Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2017 Contents sports A55
Thursday, March 30, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Supreme Novices' winner Labaik for sale at Aintree
Sky Bet Supreme Novices'
Hurdle hero Labaik is set to go
under the hammer at the Goffs
UK Aintree Sale next Thursday.
The previously recalcitrant grey
put his best foot forward to run out
a smart winner of the Cheltenham
Festival curtain-raiser and will
now be offered at the inaugural
sale at Aintree, which takes place
in the winner's enclosure after
racing on the opening day of the
Grand National meeting. Labaik is
part-owned by bloodstock agent
Aidan O'Ryan, who said: "He's
going to the sale in Aintree. The
partner who I own the horse with
wants to put him up for sale. We're
dissolving the partnership.
"He's entered in a race at Fairy-
house this weekend, but won't run
there. We'll have to see what hap-
pens next week."
Having refused to race twice in
succession on the Flat, Gordon
Elliott's charge looked to have
been reformed by a switch to the
jumping game when scoring in
impressive style at Punchestown
and Navan in the autumn.
However, his old problems re-
surfaced as he failed to jump off
in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse
and the Navan Novice Hurdle in
December and his career looked
all but over after he trailed home
100 lengths behind the winner at
Naas last month.
But Elliott has never made any
secret of the regard in which he
holds the six-year-old and he
showed his class at Prestbury Park,
beating joint-favourite Melon by
two and a quarter lengths.
Stewart on Grand National
hope Saphir Du Rheu
For a man more associated with Cheltenham
Festival success through the great hurdler Big
Buck's, owner Andy Stewart has a surprisingly
long history with the Grand National.
He may never have won the great race, the closest he
has come is third with My Will in 2009, but that has
certainly not stopped him from trying and he heads to
Aintree this year with a live chance in Saphir Du Rheu.
It was at the Merseyside track the grey looked a po-
tential star when winning the Mildmay Novices' Chase
by 15 lengths, emulating Big Buck's, but there had been
little to cheer since then before a confidence-boosting
win at Kelso set him up to run a blinder in the Gold Cup
when fifth, beaten a little over six lengths.
So, Stewart and his family will travel to Liverpool
with one of the favourites, which is a long way from
his early visits.
"My mother, who was a top eye surgeon, took me to
Aintree when I was a 12-year-old in 1963 to see Aya-
la, trained by Lester Piggott's father Keith, win," says
"She was very keen on racing and I remember watch-
ing it, on BBC 2 in those days, with her most Saturday's
and listening to Peter O'Sullevan, he wasn't Sir Peter in
those days of course.
"Who would have guessed that years later I'd become
great friends with Sir Peter and I still take an active part
in his charity to this day.
"A few years later in 1967 when I was a bit more in-
dependent I hitch-hiked all the way to Aintree as I had
no real money to speak of.
"However, I did manage to back Foinavon, who of
course won at 100-1, and I was able to stay in a nice hotel
that night and travel back in first class the next day!"
Stewart may not have seen his white, red and black
silks carried to victory yet in the most famous race of
them all, but plenty of his friends and acquaintances
"I used to play bridge with a lady called Vida Bingham
and we were both at the Grand National weights lunch
in 2009 as we both had runners. She came over to my
table and I vividly remember her saying to me, 'I don't
know why we're running Mon Mome as we can't beat
. My recollections of that race are of Timmy
Murphy, riding last year's winner Comply Or Die for
my late great friend David Johnson, and Ruby Walsh
on My Will looking at each other thinking they had it
between them and then Mon Mome appeared and won
easy at 100/1.
"That result is a testament to the race, results like
Mon Mome, Foinavon, Auroras Encore - they add to
the beauty of it. I'm still fascinated by the race, I know
it has plenty of people ready to knock it and we lost
Ornais there in 2011, but it was nothing to do with the
Aintree fences. One of my personal highlights was when
Sir Stanley Clarke, who ran Northern Racing, persuaded
my company Singer & Friedlander to sponsor the Mid-
lands National. We decided to offer a £100,000 bonus
to anyone who could win that and at Aintree, and after
Lord Gyllene was second in the Uttoxeter race I asked
someone how much it cost to insure against someone
winning the bonus.
"Of course, that had not been done and Lord Gyllene
did win at Aintree - eventually, because it was the first
Monday Grand National after the bomb scare - and who
owned Lord Gyllene? Sir Stanley Clarke, you couldn't
make it up. We narrowly averted a £100,000 pay out.
Another year (2010) I was holidaying with JP McManus
and AP McCoy among others when I asked AP what he
was riding in the National.
"He told me he hadn't decided but it wouldn't be
Don't Push It as he didn't stay.
"I told him he had to ride Don't Push It as I remem-
bered him beating a horse of mine called Phar Bleu as
a novice, when he'd also been second to Denman that
year, and since then he was second to Big Buck's.
"In his winning interview JP even said to Clare Balding
that the thanks must go to his new racing manager, Mr
Stewart has got his hopes up that this could finally
be his year and after his Gold Cup run that is under-
"It's the most amazing race, 870 million people watch
it over 140 countries. It is the most watched sporting
event in the world, even ahead of the World Cup," he said.
Members of SIR Stables in Winners Circle at Santa Rosa Park, Arima after Kodo won the Handicap for three year old and over race
for horses 80-60 on Saturday.
That's Kodo with jockey Yosenyer Serrano, low on the saddle, and driving to victory all alone in the Handicap three year old and over.
The horses, rated 80-60 went a distance of 1,200 metres in Race 2 at Santa Rosa Park, Arima on Saturday. PHOTOS: RALPH BANWARIE
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