ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) FACTFILE
b g Unfuwain (USA)-Glenarff (USA) (Irish River (FR))
12-10-10 Jump Form: 44111/040P001/24P41131d/1320000/1P641PPP4P/550F0F0P1/0060041/04400-00 Owner: Peter and Linda Douglas Trainer: Peter Bowen Breeder: Barouche Stud Ireland
I’m grateful to Racenews for supplying factfiles for every runner in the John Smith’s Grand National. I reformat these and publish as I get them, with the first batch coming out 2 weeks before the big race on April 6th. By the eve of the National all factfiles will be published here. You can find others by clicking on the factfiles tag at the foot of this post
As an Unfuwain half-brother to the 1999 Derby fourth Housemaster, Always Waining (born on April 9, 2001, was bred to be a useful Flat performer but it has been over the big fences at Aintree that he has enjoyed his finest moments, becoming the first horse to win John Smith’s Topham Chase three times – 2010, 2011 & 2012. The 12-year-old sold for 9,000 guineas as a yearling and won three times on the level with Yorkshire-based trainer Mark Johnston, at one stage achieving a decent rating of 96.
He was claimed by trainer Pat Clinton for £30,000 for the current owners after winning a Newmarket claiming race in October, 2004 and won three hurdle races that winter. He moved to trainer Robert Stronge in early 2006, before joining Peter Bowen a year later, and the following season yielded a victory in a Bangor handicap hurdle and, sent chasing in the 2006/07 campaigned he scored three times. His next victory came at Aintree in June, 2008, in a three mile, one furlong, handicap hurdle and he kept going that summer and won a Listed handicap chase at Market Rasen in September.
He finished fourth in the 2009 John Smith’s Topham Chase and after falling in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, also over the Grand National fences, in November, 2009, he prevailed in the 2010 John Smith’s Topham Chase, scoring by 12 lengths from Scotsirish. After missing the cut in the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National, Always Waining won the John Smith’s Topham Chase again, finishing four lengths in front of Mon Parrain. He finished a distant fourth in the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase, another race over the big Aintree fences, in December, 2011, and once again saved his best form until the spring as he recorded an unprecedented third victory in the John Smith’s Topham Chase in April, 2012, with Tom O’Brien up for the second consecutive year.
He started the current campaign with a well-beaten seventh in a veterans’ handicap chase at Doncaster on February 20 and put in a similarly uninspiring run in a Chepstow handicap hurdle on very soft ground on March 9. 24. Always Waining prefers good going.
Jump Race Record: Starts: 61; 1st: 12; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 2; Win & Place prize money: £297,400
Peter and Linda Douglas
Peter Douglas, 61, and his wife Linda boast a racehorse ownership career spanning more than two decades with one of his early flagbearers being Salwan, a useful novice hurdler ridden by Robert Stronge, who at one stage trained Always Waining. Their early trainers also included Peter Bevan, Bill Clay, Jenny Pitman and Andy Streeter. Peter Douglas, based near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, is founder of the PJD Group (1985).
The company, based at Castle Donington near Derby, has developed from his Peter J Douglas Engineering business into one of Britain’s leading independent mechanical engineering companies with some 250 employees. Douglas is a longstanding supporter at his local racecourse, Uttoxeter and sponsored a day in June that included a beginners’ chase run in Always Waining’s honour. The PJD Group also sponsors gymnast Sam Oldham, who was part of the Great Britain team that won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
No previous John Smith’s Grand National runners
Peter Bowen (Letterston, Pembrokeshire, Wales)
Born on June 9, 1958, Peter Bowen is married to Karen and has three sons, Michael (who began riding in point-to-points in April, 2012 on Iron Man), Sean and James. The son of a haulier and a village postmistress, Bowen trains at Letterston near Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and took out his first trainer’s licence in 1995, having previously been a livery yard proprietor and hugely successful point-to-point handler. His wife was a successful rider in point-to-points and under Rules. Bowen’s first winner under Rules came on October 9, 1995 at Sedgefield with Iffeee.
He won the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton the following November with Dreams End and the same horse took the Kingwell Hurdle at the Somerset course in February, 1997. A big race hat-trick was completed by Dreams End in the Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock later in the same year. Another horse that he did well with early in his training career was Iffeee, whom he saddled to win the Durham National at Sedgefield in 1996. The 1996/1997 campaign saw Bowen set a modern-day record with Stately Home, winner of 10 races that season including the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park. He captured the Badger Ales Handicap Chase at Wincanton in both 2002 and 2003 with Swansea Bay and the same horse won the Edward Hanmer Memorial Chase at Haydock, also in 2003. His stable stars have included Take The Stand and Ballycassidy.
The former was second to Kicking King in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2005 and finished fifth in the 2006 renewal, the highest placing by a British-trained horse. Ballycassidy, a winner of 15 races who ran in the John Smith’s Grand National three times and showed up well on the second and third occasions before being found out. Bowen had his highest-ever number of winners in the 2006/2007 season, with 72 successes, including Dunbrody Millar in the John Smith’s Topham Chase, a race Bowen also captured in 2001 with Gower Slave and memorably with Always Waining in 2010, 2011, 2012. Bowen has also enjoyed Grade One success with Snoopy Loopy in the 2008 Betfair Chase and with Souffleur in the 2007 Challow Hurdle. He went close to John Smith’s Grand National success in 2007 when McKelvey was the three quarters of a length runner-up to Silver Birch.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2005 Take The Stand (UR 15th), Ballycassidy (UR 2nd); 2006 Ballycassidy (Fell 25th); 2007 McKelvey (2nd), Ballycassidy (UR24th); 2008 Iron Man (UR 3rd); McKelvey (UR 20th)