Should they both take their chance on the big day in the forthcoming John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 14, both Black Apalachi and Hello Bud will be bidding to become the oldest horse in modern times to win ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’, writes Elliot Slater.
The last teenager to win the Grand National was the Sergeant Murphy, 100/6 in the Aintree betting, who triumphed in the race way back in 1923, and whilst there have been a small number of veteran horses of that vintage tackling the Grand National in the intervening years, none has come close to repeating the success of the George Blackwell-trained gelding.
At 14-years-old Hello Bud is the senior of the two veterans and has run very well in the contest in previous seasons, finishing fifth to Don’t Push It in the 2010 renewal having made all the running until between the final two fences, then last year racing prominently until a mistake when weakening at the third last saw him fade and eventually pull up. Whilst the current 66/1 shot is an unlikely winner he should give connections another thrilling afternoon and those looking for Grand National tips should remember this.
Black Apalachi is no forlorn hope despite his 13 years of age having been lightly raced in recent years due to a series of minor injuries. Winner of the 2008 Becher Chase, Dessie Hughes’ charge was in front when blundering and unseating his rider at Becher’s second time round in the 2009 race eventually won by Mon Mome. His greatest Aintree moment (so far) was when leading until the final fence in the 2010 contest, only to be run out of it from the elbow by Don’t Push It, but he still put up a great display to finish second.
Given little respite by the handicapper over the years, Black Apalachi still has his supporters and is currently on offer at a general price of 50/1.