RACING AHEAD with Tony McCormick

Racing Ahead with Tony McCormick

Racing Ahead with Tony McCormick

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Racing pundit Tony McCormick from www.irishbigracetrends.com beforetheoff.com and racing radio station racingfm.com looks at the Grand National stories over the past week.

Jockey David Bass was said to be bubbling with excitement at the prospect of riding The Rainbow Hunter in the Crabbies Grand National after schooling the horse over Aintree replica fences recently.

The jockey reported that the 11-year-old was full of enthusiasm following the session at trainer Kim Bailey’s stables in Lambourn and the jockey is hoping his mount can put in a clear round after not getting far in the last two Nationals.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood and owner Trevor Hemmings have agreed to let Many Clouds take his chance in the 2015 Grand National.

The pair have been deliberating over his participation in the world’s most famous horse race, following his flop in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has told the betting public that he is likely to have four runners in the National.

The Champion trainer said that Rocky Creek and Unioniste would be his principle runners, while they would be ably supported by Rebel Rebellion and Mon Parrain.

The two that look likely to miss out on a run in the National are Benvolio and Sam Winner, with the trainer saying that Benvolio needs the soft ground at Aintree, adding that if his charge does not make the race, he will be prepared for the Scottish Grand National or wait until next season.

On Sam Winner, Nicholls said that he was far from being a definite runner as he had a hard race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, stating that unless he sees the horse bouncing, he will not be running anywhere.

Jockey Aiden Coleman will ride the much-fancied The Druids Nephew in the Grand National.

The eight-year-old, who is generally a 14/1 chance to win the world’s most famous steeple chase, was ridden to victory by jockey Barry Geraghty in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase over three miles and one furlong on good-to-soft ground at this year’s Cheltenham Festival in March.

The Kings Theatre gelding beat the current Irish Grand National favourite, the Henry De Bromhead-trained Grand Gesture by three-and-three-quarter lengths, with the nine-year-old Gallant Oscar back in third.

Geraghty was set to continue the partnership in the National, but disaster struck at Downpatrick recently when the jockey broke his left tibia following a fall from Sailor’s Warn, forcing Geraghty to miss the final weeks of the campaign and Mulholland looking for a new jockey.

Announcing the appointment of Coleman, the trainer said there were several jockey’s in the picture to ride his horse, but following a chat with the owners at Wetherby racecourse recently, they came up with the suggestion of Coleman.

Nineteen-times champion jockey Tony McCoy has said he does not intend to ride at the Punchestown Festival.

McCoy also said that if he fails to win the Crabbies Grand National, Sandown’s fixture on the last day of the National Hunt season will be the destination of his final competitive race as a professional jockey.

The champion jockey-elect also revealed that he was very likely to ride the current Grand National favourite Shutthefrontdoor, but added he would not commit to the horse until close to declaration time.

McCoy questioned the price of the eight-year-old saying he wasn’t sure he should be such a short price for the race.

The Northern Irish jockey warned backers that the price was a little short considering the horse had not run for a while but added that trainer Jonjo O’Neill had a terrific record with staying chasers and the horse was obviously in good form.

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