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Godsmejudge wins Scottish Grand National for Alan King

Godsmejudge delivers Scottish Grand National glory for King and Hutchinson

By
Jonathan Powell

PUBLISHED:

15:47 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 20 April 2013

Scots-born trainer Alan King was overcome with emotion after his smart novice Godsmejudge gave him his first triumph in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

King, who was brought up near Glasgow, admitted: 'This means as much to me as any of the wins I've had. It is like coming home.'

National glory: Wayne Hutchinson celebrates Scottish Grand National glory with Godsmejudge

National glory: Wayne Hutchinson celebrates Scottish Grand National glory with Godsmejudge

But for another Scotsman, Ryan
Mania, and his mount Auroras Encore, this proved one National too many
after their shock success at Aintree a fortnight ago.

The pair were soon struggling towards the rear as they sought to emulate Red Rum's famous double in 1974.

Though they briefly made progress at
halfway, they were out of the race long before the end. Mania was
clearly thrilled to be riding again so soon after a heavy fall at Hexham
the day after the National that saw him airlifted to hospital by
helicopter.

Home alone: Godsmejudge clears the last

Home alone: Godsmejudge clears the last

Godsmejudge, a 12-1 shot, won with eye-catching ease after jumping to the front early on the final circuit.

Big Occasion threatened briefly
early in the straight, but was never going to catch the leader. Jubilant
jockey Wayne Hutchinson, gaining the biggest win of his career, said:
'For a little horse, Godsmejudge is like a rubber ball, so enthusiastic.
He's relentless with his jumping and galloping and soon got into a
great rhythm.

'Once we led, it seemed awfully quiet behind us.'

King spent many years as a hard-working assistant to legendary trainer David Nicholson.

He briefly took over the licence
from Nicholson before sending out a conveyor belt of winners from his
current base at Barbury Castle, Wiltshire.

This has been a testing season for
King, with several of his best horses out of action, but he is finishing
it with a flourish with the able assistance of the ever-reliable
Hutchinson.

Masters 2013: Jamie Donaldson shoots hole-in-one on sixth hole

Xbox practice pays off as Welshman Donaldson hits hole-in-one on debut

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

17:50 GMT, 11 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:07 GMT, 11 April 2013

MASTERS ESSENTIALS
Follow live action from day one hereHole-by-hole guide to Augusta National
Full list of tee timesFull preview: Tiger must wake up and smell the azaleas: he'll need his driver to win a fifth Green Jacket this weekVIDEO: greatest shots in Masters historyAll the latest news from Augusta

Welshman Jamie Donaldson made a flying start to his first Masters with a sensational hole-in-one on the sixth hole at Augusta.

The 37-year-old was one over par by the time he reached the 180-yard, par-three sixth before his amazing shot on the hole known as Juniper.

He became the fifth golfer record a hole-in-one on the sixth, the first since Chris DiMarco in 2004.

Donaldson's shot was the 24th ace in Masters history after Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott made holes-in-one on No 16 last year.

Delight: Jamie Donaldson celebrates his hole-in-one as Martin Laird watches on

Delight: Jamie Donaldson celebrates his hole-in-one as Martin Laird watches on

High five: The Welshman celebrates with his caddie

High five: The Welshman celebrates with his caddie

All smiles: Donaldson waves to spectators after his hole-in-one on the sixth

All smiles: Donaldson waves to spectators after his hole-in-one on the sixth

Modest: Donaldson was one over through five

Modest: Donaldson was one over through five

Appreciation: Donaldson raises his cap

Appreciation: Donaldson raises his cap

The Welshman, who was priced at 300-1 before the tournament, prepared for his first trip down Magnolia Lane by playing on his Xbox.

Donaldson won the Abu Dhabi
Championship in January, his first victory on the European Tour.

Elsewhere, Englishman David Lynn was the early leader in the clubhouse thanks to an opening round of 68.

Playing only the third major of his career after securing his place by finishing second to Rory McIlroy at the US PGA Championship last year, Lynn carded a four-under-par 68 in the first round at Augusta National.

The 39-year-old from Stoke, who has just one win in almost 400 European Tour events, carded six birdies and two bogeys during his round on Thursday.

Follow Sportsmail's live coverage from day one at Augusta HERE.

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hole guide

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National

PUBLISHED:

08:55 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 8 April 2013

The waiting is over for the year's first Major as the best players in the world arrive at Augusta National for The Masters.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy stroll down Magnolia Lane as the top two in the world while Bubba Watson is defending the Green Jacket he won 12 months ago.

