So, some bookies (most of whom wouldn’t lay eggs) didn’t win as much as expected on the National. Okay, out with the hankies

IT has to be one of the most amazing statistics in the history of racing! In the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday there were 15 finishers, 14 of them ridden by Irish jockeys.

For the record the pilots were Timmy Murphy, Paul Carberry, David Casey, Barry Geraghty, Denis O’Regan, Jason Maguire, Robert Power, Paddy Flood, Davy Russell, Aidan Coleman, Tom Doyle, Ruby Walsh, Brian Harding and Tom Malone. The lone outsider, in his own country, was amateur, Nick Scholfield.

It made one smile when thinking back to the farce the starter, Peter Haynes, made of the race a year earlier when one of the excuses he gave for the total balls-up was the presence of Irish jockeys.

They didn’t really understand what was required was one of his utterances, if memory serves correctly. Of course, he got the bullet and was replaced by Sean McDonald, whom no one noticed, so clearly he did the job to perfection.

Anyway, what about Cloudy Lane’s starting price of 7-1, after some of those geniuses who mouth on behalf of bookmakers predicted last week he would go off much shorter.

Indeed, one of them indicated it could be as low as 7-2. If ever proof was needed that most of what these guys say should be just about totally ignored then this was it.

But, of course, undaunted they were back this week spewing out yet more old rubbish. ‘Bloodbath’, screamed a headline in the Racing Post. Apparently, the success of Comply Or Die was disastrous for bookmakers.

‘Balderdash’, I say. Seriously, most of these firms wouldn’t lay eggs, are driven by accountants and rarely put any sort of decent money at risk. Essentially, ‘bloodbath’ to them means they didn’t win as much as was expected! If these firms had their way then Cloudy Lane would have started at 5-1 or a lot less. But the exchanges, Betfair in particular, has changed the world and the bookmaking cartel can no longer do as they please. Thank God for that.

Cloudy Lane had a theoretical 20lbs in hand, but might as well been up the river without a paddle for all the chance he had. At no stage did he look like winning and was beaten over 32 lengths into sixth.

There were two horses in this National who showed one more time that Aintree is a complete law unto itself, King Johns Castle and Snowy Morning, who were second and third respectively.

Those who know King Johns Castle well certainly would not number him among the bravest in training. Yet, for some reason, he was turned on big-time by the challenges of Aintree and proceeded to run the race of his life.

If you saw Snowy Morning trying to run, and indeed jump, when a bad third behind Afistfullofdollars and Hedgehunter at Fairyhouse in February then you couldn’t have him on your mind.

But, just like King Johns Castle, Aintree fired him up and it was like watching a different horse compared to Fairyhouse.

Anyway, the National is good fun and not to be given too much thought. Barry Geraghty summed it up best after the race when remarking: “it’s the best crack of the season.” Quite right Barry. Mercifully, it is now done and dusted.


WHAT sort of money did followers of Ballydoyle blow at Leopardstown last Sunday? Sail, Psalm, Greek Mythology and Washington Irving all cost punters a real bundle. When a run starts on an Aidan O’Brien horse in the morning it seems to continue unabated for the rest of the day.

It’s as if those who climb aboard believe there are no dangers and the opposition may as well stay at home.

It’s extraordinary and no consideration seems to be given to the fact that O’Brien brings along his charges steadily and very much with the future in mind. Also there are some flat trainers out there, besides O’Brien, who know the time of day.

Best example of O’Brien’s methods is Peeping Fawn. Last season she got beaten in maidens at Gowran Park, the Curragh and Navan.

By the end of the campaign, Peeping Fawn had won four Group 1’s. Think of that the next time you are trying to knock over half the country in an effort to get on in the morning.

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