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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

KILLYGLEN HAS POWER FOR JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL BID

 

Stuart Crawford is hoping Killyglen (10st 10lb) can bring home a victory for Northern Ireland in the £950,000 John Smith’s Grand National (4.15pm) at Aintree on Saturday, April 9, when the nine-year-old gelding will have the assistance in the saddle of previous winner Robbie Power.

 

Irish-trained horses have won the John Smith’s Grand National 24 times, most recently in 2007 when Silver Birch scored under Power. 

 

The son of Presenting (40/1 with totesport, the official betting partner of the John Smith’s Grand National) heads for the world’s most famous chase off the back of a winless season, but he is no stranger to big-race success at Aintree’s John Smith’s Grand National meeting, having captured the Grade Two Mildmay Novices’ Chase over the smaller fences of the Mildmay course in 2009, when trained by Howard Johnson.

 

Crawford draws further confidence from the fact that Killyglen has shown good form in a light campaign, and although only sixth after making much of the running under top-weight when fancied to put up a bold show in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster on March 5, the trainer feels that run may have been better than the bare result suggests.

 

The Larne, County Antrim handler, who represented Ireland at eventing, revealed today: “I was happy enough with the way the horse went at Doncaster but I just think they went too fast that day. The winner, Always Right, and the second horse both came from behind.

 

“If you look at the form, David Pipe’s horse Minella Four Star has gone on to win the Midlands National - he was struggling to go the gallop that day and pulled up five out.

 

“I was a wee bit disappointed when I got home from Doncaster because I was expecting a big run from Killyglen but when I sat back and looked at the time, it was eight seconds quicker than the year before and it was slower ground this year. It probably ended up being a good enough run from him.

 

“If things had worked out differently that day I’d have been sitting here with a horse that had a good result and would probably be one of the leading fancies. That could have led to a lot of attention that I could do without, so maybe it will work out for the best - we’ll see.

 

“It’s interesting to look back through the National in the recent past - how many horses have gone on and won the race off the back of a mediocre run the time before.”

 

Crawford is pleased with Killyglen - owned by fellow Ulsterman David McCammon - who will be partnered by Power for the second time, the pair having finished fifth to Kalahari King in a handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in 2008.

 

The trainer continued: “Killyglen is doing well at the moment and it’s definitely all systems go for next week. We’re just hoping it stays quite dry - we don’t want any rain for him.

 

“Everything has gone well so far and he has had no setbacks. He did a piece of work after racing at Navan on Saturday. He jumped half a dozen fences and worked up the straight - he pleased me there. Robbie Power rode him and he was happy with him.

 

“Robbie will ride him in the National. He knows his way around and you will probably not get a better jumping rider. He has a lot of experience from his showjumping days as well.”

 

Latest prices from totesport:

 

8/1 The Midnight Club

 

12/1 Backstage, Oscar Time, What A Friend

 

14/1 Ballabriggs, Big Fella Thanks, Silver By Nature

 

16/1 Arbor Supreme, Don’t Push It, Niche Market, Quinz

 

20/1 Junior, Merigo, Synchronised, West End Rocker

 

25/1 Ballytrim, Becauseicouldntsee, Bluesea Cracker, Hello Bud, Majestic Concorde, Notre Pere, Skippers Brig, State Of Play, Vic Venturi

 

33/1 BAR


GOING

 

The going at Aintree remains:

 

MILDMAY & HURDLE COURSES - Good

 

GRAND NATIONAL COURSE - Good

 

Andrew Tulloch, Aintree’s Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing, reported today: “There has been steady drizzle today, which has amounted to around one millimetre, and the going remains good on all courses.

 

“We could see some further showers tomorrow with the forecast for a band of rain to arrive on Friday.

 

“The long-range forecast is for unsettled conditions for the first half of next week, with maybe around two or three millimetres of rain every other day. More settled conditions are predicted from Thursday onwards.”

 

TICKETS

 

The 2011 John Smith's Grand National meeting runs from Thursday, April 7, to Saturday, April 9, and features top-class racing on each day. Tickets and hospitality packages are still available. Visit www.aintree.co.uk for further information or call 0844 579 3001.

 

Seats are still available on Thursday, April 7, Liverpool Day, from £24 in West Tip. General Tattersalls admission is still available from £21 and hospitality packages can be purchased from £99. Also on Thursday, Liverpool group The Farm will perform for 60 minutes following racing.

 

The 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting will be opened on Thursday by legendary Knotty Ash comedian Ken Dodd.


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