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Tuesday, August 6, 2010


Paul Murphy revealed today that he will withdraw Mr Pointment, who has a guaranteed place in the 2010 John Smith’s Grand National, in order to give his second horse, Cerium, who was fifth in last year’s event, a slot in the Aintree race on Saturday, April 10.

A maximum field of 40 plus four reserves is allowed on Thursday morning at declaration time. Mr Pointment, who has 10st 7lb in the handicap, is 36th at present of the 63 horses still hoping to take part, while Cerium (10st 5lb) was today allocated 42nd position by the British Horseracing Authority after being rated equal 41st on current handicap ratings with 2007 John Smith’s Grand National winner Silver Birch. Cerium lost in a random ballot with Silver Birch who is now first in line if any horse defects. The reserves will only be utilised if there are any non-runners between Thursday morning and Friday at 9.30am.

The Yorkshire-based Murphy said: "At the moment, if one horse comes out then Silver Birch, who is 41st on the list, gets a place in the John Smith’s Grand National and Cerium would be next. If that happens, I will withdraw Mr Pointment to get Cerium in the race. Of course, if nothing comes out, Mr Pointment will run.

"I know that Howard [Johnson] is also looking at the same option - he has Abbeybraney (no 40) in and wants Royal Rosa, who is listed one below Cerium at 43rd, to run instead. So it could be that if one horse comes out, there will be three new runners in the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday.”

It was confirmed today that top-weight Madison Du Berlais, trained by David Pipe, will run in the John Smith’s Grand National rather than attempt a second successive victory in the Grade One totesport Bowl Chase at Aintree on Thursday.

Imperial Commander, winner of the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup last month, becomes the first winner of the Cheltenham race to challenge for the totesport Bowl Chase over the Mildmay Course in the same season since Desert Orchid in 1989.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained nine-year-old takes on four rivals, two of whom he beat in the Gold Cup, the fourth Carruthers and the sixth Calgary Bay. The other runners are Sir Alex Ferguson’s Grade One winner What A Friend, successful in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, and Nacarat, who was second in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton in February.

The sponsors have installed him as the 5/6 favourite for the race with Lexus Chase winner What A Friend next in the market at 3/1.

“Imperial Commander lowered the colours of both Kauto Star and Denman in the Gold Cup and will be aiming to achieve something that neither of his illustrious rivals could manage in recent years in taking the totesport Bowl,' said totesport spokesman George Primarolo.

totesport Bowl - sponsors bet: 5/6 Imperial Commander, 3 What A Friend, 9/2 Nacarat, 14 Calgary Bay, 16 Carruthers.

Charlie Longsdon will have a serious bargain on his hands if Palypso De Creek runs well in Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National.

"He was bought for us last year by Anthony Bromley [of Highflyer Bloodstock] with the specific intention of being a Grand National horse. I wouldn’t want to say exactly what we paid, but he wasn’t an expensive purchase - he was less than £50,000," said the trainer.

Palypso De Creek’s first outing for his new owner Alan Halsall was in a three-mile novices’ hurdle at Towcester - on ground that was better than he was used to in France - and he stayed on well up the Towcester hill, a win that pleased connections.

His second outing was over the National fences in the totesport.com Becher Handicap Chase in November, when he was fourth behind Vic Venturi, receiving a stone from the Irish-trained horse. They meet on the same terms in the John Smith’s Grand National.

"We were quite surprised that day because all Palypso de Creek does is stay. But between the second-last and the last he lost about 10 lengths, then after the last he ran on again,” said Longsdon.

Palypso’s de Creek’s third outing in the UK was in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January, when he went down by two and three quarter lengths to Our Vic in heavy ground, earning a Racing Post rating of 146 - his official rating for the John Smith’s Grand National is 140.

Connections chose the Pertemps Final over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival for the horse’s final race before the John Smith’s Grand National. “I didn’t want to give him a hard race in the Kim Muir off 11st 12lb. We wanted to use Cheltenham as a stepping stone. I think, though, that the ground was too quick for him and he didn’t quite let himself down," Longsdon remarked.

"Everything has gone according to plan since Cheltenham. We haven’t done a lot with him - it’s more a case of ticking him over," said Longsdon, who acknowledged that, if the horse does produce any improvement on his Haydock run, the 50/1 shot [with totesport] must have some sort of chance.

"It’s more like praying he will run well though," he added of the seven-year-old.

