Break out the needle and the blindfold, it’s Grand National day!
I’ll be here all day (or until I say something inappropriate and get told to stop) to bring you all the major news, interesting tips and general snide comments. I’d love to hear from you, so if you’ve any observations, tips or your own snide comments, stick them into the comments section.
5.18pm: That’s about all from me on Grand National Day. I hope you managed to land a winning bet of some description. Or failing that, enjoyed the spectacle of one of the most thrilling editions of the race.
5.10pm: Right, the dust has settled on a truly remarkable Grand National. Sadly the Gold Cup winner, Synchronised has had to be put down along with a couple of others. If you’re wondering what happened to the horse or horses you back, there’s a comprehensive Grand National 2012 Result here.
4.35pm: Four and half miles and it comes down to about two inches!
A classic Grand National, with the right amounts of chaos and no shortage of drama. Neptune Collognes battles it out all the way to beat Sunnyhillboy on the line. He lead the race for about a quarter of a stride, but it was the most important quarter of a stride. Katie Walsh came close to doing it for the girls, but Seabass faded away to third. Cappa Bleu stayed on for fourth and In Compliance getting fifth.
It’s Paul Nicholls’ first winner in the race, a remarkable stat finally put right.
Grand National Result
1st Neptune Collognes 33/1
4th Cappa Bleu
Super Extra Bonus Place 5th In Compliance
Ruby didn’t get to ride, but he did put up Neptune Collognes as his outsider in our Grand National tips video gave us Sunnyhillboy as his main choice.
4.24pm: After a delay at a couple of messy attempts at a start, they’re finally underway for the Grand National. Best of luck with your bets!
4.22pm: An attempt at a start goes badly wrong, this is going to take a couple more minutes.
4.15pm: It’s had an impact on the betting. Seabass is now 8/1 favourite for the National and Synchronised is now 10/1. To say it’s been an eventful build-up is putting it mildly.
4.11pm: More drama before the National. Synchronised parts company with AP McCoy on the way down to the start. The horse goes for a bit of a canter around Aintree but he’s caught and we should be ready to go in a few minutes.
4pm: 15 minutes to go and the rollercoaster ride continues for Seabass. He’s now out to 10/1 and it’s Synchronised that’s likely to start as favourite.
3.57pm: If you’ve made up your mind and got your bets on for the National in plenty of time, then well done to you. As a reward, why not have a look at our high amusing and informative Grand National infographic?
3.50pm: Ted Walsh is very nonplussed about the surge of support for Seabass during the day. “He’s got the same chance now as he had this morning,” he coolly points out when Clare Balding asks him about it.
3.42pm: Synchronised fights back in the battle for Grand National favouritism. Except he doesn’t know about it and it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the money coming for him. He’s now 9/1 joint-favourite alongside Seabass.
3.35pm: That’s all the appetizers out of the way and next up in about 40 minutes is the main course. Seabass remains 9/1 favourite and the other heavily-backed runner is Shakalakaboomboom, who is now 10/1 from 12/1 following the great start to the day the Henderson and Geraghty combination have had.
3.32pm: Battle Group looked to have the race at his mercy as they landed at the last, but Saint Are slugged it out right the way to the line and held on for victory. Chapoturgeon claims third and Marufo completes the places.
1st Saint Are 11/1
2nd Battle Group
3.25pm: They’re away in the John Smith’s Handicap Chase …
3.20pm: BREAKING NEWS
The fears are confirmed and Ruby has been stood down for the Grand National. Terrible news, but the replays of the Zarkandar fall really show how nasty it was. Paul Townend steps in to take the ride on On His Own and Andrew Tinkler slips into the saddle on board The Midnight Club.
Best wishes to Ruby and we hope he’ll have a speedy recovery.
3.13pm: This James May piece of the bio-mechanics of the horse is fascinating. I’m experiencing much less of an urge to kick him in the balls than I normally do.
