Entries are announced today for the £120,000 John Smith’s Topham Chase and the £40,000 John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase, both run over two miles, five and a half furlongs of the famous Grand National course at Aintree Racecourse early next month.
The John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase takes place on the first day of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting, Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 4, while the John Smith’s Topham Chase is one of the highlights on Ladies Day, Friday, April 5. Together with the John Smith’s Grand National, worth £975,000 and run on Saturday, April 6, they form the races over the Grand National fences. The other 18 contests at the John Smith’s Grand National meeting are run over the fences of the Mildmay course and the hurdle course.
The John Smith’s Topham Chase has attracted a fine entry of 54 including Always Waining, who captured the race for an unprecedented third consecutive time last season. The 12-year-old, trained by Peter Bowen, is also among the latest acceptors for the John Smith’s Grand National which were revealed yesterday.
Tartak boasts some high-class form at Aintree, having captured the Grade Two Manifesto Novices’ Chase in April, 2009. Tim Vaughan’s charge also finished fourth in the 2010 and 2011 renewals of the Grade One John Smith’s Melling Chase when trained by Tom George, but broke a blood vessel on his first attempt over the Grand National fences in last season’s John Smith’s Topham Chase, coming home 15th.
The 10-year-old finished a staying-on third in the Byrne Group Plate over two miles and five furlongs at the Cheltenham Festival on his latest start, beaten 13 and a half lengths on March 14.
Vaughan, whose stables are in South Wales, revealed: “Tartak had a stretch and canter yesterday morning and he seems in great old nick. If we can get him in the John Smith’s Topham Chase, he will definitely run.
“That seems to be his trip and if we get some drying ground, you never know because he seems to be in the form of his life.
“He has been running on predominantly the wrong ground all winter and in fairness to him, when he got his ground at Cheltenham last week, he ran an absolute blinder. If he took that forward to Aintree, I would like to think he would have a sensible chance.
“The handicapper has given him a chance and, if he gets a bit of luck in running, it looks to be the ideal opportunity for him. We know he likes Aintree and his jumping was exemplary at Cheltenham so I don’t think the fences will bother him.”
Seven-time champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls has five entries, the most of any handler, headed by the unexposed six-year-old Pacha Du Polder. A lot was expected of the French import after a Grade Two victory at Ayr in April and, following three disappointing displays this season, he lived up to his reputation with a gutsy front-running success in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury on March 2.
Somerset-based Nicholls could also run last year’s third Fistral Beach and There’s No Panic, who chased home Soll in an extended three-mile handicap chase at Sandown on March 9, plus Rebel Du Maquis, a recent close second in a Taunton hunter chase and also entered in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters Chase,and Criqtonic, a winner at Wincanton last month.
Irish champion jump trainer Willie Mullins proved he has his string in fine form when saddling five winners at the Cheltenham Festival last week and the County Carlow handler can choose between classy chaser Call The Police and Lambro.
Walkon and Nadiya de La Vega, who were second and third in the valuable Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November, could run for trainers Alan King and Nicky Henderson respectively.
Gloucestershire-based Nigel Twiston-Davies is a great supporter of races over the Grand National fences and may be represented by last year’s seventh Little Josh, who got the better of Gansey in a thrilling finish to the Betfred “Goals Galore” Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree over the Grand National fences in December, when Tranquil Sea, trained by Edward O’Grady in Ireland, was third.
Philip Hobbs could send out two possible runners – last year’s runner-up Chance Du Roy and Planet Of Sound, who led the field for much of the race in the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National.
Other notable entries include Grade Two scorer Rathlin, from the stable of Irish handler Mouse Morris, and 2012 Betfred Becher Handicap Chase third Big Fella Thanks, who is also going forward in the John Smith’s Grand National, in which he has finished seventh (2011), fourth (2010) and sixth (2009).
NORTHERN IRISH CHALLENGER WARNE TARGETS JOHN SMITH’S FOX HUNTERS’ CHASE
Cloudy Lane gave the McCain family another success over the Grand National fences in last season’s John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase and is one of 35 entries for this year’s renewal.
