In the run up to the Grand National there’s always a bit of uncertainty as to exactly which horses will run, and consequently which horse some of the jockeys will ride. That picture was both clarified and confused over the past 24 hourse.
First, the horses. Both Quinz (Philip Hobbs) and Poker De Sivola (Ferdy Murphy) scoped badly yesterday and drop out of the race. That lets in Major Malarkey (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and Soll (Jo Hughes). Seven horses, Backstage, Viking Blond, old man Cloudy Lane, Pentific, Gullible Gordon, Mortimers Cross and Romanesco all fail to gain a place in what is set to be a maximum 40 runner field.
Now, on to the jockeys. Throughout the week there has been speculation about whch horse Tony McCoy would ride. Yesterday morning, it was odds-on he would be on board last season’s runner-up Sunnyhillboy, but by the end of the day, the weight of opinion was that he would opt for Colbert Station. And so it proves to be, with potential improvement gaining the day over experience and additional weight.
McCoy told the Telegraph: "It's been very hard but after to speaking to JP McManus, who owns both of them, this morning we've decided I'll ride Colbert Station. I can't ride both of them and while he does not have the Aintree experience of Sunnyhillboy he looks less exposed to the handicapper and has a proper racing weight."
That’s that then. Where the picture is less clear is with Gordon Elliott’s well-fancied Chicago Grey. Paul Carberry is due to ride him, but suffered a nasty fall at Fairyhouse on Tuesday. He said yesterday, “My ribs are very sore and I won’t be riding for the next couple of days. We’ll see how I’m feeling on Friday before a decision is made about riding in the National.”
Elliott didn’t sound too confident, and has already put contingency plans into place. He said, “It looks 50-50 Paul will be able to ride Chicago Grey. If he misses out then Davy Condon will ride.”