This is the Aintree press release reproduced in full
SYNCHRONISED HEADS JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL FOLLOWED BY LAST YEAR’S WINNER BALLABRIGGS
Outstanding Grade One Lexus Chase winner Synchronised, owned by J P McManus and trained by Jonjo O’Neill, has been allotted top-weight of 11st 10lb for this year’s John Smith’s Grand National, which takes place over four and a half miles and 30 fences at Aintree on Saturday, April 14.
The weights were revealed today for Jump racing’s most famous event at the official John Smith’s Grand National Launch in London and the competitiveness of this year’s race is illustrated by the fact that 69 of the 82 entries (84 per cent) are in the handicap.
The John Smith’s Grand National, which has record prize money of £975,000 this year, is the only race of the year for which the weights are specially framed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith.
Ballabriggs, who carried 11st to victory in 2011 for owner Trevor Hemmings, trainer Donald McCain and jockey Jason Maguire, is second in the weights with 11st 9lb this year. Synchonised and Ballabriggs are the joint 16/1 second favourites with Betfred, the betting partner of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting.
Mon Mome, who sprang a 100/1 surprise in the 2009 John Smith’s Grand National, is the other past winner among the entries. He carried 11st when winning three years ago, 11st 7lb when falling at the 26th in 2010 and this year has been given 10st 8lb (40/1 Betfred).
Irish-trained raiders have a tremendous recent record in the John Smith’s Grand National, winning six of the last 13 runnings, and they have strength in numbers this year, accounting for 31 entries. An Irish-trained winner is priced at 11/4 by Betfred.
Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins, successful in the 2005 John Smith’s Grand National with Hemmings’ first winner Hedgehunter, accounts for no less than 12 of those 31 and among his leading contenders are 20/1 chance Quel Esprit, who has a weight of 11st 7lb following his victory in the Grade One Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Stablemate On His Own (20/1), winner of the Thyestes Chase for owners Graham and Andrea Wylie, has 10st 11lb, while Blazing Tempo (40/1), the only mare entered, will have to overcome 11st 4lb after winning the Grade Two Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse on January 22. Apt Approach (25/1) has 11st 1lb on the back of his Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase victory last month, while Scotsirish (11st 2lb & 50/1) and Prince De Beauchene (10st 6lb & 20/1) are two others of Mullins’ formidable dozen.
Many of the leading contenders in Betfred’s betting are set to carry 11 stone or above including Weird Al (11st 8lb & 33/1), the stable companion of Ballabriggs who captured the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October, and Midnight Chase (11st 8lb & 20/1), owned by Lady Clarke and trained by Neil Mulholland, who was successful in the Grade Two Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month.
The David Pipe-trained Junior, the 14/1 market leader with Betfred, failed to get in the field last year but has a certain place in 2012 with 11st 2lb.
The Henrietta Knight-trained Calgary Bay (25/1), winner of the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last month, has been given 11st 6lb, while the runner-up that day, Shakalakaboomboom (25/1), has 10st 12lb as he bids to give trainer Nicky Henderson a first victory in the John Smith’s Grand National. Henderson also has the lightly-raced Burton Port (11st 7lb & 25/1), another owned by Hemmings, and Quantitativeeasing (11st 2lb & 33/1) for McManus.
The rapidly-improving Hold On Julio (25/1), who has won both his starts for trainer Alan King, has been given 10st 7lb, while his stablemate West End Rocker (20/1), winner of the Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on December 3, has a weight of 10st 12lb.
High-class hunter-chaser Roulez Cool (25/1), owned, trained and bred by Robert Waley-Cohen and ridden by his son Sam, who finished second on Oscar Time last year, has been allotted 10st 5lb.
Evan Williams has strong representation with his three entries, led by State Of Play (10st 3lb & 33/1) who has run in the John Smith’s Grand National for the last three years and finished fourth, third and fourth. His owners, Angela and William Rucker, also have the fancied Cappa Bleu (10st 10lb & 25/1), while the Welsh trainer’s third possible representative is Deep Purple (11st 3lb & 25/1).