Woods is the man to beat with three wins under his belt already in 2013 while McIlroy looks like he's finally getting used to his Nike clubs following a fine display finishing second at the Texas Open.

But this is Augusta National where anything can happen and here, Sportsmail has everything you need to know in our hole-by-hole guide.

The Masters: Hole by hole

Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National – everything you need to know ahead of the season's first major

*Holes ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) based on how the course played in 2012

1st (Tea Olive), 445 yards, par four: A deep bunker on the right of the fairway and trees both sides make for a daunting start, while long and left of the undulating green both spell big trouble. Unsurprisingly played the hardest hole on the course last year. 2012 average: 4.39 (rank 1)

2nd (Pink Dogwood), 575 yards, par five: Driving into the trees on the left cost Padraig Harrington a nine in 2009, but Louis Oosthuizen memorably holed his second shot for an albatross in the final round last year before losing in a play-off to Bubba Watson. Important early birdie chance.
2012 average: 4.64 (rank 18)

3rd (Flowering Peach), 350 yards, par four: Shortest par four on the course but a pear-shaped green with steep slope in front allows for some wicked pin positions. 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel pitched in for eagle in the final round. 2012 average: 3.90 (rank 14)

4th (Flowering Crab Apple), 240 yards, par three: The back tee – not always used – turns it into a beast with the green sloping from back to front. Phil Mickelson took six here in the final round last year and finished two shots outside the play-off. Jeff Sluman's ace in 1992 remains the only hole-in-one here in Masters history. 2012 average: 3.22 (rank 6)

5th (Magnolia), 455 yards, par four: Jack Nicklaus twice holed his second shot in 1995 and Colin Montgomerie did it in 2000, but it is another devilishly difficult green. To clear the fairway bunkers requires a 315-yard carry. 2012 average: 4.21 (rank 7)

6th (Juniper), 180 yards, par three: From a high tee to a green with a huge slope in it. Four holes-in-one, but Jose Maria Olazabal took seven in 1991 and lost by one to Ian Woosnam, while Arnold Palmer has also run up a seven. 2012 average: 3.17 (rank 8)

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year - the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year – the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

7th (Pampas), 450 yards, par four: What used to be a real birdie chance has been lengthened by 35-40 yards, while trees were also added and the putting surface reshaped. More bunkers – five – around the green than any other hole. 2012 average: 4.17 (rank 9)

8th (Yellow Jasmine), 570 yards, par five: The bunker on the right, about 300 yards out, pushes players left and from there it is harder to find the green in two up the steep hill. Still a good birdie chance and Bruce Devlin made an albatross two in 1967. 2012 average: 4.86 (rank 15)

9th (Carolina Cherry), 460 yards, par four: The tee was pushed back 30 yards in 2002. The raised green, with two bunkers on the left, tilts sharply from the back and anything rolling off the front can continue down for 50-60 yards. 2012 average: 4.25 (rank 4)

10th (Camellia), 495 yards, par four: A huge drop from tee to green on this dogleg left and over all the years of the Masters the most difficult hole. It was here that Rory McIlroy began to fall apart in 2011 with a seven, while Watson clinched the title 12 months ago by making par in the play-off from the trees. 2012 average: 4.249 (rank 5)

11th (White Dogwood), 505 yards, par four: The start of Amen Corner. Toughest hole in 2011, with the water front and left scaring many. Best remembered for Larry Mize's chip-in in 1987 and Nick Faldo's back-to-back play-off wins. 2012 average: 4.32 (rank 2)

12th (Golden Bell), 155 yards, par three: Probably the most famous par three in golf. Narrow target, water in front, trouble at the back, it has seen everything from a one to Tom Weiskopf's 13 in 1980. McIlroy four-putted it in 2011. 2012 average: 3.06 (rank 13)

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National - measuring just 155 yards - is probably the most famous par three in golf

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National – measuring just 155 yards – is probably the most famous par three in golf

13th (Azalea), 510 yards, par five: The end of Amen Corner. Massive dogleg left with scores ranging from Jeff Maggert's albatross two in 1994 to Tommy Nakajima's 13 in 1978. Watson's crucial run of four birdies in succession last year started here. 2012 average: 4.72 (rank 16)

14th (Chinese Fir), 440 yards, par four: The only hole on the course without a bunker, but three putts are common on the wickedly difficult green. Course record holder Nick Price took eight here in 1993, while Phil Mickelson holed his approach en route to 2010 victory. 2012 average: 4.09 (rank 12)

