77 remain in John Smith’s Grand National: next declaration stage March 20th



Victor Dartnall is hoping for a wet spell as he prepares Giles Cross for the John Smith’s Grand National, run over four and a half miles and 30 fences at Aintree on Saturday, April 14. 

The 10-year-old features among 77 horses going forward for the £975,000 contest following the first scratchings deadline on February 28, details of which are announced today. 

The 10-year-old was last seen when winning the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park over three and a half miles on February 18, having previously finished a game second to Le Beau Bai in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow on December 27. Giles Cross has been allotted 10st 1lb for the Aintree spectacular and, after his victory 11 days ago, is 6lb “well in” on handicap ratings. 

North Devon-based Dartnall said: “It all depends on the ground for Giles Cross. He will be in the Irish Grand National as well, but if it looked like it was going to come up soft at Aintree we would be very tempted. 

“Good to soft ground would probably be all right, though if we had a wet time we will definitely be there. 

“I was very pleased with his effort at Haydock, they (the handicappers) have given him a 6lb rise, but he is in the John Smith’s Grand National off his old mark which makes it even more tempting to run at Aintree. 

“He didn’t really have a hard race at Haydock because he did everything on the bridle, and Denis O’Regan gave him a very confident ride. 

“I think Giles Cross would be an ideal type for the John Smith’s Grand National. He jumps very well and like I said, if the ground came right for him, I would love really to go there.” 

Giles Cross is currently a 20/1 chance with Betfred, the official betting partner of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting. 

Last weekend featured a number of fancied John Smith’s Grand National contenders putting their credentials on the line, with the most impressive performance coming from Prince De Beauchene in the Grade Two Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse. The nine-year-old won comfortably over the three miles, one furlong trip and is following a well trodden path after the Willie Mullins trained Hedgehunter to capture the Bobbyjo Chase and John Smith’s Grand National in the same season in 2005. As a result Prince De Beauchene is now 9/1 clear favourite with Betfred. 

The Fairyhouse feature also saw a pleasing return to the racecourse from Black Apalachi, who finished second to Don’t Push It in the 2010 John Smith’s Grand National, but he had not been seen on a racecourse since. However, the 13-year-old ran on well from the rear to take second, while stable companion Rare Bob faded to finish fifth and fellow John Smith’s Grand National hope Alfa Beat was pulled up before the last. 

In the Grade Three Racing Plus Chase over three miles at Kempton Park, Hector’s Choice qualified for Britain’s richest jump race by finishing second ahead of Hennessy runner-up Planet Of Sound. 

Ted Walsh, who won the John Smith’s Grand National in 2000 with Papillon, saddled Seabass to a sixth straight success under Rules on Sunday in the Grade Two Paddypower.com Chase at Naas over two miles. The nine-year-old is now 16/1 for Aintree glory with Betfred. 

Last season’s John Smith’s Grand National hero Ballabriggs will be seen for the first time since in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster or the Premier Chase at Kelso this weekend, where he is likely to faceAccording To Pete and Abbreybraney who also hold John Smith’s Grand National ambitions. Long time ante-post favourite Junior has also been given an entry in the in the Grimthorpe Chase, but the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in just over a fortnight is also an option. 

At the first scratchings deadline all the leading contenders have stood their ground including top-weightSynchronised, Betfred Becher Chase victor West End Rocker, Sky Bet Chase winner Calgary Bay, and Nicky Henderson’s Burton Port, who returned from a long absence to finish a promising second to Long Run in the Grade Two Denman Chase at Newbury on February 17. 

The next scratchings deadline for the John Smith’s Grand National is on Tuesday, March 20.


The 2012 John Smith’s Grand National meeting runs from April 12 to 14 and showcases top-class racing on each day.


Tickets and hospitality packages are still available. Visit www.aintree.co.uk for more details or call 0844 579 3001.


