You would think that a race as prestigious as the Grand National 2019 would generate talk about the horses. However, following some of this year’s entries, all the chat has been about the owners.
Now I’m not adverse to that, after all, I recently wrote about the possibility of Trevor Hemmings bagging a fourth win in the race. That said, is it fair when all the headlines are about Jeremy Kyle, Ronnie Wood and Sir Alex Ferguson?
It’s certainly interesting that the race has attracted such famous names this year but while the papers may be very excited at the prospect of a Rolling Stone at the Aintree Festival, do their potential runners actually have a chance at winning?
Sir Alex Ferguson & Jeremy Kyle
Let’s start with Give Me A Copper who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and Jeremy Kyle. My honest reaction to seeing the horse get entered was confusion. Why on earth would anybody enter a horse into the 2019 Grand National when they have only run in three chases. And even then, when his name went on the list he had only run in two chases.
I should also point out that both of those chases were back in October and November of 2017 and until four days he hadn’t been seen since. And to add insult to injury, he unseated his jockey Sean Bowen in the first one. If that wasn’t farcical enough, in his second race, which he won, there was only TWO runners.
So at the point that Give Me A Copper was entered into one of the most difficult races on the planet, he had successfully run in ONE chase. Now, detractors will point to his most recent outing at Sandown. That race was a requirement so he could actually qualify for the National. He did well finishing fourth from 16 runners. But one swallow doesn’t make a Summer and I fear that Give Me A Copper will be woefully underprepared for the biggest race of his life if he runs.
Known to be a huge racing fan, Ronnie Wood, the Rolling Stones guitarist, has finally bagged himself an entry. Sandymount Duke will hopefully be taking to the Aintree fences in the red and white silks of his owner.
Trained by Jessica Harrington, Sandymount Duke is one of two entries for her this year, the first time even she will saddle a Grand National runner.
Sandymont Duke is an entirely different prospect to Give Me A Copper. Bred by Ronnie Wood himself, this is a massive accomplishment for the duo. And Sandymount Duke is no slouch either. He has 30 starts under race rules, 13 of which have been chases. From those he has won four and placed in three more.
The 10-year-old races regularly and has been out on the course three times this season. His current form isn’t spectacular and it has been a year and a half since his last win. That said, if the ground and the weights go his way, he could still do well. But my guess is that the distance will be too much for him. He just doesn’t have the form when it comes to the longer races.
Ironically though he is further down the pecking order of odds for the 2019 Grand National on 66/1. Give Me A Copper is on 40/1.