However patronising or romantic the different representations of her involvement today – and it must be hoped that everyone will be made to comprehend emphatically that she is not just a pretty face – the bottom line is that Nina Carberry has every chance of proving first among equals in her bid for a historic success in the John Smith's Grand National.
It is perfectly understandable that so much should be made of her rivalry today not just with her brother, Paul, but with her sister-in-law, Katie Walsh. Nobody, however, should be deceived that a bet on Organisedconfusion need be at all sentimental. Granted that Carberry is as talented as any in the field, due attention must be paid to the credentials of her mount.
Punters' requirement for an Aintree "fairytale" is plainly satisfied by the jockey seeking a breakthrough for her sex, riding a horse trained by her Uncle Arthur. More forensic examination, however, soon yields more substantial grounds for rating Organisedconfusion excellent value at 28-1.
For one thing, this uncle of Carberry's happens to be an old master among trainers. Arthur Moore has long been revered for his ability to ensure a horse shines on the big day. Tom Taaffe, who saddles Treacle today, remembers from his time as Moore's stable jockey that a horse would sometimes be targeted at a race for 18 months in advance. And, in the case of Organisedconfusion, it seems safe to surmise that 4.15pm this afternoon has been top of the agenda for precisely 376 days.
That is the time that has elapsed since the horse undertook the one and only race of his career so far to have made any demands of his stamina, the Irish National at Fairyhouse. And it palpably played to his strengths. Carberry was already urging him forward before the home turn but he came up with a sustained response, taking control before the last and comfortably on top thereafter. With the best part of another mile today, it stands to reason that he will stage a revival after being artfully confined to shorter distances in the meantime.
Moore gave him a couple of spins over hurdles earlier in the season, and then came a minor disaster when Organisedconfusion fell at the first on his return to fences at Leopardstown in January. If anything, it was rather too extravagant a jump and, only now approaching his prime, his overall improvement can be said to extend to his jumping. He did not put a foot wrong in his final warm-up, despite continuing at a distance that might well have seen him rushed off his feet.
One way or another, Moore has kept his light under a bushel and Organisedconfusion looks very dangerously weighted off just 10st 8lb.
The Irish have an exceptionally strong hand in a National that contains a disappointing quantity of dead wood. Carberry's brother, winner of the 1999 National for their father, Tommy, on Bobbyjo, is always superb over these fences and his mount, Chicago Grey, has likewise been given a long-range preparation. He looked an ideal Aintree type when winning a marathon test at the Cheltenham Festival last year, and has since preserved what looks a very fair handicap mark. He, too, has not always been immaculate in his jumping but family genes will ensure maximum assistance from the saddle.
Ruby Walsh is another master round here and it is surprising that his choice, On His Own, is available at odds as generous as 16-1. This horse is making only his third start for the great Willie Mullins, and routed his field in a reliable trial. Walsh and Mullins did have a more fancied runner, withdrawn a few days ago, and perhaps the bookmakers have made some unwise assumptions about this one.
BecauseIcouldntsee was on the radar for this last season, but had an interrupted preparation and got no farther than the second. Things have gone more smoothly this time, and his bold rehearsal at Cheltenham made it easy to picture him taking a prominent role today. The best horse in the race is Synchronised, who won the Gold Cup itself last month, but he put in a generous effort there and has historically taken time to get over his races. Nor does his jumping qualify him as an obvious Aintree type.
His stablemate, Sunnyhillboy, might be a better bet, assuming he is over his own Festival exertions. But the home team's most obvious candidate is last year's winner, Ballabriggs, who has more weight this time but relished the challenge last year. After just one run since, he will be fresh. Black Apalachi, runner-up in a better running two years ago, is a veteran now but looks best value of the outsiders at 50-1.
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