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Friday, April 7, 2000


Britain's housewives fancy a Last Fling with a Dark Stranger in the National


Coral the bookmakers are predicting that The Last Fling and Dark Stranger will be this year's housewives' choice in the Grand National especially as the latter will be ridden by the betting public's hero, Tony McCoy.

Other horses likely to be popular are Niki Dee, Young Kenny, Bobbyjo, Micko's Dream and Listen Timmy as they are obvious choices for punters with the same name. "Picking your National fancy will be easy if your name is Nicola, Kenneth, Robert, Michael or Timothy and these horses will be amongst the best backed in this year's Martell Grand National" said Coral spokesman, Simon Clare.


The professional money seems to be going on Earthmover and Star Traveller
as well as big priced outsiders Papillon (33/1) and Merry People (40/1).


Bookmakers are anticipating a record number of bets on this year's race with up to 80 million expected to be wagered on the most famous steeplechase in the world. Over 5 million people will place a bet on the Aintree marathon and the once a year National punters will be out in force.



CORAL LATEST GRAND NATIONAL ODDS


7 STAR TRAVELLER
10 BOBBYJO
10 DARK STRANGER
12 THE LAST FLING
14 YOUNG KENNY
14 MICKO'S DREAM
14 DJEDDAH
16 RED MARAUDER
16 EARTHMOVER
20 LUCKY TOWN
25 KENDAL CAVALIER
25 MELY MOSS
28 FEELS LIKE GOLD
33 NIKI DEE
33 PAPILLON 40 ESCARTEFIGUE
40 HOLLYBANK BUCK
40 MERRY PEOPLE
40 SPARKY GAYLE
40 ADDINGTON BOY
40 CALL IT A DAY
40 ROYAL PREDICA
40 TORDUFF EXPRESS
40 FLAKED OATS
40 BRAVE HIGHLANDER
50 CHOISTY
50 STORMY PASSAGE
50 SUNY BAY
50 BUCK ROGERS
50 KINGDOM OF SHADES
50 LISTEN TIMMY
50 ESPIRIT DE COTTE
50 VILLAGE KING
66 CELTIC GIANT
66 ART PRINCE
66 SENIOR EL BETRUTTI
80 DRUID'S BROOK
80 THE GOPHER
100 TRINITRO
200 CAMELOT KNIGHT

SPECIAL BETS

8/1 A lady to train the winner
The Last Fling, Senor El Betrutti, Kingdom of Shades

5/2 An Irish trained winner
Bobbyjo, Buck Rogers, Papillon, Micko's Dream, Lucky Town, Hollybank Buck, Merry People

13/2 A Martin-Pipe trained winner
Royal Predica, Dark Stranger, Art Prince

14/1 A Grey Winner
Suny Bay, Kendal Cavalier, Senor El Betrutti

13/2 A Paul Nicholls trained winner
Escartefigue, Earthmover, Torduff Express, Flaked Oats

AGE OF WINNER
40/1 6 years old 6/4 10 years old
50/1 7 years old 9/1 11 years old
9/1 8 years old 9/1 12 years old
Evens 9 years old 200/1 14 years old




WILLIAM HILL PRICES CORRECT AT 15.30 (GMT) 7/04/2000


A £100,000,000 NATIONAL GAMBLE?

William Hill are bracing themselves for the busiest National EVER! With the
company's Internet business now contributing substantially to the overall
business of National Day, Hill's expect the off-course betting industry to
be pushing turnover towards £100million on the day. With bets like £10,000
at 14-1 on Micko's Dream and £5000 each-way at 40-1 on Lucky Town the race
still atracts the serious punter alongside the housewife's choice.


To cope with the extraordinary business generated on National Day (Double
Derby Day and equal to the entire World Cup tuornament!) Hill's have
recruited extra staff for their shops and telephone operations. William
Hill shops will be open from 9am (selective shops earlier) and the
telephone opeartions (both mainland and off-shore) will be open at 8am.


In addition to the outright betting on the National, Hill's are offering a
number of novelty bets including a series of 'races within a race' where
punters only have to pick the winner from a number of selective fields.


