Racing: National plunge brings the House down

Amberleigh House, last year's Grand National winner, was last night close to being made favourite to win the race again and give Red Rum's trainer, Ginger McCain, a fifth success in the world's greatest steeplechase.

Amberleigh House, last year's Grand National winner, was last night close to being made favourite to win the race again and give Red Rum's trainer, Ginger McCain, a fifth success in the world's greatest steeplechase.

The 13-year-old was yesterday cut by Coral bookmakers from 20-1 to 14-1 for the Aintree marathon on 9 April. The move followed a substantial tipping line-inspired gamble. "Initially we went 16-1, but that didn't stop the money coming and we were forced to go 14-1," Coral's spokesman David Stevens said. "It wasn't a case of huge single bets coming in, just the sheer volume of £50s and £100s."

Amberleigh House was cut to 12-1 with Ladbrokes and Totesport (both from 16-1), and with William Hill (from 14-1). Totesport spokesman Damian Walker said: "Most people felt the handicapper had given the old boy a stiff task when the Grand National weights were announced a week ago, but clearly there are some thinking otherwise."

A horse that McCain tried to buy nine months ago emerged as a possible Aintree contender yesterday. McCain was outbid when Nick Shutts went to 100,000 guineas to buy Foly Pleasant, the 2002 Tripleprint Gold Cup runner-up, out of Henrietta Knight's yard at Doncaster's May Sales.

"Ginger was underbidder for him - that's why he's got an entry in the National. Because Ginger must know something mustn't he?" said Shutts, a wealthy owner. He plans to run the 10-year-old in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham before transferring to trainer Karen Marks for a tilt at Aintree. Foly Pleasant is at present on 10st 11lb.

Shutts went on: "If you have a look at his form, he goes on anything from good to heavy, so the ground is not too much of a worry in terms of Aintree. He definitely stays and he's a tough sort. He takes a real good cut at his fences."

Tony Martin hopes to get Davids Lad to Aintree. The 11-year-old has already had two bites at the National - going well when falling four out in 2002 and coming last of the 11 finishers behind Amberleigh House last April. He was controversially ruled out of Cheltenham and Aintree in 2003 when he was banned for 42 days under rules against "non-triers" following a run at Naas. Allotted 10st for this year's National, he is not certain to get a run.

"Davids Lad needs good ground, but he takes his races well. It's three and a half weeks from Cheltenham to Liverpool, so hopefully he'll go for the Kim Muir first," said Martin, who is based in Co Meath.

At Newcastle yesterday, amateur jockey Richard Tate was suspended for 18 days and his mount disqualified after the pair took the wrong course on the way to "winning" the hunters' chase. The Butterwick Kid, the 7-2 second favourite, passed the post five lengths clear but had taken the hurdle course into the straight after the third fence. Runner-up Red Rampage (4-1) was awarded the first prize instead.

Tate was suspended for 14 days for taking the wrong course and a further four for continuing in the race. The jockey said: "I'd walked the course and the last fence was to be dolled off, but during the race an official was waving his arms and I thought there was something else wrong and I was guided on to the hurdle course."

* Today's two jumps meetings at Musselburgh and Leicester were under threat from frost last night and both are subject to morning inspections.

GRAND NATIONAL (Ladbrokes betting): 12-1 Amberleigh House, Clan Royal, Silver Birch; 20-1 First Gold, Grey Abbey, Hedgehunter, Lord Atterbury, Timbera; 25-1 Forest Gunner, Joly Bey, Monty's Pass, Royal Auclair, Strong Resolve; 33-1 Ad Hoc, Colnel Rayburn, Frenchman's Creek, Gunther McBride, Innox, Jurancon, Just In Debt, Le Coudray, Longshanks, Puntal, Lord Of Illusion, Marcus de Berlais; 40-1 others.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

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

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

MFL TEACHER, SUPPLY VACANCY, LOVELY SITTINGBOURNE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: The Job We are currently recruit...

NQT Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...

MATHS TEACHER, PERMANENT VACANCY, TONBRIDGE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is currently ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week