Blaklion: best price of 16-1 for next month’s Grand National
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
NOEL FEHILY has been snapped up to ride leading Randox Health Grand National fancy Blaklion for dual Aintree winner Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Fehily, who last week won the Champion Hurdle on Buveur D’Air and the Champion Chase on Special Tiara, is a rare booking for Twiston-Davies, but the trainer’s hand has been forced to an extent by circumstances and he is very pleased to have secured a rider of Fehily’s calibre for the Haydock Grand National Trial runner-up.
Twiston-Davies, who won the Grand National with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree four years later, said: “It’s sad that Willy will not be fit to ride Blaklion after last week’s fall at Cheltenham, as we really wanted to him to ride, and Sam looks sure to be riding for Paul (Nicholls), but in the circumstances I’m delighted to have Noel riding Blaklion.
“He’s a jockey we all admire, and he had a great week at Cheltenham. When I put the idea to the owners they were very happy with it. He’s a great man to have on your side.”
Fehily has ridden just 14 times for the stable in the last five seasons, with one win on Minella Reception at Warwick last February.
He has also ridden in the Grand National 14 times and has completed on three occasions, finishing sixth on Celibate in 2002, fifth on Risk Accessor in 2006, and fifth again on Rocky Creek three years ago.
Blaklion looks as good an opportunity as Fehily has has had to date, as he is generally second or third favourite for the Aintree spectacular behind his Haydock conqueror Vieux Lion Rouge. He is a best-priced 16-1, but was cut to 14-1 by many firms yesterday.
The eight-year-old, who is in the same ownership as The New One, is set to be Twiston-Davies only runner in the Grand National, as Benbens unlikely to make the cut.
Twiston-Davies said: “We often have more than one runner, but we are a bit short on long-distance chasers this year. At least we have one very good one, and Blaklion has always been heading straight to Aintree since his good second at Haydock. He’s in really good form.”
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