Its hard to believe but the most famous race in UK horse racing has once again come around, as the BBC once again has all cameras on the famous course from Liverpool.
Its the 2012 Grand National from Aintree this Saturday, as once again the general public go in search of some decent each way value on the race in the hope of some big returns, and Seabass, ridden by Ruby Walsh’s sister Katie Walsh and On His Own, ridden by her brother, look the strong candidates for the Irish contingent and are sure to attract plenty of support from fans at odds of around 16/1.
Nowhere prepares a horse better for the trials and tribulations of a Grand National than Ireland. The Emerald Isle have won 6 of the last 13 running’s of the world’s greatest steeplechase. Silver Birch was the last to achieve this in 2007, but Numbersixvalverde (2006) Hedgehunter (2005), Monty’s Pass (2003), Papilion (2000) and Bobbyjo (1999) had all previously roared to success at Aintree all whom were trained by different trainers.
Their recent record, at first glance anyway, has seemingly tailed off but a closer inspection shows that Irish runners have still ran with plenty of gusto in the last five years. In addition to Silver Birch’s win in 2007, they also provided the third in the shape of Slim Pickings.
In 2008 they supplied the second (King Johns Castle), third (Snowy Morning) and fourth (Slim Pickings) home from just 11 of the 40 runners. Black Apalachi came second behind Don’t Push It in 2010 and although sixth was the best they could manage last year with Willie Mullins-trained The Midnight Club, they look to readying a strong team for another Aintree raid this year.
Mullins, especially, who won the race in 2005, looks to have a strong hand this year despite the injury sustained by ante-post favourite Prince De Beauchane.
He goes to war with Quel Esprit, Apt Approach, On His Own, The Midnight Club and Quiscover Fontaine (you can get 8/1 on Mullins training the winner) but stable jockey Ruby Walsh is likely to swerve those mounts in favour to ride his fathers, Ted, horse, named Seabass. The fact that Walsh is favouring that horse over any of Mullins powerful string is a tip in itself.
Dessie Hughes has four likely to head to the race including 2010 second Black Apalachi, whilst Gordon Elliot, who trained Silver Birch, only has two but both Chicago Grey and Tharawaat look to have the right credentials to be decent each way prospects.