Aintree News 7th - 9th April 2005

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grand national 2005 / news/

Forest Gunner Carries Ford to Fifth
Carrie Ford, who finished fifth on Forest Gunner in the John Smith’s Grand National, told the BBC’s Clare Balding: “I loved it - the thrill of a lifetime.

“Generally he was brilliant - he has run here twice before. But he was never able to fiddle away - a couple of times he had to reach for a fence or two and was very long at the ditch after Valentines.

“He was little bit long at the Chair as well - he just scraped over the Chair. He was right up there - to be honest he was on vapours from the Melling Road - it was all down to his huge courage that he kept up with them and was still in contention at the last.

“But he was up and down on the spot from the last - he didn’t quite get home.”

Richard Ford said: “I am absolutely chuffed - everything went right. There was always a little bit of a doubt whether he would just quite get home and he hasn’t.

“Ginger (McCain) came up to me and said ‘I thought I was going to get a cold bum there!’”

Carrie Ford’s fifth position equalled the best-ever position achieved by a woman jockey in the Grand National - Rosemary Henderson on Fiddlers Pike in 1994 was also fifth.

Carrie Ford & Forest Gunner may be Grand National favourites
Forest GunnerCarrie Ford's mount Forest Gunner could go off as the favourite for Saturday's John Smith's Grand National.

Several Bookmakers have chopped the 11-year-old's odds and they believe Mrs Ford could make history as the first lady rider to partner a Grand National favourite.

Forest Gunner, who is trained by Mrs Ford's husband Richard, is now an 11-1 chance after serious support in recent days.

The swell of money has come despite the fact that four-time National-winning trainer Ginger McCain wrote off Forest Gunner's chance, claiming that "women don't win Grand Nationals".

Mrs Ford will be the first woman since Rosemary Henderson in 1994 to line up for the Aintree showpiece.

And 'Girl power' could well be the theme of next Saturday, with trainer Lucinda Russell predicting a good run from her contender Strong Resolve.

The nine-year-old still needs a few to come out of the race to be guaranteed a run, but he looks a solid 16-1 shot judged on his second to Silver Birch in the Welsh National last December.

Ms Russell gave Strong Resolve a break after that race but he proved his well-being with a decent second at Kelso last month and the trainer expects him to step up on that again.

"I'm just sort of taking every day as it comes. It will probably be a bit of a relief this time next week and as long as he comes home safe that's great," she told At The Races.

"I think he will run a good race and I think conditions will suit him. He coped with heavy ground better than the other horses last time but ideally he wants it good to soft or soft."

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