Racing: Lee back on House after Abbey pulls out

In the end, Graham Lee's decision has been made for him. The leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival was behaving like the pretty prom girl as he decided which horse to ride in the Grand National. But one of his prospective partners, Grey Abbey, has dropped out, it was announced last night.

In the end, Graham Lee's decision has been made for him. The leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival was behaving like the pretty prom girl as he decided which horse to ride in the Grand National. But one of his prospective partners, Grey Abbey, has dropped out, it was announced last night.

The 11-year-old was schooled over Aintree-type fences at the Co Durham yard of Howard Johnson yesterday and apparently failed the exam. The grey remains a consideration instead over the Mildmay obstacles at Liverpool, leaving Lee to concentrate his National resources on last year's winner, Ginger McCain's Amberleigh House.

Binoculars will not apparently be needed in the grandstands to spot the winner of the opening leg of the Spring Double at Doncaster tomorrow. When the draw for the Lincoln was made yesterday, the committee opinion seemed to be that high was best.

In the absence of Ginger, the Town Moor executive called up another great bastion of liberal free-thinking in Eric Bristow to conduct the draw. The Crafty Cockney (the clue is in the name) first pulled the saddlecloth number of Philip Mitchell's Forever Free and the tone was set. A representative for the Epsom trainer selected stall 22 of the 22 available.

A pattern was then established as all the high numbers were snaffled, most significantly the 21-berth for the ante-post favourite New Seeker. That was enough for one firm to step in line about Clive Cox's runner and make him the 5-1 favourite.

Of the other fancied runners, Divine Gift will go from six, Stream Of Gold from 13 and St Petersburg will race from five. The last-named's trainer, Mark Tompkins, who won the Lincoln last year with Babodana, said: "I'm very happy with the horse. I could do with a bit more rain, but the ground will be okay. I'm drawn where I wanted to be drawn so I'm quite happy.

"He was second here last year in the Spring Mile behind Autumn Glory [a Doncaster winner yesterday] and then won a nice race at Pontefract and then he won at York. He's a decent horse and he's fit and well."

Terry Mills's Resplendent One will attempt to turn conventional thinking on its head from stall No 1. The four-year-old will at least have a jockey who is used to bucking convention on board. Kieren Fallon has been snapped up for the ride after his intended mount, Zero Tolerance, was found to be slightly lame yesterday morning. That meant that Gary Carter, Resplendent One's original jockey, was soon out of a job.

There was further shuffling of aces in the pack, when Frankie Dettori, who had been pencilled in for El Coto, switched to Blythe Knight for Ed Dunlop. Seb Sanders will now come in for the mount on Ed McMahon's charge.

As expected, a maximum field was declared for the Lincoln, with Uhoomagoo being taken out along with the ex-Godolphin Meshaheer, who misses the race as he failed to sparkle in a gallop on Wednesday.

The latter's trainer, Marcus Tregoning, said: "He worked yesterday and I was not happy with him so I have decided not to declare him and will have to go back to the drawing board." Although Kevin Ryan has taken out Uhoomagoo, he still has three runners - Cardinal Venture, Always Esteemed and My Paris. "All three horses are going into the race very well," he said.

"Always Esteemed has come through his preparation - he was third in the Lincoln Trial, which seems to be a good guide to this race. He's in great form and we've had a clear run with him so we're very happy. It's very hard for a horse like Cardinal Venture to make all the running in a race like the Lincoln so we'll probably hang on to him a little bit. He doesn't have to make the running. We've just got to ride him a bit different on Saturday."

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits