The Grand National 2015 is nearly upon us and the field for the big race is starting to take a clearer shape. As the week progresses, some unusual alliances will be formed as the top jockeys weigh up their options for a potential ride in the world’s most famous race.
A number of jockeys have won the Grand National on their first ride in the race such as in recent years such as :
Ryan Mania 2013, Liam Treadwell 2009, Niall Madden 2006 and Ruby Walsh 2000.
Alternatively some of the all time great jockeys failed to win a Grand National throughout their career such as John Francome, Jonjo O’Neill and Peter Scudamore.
So which jockeys should be looking out for in the 2015 Grand National?
McCoy is likely to come in for even more media attention than usual in the run up to his final Grand National ride and rightly so as we reach the final few rides of an unbelievable career. In terms of success in the Grand National McCoy would probably think he should have won more than one after unlucky races on the likes of Clan Royal and Butlers Cabin.
Victory on Don’t Push It came on his fifteenth attempt in the race and McCoy’s relief was plain to see.
AP is very likely to be partnering Shutthefrontdoor in his final Grand National and looks almost certain to start an extremely well-backed favourite.
AP McCoy’s overall Grand National record
Wins: 1 win (Don’t Push It 2010)
Placed: 3rd 5 times
Completed the course: 8 out of 19
Walsh hasn’t had the best of recent luck with regards to the Grand National having to miss three of the last five renewals due to injury but his overall record in the race is excellent. Walsh won the Grand National as a twenty-year-old in 2000 on his first ride in the race on Papillon for his father, Ted. Since then he has won the National on one further occasion on Hedgehunter in 2005.
Walsh’s completion rate in the Grand National is outstanding so if you can get a decent price on him completing the course on Ballycasey that might be a great bet.
Ruby Walsh’s overall Grand National record
Wins: 2 win
Placed: 2nd once, 3rd once, 4th twice
Completed the course: 9 out of 11
In common with a lot of the top riders, Paul Moloney’s early experiences with the Grand National were not very positive as he failed to complete on his first four rides in the race. However, since then Moloney has been the go to jockey for each-way punters as he has hit the frame for the past six consecutive years.
State Of Play was responsible for three of those placings, Cappa Belu another two and finally Alvarado finished fourth last year.
Moloney appears to have a game plan of riding a waiting race and running-on through tired horses and whilst that has certainly paid place dividends some of his supporters this year might like to see Alvarado ridden a bit closer to the pace. Moloney definitely deserves to win the Grand National but is he more likely to be placed again?
Paul Moloney’s overall Grand National record
Placed: 2nd once, 3rd once, 4th four times
Completed the course: 6 out of 10
Dickie Johnson is now the owner of a record he probably could do without; the most number of rides in a Grand National without winning at eighteen.
Johnson is a superb jockey so is this just down to bad luck or has he not been riding horses with good chances? It’s certainly not the latter as eleven of Johnson’s rides in the race have started at 20/1 or under.
Philip Hobbs’ stable jockey has ridden the runner-up twice in the race (Whats Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King last year). Johnson’s ride on Balthazar King in 2013 was perhaps not his finest hour when it appeared he went off too fast and the horse faded to finish a well beaten fifteenth.
Johnson did everything right on the same horse in 2014 and was unlucky to come up against the obviously well handicapped Pineau De Re. Balthazar King has avoided trying to win again at the Cheltenham Festival again this year in an attempt to give him the best chance of winning at Aintree.
Richard Johnson’s overall Grand National record
Placed: 2nd twice
Completed the course: 6 out of 18
Sam Waley-Cohen has a superb record in the Grand National, especially given the fact that he is an amateur rider and gets to ride in a fraction of the races available to the likes of McCoy and Walsh.
Waley-Cohen has finished in the top five places on three of his five Grand National rides but when you widen his record to include the other races over the Grand National fences his record becomes even more impressive. Waley-Cohen has ridden in races such as the Aintree Foxhunters, Becher Chase and Topham Chase and has won five times from twenty rides as well as being placed on a further six occasions!
Eleven wins or placed rides from twenty attempts over the National fences is an amazing achievement and any horse ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen at Aintree must be given serious consideration.
Waley-Cohen will be riding Oscar Time in the 2015 Grand National
Sam Waley-Cohen’s overall Grand National record
Placed: 2nd once, 4th once
Completed the course: 3 out of 5
Some of the other top pilots below will be desperately hoping they can improve their record in the Grand National:
Aidan Coleman has only managed to complete the course once from his seven rides in the big race.
The Druids Nephew
Tom Scudamore hasn’t managed to finish better than 8th in thirteen rides in the Grand National and has failed to finish on seven of those rides.
Noel Fehily has had twelve previous rides in the Grand National twice finishing fifth and once finishing sixth but his other nine rides failed to complete the course.
Paddy Brennan has had six rides in the Grand National up to now and has failed to complete on all six attempts.
So does the jockey riding a horse in the Grand National effect your selection? Are there any jockeys that you feel ride the Aintree course better than others?
Let us know your thoughts on the jockeys in the 2015 Grand National.