Julian Thick, Managing Director at Aintree Racecourse, commented: “It is tremendous to see 69 of the 82 entries in the handicap and the 2012 renewal of the John Smith’s Grand National promises to be a race full of quality on Saturday, April 14, with a higher percentage of horses rated over 135 than ever before.”
The two scratchings deadlines for the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National are on February 28 and March 20, with the five-day confirmation stage on April 9.
The final declaration stage is at 10am on April 12 when there can be a maximum field of 40 runners, with the provision for up to four reserves.
THE 2012 JOHN SMITH’S GRAND NATIONAL
Class 1, Grade 3, £975,000 total prize fund. 4.15pm, Aintree, Saturday, April 14, 2012, four miles and four furlongs. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 20, 2012, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and which are allotted a rating of 120 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 12, 2012. Horses who are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 12 would merit a minimum rating of 120. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 12, 2012. At the handicapper’s discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. The British Horseracing Authority has modified Rule (F)42.2.1 for the purposes of this race, such that racecourse performances up to and including Sunday, February 12, may be taken into account. A novice horse shall only be qualified to run in this race if it has run a minimum of three times in chases in Great Britain, Ireland or France in accordance with Rule (F)42.5. Highest weight 11st 10lb – no penalties after publication of the weights. Entries closed January 31, entries revealed February 1 (82 entries), weights revealed February 14, first scratchings deadline February 28, second scratchings deadline March 20. Five-day confirmation stage April 9, final declaration stage 10.00am, April 12. Maximum field size of 40, plus four reserves. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, February 13.
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
1) 13-P031 SYNCHRONISED (IRE) 9-11-10 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
2) 11/1121- BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 11-11-09 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
3) 115-F31 MIDNIGHT CHASE 10-11-08 Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland
4) 1/10P-13 WEIRD AL (IRE) 9-11-08 Brannon, Dennis, Dick, Holden Donald McCain
5) 11121/2- BURTON PORT (IRE) 8-11-07 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
6) FF-B111 QUEL ESPRIT (FR) 8-11-07 Red Barn Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
7) 2F-0511 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 9-11-06 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight
8) 106-P42 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (FR) 11-11-06 John Hales Paul Nicholls
9) F-6041U ALFA BEAT (IRE) 8-11-05 Irvin Naylor John Hanlon IRE
10) F01/35-2 PLANET OF SOUND 10-11-05 Charles Lloyd-Baker Philip Hobbs
11) 143111 BLAZING TEMPO (IRE) 8-11-04 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
12) 1U30432 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 10-11-04 Seamus Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE
13) 51U/022/- BLACK APALACHI (IRE) 13-11-03 Gerard Burke Dessie Hughes IRE
14) 6/3U34-1 DEEP PURPLE 11-11-03 Paul Green Evan Williams
15) 131/321- JUNIOR 9-11-02 Middleham Park Racing LI David Pipe