AINTREE
MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL: 10-1 Bobbyjo (from 7), Star Traveller (from 7), Dark
Stranger (from 12), 12-1 Micko's Dream, 14-1 Djeddah, Earthmover (from 20),
Red Marauder, The Last Fling, Young Kenny, 20-1 Kendal Cavalier, 22-1 Lucky
Town, 25-1 Mely Moss, Niki Dee (from 33), 28-1 Feels Like Gold, 33-1 Merry
People, Papillon, Royal Predica, 40-1 Choisty, Escartefigue, Flaked Oats,
Hollybank Buck, Stormy Passage, Sparky Gayle, Torduff Express, 50-1
Addington Boy, Brave Highlander, Buck Rogers, Call It A Day, Esprit De
Cotte, Suny Bay, Village King, 66-1 Celtic Giant, Kingdom Of Spades, Listen
Timmy, The Gopher, 100-1 Art Prince, Druids Brook, Senor El Bettrutti,
150-1 Trinitro, 200-1 Camelot Knight,

SPECIALS (WIN ONLY):
THE FAVOURITES: 10-3 Bobbyjo, Star Traveller, 4-1 Dark Stranger, 5-1
Micko's Dream, 6-1 Djeddah, 13-2 The Last Fling, 9-1 Kendal Cavalier,

THE DANGERS: 7-2 Earthmover, Young Kenny, 9-2 Lucky Town, 5-1 mely Moss,
Niki Dee, 6-1 Feels Like Gold, 8-1 Papillon,

THE WINNER TO BE: 5-2 Irish Trained, 7-1 Paul Nicholls Trained, Martin Pipe
Trained, 11-1 Lady Trained, 14-1 Grey Horse, 20-1 Philip Hobbs Trained,

Other Specials, eg.Winning Distance, Number Of Finishers, Age Of Winner,
Place Only Betting, Special Groups, Upon Request



FITZGERALD HOPEFUL

MICK FITZGERALD will be sweating on his chances of riding Esprit De Cotte tonight.


Nicky Henderson's stable jockey strained the ligaments behind his left ankle when Architect fell in Thursday's Glenlivet Four-Year-Old Hurdle.


Walking with only the slightest limp at Aintree this morning, Fitzgerald said: "I have had physio on the ankle this morning and it is feeling better. I am having more physio this afternoon and will then go for a swim later on followed by a soak in the jacuzzi.


"Then before going to bed tonight I'll have a good sweat in a hot bath and hopefully I will be in top form to ride Esprit de Cotte in the National."

Fitzgerald has to pass the course doctor but stressed that he had stood himself down after his injury. This cost him the winning ride on Ross Moff, on whom Paul Carberry deputised.


"I feel if I'd pushed things I could have ridden today but I had five rides in five competitive races and it would not be fair to connections if I wasn't one hundred per cent."

Fitzgerald reckons he could have even partnered Ross Moff on Thursday but admitted: "I wouldn't have liked coming back to unsaddle in second spot knowing I should have won. It would not have been fair on Tony Martin and the connections."


John Hughes Trophy
WILLIAMSON FALL

Norman Williamson took a a heavy fall from Supreme Charm and has given up his rides for the rest of the afternoon. Williamson was badly shaken but should be fit tomorrow when he partners Mely Moss in the Martell Grand National.


Kenny Whelan finished the race without any irons after his mount Risk of Thunder had made a bad mistake at the Canal Turn. Risk of Thunder also blundered at the Chair earlier in the race.


"The saddle slipped at the Canal Turn and I lost my irons afterwards," said the Irish jockey.


Even Flow, who fell at the first fence along with Toni's Tip, was taken away in the horse ambulance but was found to have no serious injuries.




POWELL AND YOUNG KENNY

BRENDAN POWELL, who rides Young Kenny in the Martell Grand National, reported the ground "safe and all right" for for his big-race mount after finishing eighth on Moon Devil in the John Hughes Trophy.


"I have spoken to Young Kenny's owner Mr Read and told him that if the race was today the ground would be all right for his horse," said Powell. "For me,it is safe but I hope they are going to water and I shall pray for a drop of rain which is forecast as ideally he wants soft ground.


"As it is at the moment, the conditions won't do Young Kenny any harm. Don't forget he won on good and good to firm over hurdles."







NO WITHDRAWALS FROM MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL

All the 40 runners declared yesterday for tomorrow's Martell Grand National have stood their ground at the final official stage at 9.30am this morning, so the field will remain unchanged.


As a result, none of the four runners who were nominated as reserves yesterday will get into the race.


This means that Cavalero, much fancied for the race after his success in the Christie's Foxhunters' Chase at Cheltenham, will not run.

