After seeing the ref’s sudden growth spurt, Sir Alex decided to hold his tongue
Grand National News
– An uncomfortable touchline handshake with Mark Hughes isn’t the only reason Sir Alex Ferguson may be giving Man Utd’s inevitable labourious victory over Fulham a skip on April 9th. The British handicapper has confirmed that What A Friend is now rated 15 lbs better than the mark he’ll be racing off for the Grand National and that’s enough for Paul Nicholls to confirm he will be heading for the Aintree showpiece. “We’ve got to go. He’s gone up 12lbs so he isn’t going to get in there again like that,” said Nicholls, not looking a gift-horse in the gob. There’s a lot of jargon in there, but the simple explanation is things are staked up in Fergie’s favour more than a crunch Premier League showdown with Howard Webb in charge. He’s now 16/1 for the National after being as big as 40/1 some time ago.
It’s also been confirmed that Daryl Jacob will take the ride as Ruby has two other useful options to pick from in Niche Market and The Midnight Club. Racing Post
– One horse likely to sidestep the Grand National is Midnight Chase after trainer, Neil Mulholland confused us with some mixed messages. He says his runner ran well to finish 19 lengths behind Long Run in the Gold Cup and is a “top handicapper” which is why he’s going for the totesport Bowl – a non-handicap race. “Our fellow is really a top handicapper and we’ve had a really good run with him,” he said in the aforementioned mixed message. At The Races
– Get Me Out Of Here was only denied a win in the County Hurdle by Ruby Walsh sticking a rocket on Final Approach and firing him up the hill, but he’ll attempt to go one better at Aintree. I’m not being deliberately mysterious or vague, we just don’t know which race he’ll go for. Frank Berry, racing manager and frequent mouthpiece for JP McManus, confirmed as much by telling us “Hopefully he’ll carry on the good work at Liverpool, where he has a couple of entries.” The Echo
– Albertas Run made a successful defence of the Ryanair Chase and his plan is to provide better defending than we’ve become accustomed to on Merseyside of late by winning the Melling Chase for the second year in a row. “He’s been a great horse for us,” said Jonjo O’Neill, possibly getting a little teary eyed. Racing Post (print edition)
– And finally, ahead of the Grand National Festival, Aintree Racecourse are involved in an initiative to get kids eating healthier. They’re running a competition asking schoolkids to come up with a recipe to be used at future Aintree events. Any suggestions which feature ‘any runners that fall at the first’ as ingredients probably won’t be entertained. Aintree Racecourse