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Saturday, April 10, 2010



JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL DAY
RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE
AINTREE, SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2010


CROWD FIGURE



For the third day running, Aintree posted an increase in the number of people attending the Grand National meeting year-on-year.


The crowd figure for John Smith’s Grand National day was 70,341, up on last year’s figure of 70,130.


“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Aintree’s managing director Julian Thick. “The attendance figures have been up for all three days.


“We couldn’t have asked for a better result in the Grand National, with AP McCoy winning the big race for the first time for Jonjo O’Neill and JP McManus. Obviously it was sad that the race went off without Ruby Walsh but we all wish him a quick recovery from his injury.”

DON’T PUSH IT (IRE) - The 10/1Jt-Fav WINNER
b g Old Vic - Sheìs No Laugh Ben (USA) (Alleged (USA))
10-11-05 Form: 3/11/1211F5/1F0/P82271-423P1 Owner: J P McManus
Breeder: Dominick Vallely Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill Jockey: Tony McCoy

Don’t Push It
Don’t Push It began his career in the 2004/05 season, finishing a promising third in a Warwick bumper, and duly won on his only two starts the following season in a Market Rasen bumper and a Haydock novices’ hurdle. Sent over fences the following season, he got off the mark at Southwell before finding only the mighty Denman too good in a novices’ chase at Cheltenham in November, 2006. Further wins at Cheltenham and Chepstow followed and he was still in contention when falling two out in the 2007 Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He took advantage of his lower hurdles ratings when landing the Listed Silver Trophy at Chepstow on his seasonal reappearance in the 2007/08 season, but disappointed on his two subsequent outings that season. Last season started disappointingly, but he progressed to take second behind Big Buck’s in a hurdle race at Cheltenham in January, 2009, and rounded off the campaign with a fine victory in the John Smith’s Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay course at Aintree on Grand National day. He has had four outings so far this season. He began the current campaign by taking fourth in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase at Aintree and then stayed on well to take second to Galant Nuit, beaten half a length, in a Grade Three handicap chase at Cheltenham in November. A bad mistake at the last cost him all chance of success in a handicap chase at Warwick in December, while he disappointed on his latest outing when pulling up in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Race Record: Starts: 23; Wins: 8 ; 2nd: 4; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £653,390

J P McManus
Few people have enjoyed a closer association with jump racing in the last 30 years than John Patrick ’J P’ McManus, who was born in Co Limerick on March 10, 1951. He left his father’s plant hire business at the age of 20 to become a racecourse bookmaker, but then took the less well-trodden route of gamekeeper-turned-poacher when becoming a professional punter. McManus recalls one of his first bets as being on Merryman II in the 1960 Grand National when he was just nine, but the bet that changed his life was £4 on Linden Tree in a Newmarket maiden in 1970, the horse winning at 100/8. He had another £4 on when Linden Tree won the Observer Gold Cup at 25/1, and £5 each-way at 33/1 for the Derby, when the horse beat all bar Mill Reef. Although still one of the highest-staking punters on the racecourse, “The Sundance Kid” (as he was dubbed by journalist Hugh McIlvanney after a number of major gambles in the ring during the 1970s) is also the biggest jump owner in terms of numbers in Britain, Ireland and France. He has a host of business interests including dealing in financial markets from his Geneva base and part-ownership of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados, where he also has a house. With John Magnier, he bought a 28.7% stake in Manchester United through the Cubic Expression company before subsequently selling out to US tycoon Malcolm Glazer. He was recently in the news because of his stake in the pub and restaurant operator Mitchells and Butler. In 2009, the Sunday Times estimated McManus’ wealth at £435 million. Since Mister Donovan landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1982, he has enjoyed 32 Cheltenham Festival successes, headed by three-time Champion Hurdle hero Istabraq plus Baracouda, who landed the 2002 and 2003 renewals of what is now the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. This year he won a fourth Champion Hurdle with Binocular. He does a lot of work for charity and his Pro-Am golf tournament, where he plays with Padraig Harrington as his partner, has raised millions of Euros. McManus is also a keen backgammon player and a big hurling fan. He owns Jackdaws Castle, the Gloucestershire yard that Jonjo O’Neill trains from, and has invested heavily in improving facilities. He was British champion owner for the 2005/6, 2006/7 and 2008/9 seasons and he has become increasingly serious about trying to win the John Smith’s Grand National, having five runners in 2004, six in 2005, four in 2006, two in 2007, four in 2008 and four again last year. Clan Royal went close when second in 2004, was carried out when in the lead at Becher’s second time around in 2005 and was third in 2006, while King Johns Castle filled the runner-up spot in the 2008 contest. John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1982 Deep Gale (Fell 1st), 1988 Bucko (PU bef 27th), 1992 Laura's Beau (3rd), 1994 Laura’s Beau (Fell 6th), 1996 Wylde Hide (UR 24th), 1997 Wylde Hide (UR 22nd); 1998 Gimme Five (5th), 2002 Spot Thedifference (UR 27th); 2003 Youlneverwalkalone (PU bef 13th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Spot Thedifference (5th), Risk Accessor (UR 6th), Le Coudray (Fell 22nd); 2005 Innox (7th), Spot Thedifference (18th), Shamawan (21st), Clan Royal (CO 22nd), Le Coudray (PU before 21st), Risk Accessor (UR 2nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th), Innox (Fell 1st), First Gold (UR 23rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th), Clan Royal (11th); 2008 King Johns Castle (2nd), L’Ami (Fell 2nd), Bob Hall (PU bef 19th), Butler’s Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (Fell 18th), L’Ami (PU bef 30th);2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON) and three others

Jonjo O’Neill
Jonjo O’Neill (born April 13, 1952) was a highly successful jump jockey and has established himself at the top of the training ranks in recent seasons. In spite of an appalling list of injuries, he was champion jockey on two occasions (1977/78 and 1979/80), and he set a then record for a season of 149 winners in his first championship year. The most sensational moment of his riding career came when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Dawn Run in 1986 as the mare became the only horse to win that trophy after having previously taken the Champion Hurdle (1984), also with O’Neill in the saddle. He also won the Gold Cup on Alverton in 1979, though he had a dreadful record in the Grand National, in which he never completed the course in spite of having had a number of fancied rides. He retired from the saddle at the end of the 1985/86 season and, having survived lymphatic cancer not long after that, started training near Penrith, Cumbria, in 1987. He forged a reputation with horses such as Vicario Di Bray, winner of the 1989 Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock, and Legal Right, who landed the Grade Three Tripleprint (now Boylesports) Gold Cup at Cheltenham in 1999 and went on to capture the BGC Silver Cup at Ascot as well as the Grade Two Tommy Whittle Chase. He moved to his present base at Jackdaws Castle in Gloucestershire, not far from Cheltenham, when the yard was bought by owner J P McManus in 2001. His victories at the Aintree Festival as a trainer include Quazar in the John Smith’s Anniversary 4YO Novices’ Hurdle in 2002, Clan Royal in the 2003 John Smith’s Topham Chase, Iris’s Gift (2003) and Black Jack Ketchum (2006) in the Citroen C5 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, Iris’s Gift in the 2004 John Smith’s Liverpool Long Distance Hurdle and Exotic Dancer (2007) in the totesport Bowl. His 17 Cheltenham Festival victories include five wins in the National Hunt Chase, the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Spectroscope, the 2004 Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Iris’s Gift and the two victories of Albertas Run in both the RSA Chase (2007) and the Ryanair Chase (2009). John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2003 Carbury Cross (7th); 2004 Clan Royal (2nd), Joss Naylor (PU bef 19th); 2005 Simply Gifted (3rd), Shamawan (21st), Native Emperor (UR 9th), Clan Royal (CO bef 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd), Risk Accessor (5th); 2007 Clan Royal (11th); 2008 Bob Hall (PU bef 19th), Butler’s Cabin (Fell 22nd); 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th), Reveillez (BD 3rd), Can’t Buy Time (Fell 18th); 2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON) and one other

Tony McCoy
Born in Moneyglass, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland on May 4, 1974, Tony McCoy is the greatest jump jockey of his era and many would argue the greatest of all time. He is the son of Peadar McCoy, who bred the 1993 County Hurdle victor Thumbs Up. McCoy started out with Billy Rock, riding out from the age of 12, before trying his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger and rode his first winner on Legal Steps at Thurles on March 26, 1992. Since growing too heavy and turning to jump racing, he has not looked back. He partnered his first British winner, Chickabiddy, at Exeter on September 7, 1994 and was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/5 with a then record 74 winners when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard. He took his first senior title the following season with 174 wins. His domination has brought 14 consecutive jump jockey's titles and he is currently well on course for number 15 this season. McCoy broke Peter Scudamore's record of 221 wins in the 1997/8 season with 253 successes and broke his own record for the fastest 200 winners in the 1999/2000 season, ending up with 245 successes. In 2001/02 he beat by 20 the record of 269 winners in any season set by Flat jockey Sir Gordon Richards. He has passed the double century mark five times and reached the 3,000 winner mark at Plumpton in February, 2009. He had a fairytale 1997 Cheltenham Festival, recording a rare double on Make A Stand for his then boss Martin Pipe in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and Mr Mulligan in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. McCoy added a second Champion Hurdle when successful on Brave Inca in 2006 and a third this season with Binocular. In total, he has partnered 23 winners at The Festival, although he has yet to finish better then third from 14 rides in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree. In April, 2004, he left Martin Pipe's stable after accepting a reportedly huge retainer from owner J P McManus and rides for McManus's principal trainer in Britain, Jonjo O'Neill. McCoy also rides regularly for Nicky Henderson. McCoy’s wife Chanelle gave birth to their daughter Eve late in 2007. McCoy was made an MBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and his achievements were recognised with a reception at Stormont, the seat of government in Northern Ireland, in August, 2009. John Smith’s Grand National Record: 1995 Chatam (Fell 12th), 1996 Deep Bramble (PU bef 2 out); 1998 Challenger Du Luc (Fell 1st); 1999 Eudipe (Fell 22nd); 2000 Dark Stranger (UR 3rd); 2001 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2002 Blowing Wind (3rd), 2003 Iris Bleu (PU bef 16th); 2004 Jurancon II (Fell 4th); 2005 Clan Royal (CO 22nd); 2006 Clan Royal (3rd); 2007 L’Ami (10th; 2008 Butler’s Cabin (Fell 22nd; 2009 Butler’s Cabin (7th):2009 DON’T PUSH IT (WON)



THE 2010 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL FINISHERS

14 finishers

1) DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) 10/1 JF
2) BLACK APALACHI (IRE) 14/1
3) STATE OF PLAY 16/1
4) BIG FELLA THANKS 10/1JF
5) HELLO BUD (IRE) 20/1
6) SNOWY MORNING (IRE)
7) CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE)
8) CLOUDY LANE
9) TRICKY TRICKSTER (IRE)
10) JOE LIVELY (IRE)
11) CERIUM (FR)
12) COMPLY OR DIE (IRE)
13) PIRAYA (FR)
14) PREISTS LEAP (IRE)

distance 5, 20, 3, 7, 1.5, nk, 12, 3/4, sh, dist, 8, dist, dist





FIFTH RACE RESULT

4.15pm JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL CHASE (GRADE THREE)
£925,000 guaranteed, 4m 4f. For 6yo+ which are allotted a rating of 110 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping. Penalty value 1st £521,052.50 2nd £196,285.00 3rd £98,235.00 4th £49,117.50 5th £24,605.00 6th £12,302.50 7th £6,105 7th £3,145

1 DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 10-11-5 Tony McCoy 10/1 jf
2 BLACK APALACHI (IRE) (Gerard Burke) Dessie Hughes IRE 11-11-6 Denis O'Regan 14/1
3 STATE OF PLAY (William & Angela Rucker) Evan Williams 10-10-11 Paul Moloney 16/1
4 BIG FELLA THANKS (Margaret Findlay & Paul Barber) Paul Nicholls 8-10-12 Barry Geraghty 10/1jf
5 HELLO BUD (IRE) (Seamus Murphy) Nigel Twiston-Davies 12-10-6 Mr Sam Twiston-Davies 20/1
6 SNOWY MORNING (IRE) (Quayside Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 10-10-13 David Casey
7 CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE) (Patricia Thompson) John Quinn 10-10-11 Miss Nina Carberry
8 CLOUDY LANE (Trevor Hemmings) Donald McCain Jnr 10-11-3 Jason Maguire
9 TRICKY TRICKSTER (IRE) (Chris Giles) Paul Nicholls 7-11-4 Richard Johnson
10 JOE LIVELY (IRE) (Richard Dimond) Colin Tizzard 11-11-6 Joe Tizzard
11 CERIUM (FR) (Judith Wilson) Paul Murphy 9-10-6ow1lb Davy Russell
12 COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) (David Johnson) David Pipe 11-11-5b Timmy Murphy
13 PIRAYA (FR) (Terry Neill) David Pipe 7-10-7t Johnny Farrelly
14 PREISTS LEAP (IRE) (John O’Donohue/Thomas O’Leary) Tom O'Leary IRE 10-11-0b Philip Enright
F1 ERIC'S CHARM (FR) (Martin St Quinton & Peter Deal) Oliver Sherwood 12-10-9 Wayne Hutchinson
F2 PABLO DU CHARMIL (FR) (Joe Moran) David Pipe 9-11-2 Danny Cook
F4 MY WILL (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 10-11-2 Nick Scholfield
F5 MADE IN TAIPAN (IRE) (Frances Duffin/Sean Corby) Tom Mullins IRE 8-11-4 Niall Madden
F14 IRISH RAPTOR (IRE) (Caroline Beresford-Wylie) Nigel Twiston-Davies 11-10-7 Paddy Brennan
F22 MALJIMAR (IRE) (Jane Williams) Nick Williams 10-10-8 Daryl Jacob
F22 BALLYFITZ (Fred Mills & Wayne Mills) Nigel Twiston-Davies 10-10-9 David England
F26 MON MOME (FR) (Vida Bingham) Venetia Williams 10-11-7 Aidan Coleman
F27 PALYPSO DE CREEK (FR) (Alan Halsall) Charlie Longsdon 7-10-6 Tom Siddall
BD20 VIC VENTURI (IRE) (James Dunne) Dessie Hughes IRE 10-11-6p Roger Loughran
U8 CAN'T BUY TIME (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 8-10-13 Richie McLernon
U14 ROYAL ROSA (FR) (Andrea & Graham Wylie) Howard Johnson 11-10-5 Wilson Renwick
U15 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) (J P McManus) Willie Mullins IRE 8-10-8 Paul Townend
U19 MADISON DU BERLAIS (FR) (Roger Stanley & Yvonne Reynolds) David Pipe 9-11-10p Tom Scudamore
U19 THE PACKAGE (David Johnson) David Pipe 7-10-7 Graham Lee
U20 BACKSTAGE (FR) (MPR & Capranny Syndicate) Gordon Elliott IRE 8-11-0 Davy Condon
U20 NOZIC (FR) (Coral Racing Ltd & The Sun) Paul Nicholls 9-11-3t Liam Treadwell
U23 ELLERSLIE GEORGE (IRE) (Guy & Sophie Henderson) Nick Mitchell 10-10-10 Christian Williams
PU19 BEAT THE BOYS (IRE) (New Club Ladies) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-11-0 Brian Hughes
PU24 DREAM ALLIANCE (The Alliance Partnership) Philip Hobbs 9-11-3p Tom O'Brien
PU21 FLINTOFF (USA) (Andrew Flintoff & Paul Beck) Venetia Williams 9-10-5 Andrew Tinkler
PU29 NICHE MARKET (IRE) (Graham Regan) Bob Buckler 9-11-4 Harry Skelton
PU29 CONNA CASTLE (IRE) (Kings Syndicate) Jimmy Mangan IRE 11-10-9 Sean Flanagan
PU bef 29 OLLIE MAGERN (Roger Nicholls) Nigel Twiston-Davies 12-10-9 Tom Molloy
PU bef 28 BALLYHOLLAND (IRE) (Cathal McGovern) Colin McBratney IRE 9-11-0 Andrew McNamara
Refused to start KING JOHNS CASTLE (IRE) (J P McManus) Arthur Moore IRE 11-10-9 Paul Carberry

40 ran Distances: 5, 20, 3, 7, 1 1/2, nk, 12, 3/4, sh, dist, 8, dist, dist Breeder: Dominick Vallely
Breeding: b g Old Vic - She’s No Laugh Ben Totes: Win: £15.70 Places:£3.90, £3.90, £5.20, £3.90 Exacta: £544.50

Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy MBE Date of Birth: 04/05/74 Background: Tony McCoy is the greatest jump jockey of his era and many would argue the greatest of all time. McCoy started out with Billy Rock then tried his luck as a Flat jockey with Jim Bolger. Since growing too heavy and turning to jump racing he has not looked back. He was champion conditional rider in Britain in 1994/5 when attached to Toby Balding's Hampshire yard and took his first senior title in 1995/96 season with 174 wins. His domination has brought 14 consecutive jump jockey's titles. Tony was awarded an MBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2010 Don’t Push It), John Smith’s Handicap Chase (2009 Don’t Push It), Betfair.com Handicap Chase (2007 Reveillez), John Smith’s Melling Chase (2010 Albertas Run, 1996 Viking Flagship), John Smith’s smithythehorse.com Handicap Hurdle (2010 Ringaroses), John Smith’s 250th Anniversary 4yo Hurdle (1996 Zabadi, 1999 Hors La Loi III, 2008 Binocular), Barton & Guestier Novices’ Hurdle (1998 Fataliste), John Smith’s Top Novices Hurdle (2006 Straw Bear), John Hughes Trophy Chase (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Northern Starlight), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (1998 Boss Doyle, 2005 Like-A-Butterfly), Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1998 Unsinkable Boxer, 2006 Black Jack Ketchum), Martell Aintree Hurdle (1998 Pridwell), Martell Cognac Handicap Hurdle (1996 Top Spin, 2003 Carlovent) John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2006 Refinement), Chivas Regal Novices’ Hcap Chase (1999 Royal Predica), John Smith’s Red Rum Handicap Chase (2003 Golden Alpha, 2005 Fota Island), Betfair Bowl Chase (2004 Tiutchev, 2007 Exotic Dancer), Martell Maghull Novices’ Chase (2004 Well Chief), Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (2005 Genghis, 2009 Sunnyhillboy), John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2006 Foreman)) Wins 1994/5-2008/09: 74; 175; 189; 253; 186; 245; 191; 289; 257; 209; 199; 178; 184; 140; 186; Wins this season: 192

