Grand National 2018 Fact Files
Randox Heath Grand National

Raz De Maree

Raz De Maree (FR) 13-10-08
 
Breeding: ch g Shaanmer – Diyala III (Quart De Vin)
Breeder: Mme Michele Juhen-Cypres
Born: March 13, 2005
Owner: James J Swan
Trainer: Gavin Cromwell
Jockey: 
Form: U21722UP0-F221

Raz De Maree
© Grossick Photography
Raz De Maree
 
*Already has four 'Nationals' to his credit, when becoming the oldest horse to win the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow earlier this season under 16-year-old James Bowen, who was the youngest jockey to win the event. Had previously also won the Cork version in both 2012 and 2016 as well as the Munster edition at Limerick in 2012.
 
*Prior to his Welsh Grand National success earlier this season, Raz De Maree finished second in the Cork Grand National on November 5 and came a creditable second at Southwell in December in a three-mile handicap hurdle.
 
*Would become the first 13-year-old since Sergeant Murphy in 1923 to win the Randox Health Grand National. Why Not (1894) is the only other 13-year-old winner.
 
*Unseated his rider Ger Fox in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National at Becher's Brook (sixth fence) when ducking left to try and avoid a faller.
 
*Ran in the Grand National at Aintree in 2014 for his original trainer, the late Dessie Hughes, finishing a plugging-on eighth behind Pineau De Re, beaten 32 lengths.
 
*Was subsequently trained by Sandra Hughes following Dessie's death in November, 2014, before being transferred to Gavin Cromwell in 2016 when Sandra Hughes ceased training.
 
Jump race record: Starts 43; wins 7; 2nd 10; 3rd 4. Win & place prize money: £279,888
 
James J Swan
 
James (Jimmy) Swan is a farmer who hails from near Skryne in Co Meath. His first involvement in racehorse ownership came in 1994 when he had two horses with C P Magnier, but he didn't have his first winner until September, 1997, when the Cecil Mahon-trained Persian Life won a beginners' chase at Down Royal. Swan was at the centre of one of the largest betting coups in Irish history in 2001. He reportedly had £100,000 at 10/1 with an undisclosed offshore bookmaker that his eight horses would win six races between them before December 14. Prince Of Tara, trained by Stephen Mahon, sealed the extraordinary £1-million wager when annexing a maiden hurdle at Downpatrick on November 21, having already won a bumper at Navan. Persian Life, also trained by Mahon, scored in a handicap chase at Dundalk, while the Kevin Prendergast-trained pair of Arkaga and Baron De Feypo won three races between them on the Flat. Prince Of Tara was in the headlines again when capturing the valuable Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in 2005. Raz De Maree is the best horse Swan has owned, recording victories in the 2012 Munster National and the 2012 and 2016 renewals of the Cork Grand National, plus the Welsh version at Chepstow this season. Jimmy's brother Frank owns Swans Pub in Skryne.
 
Previous Randox Health Grand National Record: 2014 Raz De Maree (8th) 2017 Raz De Maree (UR 6th)
 
Gavin Cromwell (Danestown, County Meath)
 
Born: September 29, 1974. Background: Began his career in racing as a stable lad for the late Dessie Hughes in Ireland and then worked in Britain (Ben Hanbury in Newmarket) and Australia (Johnny Meagher in Melbourne). Cromwell is a successful farrier by trade, but decided to take out a training licence in 2005 and saddled his first winner, Dodder Walk on April 7, 2007. One of his stable stars is Jer's Girl, a dual G1 winner over hurdles in 2016 and who registered victory in a Listed juvenile hurdle at Aintree in December, 2015. Other big race wins for the County Meath handler include Raz De Maree's 2018 Welsh Grand National success, 2012 & 2016 Cork Grand National victories and 2012 Munster National win as well as Mallards In Flight landing the Hanlon Concrete EBF Glencarraig Lady Mares Handicap Chase at the 2015 Punchestown Festival. Cromwell has also tasted success on the Flat, training Sretaw to win the 2014 Irish Cambridgeshire. He had his best season in 2015/16, saddling 14 winners over jumps from 64 runners, an impressive 22% strike-rate. Cromwell trained 10 winners from 137 runners last season and has saddled 16 winners in Britain and Ireland so far this term (up to April 1) and has more than 60 horse in training. He also had 10 winners on the Flat in 2017. He is married to Kiva and they have three children.
 
Randox Health Grand National Record: 2017 Raz De Maree (UR 6th)