John Smith’s Grand National – Betfred bet: 9/1 Prince De Beauchene, 14/1 Junior, 16/1 Ballabriggs, Burton Port, Seabass, Synchronised, West End Rocker, 20/1 Cappa Bleu, Chicago Grey, Giles Cross, Midnight Chase, Neptune Collonges, On His Own, Quel Esprit, Roberto Goldback, Treacle, 25/1 Apt Approach, Calgary Bay, Deep Purple, Hold On Julio, Massini’s Maguire, Planet Of Sound, Roulez Cool, Shakalakaboomboom, The Midnight Club, 33/1 According To Pete, Alfa Beat, Always Right, Always Waining, Backstage, Becauseicouldntsee, Hector’s Choice, Killyglen, Le Beau Bai, Niche Market, Organisedconfusion, Pearlysteps, Quantitatitveeasing, Quiscover Fontaine, State Of Play, Stewarts House, Sunnyhillboy, Viking Blond, Weird Al, 40/1 Arbor Supreme, Ballyvesey, Fair Along, 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, Scotsirish, Shakervilz, Swing Bill, Tartak, Tharawaat, Wymott, 66/1 Crescent Island, In Compliance, Psycho, Saddlers Storm, Schindler’s Gold, 100/1 Abbeybraney, King Fontaine, Minella Theatre, Neptune Equester, Smoking Aces



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 (77 remain), 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 27.


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) 11121/2-2 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-P422 NEPTUNE COLLONGES (FR) 11-11-06 John Hales   Paul Nicholls

9) F-6041UP ALFA BEAT (IRE)  8-11-05 Irvin Naylor   John Hanlon IRE

10) F01/35-23 PLANET OF SOUND  10-11-05 Charles Lloyd-Baker  Philip Hobbs


11) 1U30432 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 10-11-04 Seamus Dunne   Dessie Hughes IRE

12) 51U/022/2 BLACK APALACHI (IRE) 13-11-03 Teresa Burke   Dessie Hughes IRE

13) 6/3U34-1F DEEP PURPLE  11-11-03  Paul Green   Evan Williams

14) 131/321-0 JUNIOR   9-11-02 Middleham Park Racing LI David Pipe

15) 112-021 QUANTITATIVEEASING (IRE) 7-11-02 J P McManus   Nicky Henderson

16) 3631441 SCOTSIRISH (IRE)  11-11-02 Double R Stables Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE

17) 04-5060 TARTAK (FR)   9-11-02 Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd Tim Vaughan

18) 2-FU1113 APT APPROACH (IRE)  9-11-01 Greenstar Syndicate  Willie Mullins IRE

19) 0F2224U PSYCHO (IRE)   11-11-00 McClure Family Syndicate Tony Martin IRE

20) 10-U3032 CHICAGO GREY (IRE)  9-10-13 John Earls   Gordon Elliott IRE


21) 3100-015 TATENEN (FR)  8-10-13 The Stewart Family  Richard Rowe

22) 22-3011 ACCORDING TO PETE 11-10-12 Peter Nelson   Malcolm Jefferson

23) F11/-1111 SEABASS (IRE)  9-10-12 Gunners Syndicate  Ted Walsh IRE

24) 000-112 SHAKALAKABOOMBOOM (IRE) 8-10-12 Liam Breslin   Nicky Henderson

25) 11PB-P1 WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 10-10-12 Barry Winfield & Tim Leadbeater Alan King

26) 1P-13232 HECTOR’S CHOICE (FR) 8-10-11 James and Jean Potter  Richard Lee

27) 235/3/1-P1 MASSINI’S MAGUIRE (IRE) 11-10-11 Alan Peterson   David Pipe

28) 14P1-B1 ON HIS OWN (IRE)  8-10-11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE

29) 2113-1PP ALWAYS RIGHT (IRE)  10-10-10 John Wade   John Wade

30) 3F2P/-133 CAPPA BLEU (IRE)  10-10-10 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams


31) 5U-P20PP CRESCENT ISLAND (IRE) 9-10-09 Sarah Bays Jill Scott Sarah MacEchern Nigel Twiston-Davies

32) PU-34505 RARE BOB (IRE)  10-10-09 D A Syndicate   Dessie Hughes IRE

33) 63F/-52PP MON MOME (FR)  12-10-08 Vida Bingham   Venetia Williams

34) 12-133F ORGANISEDCONFUSION (IRE) 7-10-08 Grace Dunlop   Arthur Moore IRE

35) 3/216-B43 THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (IRE) 11-10-08 Susannah Ricci   Willie Mullins IRE

36) P/P-51423 TREACLE (IRE)  11-10-08 Bjorn Nielsen   Tom Taaffe IRE

37) 0P2F-60 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 10-10-07 J P McManus   Jonjo O’Neill

38) PP//1-11 HOLD ON JULIO (IRE)  9-10-07 Mr & Mrs F Bell, N Farrell, A Marsh Alan King