Winning Trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Background: Jonjo O’Neill was a highly successful jump jockey and has established himself at the top of the training ranks in recent seasons. In spite of an appalling list of injuries, he was champion jockey on two occasions (1977/78 and 1979/80). Aintree Festival wins: John Smith’s Grand National (2010 Don’t Push It), John Smith’s Melling Chase (2010 Albertas Run), John Smith’s Handicap Chase (2009 Don’t Push It), Totesport Bowl (2007 Exotic Dancer), betfair.com Handicap Chase (2000 Radiation, 2002 Carbury Cross, 2003 Master Tern), John Smith’s smithythehorse.com Handicap Hurdle (2010 Ringaroses), John Smith’s Extra Cold Handicap Hurdle (2002 Sudden Shock, 2006 Refinement, 2007 Alberta’s Run), John Smith’s Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle (2002 Quazar), John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), John Smith’s Topham Chase (2003 Clan Royal), Citroen C6 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Iris’s Gift, 2006 Black Jack Ketchum), John Smith’s Champion Standard National Hunt Flat Race (2003 Classic Native), John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), S&N Aintree Hurdle (2004 Rhinestone Cowboy), Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (2009 Sunnyhillboy, 2007 Two Miles West) Number of Winners (1995/96-2008/09): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113; 114; 102; 96; 105; 126; 106; 97; Wins this Season: 102



INITIAL JOHN SMITH’S GRAND WINNING NATIONAL QUOTES

Tony McCoy, the 14-time champion jump jockey and breaker of all records, shed tears as he won the £925,00 John Smith’s Grand National at his 15th attempt.


“I am being a big wuss but it is everything to win the John Smith’s Grand National. I have won lots of big races and I am supposed to be a good jockey but to not win the Grand National is bit of a negative on the CV.

“I am delighted. When I started off riding for Billy Rock - he really believed in me. I am delighted for my mum and dad - they have been great to me - and obviously my wife Chanelle and Eve (his young daughter) - she will be proud of me now hopefully when she grows up.

“My mum and dad aren’t here but I am sure that they will be watching at home. It’s great for them . My trainer put me on the right horse - he swayed me very much and didn’t argue with me. I asked him to toss a coin and I think he tossed it a few times until he got Don’t Push It. Jonjo is an amazing trainer - he was very adamant - and I didn’t argue with him.


“I think that you get enough goes at something and you keep going - you are always punching - you have always got a chance of winning. I am delighted for this man (JP McManus) because he the best supporter that this game has had or ever will have. I am very, very privileged - I mean I rode a Grand National winner in these colours.”


Jonjo O’Neill, the winning trainer, said: “I am lost for words! It is fantastic and I thought that it would never happen to me. I am delighted that it has happened and I am delighted for AP, for JP , and all of lads. It is brilliant.

“Alan Berry does everything with this horse. The horse lives out in a field, with half a dozen Jacobs sheep, and Alan does everything with him. I don’t even go near him, so it all down to him.

“I didn’t really believe we would win until we passed the post I didn’t think that it would never happen but, anyway, it did happen so it is marvellous.”


J P McManus, the winning owner, said: “Firstly, I want to thank Frank Berry because he found the horse and bought him as a foal and I don’t think we would have the horse without him. So that was a great start and full marks to Jonjo and all of the team at Jackdaws - Don’t Push It has been a difficult horse over the years to keep him right and keep his mind right.

“He gets very hot and very warm so I think it was a great effort on beahlf of Jonjo and all of his team.


FIFTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

TONY McCOY

After 14 failed attempts at the John Smith’s Grand National and the same number of jockeys’ championships, the most-successful jump rider of all time Tony McCoy finally landed his sport’s most-famous prize.


McCoy was confident from a mile into this year’s race aboard Don’t Push It that he would be successful and he eventually came home five lengths clear of Black Apalachi.


“The only good thing going into the race was that (owner) J P (McManus) had had more failed attempts than me!” jocked McCoy. “It was the perfect race and he jumped well all the way.


“I had four horses to choose from but ruled two of them out a couple of weeks ago and Jonjo (O’Neill) more or less put me on Don’t Push It. If truth be told my trainer put me on the right horse.


“He ran well in November at Cheltenham under top weight and that had always been at the back of my mind. He has always had ability but is mentally unstable so the two of us get on well together!

“I’m the biggest dreamer in the world, I dream every day, and for the past five or six years I’ve dreamt that I’d win the National. I got a bit down so this year I decided to enjoy myself.


“I hadn’t gone more than a mile and I wouldn’t have swapped my position for anything, and I don’t just mean horses. He had just totally taken to it. He’s sometimes been too intelligent but today he totally used his brain the right way. He made a couple of mistakes but that was my fault as much as the horse and who cares.


“I’ve won a few other races that nobody knows but everyone on the street knows the Grand National, it’s the people’s race and from a jockey’s perspective that’s why it’s important. At least that I can think that I’ve sort of done alright as a jockey now.


“My daughter (Eve) is more into Ruby Walsh than me. I thought at Christmas that it was because he looked like Santa but she still talks a lot about Ruby. But hopefully this win should give her something to be proud about in years to come.


“J P is the greatest supporter this game will ever had and it’s probably only Jonjo and me who know how much every horse, whether at Plumpton on a Monday or at Cheltenham, means to him. There have been plenty of horses that I’ve suggested we should move on but he said to keep them and he’s often been right. “



FIFTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

JONJO O’NEILL

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill never got round in seven attempts as a jockey in the John Smith’s Grand National but finally triumphed in jump racing’s biggest prize today thanks to Don’t Push It.


“That was harder than riding!” said O’Neill. “It will take a bit of sinking in but it was fantastic. He just had a good position all the way and seemed to be jumping all the way.

At the Canal Turn I thought that Big Fella Thanks was going best but that we’d be placed and I’d have been happy with that but he picked up again.


“I walked the track with the kids this morning and said to them that I’d had seven goes as a jockey but when we got to the Canal Turn I said that that was where we stopped because I didn’t know what happened after that, I never got any further!

“As a trainer I’ve come close and hit the bar a few times but I just thought we were destined never to win the National. I just hoped they’d get back safe and sound.


“A P knew the horses well and he was on the better of the two on form and I thought this one had the better chance of getting the trip, which he did.


“The parade was going to be a big thing with this fellow and I saddled him in the stables and put ear plugs in. I did the whole lot and didn’t think it would work out but it did.


“He’s always had time in field and has had a few problems with the likes of a kissing spine and with his stifles. Alan (Berry) rides him all the time at home, nearly always on his own and he just gets a little bit of work. A P knows him on the track and Alan knows him at home.”




FIFTH RACE WINNING QUOTES
JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL

J P McMANUS

Jump racing’s biggest ever owner J P McManus has been fixated with the John Smith’s Grand National for 50 years and he put Don’t Push It’s victory today at the top of his many successes in racing.


“There’s no doubt that this was the race I have always wanted to win. The National is the National and to win it is great,” said McManus. “The first one I remember is Merryman (in 1960) and I think I first came here in 1976 for Rag Trade. There are many strange memories that go with the race for me, for instance it’s my mum’s anniversary mass tomorrow and we all used to look forward to the National together. From the time you were whatever age you’d look forward to the National for whatever reason, whether you’d do the cows in the morning so you could be finished to watch the race and your father gave you a couple of shillings to put on the race.


“It’s great to have a runner and it’s even better when you win. I suppose as a child the one race you know about is the Grand National and it means such a lot. My mum, my dad, we all loved the National and we were encouraged to have a bet. It’s a wonderful day for everyone - for Jonjo (O’Neill) for Alan Berry, who looks after him, and for all the staff.

“We had planned to watch the Munster rugby match in the box at the racecourse after racing and I’ll leave it up to my family to see if they want to change plans. I suspect we could be flying back to Shannon.


“You come to the National more in hope than expectation and then you are not disappointed and if I had 10 good enough to run in the race I’d run them.


“I want to thank Alan Berry, who looks after this horse and all the team at Jonjo’s, the horse needs an enormous amount of individual training. Alan went to Chepstow but sadly for a horse that was a non-runner.


“I also want to thank Frank Berry, who found the horse as a store and liked him, without him we wouldn’t have been here.



“I go back a long way with Jonjo, to 1980 when he ride Jack Of Trumps in the Gold Cup, so we have had an association spanning five decades, it’s a long time.


“I noticed his odds had come in before the race but I didn’t back him, I was just happy to see him deliver the goods.


“Although we had four runners, we were down to one after the Chair and I thought that only four or five could win from the second circuit and I knew Don’t Push It would get the trip.


"When he ran last November in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, A P said he could just be a National horse and I’m very glad he picked him today. The horse goes well fresh but maybe he needed his last run to get the edge off him.


“It’s just a very, very special day for us all. AP really deserved to win this race and I’m just so glad it was on one of mine."



MORE JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL QUOTES


Chanelle McCoy, Tony’s wife, said: “I am just practically speechless. For him to do this means the absolute world for him. I know that he would love his mother and father to be here - Claire and Paeder - who are the most amazing parents. Our little daughter Eve is at home cheering. It has been an emotional day and, for a man that doesn’t get too emotional, this is a hugely emotional end.

“Thanks also to Mr and Mrs McManus to have make this possible for Anthony, and for Jonjo and Jackie. I think that it is a lovely team effort and a massive achievement.”

