Cool Nina ready for Character Building run

NINA CARBERRY can create history aboard Character Building by becoming the first female winner of the John Smith’s Grand National.

Aintree legend Ginger McCain infamously once said “horses do not win Grand Nationals ridden by women” – and the archives unerringly support that theory.

But as Carberry has shown at the Cheltenham Festival, and here at home, she is seldom unfazed by the big occasion – let alone the prospect of tackling the daunting Liverpool birch.

Character Buliding has only recently been bought by David and Patricia Thompson, the proprietors of Cheveley Park Stud.

In a quirk of fate, the Thompsons won the 1992 Grand National with Party Politics, another who was purchased just days before the race, in the heat of a General Election battle.

“Mrs Thompson said she was a huge fan of Nina and said she would like her to ride if Tony McCoy, Ruby Walsh or a top jockey was not available,” said trainer John Quinn.

“She asked me what I thought and one could only say that she’s outstanding.

“Mrs Thompson asked me to book Nina so I rang to ask her if she’d like the ride and she said she’d be delighted.”

Carberry has once before ridden in the National, when finishing ninth aboard Forest Gunner in 2006.

Carberry revealed the booking came out of the blue, so much so that she had not even intended going to the meeting.

She said: “I can’t wait now. It’s great news and I’m delighted that the owners and trainer are letting me ride him.

“I got a great thrill riding Forest Gunner in the National. It was soft ground that day and he just didn’t really get home, he jumped great and I got a great spin off him.

“I’m hoping to do a little bit better this time, for another clear round anyway, and with a bit of luck he’ll be bang there.

Ruby Walsh, who rides the favourite Big Fella Thanks, thinks it will be great for racing if Carberry manages to create history tomorow.

“It’s a bit out of left-field but fair play to her, she’s a very good rider,” said Walsh.

“He’s a quirky individual, Character Building. Jamie Codd gave him a great ride to win at Cheltenham last year but obviously he’s got new owners now and Nina rides so best of luck to them.

“It wouldn’t be bad for racing if a lady amateur won the National anyway.”

There was not one withdrawal at the final 48-hour declaration stage, with the last two winners of the race, Comply or Die and Mon Mome, among them.

Walsh himself had to agonise over his mount as Tricky Trickster, Snowy Morning and Arbor Supreme were also in the mix.

“I can only ride one and I’ve gone with Big Fella. He won well dropped back over two and a half miles the other day which I think will be a help,” added the jockey.

“He ran round last year as a novice but it’s the Grand National at Aintree with 40 runners and you need an awful lot of luck.”

Tony McCoy has decided to ride Don’t Push It as he bids to win the John Smith’s Grand National for the first time at the 15th attempt.

Conditional jockey Richard McLernon has come in for the ride on Can’t Buy Time. Paul Townend was booked for Arbor Supreme last week.

Aidan Coleman is confident of passing the doctor at Aintree this morning and taking the ride on reigning champion Mon Mome.

Coleman suffered a nightmare start to proceedings on Merseyside after being unseated from Double Handful at the first flight in the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Novices’ Hurdle.

He walked gingerly to an ambulance and was then taken to Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool for assessment. However, tests revealed no major problems.

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