Our local runner in the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday will be hard to miss. Swing Bill is a majestic grey who punters will be able to identify easily from the other forty runners tackling Aintree’s awesome fences.
Swing Bill is trained at Pond House, Nicholashayne, at trainer David Pipe’s yard – the only remaining runner of four horses originally entered for the race from the stable. The other three have been withdrawn.
Swing Bill has form at Aintree having been placed tenth in last year’s race. He won a Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November and finished fourth in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December. The horses placed ahead of him in this race are also running in the Grand national.
According to official records he has recorded four wins, four seconds and five fifths in his 30 Chase starts. He is regarded as ‘a decent, solid horse who definitely has what it takes to get around Aintree and, more importantly, can cleanly jump its fences.’ The official Grand National website says, “Swing Bill is rated slightly better than last year and the ante-post odds of 66/1 don’t do him any justice. But he’s 12 years of age so it’s a tough ask.”
His jockey is Conor O’Farrell who rode him last year. As a horse who prefers firm going and who is known for his stamina, the ground should suit him this year.
David Pipe’s last success in the National was in 2008 when he trained the winner, Comply or Die. He has saddled twenty Grand National horses since 2007 and has an formidable record of success as a National Hunt trainer since he took over Pond House from his father Martin in 2006.
Aintree favourites this year are On His Own trained by top trainer Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh and Seabass trained by Ted Walsh and ridden by Katie Walsh. Another runner with hopes resting on him is Roberto Goldback trained by Nicky Henderson. But for punters looking for local interest, Swing Bill could be well worth watching.