Murphy stays loyal to Comply Or Die for National
NORMALLY, the revelation of the first jockey's choice in the Aintree Grand National has a big impact on the betting, but not so yesterday when Timmy Murphy chose Comply Or Die, leaving Graham Lee to partner The Package on Saturday.
Ladbrokes did clip the 2008 winner to 20/1 (from 25s), with attractively weighted The Package, which ran such a great race at Cheltenham at 14/1. Both are owned by David Johnson and trained by David Pipe.
Understandably, Murphy felt the bonds of loyalty to Comply Or Die should be maintained. Not only did he claim the 2008 National, the pair were also runners-up 12 months ago.
Lee was associated with the Ginger McCain-trained Amberleigh House, the 2004 National winner. He rode the gelding four times in the big race, and he has fond memories. "He was very small for an Aintree horse, but he loved the place," Lee recalled. "He never made a single mistake in the National. He was brought down one year, but that wasn't his fault. If The Package is even half as good, he'll be a grand ride."
The Galway native partners Calgary Bay in today's Totesport Bowl Chase, in which Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander could be vulnerable.
Cheltenham took a lot out of him and I fancy What A Friend is the one likely to upset him on another good day in prospect for Ruby Walsh.
Clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch changed the going on the National course to soft, good to soft in places (from good to soft, soft in places) after two millimetres of rain overnight.
Ryanair Chase hero Albertas Run will face 10 rivals in the John Smith's Melling Chase tomorrow. Jonjo O'Neill's stalwart will face a stiff test with Champion Chase runner-up Forpadydeplasterer and third home Kalahari King in attendance.
Ryanair second Poquelin bids to go one better for Paul Nicholls, while Schindlers Hunt is a contender for Dessie Hughes. Deep Purple, Jack The Giant, Mahogany Blaze, Aintree specialist Monet's Garden, Oh Crick and Tartak complete the field.
Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien said yesterday that Fame And Glory is likely to run in Sunday's Alleged Stakes at the Curragh. Joining Fame And Glory at headquarters could be Alfred Nobel, which is a possible for the Loughbrown Stakes.
2.00 -- Big Buck's
2.35 -- Sanctuaire
3.10 -- What A Friend (Nap)
3.45 -- Baby Run
4.20 -- Consigliere
4.55 -- Somersby
5.30 -- Wishfull Thinking