16) 112-021 QUANTITATIVEEASING (IRE) 7-11-02 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
17) 3631441 SCOTSIRISH (IRE) 11-11-02 Double R Stables Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
18) 04-5060 TARTAK (FR) 9-11-02 Power Panels Electrical Tim Vaughan
19) 2-FU111 APT APPROACH (IRE) 9-11-01 Greenstar Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
20) 6/1155-6 LITTLE JOSH (IRE) 10-11-01 Tony Bloom Nigel Twiston-Davies
21) 0F2224 PSYCHO (IRE) 11-11-00 Exors of the late C McClure Tony Martin IRE
22) 10-U303 CHICAGO GREY (IRE) 9-10-13 John Earls Gordon Elliott IRE
23) 3100-01 TATENEN (FR) 8-10-13 The Stewart Family Richard Rowe
24) 22-3011 ACCORDING TO PETE 11-10-12 Peter Nelson Malcolm Jefferson
25) F11/-111 SEABASS (IRE) 9-10-12 Gunners Syndicate Ted Walsh IRE
26) 000-112 SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM (IRE) 8-10-12 Liam Breslin Nicky Henderson
27) 11PB-P1 WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 10-10-12 Barry Winfield & Tim Leadbeater Alan King
28) 1P-1323 HECTOR’S CHOICE (FR) 8-10-11 James and Jean Potter Richard Lee
29) 235/3/1-P MASSINI’S MAGUIRE (IRE) 11-10-11 Alan Peterson David Pipe
30) 14P1-B1 ON HIS OWN (IRE) 8-10-11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
31) 2113-1P ALWAYS RIGHT (IRE) 10-10-10 John Wade John Wade
32) 3F2P/-13 CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 10-10-10 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams
33) 5U-P20P CRESCENT ISLAND (IRE) 9-10-09 Sarah Bays Jill Scott Sarah MacEchern Nigel Twiston-Davies
34) PU-3450 RARE BOB (IRE) 10-10-09 D A Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE
35) 63F/-52P MON MOME (FR) 12-10-08 Vida Bingham Venetia Williams
36) 12-133F ORGANISEDCONFUSION (IRE) 7-10-08 Grace Dunlop Arthur Moore IRE
37) 3/216-B43 THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (IRE) 11-10-08 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
38) P/P-51423 TREACLE (IRE) 11-10-08 Bjorn Nielsen Tom Taaffe IRE
39) 0P2F-60 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 10-10-07 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
40) 3/5P-2304 COOLDINE (IRE) 10-10-07 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE
41) PP//1-11 HOLD ON JULIO (IRE) 9-10-07 Mr & Mrs F Bell, N Farrell, A Marsh Alan King
42) 2130-F2 PEARLYSTEPS 9-10-06 The Glazeley Partnership Henry Daly
43) U5351-5 PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) 9-10-06 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
44) F505-02 NICHE MARKET (IRE) 11-10-05 Graham Regan Paul Nicholls
45) //U1/2B/1- ROULEZ COOL 9-10-05 Robert Waley-Cohen Robert Waley-Cohen
46) P0-5121 STEWARTS HOUSE (IRE) 10-10-05 Double Trouble Partnership Tim Vaughan
47) 03F-30P SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE) 9-10-05 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
48) 140310 UNCLE JUNIOR (IRE) 11-10-05 Mrs M McMahon Willie Mullins IRE
49) 4-U2634 FAIR ALONG (GER) 10-10-04 Alan Peterson Philip Hobbs
50) F-03034 KILLYGLEN (IRE) 10-10-04 David McCammon Stuart Crawford IRE
51) 2F-4010 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 8-10-04 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE
52) 4-P1300 THARAWAAT (IRE) 7-10-04 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
53) 041-044 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 11-10-03 Mr & Mrs Peter Douglas Peter Bowen
54) 42F-63F BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 9-10-03 Noel Glynn Noel Glynn IRE