JP McManus said later: "It’s great to have a runner and it’s even better when you win. I suppose as a child the one race you know about is the Grand National and it means such a lot. My mum, my dad, we all loved the National and we were encouraged to have a bet. It’s a wonderful day for everyone - for Jonjo (O’Neill) for Alan Berry, who looks after Don’t Push It, and for all the staff.

"When he ran last November in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, AP (McCoy) said he could just be a National horse and I’m very glad he picked him today. It’s just a very, very special day for us all.


"AP really deserved to win this race and I’m just so glad it was on one of mine."

Barry Geraghty, rider of the fourth Big Fella Thanks, said: “He was brilliant - he jumped great and travelled well. He was the pick of Paul’s horses from weeks back and Ruby obviously went for him so it was nice to get back on him. It’s unfortunate for Ruby and I hope that he is OK.


“I knew that I was not sitting on the winner to the second last and AP was sitting on plenty of horse. It was a good result for him and JP - they deserve it.


“I thought that I might win going to the third last but I was running out of petrol going to the second last.”

Denis O’Regan, rider of the second Black Apalachi, said: “I had a tremendous ride. He jumped superbly and he is a credit to all of the team - to Dessie and all of the team back home - they got him in perfect condition.

“He jumped from fence to fence and gave me a great ride. I am delighted for AP - he beat me fair and square on the best horse on the day. Fair play to him because he has achieved so much.

“We were 1lb better off compared to last year and he was a lot more settled today. He is a credit to the team and it was a great run.”



O’REGAN: ‘IF ANYBODY HAD TO BEAT ME I’M JUST GLAD IT WAS AP’

The high regard in which AP McCoy is held by his weighing-room colleagues was evident in the immediate aftermath of the John Smith’s Grand National when Denis O’Regan, beaten five lengths on Black Apalachi by McCoy and Don’t Push It, was swift to pay tribute to the winning rider, who had been out of luck in 14 previous starts in the race.


O’Regan said: “I’m so delighted for AP McCoy, he’s been years in the game. If anybody had to beat me I’m just glad it was him.


“My fella’s a tremendous horse and he gave me a tremendous feel. All credit to Dessie (Hughes) and the team. They had him spot on for today.


“He just loves bowling along, he loves this place. He was a bit keen early on but he settled into it lovely and once he got into a rhythm he was fantastic. I had a wonderful round and it’s a pleasure to ride a horse like him around here.”

Trainer Dessie Hughes also paid tribute to Black Apalachi, the winner of the 2008 totesport Becher Chase who ran a valiant race in this year’s National after falling last year at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit when also travelling well.


He said: “We’re very proud of him, it was a great run. He did everything right, just a better horse beat him.”


MOORE PUZZLED BY KING JOHNS’ REFUSAL

Trainer Arthur Moore could shed no light on the behaviour of King Johns Castle, the mount of Paul Carberry who was reluctant to line-up at the start and the refused to jump off with the rest of the field.


Moore said: “He’s always been slightly quirky but I never thought that would happen. I don’t really know why, it just happened.”


Race 5: John Smith’s Grand National - Third Place Quotes

STATE OF PLAY DOES WILLIAMS PROUD

State Of Play, fourth behind Mon Mome in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National, went one better in this year’s race, finishing third, 25 lengths behind the AP McCoy-ridden winner Don’t Push It.


His trainer, Evan Williams, was delighted: “Over the moon, of course we are. He’s run such a gallant race. It was run at such at such a fast pace and you could see early on there were a lot of horses struggling to go with it.

“They’ve gone hard and I’ve just thought two from home - Paul [Moloney] had crept and crept and crept - and I thought he might get up to them. But the first two have gone clear and the fourth horse has weakened. He’s just been given a very good ride and run a very good race.


“I’m just very, very proud of the horse. He means so much to me. I thought we had him as right as we could get him and he’s run a blinder.


“Everything was perfect, there’s no excuses. He’s just showed what a brave horse he is. I’ll never have another one like him,” he said.

Jockey Paul Moloney said: “It was a serious run from a serious horse who’s very been good to me - and he might win next year, please God!”


Race 5: John Smith’s Grand National - Fourth Place Quotes

BIG FELLA THANKS STRETCHES HIS STAMINA?

Big Fella Thanks, ridden by Barry Geraghty in the absence of the injured Ruby Walsh, started as 10/1 joint favourite with the eventual winner Don’t Push It, but didn’t appear to stay the four and a half miles.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said: “ I’m delighted with him. No excuses at all. He travelled brilliantly, jumped brilliantly and Barry had a fantastic ride, but he just didn’t truly stay.

“Coming to the second last, he was running out of petrol. This year, in his training, he’s found a bit of speed and maybe he’s not so much of a stayer as we thought initially.


“If he doesn’t stay I don’t know how we could get more out of him. Maybe if the ground was slower, I don’t know. Or maybe we just look for another race for him.”

Tricky Trickster, Nicholls’ second string, was running in his first John Smith’s Grand National and finished a commendable ninth.


Nicholls said: “As I suspected, the ground was probably quick enough for him. When he gets older and stronger he’ll be a perfect one for the National. Hopefully he’ll run in it for the next three or four years - and one day he’ll get his ground.


“It’s good for AP though. We couldn’t have had a better result,” he added.


Barry Geraghty, jockey of Big Fella Thanks, said: “Brilliant! He galloped from end to end. The best ride I’ve ever had round here. But if you can’t have the winner, then it’s good to see AP win it.”


Fifth race jockey quotes
John Smith’s Grand National Handicap Chase

JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL
JOCKEY QUOTES 1

Nick Scholfield, who fell at the fourth on My Will: “He got a bit close to it and couldn’t get his landing gear down, but we’re both fine.”
Johnny Farrelly, who was 13th on Piraya: “He jumped fine, but didn’t travel well enough between the fences. It was a brilliant experience.”
Joe Tizzard, 10th on Joe Lively: “He got the trip really well, but he had a lot of weight for a little horse. He ran a blinder.”
Brian Hughes, who rode Beat The Boys: “He didn’t really enjoy it, but he was safe enough.”
Tom Molloy, Ollie Magern: “We pulled up before two out, but he ran a great race.”
Paul Townend, who unseated from Arbor Supreme: “We went at The Chair.”
Richard Johnson, who rode ninth-placed Tricky Trickster: “He gave me a great ride, but the pace just took him off his feet a little bit. I was always just struggling to get competitive, but he’s run a fine race and I’m sure he’ll be back again.”
Philip Enright, who rode Preists Leap to finish 14th and last: “We made a mistake at the water and were never in the race after that.”
Wayne Hutchinson, who fell on Eric’s Charm: “We only got as far as the first.”
Danny Cook, who fell on Pablo Du Charmil: “We came down at the second - too early.”
Tom Scudamore, who was unseated from Madison Du Berlais at the 19th: “He gave me a great ride, he made one mistake, frightened himself a little bit and then dropped his hind legs in the last ditch. I wouldn’t have won, but thought I was going to be in the first six until that mistake.”
Davy Casey who rode Snowy Morning to finish 6th: “He ran super. Made a couple of mistakes, but jumped great and travelled well.”
Jason Maguire, who rode Cloudy Lane to finish 8th: “He’s run well and finished well, but was a bit slow over the early fences. I was always struggling to make up ground after that.”
Harry Skelton, who pulled up two out on Niche Market: “He just couldn’t go with them on the second circuit - you need a real speed horse, but I had a great time.”


Race 5 - John Smith’s Grand National - Jockey Quotes

JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL -
JOCKEY QUOTES 2

Denis O’Regan, who partnered the second-placed Black Apalachi, said: “He was superb. He jumped from fence to fence. and gave me a super ride. He is a credit to Dessie (Hughes) and all the team. On the day the best horse won. If I was to be beaten by anyone it is great that it was AP (McCoy).”

Mr Sam Twiston-Davies enjoyed a great first ride on Hello Bud, finishing fifth after being up with the pace for most of the race. He said: “That was brilliant. The horse has been a real star and has jumped from fence to fence.”

Aidan Coleman, who rode last year’s winner Mon Mome (Fell 26th) said: “He was never really travelling today. He fell in the end - I’m not sure where.”

Tom O’Brien, rider of Dream Alliance (PU 24th), commented: “He travelled well early but then never really picked up.”

Daryl Jacob, rider of Maljimar (Fell 22nd), commented: “He was travelling well, but just got in too close to Becher’s second time around.”

Andrew Tinkler, rider of Flintoff (PU 21st), said: “He just didn’t enjoy it.”

Timmy Murphy, who rode the 2008 winner Comply Or Die (12th), said: “He was grand, he gave me a super ride.”

Davy Russell, rider of Cerium (11th), said: ” Every thing went smashing but they went a little bit too quick and we couldn’t get the forward position that I wanted. He made a mistake at the fourth or fifth last and that thumped him and any small chance that we had.”

Wilson Renwick, who was unseated from Royal Rosa at the 14th, said: “They were always going too quick for him, he was always flat out and never happy. I had to ask him stupid questions to try and make lengths at the fences.”

Wayne Hutchinson, rider of early casualty Eric’s Charm, said: “We only got to the first.”

Niall Madden, who fell at the fifth on Made In Taipan, said: “He went at the fifth. He jumped the fence OK, but just left his hind legs behind and got too steep.”

