Aintree 2015 Grand National news round-up
Coral take you through the latest updates ahead of the three-day Crabbie’s Grand National meeting, including the hunt for a jockey to partner The Druids Nephew in the big race
Hunt on for jockey to partner The Druids Nephew
Barry Geraghty has become the latest big name jockey to be ruled out of Aintree’s three-day Crabbie’s Grand National meeting after suffering a hairline fracture to his left tibia in a fall at Downpatrick.
Geraghty was widely expected to partner the strongly-fancied The Druids Nephew (14/1 with Coral) in the big race on Saturday, April 11th, but is now likely to be out of action for between four and eight weeks.
It’s a huge blow to connections of The Druids Nephew as their second choice pilot Davy Russell is also unavailable after breaking his arm in a fall at Gowran Park at the weekend.
Trainer Neil Mulholland said today that he would not be rushing into making a decision on who would be partnering the easy Cheltenham Festival winner.
He said: “There are a lot of names in the hat and I’ve had plenty of agents on the phone, as you can imagine.
“There’s no need for us to make an immediate decision, though. It’s not a decision we can make quickly as he’s going there with a serious chance.”
Top Irish jockey Bryan Cooper also misses Aintree due to being banned under the whip rules, meaning that three of the biggest names in the saddle will be on the sidelines during the Merseyside meeting.
Nicholls favouring crack at National with Rebel Rebellion
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is leaning towards running Saturday’s Newbury winner Rebel Rebellion in the Crabbie’s Grand National rather than the Topham Chase, and Coral make the gelding 40/1 for the Aintree showpiece.
The Topham, also backed by Crabbie’s, had looked a more likely target for the 10-year-old but victory under a big weight in the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase has prompted Nicholls to revise plans.
The Dictheat handler told media: “I thought he was exposed and had plenty to do at the weights but he won really well. He’s run well over three miles and is bred to stay. I suspect Ryan Mahon will probably ride him.”
Rebel Rebellion is one of seven possible runners Nicholls has engaged in the National and his team includes leading fancies Rocky Creek (12/1) and Unioniste (20/1).
Unioniste is owned by John Hales who saw his colours carried to victory by the Nicholls-trained Neptune Collonges in the 2012 running of National.
Decision due on Many Clouds’ Grand National bid
A decision on whether Cheltenham Gold Cup sixth Many Clouds’ will line-up in the Crabbie’s Grand National is expected to be made later in the week, but trainer Oliver Sherwood believes he may well have had enough for the season.
He said: “It’s 50-50. My heart of hearts says he hasn’t run his race in the Gold Cup, in which case he could have had enough for the season. After only four runs that’s hard to believe, but you don’t get an easy time in prep races like you did 25 years ago.
“He should have travelled better. Whether the winner took us out of our comfort zone I don’t know, but we couldn’t have gone any faster and that’s not him.
“Mick Meagher [racing manager to owner Trevor Hemmings] and I are aiming to meet up towards the end of the week. We hope to make a decision then.”
Many Clouds, who had won his previous three starts this season prior to lining up in the Gold Cup, is 25/1 with Coral for the Grand National.