The other three reserves, who will also not be taking part, were Overflowing River, Cariboo Gold and River Unshion.


The only jockey change is Ollie McPhail on Camelot Knight.




GOING CHANGE

Following a dry night with a minimal amount of frost the going is now:

GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES

on all three courses - the Martell Grand National course, the Mildmay course and the hurdles track.


"There was about one degree of frost last night," said clerk of the course Ian Renton.


"We plan to water all the track on this side of the Melling Road after racing this evening. This will cover all of the Mildmay and hurdles courses and just less than half of the Grand National course. This is where the good to firm places are, and although I would very much like to get the ground back to the good going of yesterday, I do not think that this will be possible.

"I am pretty confident that the going tomorrow will be no faster than today's. There is a small amount of rain forecast for overnight, but that on its own will make no impression.


"We had about 80 members of the groundstaff working till late last night, when the frost came, and again early this morning, repairing the course and the fences after yesterday. The horses made a fair print then, as you would expect from the state of the going.


"We have also moved the running rail out about four yards after the last fence on the far side of the Mildmay course, and have saved six yards on the hurdles course and on the home turn on the Mildmay course so that there will be fresh ground on both those tracks tomorrow."








DECLARED RUNNERS FOR THE MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL
SEE NEW JOCKEY ON CAMELOT KNIGHT


Class A, Grade 3, Showcase Handicap, 3.45pm Saturday, April 8, 2000, 4m 4f, £500,000 guaranteed, six-year-olds and upwards who are allotted a rating of 110 or more by the senior BHB National Hunt Handicapper following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 6. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at January 26 may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performance to February 6 would merit a minimum rating of 110, and that the horse has either won a chase or hurdle race, or has run at least three times collectively in chases or hurdle races by February 6. At the Handicapper's discretion, such horses may be allocated either a rating, or will be allotted top weight under Order 95 (iii) (b). No penalties after the publication of weights. Entries closed January 26 (108 entries), weights released February 8 (99 weighted), first forfeit stage February 22 (85 entries), second forfeit stage March 21 (64 entries), five-day confirmation stage April 3(52), final declaration stage 10am April 6 (40 declared runners). A maximum of 40 runners can go to post.


