Race of the Week 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Aintree hopes pinned on crowning of Prince

Grand National 615 X 400
Photo: Aintree Racecourse

A wise woman once recalled that I'm yet to tip the winner of the Grand National.


A fair call, it has to be said, for which I normally enlist the assistance of my Grand National pull-out covered dartboard to select that elusive winning tip with (Oh come on, who has ONE bet in the Grand National!), but it did make me realise just how much the Aintree showpiece towers above any other race in the general public eye.


We’re all judged on it, aren’t we? Those texts, phone calls and social media messages come once a year asking what will win the Grand National, but to us it’s as hard a race to predict the winner as any.


Maybe the novice angle works better, maybe it’s all luck after all so with that in mind I must be mad, in fact I know I am, but with three weeks to go I’m going to pin my colours to the mast, allow everyone in the world to see my poker hand and proclaim that I have every faith in one horse bounding around Aintree to victory in the one of the toughest races there ever has been, and ever will be to win.


What are the chances this is going to go well? Well, to be fair that chances are slim.


I’ve pondered multiple horses, I’ve given myself reasons to love them and reasons to hate them  and my one main disappointment is that The Package isn’t coming into this fresh. David Pipe’s placid eleven year old has been a revelation when fresh, seeing him provide form figures totalling one win and five placed efforts from seven races off a layoff, but the fact that he is coming into this off the back of a strong placed effort at Cheltenham really does put me off.


Plus, can you imagine if The Package won the Grand National? What does the husband say to the wife who says thank you for a meal supplied by money won on the horse? ‘Don’t thank me, thank The Package’? It doesn’t sit too well in a restaurant really, does it?


No, I’m sure, absolutely sure that I have nailed my colours to a horse that I feel has the best chance – and for those reading, that doesn’t mean the best chance of unseating his luckless jockey at the first – and it’s Prince de Beauchene.


Primed for a run in the Grand National for the last two years, Prince de Beauchene has been hindered from completing his task due to an eleventh hour injury preventing him from lining up at Aintree, but this season – touch lots and lots of wood, even those fake bits that look like wood – he seems to have kept fit and fresh.


His form leaves a little bit to be desired this year, however. A thirteenth placed finish in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury wasn’t great, nor was a last placed finish in the Lexus Chase over Christmas, but his sub-par performances in top level company have enabled him to be given a weight break by the handicapper.


Those more experienced with the daily ins and outs will note that the Willie Mullins trained eleven year old has been lowered some eight pounds from his mark of 155 last season, and a mark of 147 in this Grand National makes him a huge player with a likely weight of 10st10lbs on his back.


A lightly raced and somewhat fragile individual, one would hope that if Mullins can get him to Aintree fit and well he would have an outstanding chance, and a chance considerably better than his stablemate, On His Own, whom has gone off well backed in the last two renewals of the race.


His jockey? Well, that’s speculation at the moment as Ruby Walsh is likely to be out injured and miss the whole Grand National meeting, but the selection of Paul Townend wouldn’t put me off one bit. Townend is a star plying his trade in the shadow of Walsh but he has the ability to become one of the greats if he is ever allowed the top breaks.  


Elsewhere you could easily make a case for the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Same Difference, and I’m sure I will nearer the time, and there would be a huge cheer for the enigmatic Tidal Bay if he were to claim victory off of top weight, but for now I’m siding fully with the Prince.


Roll on Aintree, roll on the Grand National and let’s hope I can leave the rest of the darts in the packet just this once.



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Older Comments about Aintree hopes pinned on crowning of Prince...

I know Yukichan. I didn't see the stat at the begging of the link you attached, so i was adding the numbers in. VERY happy no fatalities. Cheers.
the tougest steeple chase is the Gran Velka Pardubice in the Czech Repulbic and the monster jump called the Taxis
great view of the contest as if you were in the saddle,,..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/grand-national/10740758/Grand-National-2014-Horses-view-of-the-toughest-steeplechase-fences-in-racing.html
Meant no fatalities--they returned to their barns.
Sorry 18 of the 40 horses who started, finished.
18 horses didn't finish the race.
22 fall, no fatalities...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2597634/Thousands-racing-fans-flock-Aintree-ahead-afternoons-Grand-National-HALF-Britains-population-expected-place-bet.html
Pineau De Re wins the Grand National--all horses and jockeys come home safely...
Want to see a GREAT comedy? Find ON the Nose with RObbie Coltrane and Dan Akyroyd. An anatomy assitant uses a specimen in formaldehyde to pick the Grand National winner so he can pay for his daughter's tuiton and breaks a bookie along the way.

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