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Confidence builds in Carberry hope


First Lieutenant

First Lieutenant

First Lieutenant

Mouse Morris is increasingly confident First Lieutenant will give Nina Carberry a "great ride" in the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

Female jockeys were thrust into the spotlight at Fairyhouse on Monday as Carberry's great friend and sister-in-law Katie Walsh became only third woman in history to ride the winner of the Irish Grand National aboard the Sandra Hughes-trained Thunder And Roses.

Carberry also won the Easter highlight aboard Organisedconfusion four years ago.

Walsh's third-placed finish on Seabass in the 2012 Grand National is the best ever result for a lady rider in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Carberry, whose father Tommy steered L'Escargot to victory in 1975 and also combined with his son Paul to win the race with Bobbyjo in 1999, has completed the National on a number of occasions, finishing fifth on Forest Gunner a decade ago.

First Lieutenant has found life tough competing in top-level conditions chases this season, but after saddling the second and third in the Irish Grand National, Morris is hopeful his dual Grade One winner is primed to bounce back on Merseyside this weekend.

He said: "The horse couldn't be better, we just want a bit of luck now.

"We can take a lot of positives out of Monday, even if it was a bit frustrating.

"Everything we've run of late has run well, so fingers crossed.

"Nina has been and popped the horse over some Aintree fences and they seemed to get on fine.

"She's a brilliant jockey for Aintree. Hopefully he'll give her a great ride. I think he will.

"It was great for Katie to win the race on Monday and hopefully Nina can do the same at the weekend.

"We'll try and keep the women happy!"

Dr Richard Newland believes last year's National hero Pineau De Re has become the "forgotten horse" heading into the weekend.

The 12-year-old has endured a largely disappointing campaign over hurdles since his moment of glory 12 months ago, but his trainer believes his charge may be peaking at exactly the right time.

"Pineau is fine. Daryl (Jacob) came to do his last piece of work on him on Monday and everything went really well," said Newland.

"If you asked Christopher Ward, who is Pineau De Re's regular work rider, he'd tell you he feels exactly the same as he did this time last year.

"I think he's become the forgotten horse in the race. There are a number of horses much shorter than him in the betting that were 300 yards behind him 12 months ago.

"It certainly wouldn't surprise me if he went there and ran a big race again."

Peter Bowen has booked Denis O'Regan to ride last year's Scottish Grand National winner Al Co, after his intended jockey Jamie Moore suffered a broken leg last week.

O'Regan's agent, Sam Stronge, said: "It's unfortunate that Jamie Moore got hurt but this is a great spare ride to pick up and Denis is very much looking forward to it.

"Peter Bowen's horses are in good form which counts for a lot going into a race like this.

"With Al Co winning the Scottish National last season you know that the horse stays well so it is an exciting ride for Denis."

After claiming Irish Grand National glory with Thunder And Roses on Easter Monday, trainer Sandra Hughes is keeping her fingers crossed Raz De Maree gets a run.

The Midlands National runner-up is currently 43rd on the list.

Hughes said: "I'm just hoping we get in at the moment and if he does, I wouldn't want the ground to be too good as he's a soft-ground horse.

"If he does run I've provisionally booked Johnny Burke to ride him, assuming the horse that beat him at Uttoxeter, Goonyella, doesn't get a run. He is below us in the list."

Reporting the ground officially good to soft from good to soft, soft in places, clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch said: "We started watering selectively on the Mildmay and hurdle courses this morning, and will have put five millimetres on by 6pm this evening to maintain the going description.

"No watering has taken place on the Grand National course. We will look at all the courses later on today and tomorrow to see if we need to do any more watering."

PA Media