Graham Lee, who was unseated at the 19th on The Package, commented: “He was never really going and never took to the fences.”

Paddy Brennan, rider of Irish Raptor who fell at the 14th: “He just got in too close and fell.”

David England, rider of Ballyfitz, who fell at the 22nd (Becher’s) said: “He was just unlucky. I guarantee you now that if it’s soft ground next year, Ballyfitz will be the horse to be on. He wants soft, heavy ground. He was flat out early and was only just getting into the race when he fell.”

Tom Siddall, who fell at the 27th on Palypso De Creek, said: “He was flat to the boards all the way round. Unfortunately, the ground just quickened up. He was unlucky to get so far and not complete.”


Fifth race jockey quotes
John Smith’s Grand National Handicap Chase

JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL
JOCKEY QUOTES 3

Aidan Coleman, who fell at the 26th on last year’s winner Mon Mome: “I wasn’t very happy with him today. They went a stride too quickly for him and he never got into the race. He was good, but out of his comfort zone, and then he got in a bit tight to one and couldn’t get his landing gear down.”
Liam Treadwell, last year’s winning jockey, who was unseated at the 20th fence on Nozic: “It was a bit different this time. I was always flat out and the horse didn’t really enjoy it. To be fair he was warming to it when a horse fell in front of me. The result was quite different from last year, but to come back as last year’s winning jockey has been a fantastic experience.”
Sean Flanagan, who rode long-time leader Conna Castle, eventually pulling up two out: “He was brilliant, but got tired. He doesn’t get four miles, and he nodded on landing over Becher’s second time around. After that we were struggling.”
Barry Geraghty, fourth on Big Fella Thanks: “I had a great ride and he jumped brilliantly, but I’m so pleased for A P [McCoy] and J P [McManus] - they deserve it.”
Richie McLernon, who unseated at the Canal Turn first time round on Can’t Buy Time: “I’m fine. The horse is fine.”
Davy Condon, who was unseated at the 20th on Backstage: “I was hampered by a loose horse when in ninth or tenth position.”
David England who fell at the second Becher’s Brook on Ballyfitz: “The ground was too quick for him, but he was just starting to get going and was running his best when we came down. Next year he’d have a hell of a chance if the ground is soft.”
Roger Loughran who was brought down at the 20th on Vic Venturi: “He did well to stand on his feet at the first, but after jumping two or three more he started giving me a great spin. I was following Tony [McCoy on winner Don’t Push It] and Tom Scudamore [on Madison Du Berlais] early on. My lad was really travelling and enjoying it, but then Davy Condon’s horse made a mistake, unseated him and I went into the back of them. It was unlucky. I really enjoyed it to that point.”

Andrew McNamara, who pulled up before two out on Ballyholland: “He was always just doing too much all the way.”

Wilson Renwick, who unseated at the 14th on Royal Rosa: “He was always flat out. They were always going a bit quick for him, and while I wanted to be handy they were that stride too fast. It’s a grade up from the Becher Chase [in which he was third last year] and go that little bit quicker. I got a great ride up until the 14th when he stuck me over his head and gave me a kick.”

Christian Williams, who was unseated at the 23rd on Ellerslie George, said: “That wasn’t bad. He jumped well up to then - we are both all right and that’s the main thing.”



Fifth race jockey quotes
John Smith’s Grand National Handicap Chase

NINA HAS A CHARACTER BUILDING RIDE

Nina Carberry became the first woman to complete the John Smith’s Grand National on more than one occasion, when finishing seventh on the John Quinn-trained Character Building.


Carberry, who finished ninth on Forest Gunner in 2006, said of Character Building: “He was great and gave me an absolutely brilliant ride. They were going a stride too quickly for him early on, so I just tried to get him travelling and keep in touch. I had a real hope of being in the first three after the Canal Turn because he really took off, but he started to feel the pinch jumping the last.


“At that point I still hoped to finish fifth, but we got caught by a couple of horses on the run-in. Despite that he ran a great race, and if the ground had been a bit softer the leaders might have come back to him.


“He really couldn’t lie up early on - the plan was to give him a chance of getting into a rhythm over the first half dozen fences, and he didn’t get going until after Becher’s first time. On softer ground he could do really well next year.


“It felt like a normal race and all the jockeys were great. They’re all looking out for each other. I’ve got round twice from two attempts now, and I just want to get that bit closer.”


THURSDAY’S WINNERS

2pm BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle (Grade One)
BIG BUCKìS (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 7-11-7 Ruby Walsh 30/100f
2.35pm Matalan Anniversary 4-y-o Novicesì Hurdle (Grade One)
ORSIPPUS (USA) (Sandra Smith) Michael Smith 4-11-0 Davy Condon 40/1
3.10pm totesport Bowl Chase (Grade One)
WHAT A FRIEND (Ged Mason & Sir Alex Ferguson) Paul Nicholls 7-11-7 Ruby Walsh 5/2
3.45pm John Smithìs Fox Huntersì Chase
SILVER ADONIS (IRE) (C Stedman & R Corsan) Dr Richard Newland 9-12-0p Mr Tom Weston 50/1
4.20pm Alder Hey Imagine Appeal Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade Three)
CHANINBAR (FR) (John Watts, Caroline Thompson, John Naylor) Milton Harris 7-10-8v1 Sean Quinlan (3) 20/1
4.55pm totepool Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade Two)
MAD MAX (IRE) (Carole Skipworth & Paul Murphy) Nicky Henderson 8-11-4 Barry Geraghty 4/1
5.30pm Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (Listed)
SIR HARRY ORMESHER (David Sewell) Alan King 7-11-1 Robert Thornton 16/1

FRIDAY’S WINNERS

2.00pm John Smith's Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two)
GENERAL MILLER (Henry Ponsonby) Nicky Henderson 5-11-4 Barry Geraghty 7/1
2.35pm matalan.co.uk Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade Two)
BURTON PORT (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 6-11-4 Barry Geraghty 9/2
3.10pm John Smith's Melling Chase (Grade One)
ALBERTAS RUN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Jonjo O'Neill 9-11-10 Tony McCoy 8/1
3.45pm John Smith's Topham Chase (Listed Handicap)
ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) (Mr & Mrs Peter Douglas) Peter Bowen 9-10-0p Brian Hughes 22/1
4.20pm John Smith's Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade One)
WAYWARD PRINCE (T J & Hillary Parrott) Ian Williams 6-11-4 Dougie Costello 9/1
4.55pm John Smith's Smithythehorse.com Handicap Hurdle (Grade Three)
RINGAROSES (Mrs Nicholas Jones/Martin Broughton) Jonjo O'Neill 9-11-0t Tony McCoy 10/1
5.30pm John Smith's Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed)
BIG TIME BILLY (IRE) (R Bryan) Peter Bowen 4-10-5 Mr Michael Byrne (7) 28/1

SATURDAY’S WINNERS

1.45pm John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade Two)
PEDDLERS CROSS (IRE) (Tim Leslie) Donald McCain Jnr 5-11-4 Jason Maguire 5/4f
2.15pm John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade One)
TATANIANO (FR) (The Stewart Family) Paul Nicholls 6-11-4 Ruby Walsh 100/30
2.50pm John Smith's Dick Francis Aintree Hurdle (Grade One)
KHYBER KIM (Caroline Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 8-11-7 Paddy Brennan 7/2
3.25pm John Smith's Handicap Chase (Listed)
FROM DAWN TO DUSK (Charles Lloyd-Baker) Philip Hobbs 11-11-0t Richard Johnson 12/1
4.15pm John Smith's Grand National Chase (Grade Three)
DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 10-11-5 Tony McCoy 10/1 jf
5.00pm John Smith's Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys and Amateur Riders)
DEE EE WILLIAMS (IRE) (Tullamore Dew) Nick Gifford 7-11-12b Andrew Glassonbury 11/1
5.35pm John Smith's Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade Two)
MEGASTAR (Hinds, Waddingham, Arthur, Herbert, Day ) Gary Moore 5-11-4 Jamie Moore 9/1


G4S Leading Jockey Award
Final Standings

Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd
Tony McCoy 3 1 2
Barry Geraghty 3 1 1
Ruby Walsh 3 - 3
Richard Johnson 1 3 2
Robert Thornton 1 1 -
Paddy Brennan 1 - 1
Jason Maguire 1 - 1
Mr Michael Byrne 1 - -
Davy Condon 1 - -
Dougie Costello 1 - -
Andrew Glassonbury 1 - -
Brian Hughes 1 - -
Jamie Moore 1 - -
Sean Quinlan 1 - -
Mr Tom Weston 1 - -
Andrew McNamara - 2 -
Paul Carberry - 1 1
Denis O’Regan - 1 1
Davy Russell - 1 1
Mattie Batchelor - 1 -
Mr Alan Berry - 1 -
James Halliday - 1 -
Tom O’Brien - 1 -
Conor O’Farrell - 1 -
Daryl Jacob - 1 -
Mr Patrick Mullins - 1 -
Andrew Thornton - 1 -
Paul Townend - 1 -
Charlie Poste - 1 -
Joe Tizzard - - 2
Miss Nina Carberry - - 1
Graham Lee - - 1
Roger Loughran - - 1
Mr Ryan Mahon - - 1
Paul Moloney - - 1
Mr Sam Waley-Cohen - - 1