Trainer Nick Mitchell downplayed expectations when he bought Ellersie George at the Doncaster Bloodstock Sales in May last year.

“The day we shook hands with Graham Wylie [who sold the horse], Guy Henderson [the new owner] said to me that he thought we might have a National horse. I said to him that there was no chance, that he wouldn’t even get into the race. He was bought in part to give Guy’s son Robbie some serious experience. But he’s more than paid his way already, earning over £50,000,” said Mitchell.

The Dorset-based handler became the horse’s fourth trainer, but considerable improvement has come about. "I don’t know why. Maybe it was just the change of scenery.”

Ellersie George won his first outing for the connections, on quick ground at Stratford, but it was the victory in November at Wincanton in the Badger Ales Handicap Chase that elevated his handicap mark.

“It was that win that basically got us into the John Smith’s Grand National. The horse was in flying form and we made most of a light weight. He was rated 124 when we bought him and he’s in the National at 144, but it has got us there. Though it doesn’t make it easy, I’d much rather be in the race than where Silver Birch is," said Mitchell.

In January, Ellersie George took his chance in the victorchandler.com Handicap Chase at Ascot, but the ground was far too soft and he finished only eighth of the 12 starters. "He prefers lively ground. I spoke to Andrew Tulloch [director of racing and clerk of the course] today about the National going and he said he might be watering and I said don’t you dare," said Mitchell.

More worrying for connections was Ellerslie George’s performance in his final prep race for the John Smith’s Grand National, the Blue Square Supporting Greatwood Veterans’ Chase at Newbury on March 6 when, on good to soft ground, he was last of the seven finishers.

“We were disappointed after Newbury. For two and a half miles he gave Robbie a blinding ride, then he just stopped. He scoped dirty after the race and we were delighted to find something. We’ve monitored him carefully since, and he seems really well,” said Mitchell, adding a caution. “But there’s four days to go and I still just want to get there. I probably won’t even watch the first circuit, but then if he’s still thereabouts...”

Most horses do not mind if they race left-handed or right-handed. But Eric’s Charm seems to and trainer Oliver Sherwood remarked today: “Hand on my heart, if you could guarantee that it would be good to soft at Sandown he would have gone to the Bet365 Gold Cup.”

In eight races at Sandown, Eric’s Charm has won twice and been second four times. “If the John Smith’s Grand National was run at Sandown he’d be near favourite,” added the trainer.

Eric’s Charm has enjoyed far more success on right-hand courses like Sandown, but his victory on March 6 at the Blue Square Supporting Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase on the anti-clockwise track at Newbury encouraged connections.

“The Newbury win knocked a few doubters, but as A P [McCoy] said afterwards, Newbury is basically two long straights with very easy turns. Aintree is not that much different, although the Canal Turn and Becher’s are two left-handed jumps which are going to test him. He’s run at Aintree once, in the Topham [2008] when he fell at the sixth. Dominic Elsworth, who rode him that day, thought he jumped a bit steeply.

“Though he does tend to be at the head of affairs in his races, he doesn’t have to be a front runner. That would be the last thing we would be worried about. You don’t go expecting to win a National - you need luck in running - but after about two miles, if he’s still thereabouts we might start getting excited. If he’s out there on the second circuit. He will stay and is in the best form of his life.

“Wayne Hutchinson schooled him yesterday and he was delighted with him. He said he was clever and neat. To be honest, we’re just living the dream being in the John Smith’s Grand National,” added Sherwood.

Sherwood’s last John Smith’s Grand National runner was Him Of Praise, who was joint second favourite in 1998. Him Of Praise refused four out in the race won by Earth Summit.


Grand National Course - the going remains Good to soft, soft in places

Mildmay and Hurdle Courses - Good to soft, good in places (Hurdle Course was good to soft yesterday)

GoingStick Readings: Mildmay 6.0, Hurdle 5.9 and National 5.3 today at 3pm.

All bends on the Mildmay and Hurdle Courses will be on the outer line on Thursday and will be moved in to provide fresh ground each day.

Andrew Tulloch commented: “I am very pleased with the ground at the moment and it should ease a bit overnight. We will have nice jumping ground to start the meeting with on Thursday.”