Form Horse Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey
1)U111-0614 YOUNG KENNY 9-12-00 Gareth Read Peter Beaumont Brendan Powell
2)11FP0-P5 SUNY BAY (IRE) 11-11-12 Andrew Cohen Simon Sherwood Chris Maude
3)202F-4524 ESCARTEFIGUE (FR) 8-11-09 Darren Mercer Paul Nicholls Jimmy McCarthy
4)4F-11305 DJEDDAH (FR) 9-11-08bl John D Martin Francois Doumen FR Thierry Doumen
5)54116-045 BOBBYJO (IRE) 10-11-06 Bobby Burke Tommy Carberry IRE Paul Carberry
6)1011-P5P LISTEN TIMMY (NZ) 11-11-05 Stan Clarke Alan King Tony Dobbin
7)4-U14211P THE LAST FLING (IRE) 10-11-05 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith Seamus Durack
8)624-24P STORMY PASSAGE (IRE)10-11-03 Peter Luff Philip Hobbs Andrew Thornton
9)3///1/111-16 RED MARAUDER 10-11-02 Norman Mason Norman Mason Richard Guest
10)F354-U03 ADDINGTON BOY (IRE) 12-11-02 Fat Yuen Chiu Ferdy Murphy Adrian Maguire
11)42F13160 BUCK ROGERS (IRE) 11-11-00 Josephine Skinner Victor Bowens IRE Ken Whelan
12)12-1P2222P NIKI DEE (IRE) 10-10-13 George Dilger Peter Beaumont Robbie Supple
13)4100-005403 PAPILLON (IRE) 9-10-12 Betty Moran Ted Walsh IRE Ruby Walsh
14)200-65200 SENOR EL BETRUTTI (IRE) 11-10-12 Gerard Nock Susan Nock Carl Llewellyn
15)1-251123 STAR TRAVELLER 9-10-11 Jill Griffith/Liz Strachan/Sue Lewis Henry Daly Richard Johnson
16)23122-1336 VILLAGE KING (IRE) 7-10-11 Bill Edwards-Heathcote Philip Hobbs Jim Culloty
17)323-3FP5 CALL IT A DAY (IRE) 10-10-11 Jane Lane Alan King Barry Geraghty
18)31133-P121 MICKO'S DREAM (IRE) 8-10-10 S.P.O.R.T. Racing Club Willie Mullins IRE Jason Titley
19)21-2FPP40 ESPRIT DE COTTE (FR) 8-10-08 bl Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson Mick Fitzgerald
20)3P31-06702 SPARKY GAYLE (IRE) 10-10-08 Ray & Anita Green Colin Parker Brian Storey
21)345-1P3P FEELS LIKE GOLD (IRE) 12-10-07 Independent Twine Manufacturing Co Nicky Richards Brian Harding
22)5P0-4656 KENDAL CAVALIER 10-10-06 Michael Wingfield Digby Toby Balding Barry Fenton
23)0522230 LUCKY TOWN (IRE) 9-10-05 bl Mrs Noreen McManus Enda Bolger IRE David Casey
24)P-511536 EARTHMOVER (IRE) 9-10-05 Roger Penny Paul Nicholls Joe Tizzard
25)32-P33P55 HOLLYBANK BUCK (IRE)10-10-04 bl Mrs Sarah Warner Tony Martin IRE Peter Niven
26)31P-4211 ROYAL PREDICA (FR) 6-10-04 v Peter Dea/J S Dale/A Stennetl Martin Pipe Glenn Tormey
27)1P-1215U KINGDOM OF SHADES (USA)10-10-04 Michael Fenn Venetia Williams Tom Jenks
28)14/31/4-1 TRINITRO 9-10-03 Ms Liv Saether Myskja Rune Haugen NOR Robert Bellamy
29)12104-33 TORDUFF EXPRESS (IRE)9-10-03 Two Plus Two Paul Nicholls Robert Thornton
30)44-122160 THE GOPHER (IRE) 11-10-03 bl John Egan/Phillip Banks/Brenda Grainger David Wintle Warren Marston
31)0/132//21- MELY MOSS (FR) 9-10-01 Darren Mercer CharlieEgerton Norman Williamson
32)1P1-24P11 DARK STRANGER (FR) 9-10-01 bl Terry Neill Martin Pipe Tony McCoy
33)1B122-142 CHOISTY (IRE) 10-10-00 Fred Sainsbury Ted Haynes Robert Widger
34)404P-14522 FLAKED OATS 11-10-00 (9-11) bl Daily Mail Reader Paul Nicholls Timmy Murphy
35)221213 ART PRINCE (IRE) 10-10-00 (9-10) t Terry Neill Martin Pipe Dean Gallagher
36)4P60-P666 MERRY PEOPLE (IRE) 12-10-00 (9-09) Karl Casey John Queally IRE Garrett Cotter
37)2420-1PP2 DRUID'S BROOK 11-10-00 (9-09) bl Major Tony Everett Kim Bailey Rupert Wakley
38)2U0/P6-PP0 BRAVE HIGHLANDER (IRE) 12-10-00 (9-09)Nick Embiricos Josh Gifford Philip Hide
39)4F00-440 CAMELOT KNIGHT 14-10-00 (9-08) Michael Gates Nigel Twiston-Davies Ollie McPhail
40)3R/11PP-0 CELTIC GIANT 10-10-00 (9-07) Richard Gilbert Len Lungo Bruce Gibson

40 declared runners

No reserves now eligible


NATIONAL DEBUTANTS

FIVE jockeys will experience for the first time the unique drama and action of the greatest racing show on earth tomorrow (Sat).


Irish champion Ruby Walsh, on Papillon, and champion-elect Barry Geraghty, on Call It A Day, will be soaking up the atmosphere as they have never done before. They will be making their bow in the Martell Grand National.


Other first time National jockeys are British-based Jimmy McCarthy, from Skibereen, Co Cork, who partners Escartefigue and Ollie McPhail who teams up with Camelot Knight, third behind Lord Gyllene three years ago. The debutant jockeys are completed by Bruce Gibson who is on board Scotland's hope Celtic Giant. Gibson won last year's Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham on the same horse.


No less than 14 trainers will be saddling their first runners. Surprisingly, Peter Beaumont, who has been training with a full licence for 14 years and specialises in big, bold staying chasers ideal for the National, heads the list. He is responsible for one-time favourite Young Kenny as well as Niki Dee.


Also two-handed will be first-season trainer Alan King, who runs Listen Timmy and Call It A Day.


Celtic Giant's trainer Len Lungo has never had a National runner before. Like Lungo, Lockerbie-based Colin Parker flies the flag for Scotland with Sparky Gayle.