Leading Trainer Award
Final Standings

Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd
Jonjo O’Neill 3 1 1
Paul Nicholls 3 - 5
Nicky Henderson 3 - 1
Peter Bowen 2 1 -
Donald McCain jnr 1 - 1
Ian Williams 1 - 1
Nick Gifford 1 - -
Milton Harris 1 - -
Alan King 1 - -
Gary Moore 1 - -
Dr Richard Newland 1 - -
Michael Smith 1 - -
Nigel Twiston-Davies 1 - -
Philip Hobbs 1 3 -
Willie Mullins IRE - 2 -
Dessie Hughes IRE - 1 2
Noel Meade IRE - 1 1
Evan Williams - 1 1
Caroline Bailey - 1 -
Mark Bradstock - 1 -
Ben Case - 1 -
Tom Cooper IRE - 1 -
Rebecca Curtis - 1 -
John Hanlon IRE - 1 -
Malcolm Jefferson - 1 -
Henrietta Knight - 1 -
Colin McBratney IRE - 1 -
Edward O’Grady IRE - 1 -
Nick Williams - 1 -
Colin Tizzard - - 2
Henry Daly - - 1
Paul Flynn IRE - - 1
Tom George - - 1
John Quinn - - 1
Nicky Richards - - 1
David Staddon - - 1




GOING AFTER THE FIRST RACE

Jason Maguire, rider of the 5/4 winner Peddlers Cross, said: “It definitely needed the water last night. It’s perfect good ground.”

Richard Johnson, partner of the two-length second Duke Of Lucca, said: “Good.”

Ruby Walsh, partner of the third, Najaf, said: “Good.”

Graham Lee, rider of Bygones Of Brid, said: “Good.”

Richard Killoran, jockey of J’Adhere, described the ground as: “Lovely.”

David Casey, rider of Lucky William, thought the going: “Good”

Dougie Costello, jockey of Sleepy Hollow, said: “Genuinely good ground.”

Richie McGrath, partner of Solway Sam, said: “Although it’s my first day here, it’s lovely ground and rides like a carpet.”

Jamie Moore, rider of Vino Griego, said: “Good.”

GOING CHANGE AT 11.45am

Following a dry and sunny morning the going has changed to:

Grand National Course - GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES
(from Good to Soft, Good in Places)

Mildmay & Hurdles Courses - GOOD
(from Good, Good to Soft in places)



CHANGE OF GOING THIS MORNING

The Grand National Course is now Good to soft, good in places (from Good to soft yesterday)

The Mildmay & Hurdle Courses are now Good, good to soft in places (from Good yesterday)


Andrew Tulloch, Aintree’s Clerk of the Course, said this morning: “We watered after racing yesterday.


“The only section of the Grand National course to be watered was around the 13th and 14th fences in the straight. I have changed the going description on the Grand National Course to Good to soft, good in places, to reflect the drying conditions.


“The straights of the Mildmay and Hurdle Courses were watered, with between three and four millimetres put on. The bends on those courses have been moved to provide fresh ground. This has meant the ground conditions have eased slightly to Good, good to soft in places.


“I am very pleased with the ground at the moment.”


The forecast today is for dry weather with plenty of sunshine. The temperature will rise to between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius.




STAR SIGNS OF TRAINERS

Aries (March 21 to April 20)
Jonjo O’Neill (Can’t Buy Time, Don’t Push It) - April 13, 1952
Paul Nicholls (Big Fella Thanks, My Will, Nozic, Tricky Trickster) - April 17, 1962
Oliver Sherwood (Eric’s Charm) - March 23, 1955
Evan Williams (State Of Play) - April 3, 1971

Taurus (April 21 to May 21)
Tom Mullins (Made In Taipan) - May 3, 1964
John Quinn (Character Building) - April 29, 1961
Nigel Twiston-Davies (Ballyfitz, Beat The Boys, Hello Bud, Irish Raptor, Ollie Magern) - May 16, 1957
Venetia Williams (Flintoff, Mon Mome) - May 10, 1960

Cancer (June 22 to July 23)
Paul Murphy (Cerium) - July 12, 1974
Tom O’Leary (Preists Leap) - July 23, 1973
Nick Williams (Maljimar) - June 25, 1956

Leo (July 24 to August 23)
Philip Hobbs (Dream Alliance) - July 26, 1955
Howard Johnson (Royal Rosa) - August 11, 1953

Virgo (August 24 to September 23)
Jimmy Mangan (Conna Castle) - August 28, 1955
Arthur Moore (King Johns Castle) - September 15, 1946
Willie Mullins (Arbor Supreme, Snowy Morning) - September 15, 1956

Libra (September 24 to October 23)
Dessie Hughes (Black Apalachi, Vic Venturi) - October 10, 1943
Charlie Longsdon (Palypso De Creek) - October 8, 1975
Colin McBratney (Ballyholland) - September 30, 1963
Nick Mitchell (Ellerslie George) - October 18, 1969

Sagittarius (November 23 to December 22)
Bob Buckler (Niche Market) - December 10, 1954

Capricorn (December 23 to January 20)
Colin Tizzard (Joe Lively) - January 7, 1956

Aquarius (January 21 to February 19)
David Pipe (Comply Or Die, Madison Du Berlais, Pablo Du Charmil, Piraya, The Package) - February 7, 1973

Pisces (February 20 to March 20)
Gordon Elliott (Backstage) - March 2, 1978
Donald McCain (Cloudy Lane) - March 13, 1970

STAR SIGNS OF THE 2010 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL JOCKEYS

Aquarius (January 21-February 19)
Paul Carberry - King Johns Castle (February 9, 1974)

Pisces (February 20-March 20)
David Casey - Snowy Morning (March 19, 1976)
Wayne Hutchinson - Eric’s Charm (February 25, 1981)

Aries (March 21-April 20)
Paddy Brennan - Irish Raptor (April 13, 1981)
Jason Maguire - Cloudy Lane (April 13, 1980)
Tom Molloy - Ollie Magern (April 18, 1987)
Denis O’Regan - Black Apalachi (March 24, 1982)

Taurus (April 21-May 21)
Tony McCoy - Don’t Push It (May 4, 1974)
Andrew McNamara - Ballyholland (April 30, 1983)
Andrew Tinkler - Flintoff (May 3, 1985)
Ruby Walsh - Big Fella Thanks (May 14, 1979)

Gemini (May 22-June 21)
Danny Cook - Pablo Du Charmil (June 18, 1983)
David England - Ballyfitz (May 25, 1986)
Philip Enright - Preists Leap (June 12, 1987)
Tom Scudamore - Madison Du Berlais (May 22, 1982)

Cancer (June 22-July 23)
Miss Nina Carberry - Character Building (July 21, 1984)
Sean Flanagan - Conna Castle (June 22, 1988)
Brian Hughes - Beat The Boys (June 27, 1985)
Davy Russell - Cerium (June 27, 1979)
Nick Scholfield - My Will (June 25, 1989)

Leo (July 24-August 23)
Aidan Coleman - Mon Mome (August 17, 1988)
Timmy Murphy - Comply Or Die (August 20, 1974)
Tom Siddall - Palypso De Creek (August 13, 1977)

Virgo (August 24-September 23)
Barry Geraghty - Tricky Trickster (September 16, 1979)
Daryl Jacob - Maljimar (August 28, 1983)
Wilson Renwick - Royal Rosa (September 17, 1980)
Harry Skelton - Niche Market (September 20, 1989)
Paul Townend - Arbor Supreme (September 15, 1990)

Libra (September 24-October 23)
Johnny Farrelly - Piraya (October 23, 1984)
Richie McLernon - Can’t Buy Time (October 22, 1986)
Paul Moloney - State Of Play (October 17, 1978)
Mr Sam Twiston-Davies - Hello Bud (October 15, 1992)

Scorpio (October 24-November 22)
Niall Madden - Made In Taipan (November 11, 1985)

Sagittarius (November 2 -December 22)
Davy Condon - Backstage (December 3, 1984)
Graham Lee - The Package (December 12, 1975)
Roger Loughran - Vic Venturi (December 1, 1979)
Tom O’Brien - Dream Alliance (November 28, 1986)
Joe Tizzard - Joe Lively (December 13, 1979)
Christian Williams - Ellerslie George (November 26, 1982)

Capricorn (December 23 -January 20)
Liam Treadwell - Nozic (January 3, 1986)


LOUGHRAN HOPING TO BE MORE THAN JUST A SUBSTITUTE ON VIC VENTURI


Jockey Roger Loughran was getting ready this morning for the biggest ride of his life on Vic Venturi in the £925,000 John Smith’s Grand National.


Loughran journeyed to Aintree from his native Ireland expecting simply to partner Oulart in yesterday’s John Smith’s Topham Chase - the pair finished 14th of 15 finishers - but the broken collarbone Paddy Flood sustained when falling in the earlier John Smith’s Melling Chase meant the ride on Vic Venturi was available. After pondering options trainer Dessie Hughes elected to call upon Loughran, who has been associated with his yard for most of his racing career.


The jockey said: “I’m sorry for Paddy, but delighted to be given the chance. I’ve ridden Vic Venturi at home and in a hurdle race at Leopardstown over Christmas so I know him well enough. I owe a lot to Dessie Hughes for giving me so many opportunties.”

Loughran’s late call up means his family could not be at Aintree to support him. “I’m sure they’ll be glued to the BBC,” said the jockey, who has never ridden in the John Smith’s Grand National.