The 13-year-old has yet to recapture that form this season and was beaten a long way by subsequent CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup third Cottage Oak at Haydock Park in February.
But Cloudy Lane, trained by Donald McCain, has an excellent record over the Grand National fences – having also finished sixth and eighth in the 2008 and 2010 John Smith’s Grand Nationals respectively.
Other potential runners with winning course form include 2008 John Smith’s Topham Chase hero Gwanako, from the stable of Paul Nicholls who has also entered Rebel Du Maquis, and Marilyn Scudamore’s Silver Adonis, who was the shock 50/1 winner of the 2010 John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase.
Warne, trained in Northern Ireland by Brian Hamilton, has been in good form this season, having won over a similar trip at Fairyhouse last month in impressive fashion by five and a half lengths. On his penultimate appearance over three miles at Leopardstown on February 9, he came home ninth behind dual Cheltenham Foxhunter scorer Salsify.
Hamilton revealed: “The plan is to run Warne in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase. He has been in very good form since his win at Fairyhouse and we decided straight after to let him take his chance at Aintree.
“The reason we did not go to Cheltenham with him is because three miles, two and a half furlongs is too far for him. He is quite trip dependent and that is why we planned to go to Aintree – we never even thought about going to Cheltenham.
“The three miles at Leopardstown was too far for him. He travelled as well as Salsify and Tammys Hill but jumped the second last and fell in a hole. An extended two and a half miles is his ideal trip.
“He has plenty of pace and travels well through his races and better ground will definitely benefit him as well.
“He is a very good jumper – quick and accurate – and I am hoping he gives a good account of himself. If he jumps round, he would have to have a good chance.”
Willie Mullins’ Boxer Georg may bid to go one better than in 2011 when he was narrowly denied by Baby Run and the third that day, Grade One winner Offshore Account, trained by Tracey Bailey, could make his fifth start over the Grand National fences.
Other notable entries include Denman’s full-brother Silverburn, now in the care of Welsh handler Evan Williams. The 12-year-old took the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle in 2007 and has made a good start to his hunter chasing career, scoring easily at Musselburgh in February before finishing the eight-length second to the Fiona Browne-trained Bold Addition, who has won both his races this season and is part-owned by (his former trainer) Paul Nicholls, at Warwick on March 10.
Vic Venturi, formerly trained in Ireland by Dessie Hughes, has run in the John Smith’s Grand National three times and won the Betfred Becher Chase over the big fences in 2009.
THE JOHN SMITH’S FOX HUNTERS’ CHASE