Shropshire-based Henry Daly, who has been training for less than two years, is hopeful that joint favourite Star Traveller will make a bold show as his first representative.


Charles Egerton, who gives Mely Moss his first run of the season in the race, is another trainer making his bow. David Wintle, who saddles The Gopher, has not prepared one before.


Two women trainers Sue Smith, with The Last Fling, and Sue Nock, with Senor El Betrutti, will be feeling their nerves as 3.45 approaches.


Four Irish trainers, Victor Bowens (Buck Rogers), Willie Mullins (Micko's Dream), Tony Martin (Hollybank Buck) and Enda Bolger (Lucky Town), will be sending horses into the thick of the action for the first.


Norway's Rune Haugen, saddling the Norsk Grand National winner Trinitro, pays his first visit to Aintree.






NATIONAL BETTING FRENZY FOR BRITAIN'S FAVOURITE RACE

The Tote, one of Britain's biggest betting organisations, is forecasting a nationwide gamble on the Martell Grand National of between £65 and £70 million.

"That is about £1 for every man, woman and child in the country," said Rob Hartnett, the Tote PR Director. "It is a wide open year, but unusually the ones with the best names also happen to be among the best horses in the race.

"Bobbyjo, Micko's Dream and Young Kenny will vie for outright favouritism and for the heartstrings of the nation's millions of once-a-year punters.

"Royal names have gone a bit out of fashion in recent years but this year we've got a Royal Predica, Art Prince and Kingdom of Shades," he added. "One we expect a lot of small bets for is Buck Rogers. He would be a good first National winner of the 21st Century."



TOTE GUARANTEE NATIONAL TRIFECTA AT £50,000

The Tote Trifecta on tomorrow's Martell Grand National, where bettors are asked to nominate the first three home in the correct order has a guaranteed pool of £50,000.

Last year there was £69,000 bet in the pool, and punters who got the 1-2-3 won £3,263 for a £1 stake.





STAR TRAVELLER UPDATE

Star Traveller, who heads the Martell Grand National betting, is all set for tomorrow's showpiece after his final piece of light exercise at trainer Henry Daly's Downton Hall Stables near Ludlow in Shropshire.



"He just cantered again this morning and we're very happy with his how preparation has gone. He'll come to Aintree tomorrow morning (Saturday)," said Daly.



But the trainer was not keen to make any bold predictions. "We'll just have to see what happens and what will be will be," he added.





AINTREE REACTS PROMPTLY

AINTREE RACECOURSE has done over 20 interviews and handled many more inquiries following the deaths of four horses on the opening day of the Martell Grand National meeting yesterday, Thursday. Charles Barnett, the Managing Director, and Nigel Payne, the Press Officer, have dealt with the calls.

"The phones have been ringing since four o'clock this morning," said Payne. "And between us we have carried out over 20 interviews."

When asked if there was anything that could be done to prevent the equine fatalities, Barnett said: "After every Martell Grand National meeting we discuss with the Jockey Club and the RSPCA to see if anything can be done to improve safety for horses and riders.


"It desperately sad when a horse dies anywhere, not just at Aintree. Research is currently being carried out over a three-year period into race falls on all courses to see if there are any common factors and if anything more can be done.


"We must remember this is a risk sport and in any such sport accidents do occur. There was no link or pattern between the three accidents yesterday, with one on the Grand National course, one on the Mildmay course and one on the Hurdle course, while Lake Kariba had a heart attack.


"But we will of course look further into these accidents. We provide the very best veterinary facilities at Aintree and are totally committed to horse welfare."

Interviews on Friday morning included London Live Radio, Irish National Radio, BBC TV News, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Manchester, Southern Counties Radio, Radio Nottingham, BBC Northwest, BBC News, British Forces Radio, Channel 5 TV, Radio Wales, Radio Scotland, and Granada TV.


David Muir, the RSPCA's equine consultant, said: "There were four separate incidents with no common factor. Fate dealt Aintree a terrible blow.


"There will be a full investigation afterwards and we shall asked to be very much involved in that with the racecourse and the Jockey Club.


"We are an animal welfare organisation, not an animal rights organisation, and we believe in working with organisers of events. The Aintree course was in excellent shape yesterday and I don't know what else the management could have done.


"The death of any horses on any racecourse is unacceptable to the RSPCA."

