WHO has won more races over the Grand National fences – the peerless Ruby Walsh or amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen?
Even though Walsh has won the National itself on Papillon and Hedgehunter ahead of today’s tilt with Pleasant Company, it is Waley-Cohen, who runs a successful chain of dental practicises when not riding, who reigns supreme over this unique course.
The personal friend of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has six wins to his name, more than any other jockey including Walsh who also won the Topham Trophy in 2002 with Its Time For A Win.
Second and fourth in the National aboard Oscar Time in the colours of his father Robert who is chairman of Cheltenham racecourse, the Waley-Cohen family will be represented by The Young Master who won last April’s season-ending bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
“He seems to be a spring horse and runs well at this time of year, so hopefully that will continue at Aintree,” said Waley-Cohen senior.
“You hardly dare say that Sam has a great record over the fences as one day it is going to catch up with you with a fall!
“He has had a couple of falls over the fences and some great wins, too. The horse’s weight is exactly where I expected it to be – I have no arguments with his rating. You only need some minor interference for a pound or two to make no difference at all.”
Meanwhile the Kerry Lee-trained Bishops Road is owned by Alan Halsall, chairman of Yorkshire pram-maker Silver Cross, while the owners of O’Faolains Boy, trained in Wales by Rebecca Curtis, include Doncaster’s Roy Hyde and Skidby resident Tony Outhart, a one-time footballer with Scarborough FC.