39) 2130-F2P PEARLYSTEPS  9-10-06 The Glazeley Partnership Henry Daly

40) U5351-51 PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) 9-10-06 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE


41) F505-02 NICHE MARKET (IRE)  11-10-05 Graham Regan   Paul Nicholls

42) //U1/2B/1- ROULEZ COOL  9-10-05 Robert Waley-Cohen  Robert Waley-Cohen

43) P0-5121 STEWARTS HOUSE (IRE) 10-10-05 Double Trouble Partnership Tim Vaughan

44) 03F-30P0 SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE)  9-10-05 J P McManus   Jonjo O’Neill

45) 140310 UNCLE JUNIOR (IRE)  11-10-05 Mrs M McMahon  Willie Mullins IRE

46) 4-U2634 FAIR ALONG (GER)  10-10-04 Alan Peterson   Philip Hobbs

47) F-03034 KILLYGLEN (IRE)  10-10-04 David McCammon  Stuart Crawford IRE

48) 2F-4010 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 8-10-04 J P McManus   Willie Mullins IRE

49) 4-P13000 THARAWAAT (IRE)  7-10-04 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE

50) 041-044 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 11-10-03 Mr & Mrs Peter Douglas Peter Bowen


51) 42F-63F2 BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 9-10-03 Noel Glynn   Noel Glynn IRE

52) P-0P0113 LE BEAU BAI (FR)  9-10-03 Glass Half Full   Richard Lee

53) 144/P3/4- STATE OF PLAY  12-10-03 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams

54) 2313P2 SWING BILL (FR)  11-10-03 David Johnson   David Pipe

55) FP-2661 POSTMASTER   10-10-02 The Bill & Ben Partnership Tim Vaughan

56) 30/-003P SHAKERVILZ (FR)  9-10-02 Jackie Mullins   Willie Mullins IRE

57) 312U5/5- THE PACKAGE  9-10-02 David Johnson   David Pipe

58) 1P-6P60 WYMOTT (IRE)  8-10-02 Trevor Hemmings  Donald McCain

59) P/5000-P BACKSTAGE (FR)  10-10-01 MPR & Capranny Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE

60) 3/P22-121 GILES CROSS (IRE)  10-10-01 KCMS Partnership  Victor Dartnall


61) PP-5U65 HELLO BUD (IRE)  14-10-00 Seamus Murphy  Nigel Twiston-Davies

62) 431U0-P IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 12-10-00 Dessie Hughes   Dessie Hughes IRE

63) 21/10P-1 MIDNIGHT HAZE  10-10-00 Kim Bailey Racing Partnership Kim Bailey

64) 0044B-20 VIC VENTURI (IRE)  12-10-00 Seamus Dunne   Dessie Hughes IRE

65) 00-143P5 VIKING BLOND (FR)  7-10-00 Caroline Mould   Nigel Twiston-Davies

66) PP24U64 SOME TARGET (IRE)  8-9-10  Captain Conflict Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE

67) 0-31504 NEPTUNE EQUESTER  9-9-09  Koo’s Racing Club  Brian Ellison

68) 32-3P40 ANY CURRENCY (IRE) 9-9-08  Cash Is King   Martin Keighley

69) 0-420265 OUR ISLAND (IRE)  7-9-07  David Fox   Tim Vaughan

70) 11PPP0 SCHINDLER’S GOLD (IRE) 10-9-07 Dr Richard & Laura Newland Dr Richard Newland


71) 31P/-FP3 ABBEYBRANEY (IRE)  11-9-05  Sue Johnson   George Bewley

72) 660-P42 SADDLERS STORM (IRE) 10-9-05 R T & J McLoughlin/Billy Moffett Tony Martin IRE

73) 05-34106 SMOKING ACES (IRE)  8-9-05  J P McManus   Tom Taaffe IRE

74) 50-PP0FF KING FONTAINE (IRE)  9-9-04  Trevor Hemmings  Malcolm Jefferson

74) 6-12026 ANOTHER PALM (IRE) 7-9-03  M J M Racing Syndicate Noel Meade IRE

76) 12-20P30 BALLYVESEY (IRE)  7-9-02  Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen

77) 0P3-5U20 MINELLA THEATRE (IRE) 9-9-00  Middleham Park Racing XXIV & Dan Gilbert Lawney Hill


77 entries remain after February 28 scratchings deadline

28 Irish-trained



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