15th (Firethorn), 530 yards, par five: Often a tough decision whether to go for the green in two across the pond on the hole where Gene Sarazen sank his 235-yard four-wood shot for an albatross in 1935. There have also been three 11s here. 2012 average: 4.67 (rank 17)

16th (Redbud), 170 yards, par three: Tiger Woods' memorable chip-in in 2005 came the same year as 73-year-old Billy Casper's 14, while Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter are among 15 players to record holes-in-one. 2012 average: 3.11 (rank 11)

17th (Nandina), 440 yards, par four: Tee shot is played over the Eisenhower Tree on the hole Justin Rose double-bogeyed when one off the lead in 2007. Jack Nicklaus birdied here to take the lead as he won his 18th major in 1986. 2012 average: 4.16 (rank 10)

18th (Holly), 465 yards, par four: The drive through an avenue of trees was made much harder when the tee was moved back 60 yards in 2002. The fairway bunker from which Sandy Lyle got up and down to win in 1988 is now 300 yards away. 2012 average: 4.31 (rank 3)

The Masters: Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in our five of the best at Augusta National

The Masters: An old Golden Bear and a young Tiger plus Faldo, Mickelson and Crenshaw – five of the best at Augusta

PUBLISHED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

The Masters almost always produces dramatic golf worthy of the beautiful backdrop of Augusta National.

Here, Sportsmail picks out five of the most memorable tournaments starting with the legend that is Jack Nicklaus way back in 1986.

1) 1986 – Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus was 46, had not won a tournament in two years or a major in six, and was being written off as a spent force. But the Golden Bear produced one more back-nine charge in the 50th Masters, coming home in 30 for a final round of 65 to beat Greg Norman and Tom Kite by a single shot.

Nicklaus went eagle-birdie-birdie on the 15th, 16th and 17th as Seve Ballesteros squandered the lead by hitting his approach to the 15th into the water short of the green.

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

2) 1997 – Tiger Woods

Kite was again the runner-up 11 years later, but this time by an incredible 12 shots as Woods tore up the record books to claim his first major title. That had looked distinctly unlikely as the 21-year-old played the front nine of his opening round in 40, but he came back in 30 to lie just three shots off the lead.

A second-round 66 took Woods three clear of Colin Montgomerie, a lead he extended to nine shots after round three and a record 12 after a closing 69 made him the youngest ever winner at Augusta.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Passing the torch: Tiger Woods tore up the record books to win his first title at just 21-years-old

3) 2004 – Phil Mickelson

'I don't think any Masters will ever compare to the '86 Masters but, for me, this one does.'

That was the verdict of an emotional Mickelson after he had broken his major duck at the 47th time of asking. Mickelson had shared the lead with Chris Di Marco heading into the final round, but struggled to a front-nine 38 before a brilliant back nine of 31, culminating in a decisive birdie on the 18th, was enough to beat Ernie Els by a shot after the South African's excellent 67.

Crowd Pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Crowd pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

4) 1995 – Ben Crenshaw

At 43, Crenshaw was not quite as old as Nicklaus in 1986, but his second Masters title in 1995 was equally remarkable and emotional.

Harvey Penick, who was Crenshaw's golf coach since he was seven years old, had died the week before and Crenshaw spent the Tuesday of Masters week at Penick's funeral in Austin, Texas.

The image of Crenshaw doubled over in grief and happiness after his final putt dropped – he did not have a single three-putt in 72 holes – has become an iconic Augusta image.

Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw

Emotional: Ben Crenshaw is hugged by his caddy Carl Jackson after winning for the second time at AQugusta National. Harvey Penick, who had coached Crenshaw since he was seven, died a week before the tournament

5) 1996 – Nick Faldo

Greg Norman had finished third behind Crenshaw in 1995, but it was the manner of his second-place finish to Nick Faldo the following year which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Norman led from the outset after an opening 63, the joint lowest score ever in a major championship and only the second 63 ever at Augusta, and after adding rounds of 69 and 71 he was six shots clear of Faldo heading into the final round.

However, his lead was down to two shots by the turn and a back nine of 40 – despite two birdies – meant a closing 78 to Faldo's 67 and a five-shot winning margin for the Englishman.

Nick Faldo

Nick Faldo

Picking up the pieces: Nick Faldo took advantage of an awful final round from Greg Norman to win in 1996

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hoe guide

THE MASTERS: Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National

PUBLISHED:

08:55 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:55 GMT, 8 April 2013

The waiting is over for the year's first Major as the best players in the world arrive at Augusta National for The Masters.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy stroll down Magnolia Lane as the top two in the world while Bubba Watson is defending the Green Jacket he won 12 months ago.

