Tom Scudamore plumps for Ballynagour ahead of Grand National

Tom Scudamore is keeping his fingers crossed he has made the right decision after siding with Ballynagour in the Crabbie’s Grand National on Saturday.
Tom Scudamore plumps for Ballynagour ahead of Grand National

The leading jockey, who has not been seen in competitive action since suffering a heavy fall at Uttoxeter on March 19, will make his comeback at Aintree tomorrow, when his rides include Betfred Bowl outsider Dynaste.

Scudamore is set for a big afternoon on National day, when he will reunited with brilliant World Hurdle hero Thistlecrack in the Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle before getting the leg-up on David Pipe’s Ballynagour in the National.

“I’m not going to have any rides before Aintree, but I’m feeling great and can’t wait to get back,” said the jockey.

“I’m riding Dynaste on Thursday, but it’ll be a fairly quiet day and then it will be all systems go for Friday and Saturday.”

Scudamore has chosen Ballynagour over two other Pond House inmates in Soll (Conor O’Farrell), who has completed in two previous Nationals, and Vieux Lion Rouge (James Reveley).

He said: “It was a very tough decision as all three have a similar chance.

“Soll loves it round there, but is higher in the weights now, while Vieux Lion Rouge is an improving young horse. I went for Ballynagour as he has some very strong form with the likes of Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti and his run at Cheltenham suggested he is coming back to form.”

Rebecca Curtis has revealed Brian Hughes will be aboard O’Faolains Boy and Trevor Whelan will ride stablemate The Romford Pele.

O’Faolains Boy, winner of the 2014 RSA Chase, was seventh in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Romford Pele was eighth over hurdles in the Coral Cup and is the last horse guaranteed a run in the Grand National as the 40th on the list.

Curtis said: “I think Brian has a good record round Aintree and he’s a straightforward horse. I’m delighted to have Brian riding him.

“The other horse gets in with a nice, low weight and I think the race should suit him. He’ll definitely stay and he has a touch of class.”

Leading owners Gigginstown House Stud are set to have three runners, with retained rider Bryan Cooper having the choice of First Lieutenant, Rule The World and Sir Des Champs.

Gigginstown Stud manager Eddie O’Leary said: “Bryan will ride one, David Mullins will ride another and we’ll see who is available to ride the third horse.”

Nina Carberry is not expecting to have a ride if Knock House fails to make the cut.

Carberry, who has completed the National course on four of her five rides, has partnered Mick Channon’s chaser twice this season, winning at Cheltenham in November and finishing fourth in the Kim Muir last month. However, he currently need two horses above him in the list to come out to get a run.

Carberry said: “Hopefully I’ll ride him (Knock House) if he gets in.

“You never know how they’ll take to it until they go, so we’ll see.”

Fergal O’Brien has resigned himself to the likelihood Grand National regular Alvarado will miss out on a place in the starting line-up.

Alvarado has finished fourth for the last two years, but the 11-year-old is number 48 on the list.

O’Brien said: “It’s like complaining about the weather — it’s one of those things and there’s nothing we can do about it.

“That’s the way it goes, you have to roll with it.”

Should Alvarado not make the cut, O’Brien will aim him at the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr on April 16.

In the new order of elimination, Kerry Lee’s Bishops Road needs just one horse to come out as he is number 41 thanks to his victory in the Betfred Grand National at Haydock in February.

Dr Richard Newland’s Pineau De Re, the Grand National hero two years ago, is number 46, while the well-fancied Cause Of Causes, trained by Gordon Elliott, is 49.

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