3.10pm: As ever, the McCain family are getting a lot of attention on Grand National day. Ginger McCain won a hat-trick of Grand Nationals with Red Rum in the 1970s and added another when training Amberleigh House to win the 2003 edition. He died last November and a bust of him was unveiled at Aintree on Thursday in recognition of his remarkable achievements.
His son, Donald McGain Jr. has already kept the family tradition going and claimed last year’s Grand National with Ballabriggs. Red Rum is the last horse to successfully defend his Grand National crown, but there are plenty tipping Ballabriggs to replicate that success. Weird Al also runs for the stable and he’s a less popular but hard completely dismiss outsider.
3.03pm: THE GAMBLE CONTINUES! Seabass has been backed into 9/1 for the Grand National and is now clear favourite.
3pm: That really was a horrific tumble for Zarkandar, but luckily for him Ruby broke his fall. Amazing that Ruby is up about after a tonne of horse came down on him at high speed.
2.56pm: It’s a treble for Henderson and Geraghty and almost a carbon copy of last year’s race. Oscar Whisky hangs on to deny the strong finishing Thousand Stars. Possibly nodding off due to the slow pace, Zarkandar took a heavy fall about half way around, but Ruby Walsh is back up on his feet after some medical attention.
1st Oscar Whisky 9/4
2nd Thousand Stars
2.50pm: The Aintree Hurdle begins …
2.40pm: There’s 10 minutes to go until the Aintree Hurdle and the reigning Champion Hurdler isn’t having it all his own way. Zarkandar heads the betting with Oscar Whisky and Rock On Ruby not far behind.
2.38pm: The first round of Katchphrase melted a few heads, but Rob has launched game 2 just now. It’s free to play and there’s a tasty Free Bet up for grabs.
2.35pm: It’s been a great season for Norwich. So great in fact that they’re already thinking about their summer holidays. Johnson makes it 6-1 to City and there might yet be a title race.
2.27pm: Barry Geraghty is practically drooling about what Sprinter Sacre just did, but he stops short of saying he’s the best he has ever ridden. ‘Time will tell’ is the gist of his comments.
2.24pm: It’s over at Wembley and the red half of Merseyside will be doing the gloating. Kenny’s cup specialists and league flops book their place in the FA Cup final and at Carrow Road, Tevez completes his hat-trick and caps it off with a text-book golf swing celebration. 5-1 City.
2.20pm: Well, if you were rich enough to take the 1/7 on offer for Sprinter Sacre, you can go and collect. A quick facile double for the Henderson/Geraghty team. With only 4 runners, it’s Win Only so the places don’t really matter, but Toubab gets closest to him.
1st Sprinter Sacre 1/7
2.19pm: Make that 4-1 to City. Aguero with his second.
2.17pm: It’s revenge of the misfits in the football!
Andy Carroll has scored for Liverpool and Tevez has scored for City. 2-1 to Liverpool and 3-1 to City respectively.
2.15pm: They’re off in the Maghull Novices’ Chase and Australia Day is almost off the course …
2.07pm: Not long to go until the Maghull Novices’ Chase where Sprinter Sacre is expected to demolish the few opponents who have bothered to show up. He’s the ‘tomato in a toastie’ hot 2/13 favourite to win.
2.04pm: More talk about the Aintree fences. Watch this instead:
1.56pm: And the Canaries have pulled one back against Manchester City. Andrew Surman with the goal. ‘LET’S BE HAVING YOU!’ as a certain TV chef has been known to say. 2-1 City.
1.52pm: Despite the best efforts of Andy Carroll, Liverpool have equalised against Everton. Suarez shows his strike partner how it’s done.
1.50pm: Simonsig wins as easily as he likes and suggests he could be a real superstar. It looked too easy for him at times and Barry Geraghty just had to gently move him up the gears after the last flight. Great performance.
