Grand National 2019 Fact Files
Go Conquer (IRE) 10-10-13
Breeding: b g Arcadio (GER) - Ballinamona Wish (IRE) (Kotashaan (FR))
Breeder: Ben Furney
Born: April 12, 2009
Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
*Posted a career-best on his latest start when landing the Listed Sky Bet Handicap Chase (3m) by six lengths at Doncaster on January 26.
*Started this campaign with a good third in the G3 Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase (3m) at Ascot on November 3, a race he won impressively in 2017.
*Purchased on behalf of Paul & Clare Rooney for £140,000 in January, 2014, after contesting two Irish point-to-points. From the family of 1986 Irish Grand National scorer Insure.
Race record: Starts: 22; Wins: 6; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £181,610
Paul & Clare Rooney
Background: Paul Anthony Rooney is originally from London (born July, 1947) and currently spends his time between the Monksford Estate, with its golf course and stables for retired racehorses, at Newtown St Boswells in the Scottish borders, and Sussex where he founded the Horsham-based Rooney & Co estate agents in 1981, which he now chairs. Ten years later, when he had 11 offices, he bought the south-eastern region of Prudential Property Services and formed Arun Estates. In 1993 Paul acquired Douglas Allen Spiro in East London and Essex. He moved back to the traditional trading name. Arun now trades under the brands of Ward & Partners, Cubitt & West, Douglas Allen, Pittis (on the Isle of Wight) and Rooney & Co through over 100 branches. Paul's wealth was valued at £140 million in the 2018 Sunday Times Rich List. He decided to start his own estate agency based on his own frustrations when trying to buy a family home in Horsham. He also has a house building business. He and his wife Clare have a number of charitable foundations (the Rooney Foundation being the biggest), which focus mainly on children's disabilities and medical research. Racing interests: Paul and Clare, who were social racegoers, first became involved with racehorse ownership as partners in the Donald McCain-trained Danny Zuko, a four-time winner between 2007 and 2010. They bought a third of Danny Zuko for £4,000 in 2006/07 and then got the bug. They have stepped up their involvement considerably in recent seasons. Initially their horses were trained principally by McCain, although they parted company with the Grand National-winning handler in a well-publicised split in October, 2015, when removing their 50-plus horses from the Cheshire-based trainer. The Rooneys now have their 100+ string spread widely, with their trainers this season including Kim Bailey, Jennie Candlish, Keith Dalgleish, Gordon Elliott, Harry Fry, Tom George, Philip Hobbs, Iain Jardine, Alan King, Charlie Longsdon, Graeme McPherson, Neil Mulholland, Fergal O'Brien, Jonjo O'Neill, Ben Pauling, Nicky Richards, Oliver Sherwood, Dan Skelton, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Alistair Whillans. The couple have also enjoyed significant success on the Flat, with the Clive Cox-trained My Dream Boat taking the G1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016. Former Jump jockey Jason Maguire is their racing manager. The Rooneys enjoyed their first Cheltenham Festival success with Willoughby Court, trained by Ben Pauling, in the 2017 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. The Last Samuri finished runner-up in the 2016 Randox Health Grand National. Randox Health Grand National Record - 5: 2014 Kruzhlinin (10th); 2016 The Last Samuri (2nd), Kruzhlinin (PU 27th); 2017 The Last Samuri (16th); 2018 The Last Samuri (PU 26th).
Nigel Twiston-Davies (Guiting Power, Gloucestershire)
Born: May 16, 1957 Background: Nigel Twiston-Davies initially combined training as a permit-holder with his farming interests from 1981, having his first winner with Last Of The Foxes at Hereford on February 3, 1982. The agricultural recession prompted him to make training his full-time profession and he took out a full training licence in 1989, recording his first win as a public trainer on December 30 of that year with Babil at Newbury. He has since gone on to register close to 2,000 successes, with his 1,000th winner coming at Stratford in October, 2006. Twiston-Davies rode 17 winners as an amateur under Rules and gained a further 17 point-to-point victories, and served as assistant trainer to Richard Head and Fred Rimell as well as having spells with Kim Bailey and David Nicholson. A childhood neighbour and friend of Peter Scudamore, he went into partnership with the champion Jump jockey to set up stables at Grange Hill Farm between Guiting Power and Naunton in Gloucestershire, although Scudamore has not been involved in the venture for many years (since 2003) and currently assists his partner Lucinda Russell, who won the 2017 Randox Health Grand National with One For Arthur. Since 2009, Twiston-Davies' business partner and assistant trainer is former stable jockey Carl Llewellyn, who enjoyed two Grand National winners thanks to Party Politics in 1992 and Earth Summit in 1998. Twiston-Davies adopted and developed the pioneering techniques of Martin Pipe, such as interval training and regular blood tests for his string, enabling him to rapidly raise his profile among the training ranks. He is one of only two current trainers, the other being Gordon Elliott, to have won the Grand National at Aintree more than once, saddling Earth Summit to victory in 1998 and Bindaree four years later. Twiston-Davies has had 17 successes at the Cheltenham Festival, headed by Imperial Commander in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup. His best season numerically was in 2010/11, when he enjoyed 97 winners. He had two sons with his former wife Cathy. The eldest, Sam, 26, now rides freelance, having been stable jockey to Paul Nicholls for four seasons. William (Willy), 24, a successful rider on the Flat and over jumps, has retired from race riding. He wants to become a trainer eventually after working in bloodstock. The trainer is married to Vicky and they have four young children.
Randox Health Grand National Record - 49: 1994 Young Hustler (BD 11th); 1995 Young Hustler (UR 3rd), Dakyns Boy (UR 10th), Camelot Knight (FELL 21st); 1996 Young Hustler (5th), Captain Dibble (11th); 1997 Camelot Knight (3rd), Dakyns Boy (8th), Grange Brake (Refused 27th); 1998 EARTH SUMMIT (WON); 1999 Earth Summit (8th), Camelot Knight (BD 22nd); 2000 Camelot Knight (15th); 2001 Spanish Main (FELL 1st), Beau (UR 20th); 2002 BINDAREE (WON), Frantic Tan (UR 5th), Beau (UR 14th); 2003 Bindaree (6th); 2004 Shardam (UR 3rd), Bindaree (UR 6th); 2005 Bindaree (11th), 2006 Baron Windrush (UR 3rd); 2007 Knowhere (UR 8th); Naunton Brook (PU 23rd), 2008 Fundamentalist (FELL 3rd), Ardaghey (FELL 4th), Naunton Brook (PU 19th), Knowhere (UR 25th); 2009 Battlecry (16th), Ollie Magern (FELL 2nd), Fundamentalist (PU 21st), Knowhere (PU 25th); 2010 Hello Bud (5th), Irish Raptor (FELL 10th), Beat The Boys (PU 19th), Ballyfitz (FELL 22nd), Ollie Magern (PU 28th); 2011 Grand Slam Hero (FELL 13th), Hello Bud (PU 29th); 2012 Hello Bud (7th), Viking Blond (FELL 1st); 2013 Major Malarkey (11th), Viking Blond (PU 15th), Imperial Commander (PU 22nd); 2016 Double Ross (PU 26th); 2017 Blaklion (4th); 2018 Blaklion (BD 1st), Double Ross (PU 30th).