Tuesday - a cloudy day, rain due late afternoon (three to four milimetres).
Wednesday - cloudy, possible odd shower, clearing to give sunny spells.
Thursday - fine and dry - 12 degrees.
Friday - dry, cloudy start becoming brighter in afternoon.
Saturday - dry with sunshine - 15 degrees


Class 1, Grade 3, £925,000 total Prize Fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 10, 2010, four miles and four furlongs. For six-year-olds and upwards which are allotted a rating of 110 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 14, 2010. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at February 2, 2010, may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse's racecourse performances to February 14, 2010, would merit a minimum rating of 110. To qualify horses must have run at least three times in Steeple Chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Turf Authority up to and including February 14, 2010. At the Handicapper's discretion such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. No penalties after publication of the weights. Highest weight 11st 10lb. Entries closed February 2, entries revealed February 3 (112 entries. 1 subsequently scratched), weights revealed February 16, first scratchings deadline March 2 (98 remain), second scratchings deadline March 23 (75 remained). Five-day confirmation stage April 5, final declaration stage 10.00am (65 confirmations), April 8. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Sunday, April 4.

Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer/Probable Jockey
1) 01-3244 MADISON DU BERLAIS (FR) 9-11-10 Roger Stanley & Yvonne Reynolds II David Pipe/Tom Scudamore
2) 1-P3463 MON MOME (FR) 10-11-07 Vida Bingham Venetia Williams/Aidan Coleman
3) 211501 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 10-11-06 James Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE/Paddy Flood
4) 151U-02 BLACK APALACHI (IRE) 11-11-06 Gerard Burke Dessie Hughes IRE/Denis O’Regan
5) 5-50030 JOE LIVELY (IRE) 11-11-06 Richard Dimond Colin Tizzard/Joe Tizzard
6) 01-423P DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) 10-11-05 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Tony McCoy or Richie McLernon
7) P002-00 COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) 11-11-05 David Johnson David Pipe/Timmy Murphy or Graham Lee
8) 121-210 TRICKY TRICKSTER (IRE) 7-11-04 Chris Giles Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty
9) 1-03520 NICHE MARKET (IRE) 9-11-04 Graham Regan Bob Buckler/Harry Skelton
10) 2404P2 MADE IN TAIPAN (IRE) 8-11-04 Frances Duffin/Sean Corby Tom Mullins IRE/Niall Madden

11) UPP/-21P DREAM ALLIANCE 9-11-03 The Alliance Partnership Philip Hobbs/Tom O’Brien
12) FU-3644 CLOUDY LANE 10-11-03 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain Jnr/Jason Maguire
13) 1P00-60 NOZIC (FR) 9-11-03 Coral Racing Ltd Paul Nicholls/Liam Treadwell
14) 53-2057 MY WILL (FR) 10-11-02 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield
15) 3606-4F PABLO DU CHARMIL (FR) 9-11-02 Joe Moran David Pipe/Danny Cook
16) 6-51110 BALLYHOLLAND (IRE) 9-11-00 Cathal McGovern Colin McBratney IRE/Andrew McNamara
17) 123130 BACKSTAGE (FR) 8-11-00 MPR & Capranny Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE/Davy Condon
18) P-1P1PP BEAT THE BOYS (IRE) 9-11-00 New Club Ladies Nigel Twiston-Davies/Brian Hughes
19) 0-000U0 PREISTS LEAP (IRE) 10-11-00 John O'Donohue & Tom O'Leary Tom O'Leary IRE/Philip Enright
20) 103223 SNOWY MORNING (IRE) 10-10-13 Quayside Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE/David Casey

21) 14F-016 CAN'T BUY TIME (IRE) 8-10-13 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill/Tony McCoy or Richie McLernon
22) 136-2U1 BIG FELLA THANKS 8-10-12 Maggie Findlay & Paul Barber Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh
23) 60/144-P STATE OF PLAY 10-10-11 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams/Paul Moloney
24) 3301-00 CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE) 10-10-11 Patricia Thompson John Quinn/
25) 0-12100 ELLERSLIE GEORGE (IRE) 10-10-10 Guy Henderson Nick Mitchell/Christian Willlams
26) 2P5-011 ERIC'S CHARM (FR) 12-10-09 Martin St Quinton & Peter Deal Oliver Sherwood/Wayne Hutchinson
27) 2/0-0000 KING JOHNS CASTLE (IRE) 11-10-09 J P McManus Arthur Moore IRE/Paul Carberry
28) 43545U CONNA CASTLE (IRE) 11-10-09 Kings Syndicate Jimmy Mangan IRE/Sean Flanagan
29) 4P1540 BALLYFITZ 10-10-09 Fred & Wayne Mills Nigel Twiston-Davies/David England
30) 305467 OLLIE MAGERN 12-10-09 Roger Nicholls Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Molloy

