland last week. I am looking forward to him running. The thing to do is to drop him out and not to rush him. It does not matter if he races in last and gradually picks up – get him jumping and in a rhythm. He likes being ridden that way. It is highly likely that Sam Twiston-Davies will be riding Tidal Bay because he has won on him already this season.”

Sam Twiston-Davies, the racing ambassador for Jockey Club Racecourses North West, said: “I have been lucky enough to enjoy a good record over the Grand National fences.

“I am not sure yet who I will be riding in the Crabbie’s Grand National this year. My father has first choice but I could be riding Tidal Bay. We will just have to wait and see.”

The 13-year-old gelding will in bid to become the oldest winner of the race since 1923 but at a current price of around 16/1, he will surely be prominent amongst Grand National betting tips in the countdown to the world's greatest steeplechase.

Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, who has a completely free hand to set the weights for the Crabbie’s Grand National commented:

“Tidal Bay is a 13-year-old and he is carrying top-weight of 11st 10lb. I will be overjoyed if he wins as it will be great for the race for a top-weight to win. Tidal Bay has been a fantastic horse. I hope it will be a competitive race with a close finish.

“I think this year’s race is a significantly better contest than last year – just in terms of the depth of quality in the race.

Teaforthree was beaten in the race last year (finished third) and is 4lb well in. Long Run is the most credible second to top-weight (11st 9lb) I have had in the Grand National as he has won a Cheltenham Gold Cup and two King George VI Chases. It is sensational and I am looking forward to him running.

“There were some horses who ran well last week who would have gone up if I hadn’t done the weights in February. Goulanes, who won at Uttoxeter, would have been 9lb higher, while Balthazar King who would also be 9lb higher after his Cross Country win at Cheltenham.”

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