Woods is the man to beat with three wins under his belt already in 2013 while McIlroy looks like he's finally getting used to his Nike clubs following a fine display finishing second at the Texas Open.

But this is Augusta National where anything can happen and here, Sportsmail has everything you need to know in our hole-by-hole guide.

The Masters: Hole by hole

Hole-by-hole guide to Augusta National – everything you need to know ahead of the season's first major

*Holes ranked from 1 (most difficult) to 18 (least difficult) based on how the course played in 2012

1st (Tea Olive), 445 yards, par four: A deep bunker on the right of the fairway and trees both sides make for a daunting start, while long and left of the undulating green both spell big trouble. Unsurprisingly played the hardest hole on the course last year. 2012 average: 4.39 (rank 1)

2nd (Pink Dogwood), 575 yards, par five: Driving into the trees on the left cost Padraig Harrington a nine in 2009, but Louis Oosthuizen memorably holed his second shot for an albatross in the final round last year before losing in a play-off to Bubba Watson. Important early birdie chance.
2012 average: 4.64 (rank 18)

3rd (Flowering Peach), 350 yards, par four: Shortest par four on the course but a pear-shaped green with steep slope in front allows for some wicked pin positions. 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel pitched in for eagle in the final round. 2012 average: 3.90 (rank 14)

4th (Flowering Crab Apple), 240 yards, par three: The back tee – not always used – turns it into a beast with the green sloping from back to front. Phil Mickelson took six here in the final round last year and finished two shots outside the play-off. Jeff Sluman's ace in 1992 remains the only hole-in-one here in Masters history. 2012 average: 3.22 (rank 6)

5th (Magnolia), 455 yards, par four: Jack Nicklaus twice holed his second shot in 1995 and Colin Montgomerie did it in 2000, but it is another devilishly difficult green. To clear the fairway bunkers requires a 315-yard carry. 2012 average: 4.21 (rank 7)

6th (Juniper), 180 yards, par three: From a high tee to a green with a huge slope in it. Four holes-in-one, but Jose Maria Olazabal took seven in 1991 and lost by one to Ian Woosnam, while Arnold Palmer has also run up a seven. 2012 average: 3.17 (rank 8)

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year - the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

Say your prayers: Amen Corner claims many victims each year – the 11th green is on the left with the 12th in the distance towards the back right

7th (Pampas), 450 yards, par four: What used to be a real birdie chance has been lengthened by 35-40 yards, while trees were also added and the putting surface reshaped. More bunkers – five – around the green than any other hole. 2012 average: 4.17 (rank 9)

8th (Yellow Jasmine), 570 yards, par five: The bunker on the right, about 300 yards out, pushes players left and from there it is harder to find the green in two up the steep hill. Still a good birdie chance and Bruce Devlin made an albatross two in 1967. 2012 average: 4.86 (rank 15)

9th (Carolina Cherry), 460 yards, par four: The tee was pushed back 30 yards in 2002. The raised green, with two bunkers on the left, tilts sharply from the back and anything rolling off the front can continue down for 50-60 yards. 2012 average: 4.25 (rank 4)

10th (Camellia), 495 yards, par four: A huge drop from tee to green on this dogleg left and over all the years of the Masters the most difficult hole. It was here that Rory McIlroy began to fall apart in 2011 with a seven, while Watson clinched the title 12 months ago by making par in the play-off from the trees. 2012 average: 4.249 (rank 5)

11th (White Dogwood), 505 yards, par four: The start of Amen Corner. Toughest hole in 2011, with the water front and left scaring many. Best remembered for Larry Mize's chip-in in 1987 and Nick Faldo's back-to-back play-off wins. 2012 average: 4.32 (rank 2)

12th (Golden Bell), 155 yards, par three: Probably the most famous par three in golf. Narrow target, water in front, trouble at the back, it has seen everything from a one to Tom Weiskopf's 13 in 1980. McIlroy four-putted it in 2011. 2012 average: 3.06 (rank 13)

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National - measuring just 155 yards - is probably the most famous par three in golf

Dangerous: The 12th hole at Augusta National – measuring just 155 yards – is probably the most famous par three in golf

13th (Azalea), 510 yards, par five: The end of Amen Corner. Massive dogleg left with scores ranging from Jeff Maggert's albatross two in 1994 to Tommy Nakajima's 13 in 1978. Watson's crucial run of four birdies in succession last year started here. 2012 average: 4.72 (rank 16)