The son of a County Meath dairy farmer who was keen on horses and hunting, Loughran, 30, rode ponies as a child and soon developed the ambition to become a jockey, but he was hampered in his early plans when twice breaking a leg as a teenager, once when falling off a horse and then when involved in a motorbike accident.

Eventually he became a professional jockey, in part thanks to his association with the Hughes-trained high-class chaser Central House, but despite three Grade 2 wins on that horse the pair are best remembered for an embarrassing mistake by the jockey at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting in 2005. Pulling clear of their rivals in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase, Loughran mistook the winning post and stood up in his stirrups, relishing what he thought was a moment of victory - sadly he was 100 yards short of the line and two rivals came past. He received a 14-day ban and the sort of publicity every professional sportsman dreads.


Of that moment, Loughran said today: “You never forget something like that, but you bury it and get on with life.”

To his credit the ignominy did not halt his career and he later scored two Grade 1 triumphs on Schindlers Hunt in addition to winning the Galway Plate on Far From Trouble. The latter win was gained when Tony McCoy was injured and Loughran became a super-sub - a similar result today would be perfect.



VIC VENTURI (IRE) FACTFILE - WITH REPLACEMENT JOCKEY ROGER LOUGHRAN

VIC VENTURI (IRE)
ch g Old Vic - Carmen Lady (Torus)
10-11-06 Form: 2/131213/12625P/7205982/5424458-211501 Owner: Seamus Dunne
Trainer: Dessie Hughes IRE Breeder: Mrs P & C Brabazon Jockey: Roger Loughran

Vic Venturi
Vic Venturi emerged as a serious John Smith’s Grand National contender when winning the totesport.com Becher Chase over three and a quarter miles of the famous Aintree course on November 22. The Old Vic gelding, whose name derives from the 1964 US Open golf winner Ken Venturi, made his racing debut in a point-to-point at Tinahely on February 20, 2005. Initially in the care of trainer Philip Fenton, he made his debut under Rules a month later when runner-up in a Fairyhouse bumper. He returned to action that October at Galway for a first start over hurdles and duly won the two and a quarter mile contest under Barry Geraghty. That 2005/2006 campaign saw him emerge as a high-class novice. Victories in the Grade Three Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle and the Grade Two Festival Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse were backed up by placed efforts in good company, including when third to Nicanor in the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown that April. Vic Venturi returned to Galway to kick-off the 2006/2007 season and landed the spoils in the Grade Three Ballybrit Novices’ Chase over two miles and a furlong. His novice chase campaign followed a similar pattern to his season as a novice hurdler with some high-class efforts, including when runner-up to Mister Top Notch in the Grade One Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown in February, 2007. His form tailed off thereafter as he finished fifth in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and was pulled up at Punchestown in April. A lacklustre start to the 2007/08 season resulted in owner Seamus Dunne transferring Vic Venturi to Edward O’Grady’s stables following a fifth place finish in the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse that February. There were only fleeting glimmers of his former spark until his final outing that term when runner-up to Emma Jane in the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival. Vic Venturi joined trainer Dessie Hughes ahead of the 2008/09 season but again seemed a touch below par. He failed to win during the campaign, taking his losing streak to 20 races. However, he did run a respectable race in the Irish Grand National and the last of those efforts saw him clinch the runner-up berth for the second successive year in the Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase, when conceding 9lb to the talented Ambobo. That race marked the first and only time to date that Vic Venturi has worn blinkers. Cheek pieces were in place when he made his seasonal return in the Wilderness Chase at Clonmel on October 29, three years to the day after his previous win. Vic Venturi showed resolution as he stayed on to defeat Rathmore Castle by six lengths in the two and a half mile contest on soft ground. Carrying top-weight in the totesport.com Becher Chase on his next outing, the gelding saw off Keenan’s Future by five lengths. Vic Venturi contested the Grade Two woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle over three miles at Leopardstown on December 28 and finished a fair fifth to Powerstation. He was then 15th of 19 in a handicap hurdle over the same course and distance on January 23. Vic Venturi returned to fences for his John Smith’s Grand National preparatory race, the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on February 20. Ridden by Paddy Flood, the 10-year-old won comfortably on the soft ground by eight lengths from stablemate and fellow John Smith’s Grand National hope Black Apalachi. Race Record: Starts: 33; Wins: 7; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £259,770

Seamus Dunne
Based in Kilkenny, Seamus Dunne owns Kilkenny Electrical Wholesale Limited, the company he established 35 years ago. Born on May 21, 1951, Dunne is not from a racing or a horse background but recalls his childhood when he would give his father money to place his bet on the Grand National. He is an enthusiastic owner and it is his long held dream to win the great race. He has always had an interest in animals and before buying his first horse in 2004 he invested in keeping gun dogs. Vic Venturi is the first horse he purchased. He now has about 10 horses in training including five new recruits on the Flat and three trained in France. He has enjoyed 21 victories as an owner at a strike-rate of around 20 per cent. Alongside Vic Venturi’s notable successes, Dunne’s black colours with yellow diamonds have been carried to big race victory by the classy five-time winning mare Shirley Casper and Roberto Goldback. The Dessie Hughes-trained Shirley Casper landed a Grade Two bumper for Dunne as well as a Grade Three hurdle. The Jessica Harrington-trained Roberto Goldback was a high-class novice hurdler, defeating no less a horse than Weapon’s Amnesty, and landed the Grade Two MCR Novice Chase at Leopardstown in January. John Smith’s Grand National record: No previous runners

Dessie Hughes IRE
A highly successful jockey, Dessie Hughes (born October 10, 1943) partnered Davy Lad to win the 1977 Cheltenham Gold Cup and returned to Prestbury Park three years later to ride the diminutive Monksfield to victory in the Champion Hurdle. Having always had one eye on the future, Dessie prepared his yard for three years before finally taking out a training licence in 1980 and the winners soon started flowing, including a first Cheltenham Festival victory as a trainer when Miller Hall took the 1982 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. His yard was struck down by a persistent fungal problem in the late 1980s which resulted in Dessie enduring several years of poor form, but the yard began churning out the winners again in the late 1990s, with horses such as Guest Performance, Rathbawn Prince and Grade One winner Colonel Braxton being standard bearers. But it would be Hardy Eustace who would provide Hughes with some of his finest hours as a trainer. Owned by long-standing patron Lar Byrne, the Archway gelding won the Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival before returning a year later to win the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle under a superbly judged ride from Conor O’Dwyer. Hardy Eustace went on to victory at the Punchestown Festival and returned to Prestbury Park the following year for another win in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, becoming the first horse since Istabraq to successfully defend his crown. Central House became another outstanding performer for Hughes, winning five Grade Two contests as well as a Grade One Novices’ Chase at Leopardstown. More recently, Schindlers Hunt has emerged as another superstar, winning two Grade One events as a novice chaser and finishing the head runner-up in the Grade One John Smith’s Melling Chase at Aintree in 2009. Dessie also holds the notable feat of saddling a winner on nine consecutive racing days over the 2006 Christmas period. His son Richard is a leading Flat jockey.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2008 Black Apalachi (Fell 2nd), 2009 Black Apalachi (UR 22nd).


Roger Loughran
Born December 1, 1979, Roger Loughran was a relatively late starter in racing, and was 21 before riding his first winner, the Dessie Hughes-trained Kildare, in a bumper at Naas on May 9, 2001. He puts the delay down to breaking a leg on two separate occasions as a teenager, once when coming off a horse, and then when involved in a motorbike accident. Born in County Meath as one of four children, Loughran was brought up on a dairy farm run by his parents, James and Bridget. His father’s interest in horses and hunting rubbed off on his son and was enhanced when he was bought a pony. He later rode in one pony race and finished third. On leaving school he joined the late Pat O’Leary, then worked for Christy Roche who gave him his first ride in a race, Barrington, who ran in a bumper at Kilbeggan in which he was unplaced, and he then moved to Dessie Hughes’ yard. While there, and still an amateur, he teamed up with Hughes’ good chaser Central House - a winning run on that horse encouraged the jockey to turn professional in late 2005 at the age of 26. Following wins in the Grade 2 Fortria Chase at Navan and Hilly Way Chase at Cork, Loughran rode Central House in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown’s prestigious Christmas meeting. Pulling clear of his four rivals Central House looked bound to win, but 100 yards from the line Loughran mistook the winning post and stood up in the stirrups. He remained motionless as Hi Cloy and Fota Island came past, swiftly converting a sure-fire €45,000 first prize into €6,300 third place money. He received a 14-day ban, but also the backing of trainer Dessie Hughes, who said: "These things happen. We shan’t be taking him off the horse." Hughes remained true to his word and Loughran enjoyed many more good rides on Central House, later taking the Grade 2 Tied Cottage Chase on the horse and finishing fourth in the 2006 Queen Mother Champion Chase behind Newmill. The following season the partnership went back to Leopardstown in a bid to bury the memory of the ingnominious defeat 12 months earlier, but had to settle for second. Other big winners include two Grade 1 victories on Schindlers Hunt and a Galway Plate victory in 2006 on Far From Trouble, a spare ride offered by Christy Roche after Tony McCoy was injured. On the eve of the 2010 Grand National Loughran received another welcome call from Hughes, telling him he would ride fancied Vic Venturi in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree, after booked jockey Paddy Flood broke a collarbone.

