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Grand National News – 28th March

by Aidan Elder | March 28, 2011

Grand National News
Ruby and the floating hat celebrated his latest win with gusto

– The least interesting secret in racing is out of the bag with Ruby Walsh revealing which of his two possible exceptionally plum rides he’ll opting for in the Grand National. The two-time winner of the Aintree showpiece has gone with [insert your own drum roll here] The Midnight Club and in response to the sheer volume of ’50p each way bets’ likely to come from the old ladies of the purple rinse brigade and people who’d back Ruby if he was riding an arthritic camel, we’ve trimmed the favourite from 10/1 into 8/1.

It means that Harry Skelton will take Ruby’s cast-offs and ride Niche Market. As hand me downs go, it’s no ‘torn and battered pair of 501s’ and Skelton sounds really happy to get the ride on Niche Market. “I’m really happy to get the ride on Niche Market,” he confirmed. Racing Post

– Sports Personality of the Year and Tough Man Personality of Forever, Tony McCoy hasn’t confirmed that he’ll be riding Don’t Push It as he bids to defend his Grand National title, but he’s come pretty close to it. He says Synchronised is an option, but with the ground likely to suit the reigning champ, he’s siding with what he knows best. It’s going to be difficult to make it back to back wins, but AP knows that size of the task ahead of him judging by this quote that sounds like it was lifted from a Question Of Sport – “The last horse to complete back-to-back wins in the National was the great Red Rum in 1974, so we will be trying to achieve something special. I’m not saying that my horse is another ‘Rummy,’ who famously won the race three times, but he definitely has class.” This Is Gloucestershire

– We’ve got a hot tip for you in the Grand National. Of 2012. Junior was an impressive winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Word Count Benefit Chase at Cheltenham and although he’s entered for this year’s National, he looks unlikely to make it into the 40 runner field. Instead he’ll have a day out with the Queen at Royal Ascot in June before beginning preparations for the 2012 version. It’s a risky strategy because according to the Mayan calendar, you can only protect a horses handicap rating for so long. And there may not be a 2012. Racing Post (pay for it edition)

– After taking a bad fall at Newbury over the weekend, Barry Geraghty is going to put his feet up, eat a few chocolates whilst catching up on few episodes of Maury and take it handy for the week before returning to the saddle next weekend. If it all goes well, he’ll be ready to take what’s likely to be a pretty good ride in the Grand National the following week and Dre will finally wake up to the responsibilities that face him as a father. RTE Sport

– One jockey with some less encouraging injury news is Paul Townend who looks set to have a month on the sidelines. He’s got a fractured collarbone after a fall at Navan that will see him miss the Grand National, but on the plus side he ain’t got no baby mama drama to worry about. Am I right homeboys? Fo shizzle and other such words. Bizzle Hizzle Rizzle Aizzle

– Paul Nicholls has confirmed that Denman will be going to Aintree, in his case for the totesport Bowl. That’s pretty much the whole story, so here’s the link to prove we’re not making it all up. Racing Post

– And in our formulaic light-hearted closing story, it’s been announced that Ken Dodd – 148 years of age – is going to be thawed out and allowed start the Grand National Festival. We hope that means some token gesture of being on stage somewhere at the racecourse and saying ‘let the races begin’ rather than him being given responsibility for starting the first race on the first day – that wouldn’t end well. “The first time I went on my own as a grown teenager I backed Lovely Cottage and I was amazed when he won,” he said out of corporate obligation whilst possibly alerting the authorities to another issue in his tax returns. Aintree Racecourse

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