31) 30-30U2 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 8-10-08 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend
32) 02P-253 MALJIMAR (IRE) 10-10-08 Jane Williams Nick Williams/Daryl Jacob
33) 3-02312 THE PACKAGE 7-10-07 David Johnson David Pipe/Timmy Murphy or Graham Lee
34) 0-33010 PIRAYA (FR) 7-10-07 Terry Neill David Pipe/Johnny Farrelly
35) U01-4U5 IRISH RAPTOR (IRE) 11-10-07 Caroline Beresford-Wylie Nigel Twiston-Davies/Paddy Brennan
36) P/6220-0 MR POINTMENT (IRE) 11-10-07 Judith Wilson Paul Murphy/Ken Whelan
37) P6-1420 PALYPSO DE CREEK (FR) 7-10-06 Alan Halsall Charlie Longsdon/Tom Siddall
38) 035U00 HELLO BUD (IRE) 12-10-06 Seamus Murphy Nigel Twiston-Davies/Mr Sam Twiston-Davies
39) P63/52-P FLINTOFF (USA) 9-10-05 Andrew Flintoff & Paul Beck Venetia Williams/
40) 3/32-31P ABBEYBRANEY (IRE) 9-10-05 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/Ryan Mania or Wilson Renwick

41) F-26r20 SILVER BIRCH (IRE) 13-10-05 Brian Walsh (Co. Kildare) Gordon Elliott IRE/Robbie Power
42) 0PP/05-0 CERIUM (FR) 9-10-05 Judith Wilson Paul Murphy/Davy Russell
43) 56/-33P5 ROYAL ROSA (FR) 11-10-05 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/Ryan Mania or Wilson Renwick
44) 3PP462F KNOWHERE (IRE) 12-10-04 Raymond Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies/Brian Harding
45) 4F1311 WHINSTONE BOY (IRE) 9-10-04 Whinstone Syndicate Jimmy Mangan IRE/
46) 25-0560 OODACHEE 11-10-04 Modreeny Syndicate Charlie Swan IRE/
47) P03-402 FAASEL (IRE) 9-10-03 Hush Hush Partnership David Pipe/
48) 5-30011 CHIEF DAN GEORGE (IRE) 10-10-02 Maurice Chapman Jimmy Moffatt/Paddy Aspell
49) 111P20 DUERS (IRE) 8-10-02 Kate Kelly/Kate Ronan Paul Magnier IRE/
50) 0-0U004 OFFSHORE ACCOUNT (IRE) 10-10-01 Brian Polly Charlie Swan IRE/

51) P220P6 PAK JACK (FR) 10-10-01 The Pak Jack Partnership Richard Phillips/
52) 3F-116P TREACLE (IRE) 9-10-00 Bjorn Nielsen Tom Taaffe IRE/
53) 66//4-54 KINGS ADVOCATE (IRE) 10-10-00 Maine Syndicate Tom Taaffe IRE/
54) 45-2613 GALANT NUIT (FR) 6-9-13 David Parry Ferdy Murphy/
55) 31F4-22 BELON GALE (IRE) 7-9-12 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson/James O’Farrell
56) 5-0600P POMME TIEPY (FR) 7-9-12 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE/
57) 21-02D6 MERIGO (FR) 9-9-10 Ray & Anita Green Andrew Parker/
58) 3414-00 CHIARO (FR) 8-9-09 Andrew Cohen Philip Hobbs/
59) 4-U335P ACCORDING TO JOHN (IRE) 10-9-08 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Richards/
60) 512P0P LORUM LEADER (IRE) 9-9-07 Dr Richard & Laura Newland Dr Richard Newland/

61) 42/-0PP0 OVER THE CREEK 11-9-04 David Johnson David Pipe/
62) 3P/-FP52 WEE ROBBIE 10-9-00 P H Betts (Holdings) Ltd Nick Gifford/
63) 1/P6P-4P OFFALY (IRE) 9-8-12 The Pole to Pole Partnership Pru Townsley/

BALLYTRIM (IRE) 9-10-01 Violet O'Leary Willie Mullins IRE NQ
OFFICIER DE RESERVE (FR) 8-10-03 Seasons Holidays Venetia Williams NQ

Final elimination order according to current ratings and a random draw by Weatherbys when horses were rated the same.

65 five-day confirmations (2 not qualified for running after the five-day confirmation stage)
19 Irish-trained


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