1st Simonsog 4/9
2nd Super Duty
3rd Baby Shine
1.45pm: They’re off very promptly in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle …
1.37pm: Andy Carroll has missed a virtual tap-in at Wembley! It stays 1-0 to Everton speaking of virtual tap-ins, there’s not long to go until the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. Simonsig was a mightily impressive winner at the Cheltenham Festival and he’s 1/2 to follow up with an Aintree win.
1.21pm: This is the last time we’ll see the Grand National on the BBC for at least a few years as they move one step closer to implementing their plan of removing all sport from their channels and showing the god-awful My Family 24 hours a day, every day. The race however will have a massive audience across the globe, with an estimated 600 million people tuning in and an estimated 599,999,999 people thinking they’re showing too many large women in skimpy dresses that are clearly the wrong size.
1.15pm: And faster than you can say ‘suspect allergic reaction’, City go two up. Sergio Aguero with a nice half volley that Ruddy probably should have saved.
1.02pm: On the BBC coverage, Sir Alex Ferguson has rocked up at Aintree. He looks happy but the news that City have taken the lead at Norwich will wipe the smile off his face faster than you can say ‘disgruntled Argentinian.’ Tevez puts City 1-0 up with help from some suspect John Ruddy goalkeeping. Live betting here
12.57pm: Jamie Carragher turns the clock back at Wembley … to the time his early twenties when he was a really crap defender. He takes age to clear the ball and in the end whacks it Cahill. The ball falls perfectly for Jelavic around the penalty spot and he slots it past third choice Brad. Live betting here
12.47pm: A chirpy Ruby Walsh is being interviewed now and he’s rather surprised to hear Seabass has climbed to joint-favouritism for the Grand National. He says he has his doubts about the horse getting the trip, but Ted and Katie are confident. His own ride is Own His Own and he’s happy enough, although his mount’s tendency to jump slightly right on the left handed course is a nagging concern.
12.37pm: Liverpool have made a bright start to the FA Cup semi-final, which means they’re almost certainly about to concede a goal. Live betting here.
12.20pm: Incredible! THERE’S EVEN MORE MONEY FOR SEABASS!! He’s chopped to 10/1 now and if the money keeps coming, there’s every chance he’ll start as favourite. He was available at 22/1 this morning if you were an early bird out to catch a metaphorical worm.
12.14pm: They’re talking about how the Grand National fences are built on Racing UK now. On a similar but rather less boring theme, here’s Ruby Walsh telling us what it’s like to ride in the Grand National.
12.06pm: Andy Carroll starts for Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final. Not Jamie Redknapp is showing his support:
11.50am: There’s a bit of rain at Aintree. Bad news if you’ve spent all morning curling your hair and worse news if you backed a horse relying on good ground. It might just be a shower however.
11.38am: A female jockey has never won the Grand National, although in fairness, they’ve only had 35 years of trying in the Grand National’s long history. It was illegal for female jockeys to ride in the race up until the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975.
Sadly there isn’t a history of bad fake moustaches and suspiciously deep voices from eager female riders prior to that and we had to wait until 1977 for Charlotte Brees to become the first woman to take to the saddle in the National.
There have been a couple of valiant attempts for a woman to win the race, but with Katie Walsh riding the heavily-backed Seabass and the vastly experienced Nina Carberry riding the fancied Organisedconfusion, this is arguably the best chance we’ve ever had of having a female jockey win the race.
11.32am: If you want to perv on the lovely women at Aintree but feel guilty about it, then TalkSport have provided the flimsy justification for doing it by sticking them together in a slideshow and calling it a WAGS gallery. Although I counted precisely two WAGS. Happy perving!
11.21am: The terms of my contract say I can’t go to midday without at least one Shameless Plug and here we go. A large chunk of Liverpool is down in London for today’s FA Cup semi-final and we’ve got a MONEY-BACK SPECIAL offer if there’s a red card. Despite being called the ‘Friendly Derby’ it’s normally pretty feisty as this look at the colour of the cards in the Merseyside Derby suggests.
