7:00am Tuesday 1st April 2014
By Chris Tate
Bingley-based trainer Sue Smith will be hoping for a repeat of last year’s Grand National triumph when the world-famous horse race takes place this weekend.
Mrs Smith glowed with pride last April after her 66-1 outsider Auroras Encore romped home at Aintree racecourse, Liverpool.
In a bid for back-to back Grand National wins, she will again turn to Ryan Mania, the Scottish jockey who rode last year’s winner.
The 24-year-old will be riding Mr Moonshine, one of two entrants from Mrs Smith’s moorside yard.
Sadly, 12-year-old Auroras Encore has been retired after breaking a leg.
But Mania is fit and ready after making a great recovery from a serious injury of his own when he hurt his back at Hexham early last year.
Speaking of Auroras Encore, Mr Mania said it was sad that their partnership had ended, but that not attempting a double had removed some pressure on him in preparation for the big race.
Vintage Star is Mrs Smith’s other horse running at Aintree on Saturday.
Mrs Smith took her place in racing history a year ago when she became only the third woman to train a National winner.
After returning from Liverpool, the Bradford district’s new sporting hero was paraded to a crowd of well-wishers at Dick Hudsons in High Eldwick, not far from the yard Mrs Smith runs at Craiglands Farm with her husband Harvey.
Last night, several bookmakers were listing Mr Moonshine as a 33-1 shot, although Ladbrokes was offering more generous odds at 50-1.
Mr Moonshine has run some good races over fences for Sue Smith, most notably recently when finishing second to Cape Tribulation in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby over the festive period.
The horse has never contested a race over further than 26 furlongs, but is reported to give the impression that he might stay that sort of distance.
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