Published: Wed, April 18, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Saint Are emerges unscathed from his Grand National fall

Saint Are emerges unscathed from his Grand National fall

Racing's governing body came under fire over the weekend after a jockey was admonished for helping to guide rivals around Becher's Brook after a heavy fall in the Grand National.

Aintree in April is where National Hunt racing emerges from its muted, wintery greens and browns into a riot of colour. Libitluso fell during the Foxhunters Chase on the first day. Here are the 40 horses expected to perform from the Grand National. Trainers who were pale and grim-faced at Cheltenham a month ago are smiling and relaxed.

"There were a lot of people in tears when we brought him back into the unsaddling enclosure and rightly so, because it's a race that allows you to ask so much of your horse and he gives everything for you".

The race may have had some of its edge knocked off it in valiant attempts to improve horse welfare, but it remains a genuinely thrilling spectacle. They've done a marvellous job with this horse.

It's all change now, however, and in the past five weeks Elliott has taken the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award at Cheltenham for a second time, hit a record-breaking 200 winners (and counting) for the season in Ireland and won his maiden Irish Grand National with General Principle. The number of runners, long distance and imposing obstacles mean anything can happen.

"To be the first British-trained horse home for Neil and his team, that's a fair feather in the cap".

At the time of writing, the ground remains an unknown, but highly influential, factor.

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Cleveland's George Hill got blind-sided on a pick by Pacers reserve Trevor Booker in the first half, then his back stiffened up. Asked to elaborate, the fifth-year guard, who arrived in IN alongside forward Domanta Sabonis, added, "I already had fuel".

The Gordon Elliott-trained eight-year-old looked to be cruising to victory under Davy Russell, but the fast-finishing Pleasant Company summoned up a late burst to push the 10/1 shot all the way.

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"I never actually thought he'd got back up, but he ran a fantastic race". On Saturday I headed down to the pub for a few shnakey ones and had a fish pie (which is something I would highly recommend if you haven't tried it) in O'Connell's public house in Howth.

"He's always been a wonderful jumper, that's his biggest asset".

"He is 9lb higher in the handicap this year, but he is a year older and he loves the track".

There was just a head between them at the line. "He is extraordinary but he has a master trainer in Gordon".

What a weekend we had, the world was watching and we put on one hell of a show.

. He saddles Gold Present.

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