Gunners big step up the ratings a worry for Ford.Byline: ANDREW SCUTTS
FOREST GUNNER bids for a fourth Aintree success under a fourth different jockey today when he tackles 22 Grand National fences in the Totesport Becher Handicap Chase - the highlight of three races on BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. 2 - with trainer Richard Ford expressing a "gut feeling gut feeling Intuition, visceral sensation that he's on an awfully high mark for a little horse".
The Liverpool-lover was partnered by trainer's wife Carrie Ford to win Fox Hunters' Chase in April 2004, and Richard also legged up the missus mis·sus
Variant of missis.
missus or missis
1. Brit, Austral & NZ informal before the Grand National last season, in which Forest Gunner finished a commendable fifth to Hedgehunter.
The National is again the target, but while the 11-yearold will have female assistance again this term, Nina Carberry takes over from today, when her 3lb claim will reduce an 11st 2lb burden.
Richard Ford said: "He runs off a 17lb higher mark than when winning the Sefton last year, and probably wouldn't have won that race off that mark.
"He's got to carry these burdens, though, after his successes last season, and if he's not bang there jumping the last, that will be for one reason - the BHB BHB Bar Harbor, ME, USA (Airport Code)
BHB Bachelor of Human Biology
BHB Black Hat Briefing (conference)
BHB Bald Headed Bastard
BHB Block History Buffer jumps handicapper hand·i·cap·per
n. Sports & Games
1. One who assigns handicaps.
2. One who predicts the winners in a horserace, especially one who publishes such predictions as a guide for bettors.
Noun 1. Phil Smith Philip (Phil) Arnold Smith (April 22, 1952 – July 30, 2002) was an American professional basketball player who played for 9 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). .
"I'm not knocking him, though. A horse who wins pounds 120,000 in three starts is going to go up in the weights."
However, Ford is more positive concerning Carberry's booking. "She should suit Forest Gunner, and takes off a handy 3lb," he said. "She's schooled him, they got on fine, and my opinion of her ability has been well documented."
Ford added: "Forest Gunner loves Aintree, he's bang straight for the race, and is training with enthusiasm. Mind you, I'm a bit surprised he's favourite."
One of those not far behind him in the betting is It Takes Time, who was one place ahead of Forest Gunner in the Grand National and must concede at least 7lb all round today.
Owner David Johnson said: "His big weight over three miles three furlongs is a big ask, but he's high in the handicap and has got to run somewhere. He's fit enough and won't get beaten on that score."
P eter Buchanan, who rode Forest Gunner to win the Sefton last year, takes the mount on Strong Resolve, whom he partnered to be 17th in the National. The nine-year-old, trained by Buchanan's boss Lucinda R ussell, was given a prep race over hurdles at Ayr two weeks ago.
R ussell said: "That has freshened him up. He'll probably go to Chepstow for the Welsh National after this and then on to the Grand National."
Charlie Mann runs Rheindross, the only last-timeout winner in the field.
The trainer said: "He won the Summer National well at Uttoxeter last time and is in great form at home. He's been round the National course and the ground won't be a problem for him. He has a good racing weight."
Haut de Gamme ran well to finish a close second to Cregg House in the Topham Chase over the National fences in April, and trainer Ferdy Murphy said: "We're a bit worried about the longer trip, but it should tell us ifhe's a National horse. He ran really well when second over hurdles at Wetherby on his return last month."
Also among the market leaders are Direct Access, Double Honour, who was second to Forest Gunner in last season's Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock, and Betfred Gold Cup The Betfred Gold Cup is a Grade 3 National Hunt horse race in the United Kingdom for five-year-old and above horses. It is run over a distance of 3 miles 5½ furlongs (5,934 metres) at Sandown Park Racecourse in late April. runner-up Juveigneur.
n AINTREE legend Ginger McCain will be signing copies of his autobiography My Colourful Life: From Red ToAmberbetween noon and 3pm at the rear of the County Stand.
n Book reviews, pages 18-19
Forest Gunner: "My gut feeling is he's on an awfully high mark for a little horse," says his trainer