55) P-0P011 LE BEAU BAI (FR) 9-10-03 Glass Half Full Richard Lee
56) 144/P3/4- STATE OF PLAY 12-10-03 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams
57) 2313P2 SWING BILL (FR) 11-10-03 David Johnson David Pipe
58) FP-2661 POSTMASTER 10-10-02 The Bill & Ben Partnership Tim Vaughan
59) 30/-003P SHAKERVILZ (FR) 9-10-02 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE
60) 312U5/5- THE PACKAGE 9-10-02 David Johnson David Pipe
61) 1P-6P60 WYMOTT (IRE) 8-10-02 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
62) P/5000-P BACKSTAGE (FR) 10-10-01 MPR & Capranny Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE
63) 3/P22-12 GILES CROSS (IRE) 10-10-01 KCMS Partnership Victor Dartnall
64) PP-5U65 HELLO BUD (IRE) 14-10-00 Seamus Murphy Nigel Twiston-Davies
65) 431U0-P IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 12-10-00 Dessie Hughes Dessie Hughes IRE
66) 21/10P-1 MIDNIGHT HAZE 10-10-00 Kim Bailey Racing Partnership Kim Bailey
67) 500423-F NORTHERN ALLIANCE (IRE) 11-10-00 Irish Rover Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
68) 0044B-20 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 12-10-00 Seamus Dunne Dessie Hughes IRE
69) 00-143P VIKING BLOND (FR) 7-10-00 Caroline Mould Nigel Twiston-Davies
70) R-120U3 QHILIMAR (FR) 8-9-13 Whites of Coventry & Stephen Dunn Charlie Longsdon
71) PP24U6 SOME TARGET (IRE) 8-9-10 Captain Conflict Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
72) 0-31504 NEPTUNE EQUESTER 9-9-09 Koo’s Racing Club Brian Ellison
73) 32-3P40 ANY CURRENCY (IRE) 9-9-08 Cash Is King Martin Keighley
74) 0-42026 OUR ISLAND (IRE) 7-9-07 David Fox Tim Vaughan
75) 11PPP0 SCHINDLER’S GOLD (IRE) 10-9-07 Dr Richard & Laura Newland Dr Richard Newland
76) 31P/-FP3 ABBEYBRANEY (IRE) 11-9-05 Sue Johnson George Bewley
77) 660-P42 SADDLERS STORM (IRE) 10-9-05 Billy Moffett, R T & J McLoughlin Tony Martin IRE
78) 05-34106 SMOKING ACES (IRE) 8-9-05 J P McManus Tom Taaffe IRE
79) 50-PP0F KING FONTAINE (IRE) 9-9-04 Trevor Hemmings Malcolm Jefferson
80) 6-12026 ANOTHER PALM (IRE) 7-9-03 M J M Racing Syndicate Noel Meade IRE
81) 12-20P3 BALLYVESEY (IRE) 7-9-02 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
82) 0P3-5U2 MINELLA THEATRE (IRE) 9-9-00 Middleham Park Racing XXIV & Dan Gilbert Lawney Hill
John Smith’s Grand National – Betfred bet: 14/1 Junior, 16/1 Ballabriggs, Synchronised, 20/1 Midnight Chase, On His Own, Prince de Beauchene, Quel Esprit, Roberto Goldback, West End Rocker, 25/1 Apt Approach, Burton Port, Calgary Bay, Cappa Bleu, Chicago Grey, Deep Purple, Hold On Julio, Little Josh, Planet Of Sound, Roulez Cool, Seabass, Shakalakaboomboom, The Midnight Club, Treacle, 33/1 According To Pete, Always Right, Alfa Beat, Always Waining, Backstage, Becauseicouldntsee, Cooldine, Giles Cross, Hector’s Choice, Killyglen, Le Beau Bai, Neptune Collonges, Niche Market, Organisedconfusion, Pearlysteps, Quantitativeeasing, Quiscover Fontaine, State Of Play, Stewarts House, Sunnyhillboy, Viking Blond, Weird Al, 40/1 Arbor Supreme, Ballyvesey, Blazing Tempo, Fair Along, Massini’s Maguire, Mon Mome, Postmaster, Rare Bob, Some Target, Tatenen, The Package, Uncle Junior, Vic Venturi, 50/1 Another Palm, Any Currency, Black Apalachi, Hello Bud, Midnight Haze, Northern Alliance, Our Island, Qhilimar, Scotsirish, Shakervilz, Swing Bill, Tartak, Tharawaat, Wymott, 66/1 Crescent Island, In Compliance, Psycho, Saddlers Storm, Schindler’s Gold, 100 Abbeybraney, King Fontaine, Minella Theatre, Neptune Equester, Smoking Aces