Equine missile might fly in Grand National

Grand National runner Surface To Air and trainer Chris Bealby
Grand National runner Surface To Air and trainer Chris Bealby
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A HORSE trained at a racing stables in the Grantham area will take to the start line for the famous John Smiths Grand National at Aintree tomorrow.

Surface To Air has been trained for more than two years by Chris Bealby at North Lodge Racing, Barrowby. Owned by Tim Urry, of Thorney, near Peterborough, the 10-year-old gelding is the first horse that Chris has entered in the annual marathon steeplechase.

Surface To Air will be saddled by jockey Tom Messenger who is also making his National debut. The horse won the English Summer National at Uttoxeter two years ago but has suffered from tendon problems ever since.

He made his return to the turf at Market Rasen earlier this month.

Chris said that he has been varying Surface To Air’s training and said that he was an intelligent horse that enjoys jumping.

Chris said: “I have been delighted with his preparation for the race, the only problem being the recent lack of rain which has meant that our schooling grounds have just been too firm to risk him over fences.”

Chris said they had been able to school the horse at race pace over 10 fences at Market Rasen and he had jumped in style.

Chris said: “To be honest his performance was even better than I dared hope for.

“But the National is a complete lottery. He’s well and if luck goes his way, who knows?

“There is so much luck involved, with loose horses and 30 fences. But if he has a real return to form, he has a realistic chance.”

As the Journal went to press last night, Surface To Air was priced variously by bookmakers at 66/1 and 50/1.