Confidence is building in Nina Carberry hope
Mouse Morris is increasingly confident First Lieutenant will give Nina Carberry a “great ride” in the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
Carberry, whose father Tommy steered L’Escargot to victory in 1975 and also combined with his son Paul to win the race with Bobbyjo in 1999, has completed the National on a number of occasions, finishing fifth on Forest Gunner a decade ago.
First Lieutenant has found life tough competing in top-level conditions chases this season, but after saddling the second and third in the Irish Grand National, Morris is hopeful his dual Grade One winner is primed to bounce back on Merseyside this weekend.
He said: “The horse couldn’t be better, we just want a bit of luck now. We can take a lot of positives out of Monday, even if it was a bit frustrating.”
“Everything we’ve run of late has run well, so fingers crossed. Nina has been and popped the horse over some Aintree fences and they seemed to get on fine.”
“She’s a brilliant jockey for Aintree. Hopefully he’ll give her a great ride. I think he will.”
Pineau ‘forgotten horse’ of the race
Dr Richard Newland believes last year’s National hero Pineau De Re has become the “forgotten horse” heading into the weekend.
The 12-year-old has endured a largely disappointing campaign over hurdles since his moment of glory 12 months ago, but his trainer believes his charge may be peaking at exactly the right time.
“Pineau is fine. Daryl (Jacob) came to do his last piece of work on him on Monday and everything went really well,” said Newland.
“If you asked Christopher Ward, who is Pineau De Re’s regular work rider, he’d tell you he feels exactly the same as he did this time last year.
“I think he’s become the forgotten horse in the race. There are a number of horses much shorter than him in the betting that were 300 yards behind him 12 months ago. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he went there and ran a big race again.”
O’Regan booked to ride Al Co
Peter Bowen has booked Denis O’Regan to ride last year’s Scottish Grand National winner Al Co, after his intended jockey Jamie Moore suffered a broken leg at Towcester last week.
O’Regan’s agent, Sam Stronge, said: “It’s unfortunate that Jamie Moore got hurt but this is a great spare ride to pick up and Denis is very much looking forward to it.
“Peter Bowen’s horses are in good form which counts for a lot going into a race like this.
“With Al Co winning the Scottish National last season you know that the horse stays well so it is an exciting ride for Denis.”
Other recent jockey bookings include David Casey replacing Wilson Renwick on Corrin Wood, Paul Townend on Bob Ford and Brendan Powell replacing Will Kennedy on Royale Knight, Kennedy already retained for Super Duty.
Coleman – “Druids one of the best rides you could pick up”
Aidan Coleman believes The Druids Nephew is one of the best rides he could possibly have picked up in Saturday’s Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree.
With the Cheltenham Festival winner’s usual partner Barry Geraghty injured, trainer Neil Mulholland was on the lookout for a suitable jockey and went for Coleman.
While Coleman has won over the unique fences before, his record in the National itself is instantly forgettable and he famously dismissed 100-1 winner Mon Mome in 2009 in favour of his stablemate Stan.
“It is definitely one of the best rides to pick up. Phil Smith, the chief handicapper, says he is the best handicapped horse in the race,” Coleman told media.
“The race should suit this horse. He seems quite hardy. He handled the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival and came out a very nice winner.
“That should stand him in good stead as far as the Aintree experience goes.”
Greatrex – “Dolatulo has been overlooked”
Lambourn trainer Warren Greatrex believes one of his Grand National runners Dolatulo has been overlooked in the betting. Greatrex who is fresh from his first Cheltenham Festival win after Cole Harden saddles him and the veteran 13 year old Tranquil Sea who will be ridden by Gavin Sheehan.
“I suppose he’s not one of the sexy horses,” Greatrex said.
“But I know that Phil Smith, the handicapper, thinks he has a great chance and he’s going there in the form of his life.
“He’s a quirky type, one reason I haven’t run him over fences since he won at Wetherby over Christmas. Dougie Costello rode him that day and keeps the mount.
“I remember being captivated by Aldaniti’s National, when I was only six. My Dad has kept videos of the race every year since then and I’ve often watched them through, one after the other. To have two runners feels pretty special.”