11.16am: If you’re still struggling with what you’re going to plump for in the National. here’s Ruby Walsh with five random ways to pick your horse:
11.07am: There’s some Grand National competition fun underway elsewhere on the blog with Free Bets up for grabs. Chance your arm here.
10.54am: With one FA Cup semi-final and Man City’s latest attempts to pretend it’s still a title race, it’s also a busy day of football. Here’s a round-up of who random figures from the world of football think will win the Grand National.
Pundit and Madonna lookalike, Robbie Savage is going for Synchronised ‘because it’s something I rarely was on Strictly Come Dancing.’ Harry Redknapp agrees, but he didn’t have a stint on a reality TV dancing show to justify a witty quip.
Alan Shearer says he’s going for On His Own, primarily because he’s mates with the horse’s owner, Graham Wylie, but he’ll also have a few quid on Chicago Grey.
Fittingly, Sir Alex Ferguson is going for defending champion, Ballabriggs, although after news broke last night about Portuguese police investigating the deal to take Bebe to Old Trafford, it’s worth bearing in mind Fergie doesn’t always get it right.
10.37am: I’m interested in hearing some of your more elaborate random ways of picking your Grand National horse. Stick them in the comments section and they’re be praise and maybe some prizes for the most inventive or entertaining.
My mate Andy says he’s going for Kilyglen because ‘my friend Killian had a t-shirt with Kily Gonzales on the back made for when we reached a cup final for the seconds. And we have a friend called Glenn.’ Makes sense and at 16/1, not a bad bet from a form point of view.
10.23am: Time for another dip into our pool of Aintree stats and this one is arguably less reliable than some of the others that have gone before. Apparently, over 18 million gallons of fake tan are used in the 3 days of the Grand National festival. From the look of it, the bulk of that was used by these ladies, with the orange luminosity increasing as you scroll down the page.
10.21am: We’ve had even more money for Seabass in the Grand National. The Walsh family do have a bit of history with this as when Papillon won the National in 2000 for the Ruby/Ted combination, he went off at 10/1 after being 33/1 in some places that morning. Is there a bit of slightly-altered history repeating going down? He’s now 12/1 after being 22/1 and the one result that would cancel Christmas in Power Tower for several years to come.
10.08am: Between the Grand National happening at Aintree and the Merseyside Derby FA Cup semi-final in Wembley this afternoon, Scouseland is gonna be a pretty quiet place this afternoon. We’ve just been tweeted this pic of Liverpool City centre taken moments ago:
9.55am: TV presenting duo and weird sort of non-romantic man couple Ant and Dec say they’re going for Always Right in the Grand National. “We both think we’re always right, so this horse seems to be the perfect choice for us. But we also like Synchronised,” one or the other of them said hilariously. It could be worth listening to them, because they’ve got previous in knowing who the winner is long before the conclusion of certain competitions.
9.47am: A lot of people are still firmly tucked up in bed, but it’s already been a busy little morning in the Grand National betting. There’s been money to back up Ted Walsh’s immense confidence in Seabass and he’s now 14/1 after being 22/1 earlier. Further down the betting, there’s been some money for Rare Bob, who has been trimmed to 33/1 from 40/1.
9.40am: As you may or may not already know, today Synchronised attempts to become the first horse since the brilliant Golden Miller to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in the same season. Here’s some pretty remarkable if somewhat technologically limited footage of the five time Gold Cup winner’s victory in the 1934 edition of the race:
9.30am: If you like your Grand National tips a little more well-informed and a little less Nolan Sisters, we got the views of Ruby Walsh, Gary O’Brien of At The Races, Mark ‘The Couch’ Winstanley of the Racing Post and John Parrott from the BBC and put them together in this handy Grand National Tips Cheat Sheet. Print it off and claim the credit when all your friends back the winner.
