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Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Clerk of the Course Andrew Tulloch changed the going on the Grand National course this morning to Soft, good to soft in places (from Good to soft, soft in places) after two millimetres of rain overnight and maintained that going description at the end of the day.

The Mildmay and Hurdle courses remain Good to soft, good in places.

The GoingStick readings at 4pm today were Mildmay course 6.6; Hurdle course 6.4 and Grand National course 5.4

He said: “The National course is retaining the moisture as the majority of the ground has not been raced on since last year’s John Smith’s Grand National meeting.

“We may get a bit of drizzle tomorrow (Thursday) but it is meant to be mainly dry. Friday afternoon and Saturday are forecast to be dry and the temperatures are set to increase as we approach the John Smith’s Grand National.

“The Mildmay and Hurdle courses ride a bit quicker because of a different soil substructure but we will have fresh ground on the bends each day.”


Thursday - cloudy at times with possible patchy drizzle am, clearing to give brighter spells in afternoon - 13 degrees.

Friday - cloudy with possible drizzle am. Dry and bright in afternoon -15 degrees.

Saturday - dry with sunshine - 15 degrees


Twenty years ago Fred Mills was devastated when his son Wayne slipped from a roof he was working on and seriously damaged his spine.

Wayne was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital to convalesce for six months and to encourage his recovery his dad persuaded Peter Scudamore, then the reigning champion jump jockey, to make a visit.

“Peter was very good and went down to Stoke Mandeville within a couple of days of my making contact,” said Fred.

When the father and son asked the champion jockey about owning a horse, he advised them not to. But they persevered and so Scudamore sold them a horse, by Petoski, who they named in his honour, Petosku. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the horse won seven times, providing enough encouragement to keep them in the racing game.

Horses like Miss Shakira, Mister Rm, Waynesworld and C’Monthehammers have kept up the strike rate, but even so the success of the family roofing and cladding business in South Ockendon, Essex, SD Samuels, has been integral to sustaining the operation.

The insurance settlement that Wayne received at 21, two years after the accident, was invested into the roofing and cladding business. Wayne had been a budding footballer and played for Arsenal at a junior level a couple of times before stepping out for Rainham Town. His football contacts meant that SD Samuels broke into the stadia business, starting off at West Ham.

SD Samuels has also completed contracts at Twickenham, Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and Sunderland FC.

The father and son partnership, both in business and with the horses, found their best performer yet when they invested in Ballyfitz nearly six years ago. The 10-year-old bay gelding has won eight of his 23 races and earned over £150,000 in prize money.

“To be honest, he’s paid for a lot of the others,” admitted 38-year-old Wayne. But those earnings would be relative chicken-feed if Ballyfitz were to win the £925,000 John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 10, and one person is confident he can.

Not Wayne, who wasn’t even certain about entering the horse, but his dad.

“Ballyfitz is in there with the right weight (10st 9lb) and, while I know he can put in the occasional bad jump, if he gets round I can’t see him finishing out of the top three - and 66/1 well, that’s taking the mick,” said 60-year-old Fred.

They will both be at Aintree for the Johns Smith’s Grand National, with Wayne’s wheelchair bedecked with the colours of West Ham United, which are also their racing colours.

"This is all for Wayne," said Fred, "There’s other people who would have let such a blow stop them doing things, but Wayne really lives his life.”


Deemed too inexperienced to ride family horse Ellerslie George in the world’s greatest steeplechase, the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday, amateur Robbie Henderson will be far from Aintree’s madding crowd.

Instead the frustrated 20-year-old will be in Thomas Hardy country, rural Dorset, where he will be riding at the Portman Hunt point-to-point.

Ironically it was his cool handling of the Nick Mitchell-trained Ellerslie George that enabled the 10-year-old to gain a place in the John Smith’s Grand National.

The horse was bought by Henderson’s father, Guy, to give Robbie experience racing against professionals, but when they won Wincanton’s Badger Ales Chase the horse’s handicap mark shot up from 132 to 145.

From that mark, the Nick Mitchell-trained Ellerslie George comfortably gained a place in the £925,000 John Smith’s Grand National, an opportunity that was too good to miss, but Robbie, with just six point-to-point winners and four under Rules, was not qualified for such a big test - he was told he needed 10 victories against professionals, so Christian Williams takes over in the saddle.

An employee at Colin Tizzard’s Dorset stables, Henderson is clearly irked by the prospect of his favourite horse being ridden by another jockey, and said, with tongue slightly in cheek, today: “I’ll be going to the Portman point-to-point. I’d rather ride four bad maidens than be in the paddock at Aintree giving Christian a leg up!”


Also likely absentees on Saturday will be dairy farmers Tomas Nugent and his uncle John Kiely, from Dungarvan in County Cork.

As two of the four partners in the Kings Syndicate, they will be represented in the John Smith’s Grand National by Conna Castle, trained by Jimmy Mangan, but the demands of the herd seem likely to keep them at home.

Nugent explained today: “I have my flight booked and I would love to be at Aintree, but I’ve got a few problems with some of my cattle at the moment and it doesn’t look as though I’ll be there. My uncle’s in the same position.

“Conna Castle may not look like a stayer, but he won three point-to-points for us over three miles as a young horse and now he’s 11 we thought he might as well take his chance.”


Timmy Murphy will ride Comply Or Die in Saturday’s £925,000 John Smith’s Grand National, while Graham Lee is going to partner The Package, owner David Johnson revealed on At The Races at 12.45pm today.

This means that Murphy sticks with the horse who gave him a first John Smith’s Grand National success in 2008 and the partnership was also second last year. Both horses are trained by David Pipe.


Howard Johnson will give rising conditional Ryan Mania his first ride in the John Smith’s Grand National if both the stable entries - Abbeybraney and Royal Rosa - get in the race, the trainer stated on Wednesday morning.

A maximum of 40 runners can go to post in the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday at 4.15pm and at the moment there are 62 vying to get a run.

The declarations for the race have to be made by 10am tomorrow and at the moment there are no likely defections from the top 40. Abbeybraney just creeps in as he is number 40, while Royal Rosa, the one Johnson really wants to run, is number 43. There are four reserves as well as the 40 runners which have to be utilised by Friday at 9.30am.

“It’s very complicated, like a game of backgammon. As you know, I would really like Royal Rosa to be in the race, but we would only withdraw Abbeybraney if Royal Rosa is the first reserve. So there are three possibilities: if both our horses run, we would put Wilson [Renwick] on Royal Rosa and Ryan [Mania] on Abbeybraney; if only Abbeybraney runs then Wilson would ride him; and if only Royal Rosa runs, then Wilson rides him," said Johnson.

Royal Rosa is currently third reserve for the John Smith’s Grand National, but Paul Murphy, who trains Mr Pointment, who already is guaranteed a spot in the race, and Cerium, number 42, has stated that if one horse drops out of the race he would withdraw Mr Pointment in favour of Cerium. So a single withdrawal would produce three new horses for Saturday’s race.


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 Wednesday, April 7.

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
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/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/Sean Flanagan
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) 3P/-FP52 WEE ROBBIE 10-9-00 P H Betts (Holdings) Ltd Nick Gifford/
62) 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
OVER THE CREEK 11-9-04 David Johnson David Pipe NQ
Final elimination order according to current ratings and a random draw by Weatherbys when horses were rated the same.

65 five-day confirmations (3 not qualified for running after the five-day confirmation stage)
19 Irish-trained


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