MY BIG NATIONAL TIP
Pineau De Re has plenty of experience to win
IT'S BEEN a quiet week here at Fairwood Stables where runners are concerned but not to worry, the horses are in great form.
I ran a lot of horses over a four week period and it's just not possible to continue on that trend as the older horses need breaks in between races and a chance to recover.
I have a huge volume of young horses this year and it takes time for them to develop, most of these horses will make their first appearances over the coming months.
I have a nice string of good ground horses and although every year I expect to slacken off for the summer months, I always seem to have consistency with the number of horses in the yard throughout the year.
I may not have had any results with no runners this week but I did have a result in the sport horse world as Niamh finished second on our event horse, Greenhall Derry River, at the combined training in Barnadown.
This is one of the sport horses that resides here in the yard and he is pretty special to us. Derry had a great year last year when finishing fourth in the Future Event Horse league at the RDS as well as numerous other results. I am really disappointed to hear that this is to be the final year of the league after 15 successful starts.
The FEHL has run as an independent show to the affiliated bodies for its duration. Last year was my first experience with the class and I really enjoyed the event although it has received criticism in relation to the degree of difficulty that is asked of these young event horses.
I personally think that there are some horses that are suited to taking up the challenge and it is up to the riders to decide if their particular horse has both the ability and the attitude to compete early on. I didn't find any negatives and found that my horse benefited from the experience. It will be a shame if the class is not continued.
I have had an interest in eventing from a young age and competed on ponies, and later on, a horse that was also to be one of my first runners on the track as a race horse trainer, a real character called Slaney Sauce.
He was a great horse to begin with and my first run with him was in Punchestown in the banks race where he finished third to Risk Of Thunder. I think this was where my love of the banks racing began.
Later on that year I had a surprise winner with Little Len at 50/1, who was the first horse to beat the Enda Bolger trained gelding over the banks course in Punchestown. I think I will always have a love for banks racing and, although I don't ride out anymore, I still enjoy eventing and am lucky enough that I still get to enjoy the sport.
This weekend sees the running of the Crabbies Grand National in Aintree. There are currently 75 entries in the race although only 40 horses will get to run on the day.
My fancy to win the Grand National is Pineau De Re at 20/1. This 11-year-old gelding has lots of experience and will get the 4m 4f around Aintree.
He won the Ulster National last year in Downpatrick over 3m 4f and has had very few blunders over the bigger obstacles. Tidal Bay is another contender and has the class to be in the shake-up. My only concern is that he carries top weight and this may be a burden when you consider the distance.
Another Irish horse that takes my fancy is Roi Du Mee and has to be worth consideration as an each way contender, he is currently priced at 66/1.
The height of the Grand National fences has been diminishing over the past number of years and this has brought about some speculation.
The National course was always supposed to be about the bigger jumping horse but a lot of jockeys feel that the fences are now smaller and softer which allows them to go much faster with horses that may or may not have the ability to jump a bigger fence. The question remains is it safer to have a steadier pace with a horse that is capable of jumping a bigger obstacle or do you take your chances with a faster pace over smaller fences and possibly horses that don't jump as well?
Decade Player runs this weekend in Fairyhouse in The 5 Star Sunday Novice Handicap Steeplechase (Grade B) for €50,000. He is just six-years-old and has already won three races and has been placed on numerous occasions.
I strongly believe this is a great horse to follow. I will also have two runners at Tallanstown Point to Point and am hopeful that both will have great chances.
Pineau De Re is my tip to win the Grand National in Aintree this weekend. He’s at 20/1 and with lots of experience he wil get the 4m 4f around the course.
Niamh Rothwell aboard Greenhall Derry River.