Class 2, £40,000 total prize fund. 3.40pm, Aintree, Thursday, April 4, 2013, two miles about five and a half furlongs over the Grand National Course. For six-year-olds and upwards which, after October 2010, and before March 19, 2013, have finished first, second or third in a Hunters’ steeple chase on two occasions OR have finished first, second or third in a Hunters’ steeple chase on one occasion and have won either another steeple chase (Hunters’ steeple chases included) or an Open Point-to-Point steeple chase. Weights: 12st, mares allowed 7lb. To be ridden by Amateur Riders holding ‘Category B’ permits to ride, or Amateur Riders riding under the provisions of Rule (D)27. Entries closed March 18, entries revealed March 19 (35 entries). Six-day confirmation stage March 29, final declaration stage 10.00am, April 3. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, March 18.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
36506-3 BATTLEFRONT (IRE) 11 Helen Walsh Ted Walsh IRE
11/22-11 BOLD ADDITION (FR) 8 Nicholls, Browne & Friends Syndicate Fiona Browne
1002-43 BOXER GEORG (IRE) 11 William Murray/Keith Murray Willie Mullins IRE
03-0004 CARSONSTOWN BOY (IRE) 9 J T Monaghan Colin McBratney IRE
2161-30 CLOUDY LANE 13 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
36214-3 COOL FRIEND (IRE) 10 Stephen Evason Oliver Greenall
0P4113 COTTAGE OAK (IRE) 10 R J Hewitt Joe O’Shea
6P/PP2-5 DEFYING GRAVITY (IRE) 10 I P Crane Laura Pomfret
3001-0P EARTH DREAM (IRE) 10 The Bloomfields Partnership John Ferguson
0/10000- EMERGENCY COVER (IRE) 10 Nigel Padfield Nigel Padfield
3-22405 FAIRWOOD PRESENT (IRE) 15 Jonathan Caulkin John Buxton
0/5/-2 FAMILY OFICIAL (IRE) 11 Mary Twohig Mary Twohig IRE
P2-12FU FLAMING GORGE (IRE) 8 A Fool & His Money Fleur Hawes
5/232/15- FRESH AIR AND FUN (IRE) 10 Mrs D J Ralph Alastair Ralph
3P/-0241 GENTLE GEORGE 10 B J Mould Steve Flook
1F-4411 GWANAKO (FR) 10 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
32U-0P6 HARPS COUNSEL (IRE) 11 Cathal McGovern Stephen Magee IRE
FFPP3P KEENAN’S FUTURE (IRE) 12 Stephen Rea Stephen Rea
3/03U-P1 KILDONNAN 14 Neil Mechie Neil Mechie
34560-2 MOON OVER MIAMI (GER) 12 Drew Holmes Drew Holmes
2 MOURNE PADDY (IRE) 9 Stuart Crawford Stuart Crawford IRE
33/P1U-4 OFFSHORE ACCOUNT (IRE) 13 N Sutton Tracey Bailey
13P-343 ON BORROWED WINGS (IRE) 10 William & Angela Rucker Angela Rucker
2- OWENACURRA (IRE) 8 S C Robinson Rose Grissell
4061F-P PRESENTANDCORRECT (IRE)12 Mr & Mrs Tim Sage Tim Sage
1/-12132 RASH MOVE (IRE) 12 K Hutsby Fred Hutsby
1/10-602 REBEL DU MAQUIS (FR) 8 Kathy Stuart & Paul Nicholls Paul Nicholls
2P410-P SILVER ADONIS (IRE) 12 Lesley Sluman & Maz Scudamore Marilyn Scudamore
5/B5-113 SILVER STORY 10 N B Jones William Vaughan
F443/1-2 SILVERBURN (IRE) 12 Cath Williams Evan Williams
03626-2 SIZING AMERICA (IRE) 12 The Good, The Bad & The Handsome Sally Randell
255212 TARTAN SNOW 13 R V Westwood Stuart Coltherd
0/42P2-6 TWIN JOY 10 Patrick Joseph Redmond Liam Kenny IRE
0R4-663 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 13 S W Dunn Stephen Rea
02/-4101 WARNE (IRE) 9 Mrs C Magill Brian Hamilton IRE
THE JOHN SMITH’S TOPHAM CHASE (HANDICAP)
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
4001-00 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 12 Mr & Mrs Peter Douglas Peter Bowen
2-06541 ARCTIC BEN (IRE) 9 Mrs A Timpson Henry Daly
5351PF BENNYS MIST (IRE) 7 Mezzone Family Venetia Williams
40/-U312 BIG FELLA THANKS 11 Crossed Fingers Partnership Tom George
21U214 BILLY CUCKOO (IRE) 7 Gap Personnel Tony Coyle
