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The Grand National: The Big Day is Here

The Grand National is a race like no other, which is one reason why Welsh trainer Tim Vaughan will have two minibuses full of his stable staff at Aintree on Saturday.

Vaughan has arranged for a group of 25 of his staff, family and friends to make the trip to Liverpool where his horse, Eva’s Oskar, will carry hopes of a first Welsh-trained National winner in over 100 years.

Everyone, it seems, takes an interest in the Grand National – whether it be keen students of jump racing form throughout the winter months, to occasional punters, and those who place an each-way bet once a year.

The race is one of those rare come-together moments in UK sport, like the FA Cup final, a Wimbledon final, or Wales against England in the Six Nations.

The gates will open around 10.30 on Saturday morning, with plenty of time for the crowds to soak up the atmosphere before the first race of the day at 1.45pm. There may even be some local celeb-spotting to be done with Coleen Rooney, Paddy McGuinness and Jamie Carragher all renowned Aintree-goers.

The Randox Grand National Chase – to give the race its official name – will start at 5.15pm, the longest national hunt race run in Britain, over a marathon four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs.

A total of 40 riders will tackle 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice over the two circuits to make it 30 obstacles in all.

Of those fences that are jumped twice, the most famous – and notorious – are Becher’s Brook, Foinavon, Canal Turn, Valentine’s Brook and Booth.

The two fences that are not re-jumped are The Chair and the Water Jump as horses on their second lap move towards the grandstand and the home straight. At 5ft 2in tall, The Chair is the highest and arguably the most difficult fence in the race.

Form and experience count for much, stamina and courage, too, but with such a big field and huge jumps, then luck plays its part, as well, meaning any horse in the field has a chance of winning, no matter what the odds.

Vaughan reckons his grey Eva’s Oskar has a lot of the attributes to become a Grand National winner – courage, stamina and good  temperament and he insists: “He ticks a lot of the boxes.

“We just have to hope he’s allowed to run his race. It’s hard to get organised in this race when there’s so much else going on.

“As a day, and a race, it doesn’t get any bigger or better than this. It’s as good as it gets. It’s a dream to be involved in a race of this quality. That’s what it’s all about. 

“There are the best part of 30 Irish horses in this field – that’s 75% of the field. There’s only 10 or 11 of not with Irish horses who are in there. So, to even get a runner, it just shows how hard it is. 

“And from my personal perspective, it’s the race that everyone knows. If you say horse racing and you have a conversation with anyone in the world, it’s all about the Grand National for the layman.”

Number, horse, breeding, age, weight, trainer, jockey

1) Any Second Now (IRE) 11 11-12 Ted Walsh IRE Mark Walsh

2) Noble Yeats (IRE) 8 11-11 Emmet Mullins IRE Sean Bowen

3) Galvin (IRE) 9 11-11 Gordon Elliott IRE Davy Russell

4) Fury Road (IRE) 9 11-6 Gordon Elliott IRE Jonjo O’Neill Jr

5) The Big Dog (IRE) 10 11-5 Peter Fahey IRE Aidan Coleman

6) Capodanno (FR) 7 11-5 Willie Mullins IRE Danny Mullins

7) Delta Work (FR) 10 11-4 Gordon Elliott IRE Keith Donoghue

8) Sam Brown 11 11-4 Anthony Honeyball Johnny Burke

9) Lifetime Ambition (IRE) 8 11-3 Jessica Harrington IRE Sean O’Keefe

10) Carefully Selected (IRE) 11 11-1 Willie Mullins IRE Michael O’Sullivan

11) Coko Beach (FR) 8 11-0 Gordon Elliott IRE Harry Cobden

12) Longhouse Poet (IRE) 9 11-0 Martin Brassil IRE JJ Slevin

13) Gaillard du Mesnil (FR) 7 11-0 Willie Mullins IRE Paul Townend

14) Darasso (FR) 10 10-13 Joseph O’Brien IRE Luke Dempsey

15) Le Milos 8 10-11 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton

16) Escaria Ten (FR) 9 10-10 Gordon Elliott IRE Adrian Heskin

17) The Big Breakaway (IRE) 8 10-10 Joe Tizzard Brendan Powell

18) Cape Gentleman (IRE) 7 10-8 John Hanlon IRE Jody McGarvey

19) Roi Mage (FR) 11 10-8 Patrick Griffin IRE Felix de Giles

20) Diol Ker (FR) 9 10-8 Noel Meade IRE Kieran Buckley

21) A Wave of The Sea (IRE) 7 10-6 Joseph O’Brien IRE Shane Fitzgerald

22) Minella Trump (IRE) 9 10-6 Donald McCain Theo Gillard

23) Vanillier (FR) 8 10-6 Gavin Cromwell IRE Sean Flanagan

24) Velvet Elvis (IRE) 7 10-6 Thomas Gibney IRE Darragh O’Keefe

25) Ain’t That A Shame (IRE) 9 10-5 Henry de Bromhead IRE Rachael Blackmore

26) Corach Rambler (IRE) 9 10-5 Lucinda Russell Derek Fox

27) Enjoy d’Allen (FR) 9 10-5 Ciaran Murphy IRE Simon Torrens

28) Mr Incredible (IRE) 7 10-4 Willie Mullins IRE Brian Hayes

29) Mister Coffey (FR) 8 10-4 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville

30) Cloudy Glen (IRE) 10 10-4 Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch

31) Hill Sixteen 10 10-2 Sandy Thomson Ryan Mania

32) Gabbys Cross (IRE) 8 10-2 Henry de Bromhead IRE Peter Carberry

33) Recite A Prayer (IRE) 8 10-1 Willie Mullins IRE Jack Foley

34) Eva’s Oskar (IRE) 9 10-1 S Tim Vaughan Alan Johns

35) Our Power (IRE) 8 10-0 Sam Thomas Sam Twiston-Davies

36) Dunboyne (IRE) 8 10-0 Gordon Elliott IRE Jack Tudor

37) Francky du Berlais (FR) 10 10-0 Peter Bowen Ben Jones

38) Fortescue 9 9-13 Henry Daly Hugh Nugent

39) Back On The Lash 9 9-13 Martin Keighley Adam Wedge

40) Born By The Sea (IRE) 9 9-10 John Gilligan IRE Phillip Enright

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1 thought on “The Grand National: The Big Day is Here”

  1. Backed the Welsh one boys . But secretly hoping it doesn’t come in for your sakes . As I can imagine you will have a lot of bets on this one . 😘

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