The RSPCA and the Animal Health Trust are about to carry out a three-year research programme into every equine fatality on Britain's racecourses, in order to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths in horseracing.




'MAD' MANNERS JUST MISSES OUT





John Manners, is to miss having a runner in the Martell Grand National, held tomorrow at Aintree, for the first time in four years.


Cavalero, trained by Manners, was first reserve for the big contest if there were any withdrawals at the final 9.30 a.m. confirmation stage today.

However, all 40 horses above Cavalero in the handicap confirmed, meaning that Manners' charge will definitely miss the race, as will the other reserves, Overflowing River, Cariboo Gold, and River Unshion.




FITZGERALD RACE AGAINST TIME





Mick Fitzgerald, who won the 1996 Martell Grand National on Rough Quest, is hoping that he will be fit for tomorrow's renewal at Aintree, after sustaining an ankle injury yesterday.


The jockey, who is hoping to ride the Nicky Henderson-trained, Esprit De Cotte, commented: "I feel as though I've been run over by a steam engine and my ankle is very sore."

He misses today's racing.





WHELAN HIGH HOPES FOR BUCK ROGERS





Jockey, Ken Whelan, believes that his mount, the Victor Bowens-trained Buck Rogers, has a good chance in tomorrow's Martell Grand National at Aintree.


Whelan, who finished fifth on Gimme Five on his only other ride in the prestigious race in 1998, commented: "He's got class and he jumps and stays. Victor has aimed him at the race and the horse is in great order.


"You never know what will happen, in the National, of all races, but if I can avoid trouble then I think he'll run a really big race."



PRISON OFFICERS PRAY THAT MICKO'S DREAM CAN BREAK OUT OF THE PACK





24 Irish prison officers, members of the Sport Racing Club (SRC), are hoping that their eight-year-old Buckskin gelding, Micko's Dream, can pull off the greatest success of his career, and land the Martell Grand National at Aintree tomorrow for the Irish for the second year running.


Trained by Willie Mullins, Micko's Dream was last seen on a racecourse in February when he won the Red Mills Trial Chase at Gowran Park, beating Bob Treacy by eight lengths.


John Curtin, the SRC's public relations officer, said: "We believe he has a serious chance. If he wins, we'll take him to Portlaoise and parade him."



THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR BRAVE HIGHLANDER





12-year-old, Brave Highlander, trained at Findon by Josh Gifford, will make his third attempt to win the Martell Grand National at Aintree tomorrow, having unseated his rider in 1998 and finished sixth last year.


Gifford said: "Last year Brave Highlander was lame with an infected foot before the race, but ran an unbelievable race.


"This year the horse has had an uninterrupted preparation. He is 12, but a lot of 12-year-olds win the National. He is in teriffic form."



PUNTERS WARNED TO HOLD FIRE ON RED MARAUDER





Red Marauder, trained by permit-holder Norman Mason, is not a definite to run in tomorrow's Martell Grand National at Aintree, and his participation depends upon a course inspection by connections an hour or two before the off time of 3.45 p.m.


Mason, who does not want conditions too fast for his Gunner B gelding, said: "As long as we just get some rain on Friday night we'll be okay, and we're definitely bringing the horse down.


"We're going to walk the course an hour or two before the race and make a decision. What we want is good ground, and if it didn't rain before Saturday I'd be worried. It's fair to say it will be a late decision."



TODAY'S RECORD CROWD

Aintree Racecourse had a record Friday crowd for the Martell Grand National Meeting of 36,430, an increase of 5,810 (+19%) over last year's figure of 30,620.


Charles Barnett, Aintree's Managing Director, said: "We are delighted to have another record crowd following Thursday's record attendance of 18,500."

Tomorrow racegoers can buy Tattersalls Enclosure (£20) and the Steeplechase Enclosure (£7) tickets at the gates for Martell Grand National day. The County Stand is sold out.


Police and security staff will be conducting searches so racegoers are urged to arrive early but delays will be kept to a minimum. The gates open at 7am and the first race is at 1.45pm.


Racegoers arriving by car are urged to use the park-and-ride facility which is off junction six of the M57. This is a free service, with frequent buses to and from the racecourse entrances.


There is no parking in the streets around Aintree Racecourse and car parking on the course is possible at the Canal Turn but all other parking had to be pre-booked.


Aintree Railway Station is opposite the track and there are frequent services from Liverpool and Ormskirk.


For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive


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