Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Cat Grand National: one week to go

With just seven days remaining before the tapes go up for the Brahma beer-sponsored Cat Grand National, clerk of the course Stephen McCormick has warned he may have to start watering if the forecast rain does not arrive in Newmarket.

"It's currently good to firm, puddles in places," said McCormick in an exclusive interview for In between mouthfuls of Smarties easter egg and hot cross buns, the Irishman was busy building fences for the gruelling twice-round-the-yard marathon contest at Beverley House Stables.

Onlookers were stunned as McCormick, having been given a large brown envelope by John Berry, allowed the trainer to school The Evil Genius over the notoriously difficult Becher's Brook-style fence off the loading ramp and, following an impressive leap by the veteran moggy (pictured), his price contracted swiftly on Betfair to 1/5 favourite.

A full list of runners and form guide is printed below. Supplementary entries will be accepted as late as Thursday for a fee of a tube of Smarties. Olly Marsh has kindly donated a bottle of Brazil's favourite beer (yes, you've guessed it) to the groom of the best-turned out feline.

1. The Evil Genius (SP: 1/5)
Trainer: J. Berry
Owner: R. Sims and H. Peterson
Form notes: he may be long in the tooth but this three-time winner of the Purrdubice is a worthy favourite and looks trained to the minute for this event by his shrewd handler.

2. Giant (SP: 3/1)
Trainer: Miss M. Daniels
Owner: O. Marsh
Form notes: The Evil Genius's disciple in the dark arts. She may well win this in years to come but will have her work cut out to topple the favourite on Saturday.

3. Brilliant Star (SP: 12/1)
Trainer: H. Fraser
Owner: The Duke of Albequerque
Form notes: overshadowed by the first two in the betting but an agreeable sort who goes well fresh and has been seen working well on the far side of the yard of late (when chased by Stan). Each-way value.

4. Alamshar (SP: 33/1)
Trainer: J. Oxx (Gifted Man)
Owner: M. McStay and HH The Aga Khan (foal share)
Form notes: beautifully-bred moggy but carrying rather a lot of condition at present and may find this trip too taxing.

5. Hedwig (SP: 100/1)
Trainer: Mrs E. Berry
Owner: Master H. Potter
Form notes: age is not on her side but a recent change of stable may have perked her up. She's been eating very well but is rarely sighted on the gallops.

6. No Name/Beguiledy (SP: 500/1)
Trainer: D. Knights
Owner: P. Walrus
Form notes: rank outsider, has been known to refuse to leave the hayloft. V headshy and awkward.

Stewards' panel: Messrs. R. Rum, D. Loch and H. Hunter


Young Hustler said...

What a great idea. This I cant wait to see. Roll on next Saturday!!

problemwalrus said...

Wow!I'm down as an owner!!Come on Beguiledy! Remember to play cat and mouse on the first circuit then go for the kill.Try not to curl up on The Chair when you get to it.

Fiddling The Facts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fiddling The Facts said...

We have an owner's badge waiting for you and Mrs Walrus if you would care to join us for lunch and a National double on Saturday...

problemwalrus said...

This is a kind offer indeed and most tempting though Walrus activities being what they are we shall sadly have to decline on this occasion.In the near future however we would hope to be able to meet in person.

Fiddling The Facts said...

Welcome any time!

The Lemon said...

will anyone be able to film the first running of the cat grand national and post it on the bhs website? I take it stan will be behind the runners at the start to make sure they all jump off ok? i also spotted Beguiledy working up Exeter Road Hill Tarmac pulling nicely away from a canine workmate. 500-1 looking a steal i think!!

Statoman said...

is The Evil Genius on performance-enhancing drugs?
why else would he be such short odds?

Fiddling The Facts said...

Welcome back, Statoman, long time no hear. Your owner's badge will be on the gate for you at Sebastian Mews.

statoman said...

After watching Karasi's fine three-timer in Japan this "arvo" I am keen to start an equally successful annual raid on the Brahma beer sponsors. Couldn't get any traditional betting company to give me the fives-on so maybe someone out there in Wath-blogland" might like to meet me in a betfair cyberspace for a friendly before the "jump"