John Smith’s Grand National Record: No previous rides




COLEMAN AND TREADWELL LOOKING FORWARD TO THE GREATEST RACE IN THE WORLD

Liam Treadwell, winning jockey in last year’s John Smith’s Grand National, and Aidan Coleman walked the course this morning.


Coleman, who has taken Treadwell’s place on last year’s winner Mon Mome, was injured on Thursday, when unseated by Double Handful, but passed fit to ride yesterday morning.


Coleman said: “I had a CAT scan and ultrasound to make sure nothing was broken and was passed fit.


“I think if we get the luck in running, Mon Mome will have a big chance again this year. I’ll try and jump him off middle-ish and hope to get a little room. The grass covering is lovely.


“This is just a special day and we’re lucky to be riding in the greatest race in the world. It’s what we’ve always wanted to do all our lives.”

Treadwell, who rides the Paul Nicholls-trained Nozic, said: “My horse is not overly big, but that’s sometimes better because they can be more athletic. I’ll just hope to hunt him round for the first circuit.”




WALKING THE JOHN SMITH’S NATIONAL COURSE

with Brough Scott and Marcus Armytage

Fence 1 & 17: The fence is one of the smallest and looks quite manageable, but plenty of horses who haven’t got into a rhythm yet come unstuck. Brough: “It looks like a green, soft hedge that you can roll around in and it encourages horses to attack. Marcus: “The sight of 39 runners going off without you is not a good one.”

Fences 2 & 18: Fence two, at 4ft 7in, is officially one inch higher than the first fence. One wouldn’t want to contest the official figures, but it looks bigger.


Fence 3 & 19: This is the first ditch and the first time you draw breath. The ditch is the best part of two metres wide and you understand immediately when Brough says: “On the first circuit, this is when you know whether your horse has the guts for it.”

Fence 4 & 20: The ground is in wonderful condition, with a beautiful rich covering of grass. There’s enough resistance to help jumping and enough give too. The fence is still being repaired, the spruce hedge rebuilt. It would be a lot easier if they left it as it was. Brough points out that there is a choice for jockeys when the fence has been damaged. Do you keep a straight line or opt to jump where the damage is?

Fence 5 & 21: Most jockeys tend to take this fence slightly from the right in order to come into Becher’s at a good angle. Officially the first five-foot fence in the race and daunting enough, but the lull before the storm.


Fence 6 & 22 (Becher’s Brook): From the take-off side, it’s no bigger than the previous fence, but the landing side seems to drop away forever. Apparently, when the drop was even bigger, horses almost landed on their noses. Black Apalachi paid the penalty last year, on the second circuit, and the dramas at this fence are legendary. Many horses struggle here because they don’t know what’s coming. Brough said: “Tommy Stack used to say of Red Rum that he felt that in mid-air the horse was looking where he was going.”


Fence 7 & 23 (Foinavon): For such a famous fence, a somewhat innocuous bundle of spruce. John Kempton, the trainer of Foinavon who negotiated the chaos to become the least likely winner of the John Smith’s Grand National in its history, thought so little of his horse’s chance that day he was riding at Worcester.


Fence 8 & 24 (Canal Turn): Not the fence for horses that jump right, so if you’ve backed Eric’s Charm hold your breath. The turn is ridiculously tight, but get it right - especially on the second circuit - and you can take lengths out of the opposition. Marcus said: “If tack is going to go it’s quite often here because the stress on the tack as you go sharp left is considerable.”

Fence 9 & 25 (Valentine’s): Marcus describes the four fences down the back as “four nice hedges when you’re going hunting.” Jockeys, you realise, even ex-ones, consistently minimise risk.


Fence 10 & 26: This is where you dare to dream, which is what Marcus did in 1990 on Mr Frisk. “If I could replay one minute of my life - it would be the four fences from Valentine’s,” wrote Marcus in the Daily Telegraph this morning. “Sorry,” he said to his wife, walking the course with him, “I meant to say the day I met you.”

Fence 11 & 27: This fence, an open ditch, is described by Brough as a “receiving depot”. Using euphemisms somehow makes it even worse. The fence is substantial, the ditch huge, the horses, after four miles, getting tired. Receiving depot, it is then.


Fence 12 & 28: A ditch and the last of the fences down the back. With so many more horses in the handicap these days, there are usually more in contention at this stage than in the past. Brough talked about jumping technique: “Red Rum used to just flick the top of the brush. It was maximum efficiency.”

Fence 13 & 29: Still not quite there, but close enough for Marcus, in 1990, to think it could happen. “I was still in front and still not looking behind,” he said.


Fence 14 & 30: The fence may be the smallest on the course, but it’s not over yet. You have two furlongs left, a pull to the right to avoid jumping The Chair a second time (one amateur once did) and then past the elbow for the run in. “People said I never hit my horse, but I did,” said Marcus.


Fence 15 (the Chair): A very big fence with an open ditch. Best not to jump this twice (see above).





STYLE 10 SOPHIE SIDES WITH DREAM ALLIANCE


Emerald green was the decisive colour that won Sophie Fairclough this year’s Aintree fashion extravaganza, Style 2010, but her allegiance is not with an Irish runner in today’s John Smith’s Grand National.


The 20-year-old from Formby reckons that Niche Market will win the big race - and as part of her prize she has a free £500 totepool bet to place on the horse which she is putting on each-way.


Sophie was also given the keys to a new Kia Venga 1 worth £12,000, a 10-night holiday for two in Barbados, £500 worth of Matalan vouchers, a Matalan photo shoot organised by fashion designer Jeff Banks that will include dinner at London’s Ivy restaurant and a night in a luxury hotel, goodies from Cricket and Benefit and two tickets to the official John Smith’s Grand National winner’s party at Alma de Cuba.


She said: “I’m shocked to have won, but thrilled. I’ve got an old car and desperately need a new one, and I was only planning a short holiday with the girls this year, but now I’ll be able to take my boyfriend, David Jones, to Barbados. It took me a long time to get my outfit together and I took hours getting ready, but it has all been worthwhile.”

From an original entry of 2,000 Sophie won her way through to today’s final against four rivals - Faye Currie, Daniel Wood, Sam Stonehouse and Faith Almond - but her classic outfit’s striking colour proved a dream alliance for the judges, headed by Banks.


Of Sophie’s outfit he said: “Out of 2,000 entries what stood out was the colour of Sophie’s outfit. Emerald Green has been suggested as the colour for 2011, so Sophie is ahead of the game. Her outfit had a retro 50s look about it, but it was classically beautiful.”

Colleen Rooney, who announced the winner, said: “Sophie looks fantastic - when I walked into the winner’s enclosure and saw the finalists the colour of her dress stood out. She hasn’t over-accessorized, she has underplayed the outfit. I believe less is more.”


BETTING NEWS at 11.30am

There has been support for a variety of horses in today’s John Smith’s Grand National, which promises to be one of the most open renewals of recent years.


Victor Chandler are going 11/1 the field, having pushed Big Fella Thanks out to that price from 10/1, although Paddy Power have cut Paul Nicholls’ charge from 10/1 to 9/1.


The Irish firm have also trimmed Arbor Supreme into 14/1 from 16/1 (he is 14/1 from 18/1 with Skybet), State Of Play from 16/1 to 14/1, Don’t Push It into 16/1 from 20/1 (as with Skybet), Irish Raptor from 33/1 to 28/1 and Cloudy Lane into 33/1 from 40/1. Cloudy Lane is 33/1 from 50/1 with Coral.


My Will has been cut by Powers from 40/1 into 33/1 in line with Skybet while Beat The Boys is in from 100/1 to 66/1. The latter is 80/1 from 150/1 with Stan James and 100/1 from 150/1 with Victor Chandler.


Stan James have pruned Snowy Morning from 16/1 to 12/1 while Willie Mullins’ charge is 14/1 from 16/1 with Coral. Niche Market is 16/1 from 20/1 with totesport while King Johns Castle is 25/1 from 28/1 with Skybet.


Hello Bud is into 33/1 from 50/1 with Stan James while Victor Chandler have trimmed The Package into 12/1 from 14/1 after losing David Pipe’s charge to lose £100,000 within half an hour of trading. Stablemate Comply Or Die is 20/1 from 25/1 with Victor Chandler, who have cut Eric’s Charm into 40/1 from 50/1, a moved echoed by totesport.


In other races:

1.45pm
Peddlers Cross 10/11 from 6/5 (Paddy Power), Evens from 11/10 (Skybet)
Zaynar 11/8 from 7/4 (Coral)

2.15pm
Noble Alan 4/1 from 12/1 (Stan James)

2.50pm
Zaynar 6/4 from 13/8 (Paddy Power)
Muirhead 11/1 from 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Petit Robin 14/1 from 25/1 (Stan James), 16/1 from 20/1 (Skybet)

3.25pm
Wogan 5/1 from 6/1 (Paddy Power), 4/1 from 8/1 (Stan James), 5/1 from 7/1 (Skybet)
Rare Bob 8/1 from 10/1 (Paddy Power), 9/1 from 12/1 (Skybet)
Dom D’Orgeval 8/1 from 11/1 (Stan James)

5pm
Magnum Force 11/1 from 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Stravinsky Dancer 28/1 from 40/1 (Skybet)

5.35pm
Dare Me 8/1 from 11/1 (Paddy Power)


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