Can McCoy, O’Neill and McManus break their Grand National duck with Butler’s Cabin?
McCoy’s confirmation earlier today that he will be riding Butler’s Cabin in the 2009 Grand National has significantly improved JP McManus’ chances of bagging a Grand National. Despite all their successes McCoy, Jonjo and JP are all still chasing the elusive title of Grand National winner, although it looks as if the tables may be turned this weekend. Their major hope, Butler’s Cabin, is well weighted at 10 stone 13, is suited to good ground and is reported to be in good form, following a promising performance in his warm up race at Cheltenham two weeks ago.
Butler’s Cabin demonstrated his aptitude for distance in the National Hunt Chase at the 2007 Cheltenham Festival and followed up just weeks later by taking the Irish National, in the hands of McCoy. As an obvious National contender he was then carefully handled, with the sole aim of the 2008 Grand National in mind. But 2008 wasn’t to be his year. Becher’s Brook posed problems for him as the 6th and eventually ended his race on the second circuit, although he was still going strongly and disputing the lead at this point. Intensive schooling this season over O’Neill’s National style birch fences at Jackdaws Castle, coupled with another year’s chasing experience should stand him in good stead for this weekend’s contest though. Add to this McCoy’s determination to win this particular race after drawing 13 blanks on his previous efforts and with horse, jockey and stables all in good form the Ladbrooks offer of 9-1 is worth a punt.
For an each way chance the Tom George trained Kilbeggan Blade offers some value at 25-1 with Sportingbet. He is an out-and-out stayer that operates on good ground and his early training at Michael Hourigan’s yard (renowned for turning out good jumpers) has given him an excellent grounding for negotiating the National fences. While his win in the fairly uncompetitive Grade 3 London National at Sandown in December may not have proved a great deal, the horse has been continuing to improve and should go well under his allotted 10 stone 7. Winning Grand National jockey Graham Lee takes the ride and hopes to repeat his 2004 success when he partnered Amberleigh House to victory in this race, who incidentally was another ex Hourigan horse