4-F2113 CALL THE POLICE (IRE) 10 DD Racing Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
12-0F04 CHANCE DU ROY (FR) 9 Miss I D Du Pre Philip Hobbs
1U1-442 CHESTNUT BEN (IRE) 8 John Bourke Gary Brown
212-441 CRIQTONIC (FR) 6 Axom XXXIII Paul Nicholls
3141rP DASHING GEORGE (IRE) 11 Dr Richard Newland Dr Richard Newland
4F4261 DIAMOND FRONTIER (IRE) 10 John Wade John Wade
12-1120 DUNOWEN POINT (IRE) 7 Tim Leslie Donald McCain
P0/1P33- FISTRAL BEACH (IRE) 10 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
34-522P GANSEY (IRE) 11 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith
100-050 GIORGIO QUERCUS (FR) 8 Seasons Holidays Nicky Henderson
F-3054P GONEBEYONDRECALL (IRE) 10 Noel Glynn Noel Glynn IRE
0/44-060 GULLIBLE GORDON (IRE) 10 Yeh Man Partnership Peter Bowen
154P3P GUS MACRAE (IRE) 9 Quicksilver Racing Partnership Rebecca Curtis
1-P4006 HECTOR’S CHOICE (FR) 9 James and Jean Potter Richard Lee
P6244F JAMSIE HALL (IRE) 10 Teresa Mangan Gordon Elliott IRE
236-146 LAMBRO (IRE) 8 Byerley Thoroughbred Racing Willie Mullins IRE
544-142 LARKS LAD (IRE) 9 Pitman Gold Syndicate IV Jonjo O’Neill
2-35143 LAST TIME D’ALBAIN (FR) 9 Fontstown Syndicate Liam Cusack IRE
513F2U LEAC AN SCAIL (IRE) 12 Mrs J Drake Joanne Foster
00-1FP0 LITTLE JOSH (IRE) 11 Tony Bloom Nigel Twiston-Davies
40-4434 MAC AEDA 9 Mrs D W Davenport Malcolm Jefferson
15-3004 MANGER HANAGMENT (IRE) 8 Kevin Brennan Barry Brennan
6-P561P MINELLA THEATRE (IRE) 10 Alan Hill Lawney Hill
30B152 MISTER FIRST (FR) 7 Bill Hennessy Robert Hennessy
F60323 MONTOYA’S SON (IRE) 8 Straightline Construction Ltd Tim Vaughan
236026 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) 9 Mrs Strang-Steel, Mr Pryde & Mr Beaumont Sue Smith
0-13U3P NADIYA DE LA VEGA (FR) 7 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
3F4252 ODYSSEAS (FR) 10 Mrs Jean Porzier Yann Porzier FR
210P62 ORPHEUS VALLEY (IRE) 10 No Horse Box Syndicate Tom Gibney IRE
F1-P2P1 PACHA DU POLDER (FR) 6 The Stewart & Wylie Families Paul Nicholls
006020 PACO JACK (IRE) 9 C Beirne Philip Rothwell IRE
230-530 PLANET OF SOUND 11 Charles Lloyd-Baker Philip Hobbs
34F610 RATHLIN 8 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
1/10-602 REBEL DU MAQUIS (FR) 8 Kathy Stuart & Paul Nicholls Paul Nicholls
3P0456 REGAL D’ESTRUVAL (FR) 8 Paul Jenkins Dr Richard Newland
343020 RENARD (FR) 8 ROA Arkle Partnership Venetia Williams
F10203 ROMANESCO (FR) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
0//21F2/-0 ROYAL DE LA THINTE (FR) 8 Alan & Ann Potts Partnership Jim Dreaper IRE
3F213P SIZING SANTIAGO (IRE) 7 Yeh Man Partnership Peter Bowen
21B-001 SOLL 8 Derrick Mossop Jo Hughes
4U-P1P5 STATE BENEFIT (IRE) 8 Michael Buckley Nicky Henderson
P-64361 STORMING GALE (IRE) 7 Tim Leslie Donald McCain
141120 SWIFT ARROW (IRE) 7 Mrs C Strang Steel Donald McCain
644043 TARTAK (FR) 10 Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd Tim Vaughan
1P4432 THERE’S NO PANIC (IRE) 8 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
253255 TRANQUIL SEA (IRE) 11 Dermot Cox/Nelius Hayes Edward O’Grady IRE
10-2P30 TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr Nicky Henderson
5P-22P5 WALKON (FR) 8 McNeill Family Alan King
22P323 WHITE STAR LINE (IRE) 9 Patsy Byrne Dessie Hughes IRE
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