9.21am: Time for another spot of jockey related Grand National trivia. Dick Saunders is the oldest jockey to have won the race. He partnered the 7/1 favourite, Grittar to victory in 1982 at the age of 48. Taking ‘going out on a high’ to the limit, he reportedly retired from the saddle after the race.
9am: I knew there was a reason I was looking at the Daily Mirror earlier and that reason was looking for Grand National tips from random celebrities. Coleen Nolan says she’ll be sticking her 50p each way on Organisedconfusion “which just about sums me up.” Willsaycontroversialthingsaboutsexforpublicity must be a non-runner.
Elsewhere, TV gardener, Dermot Gavin is going for the Walsh family, backing Ruby Walsh on On His Own and his sister Katie who rides Seabass.
Danielle Lineker (pictured right pondering her Grand National selection wearing just her bra), wife of crisp-stealing Match Of The Day presenter, Gary doesn’t have a tip, but she is advocating underage gambling. “I usually get Ella, my daughter to pick us one out. She closes her eyes and randomly picks one and that’s how we decide who we are betting on,” she explained. It’s not the most sound betting strategy, but it’s probably more profitable than anything I’ve ever mustered.
8.57am: A book club on Channel 4?! Come back Ray Romano, all is forgiven.
8.50am: Birthday boy, Ted Walsh nails the quiz thing-a-ma-jig they have on the Morning Line and if you’re that way inclined, here’s the team’s tips for Grand National day:
Tayna: Treacle in the Grand National
Lesley: Ballabriggs and State Of Play in the Grand National
John: Cappa Bleu in the Grand National
Ted: He’s pretty confident that his Seabass will win the Cappa Bleu in the Grand National, but he puts his charity bet on Zarkandar in the Aintree Hurdle.
Nick: Ballabriggs and Quiscover Fontaine in the Grand National
Jim: Neptune Collognes in the Grand National
8.35am: On my round-up of the morning papers, I noticed this rather disturbing headline on the front of the Irish Daily Mirror:
Now obviously we can’t condone that sort of violent threat, but if Al-Qaeda are wavering on that threat, I hear in his spare time John likes to draw cartoons of Muhammad and Edward doubts the true agenda behind the Islamic revival.
8.26am: Ted Walsh, winner of the Grand National in 2000 with Papillon and trainer of Seabass, says you need a horse that’s “clever and brave” to win the race. So, when your looking for your Grand National horse ask them to complete an IQ test and then try to steal a plate of food from Vanessa Feltz.
8.20am: You’d think psychic ability would come in pretty handy on Grand National day, but apparently not. Keith Barry is Ireland’s cheaper alternative to Derren Brown and when asked for his tip, he replied “I have no psychic ability abilities when it comes to the horses. I wouldn’t have a clue.”
He can tell you however that you have a friend called John? … Joan? … Joe? … Johann? …
Aaahhhh Sarah … – I nearly had it.
8.05am: There’s more unhelpful waffle than normal on The Morning Line, so that gives me a chance to wheel out one of our many Grand National factoids of the day. Channel 4 pundit, lovely haired jockey analyst and former Champion Jockey, John Francome never won the Grand National. He does have lovely hair though. He’s joined in that rather surprising stat by Peter Scudamore who won four Welsh Grand Nationals, but precisely zip of the Aintree version.
8am: STRANGELY USEFUL GOING REPORT:
Despite fears that the wet weather earlier in the week was going to turn the Grand National into equine mud-wrestling, the going for the big day is Good, (Good To Soft in places). If you’re looking for equine mud-wrestling, then I’d guess that’s a genre of pornography that not even the most sordid parts of the internet cater for.
7.55am: It’s over to The Morning Line, where they’re gleefully rubbing in the BBC’s faces that Channel 4 now has the racing for the next three years at least.
7.50am: There’s technical difficulties on Sky Sports News and we don’t get to hear Alex Hammond’s tip of the day. In place of that, just take your money and put it in a shredder.