14th (Chinese Fir), 440 yards, par four: The only hole on the course without a bunker, but three putts are common on the wickedly difficult green. Course record holder Nick Price took eight here in 1993, while Phil Mickelson holed his approach en route to 2010 victory. 2012 average: 4.09 (rank 12)

15th (Firethorn), 530 yards, par five: Often a tough decision whether to go for the green in two across the pond on the hole where Gene Sarazen sank his 235-yard four-wood shot for an albatross in 1935. There have also been three 11s here. 2012 average: 4.67 (rank 17)

16th (Redbud), 170 yards, par three: Tiger Woods' memorable chip-in in 2005 came the same year as 73-year-old Billy Casper's 14, while Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter are among 15 players to record holes-in-one. 2012 average: 3.11 (rank 11)

17th (Nandina), 440 yards, par four: Tee shot is played over the Eisenhower Tree on the hole Justin Rose double-bogeyed when one off the lead in 2007. Jack Nicklaus birdied here to take the lead as he won his 18th major in 1986. 2012 average: 4.16 (rank 10)

18th (Holly), 465 yards, par four: The drive through an avenue of trees was made much harder when the tee was moved back 60 yards in 2002. The fairway bunker from which Sandy Lyle got up and down to win in 1988 is now 300 yards away. 2012 average: 4.31 (rank 3)

Grand National 2013: Last year"s fatalities put jump racing under the microscope

Grand National faces biggest test with fatalities putting jump racing under the microscope

By
Marcus Townend

PUBLISHED:

21:04 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 3 April 2013

Four Grade One races of rare quality grace today’s opening day of Aintree’s Grand National meeting while tomorrow the clash between steeplechase superstar Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card and Flemenstar is being billed as the race of the season.

But which horses pass the winning line first over the next three days won’t matter a jot if Saturday’s big race turns into another visceral examination of jump racing.

Twelve months ago, when two horses were killed for a second year running, including Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised, the joy was squeezed out of the victory of Neptune Collonges.

Scroll down for Peter Scudamore's inside track on Aintree's new fences

Preparations: Aintree ground staff were tending to the new safer fences ahead of the three-day meeting

Preparations: Aintree ground staff were tending to the new safer fences ahead of the three-day meeting

The deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete raised questions as to whether the race could even survive in its present form.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant called the deaths ‘totally unacceptable’ while branding the famous Becher’s Brook, where According To Pete was brought down before being hit by another horse, a ‘killer fence’. A nervous calm precedes this year’s race but a major modification to the fences’ construction has been welcomed (see graphic above).

Spokesmen for the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare deny the race is on trial but another body blow would be serious given a sponsor is being sought with John Smiths leaving after Saturday’s race.

Finishing touch: The grass on the Grand National finish line was cut this week before the Aintree showpiece

Finishing touch: The grass on the Grand National finish line was cut this week before the Aintree showpiece

WHW chief executive Roly Owers said: ‘There is still huge support for the race but there also are increasing voices within racing questioning whether the National is doing the sport any good. The warning bells have sounded and Aintree have recognised that.

‘Our biggest issue with the National is the number of fallers. It is five times higher than a normal steeplechase. The fewer fallers, the less chance of injury. The changes to the fence core are a real step forward and we also welcome the improvements in irrigation.

‘We recognise you can’t eliminate risk. The responsibility is to minimise it.’

WHW have repeated a call to reduce the number of starters.Owers said: ‘We believe there should be a trial reduction of three years. We recognise it has to be a great test but you can’t just accept the regular death of horses.’

Scrutiny: Last year's Grand National (above) saw the fatalities of According to Pete and Synchronised

Scrutiny: Last year's Grand National (above) saw the fatalities of According to Pete and Synchronised

RSPCA equine consultant David Muir added: ‘With 40 runners, you have 40 chances of things going wrong. I’d like to see them reduce it to 30 but we don’t run racing.’

Jockeys have been asked to moderate their speed to the first fence and the run-up to it has been shortened by 90 yards by moving the start further away from the unsettling cauldron of noise coming from of the grandstands.

Jamie Stier, BHA director of raceday operations, said: ‘The changes are all designed for horse welfare but at the same time we have maintained the shape, size and character of the fences.

Fences

‘People have to understand the position of the race within the fabric of society. Attendance figures last year were 155,000 at the meeting and more people watch the Grand National on TV than the FA Cup final — more than 11million — with a global audience of 600m in 140 countries.

‘We don’t feel it is on trial. It is down to the BHA and Aintree to find a way forward.’

Still, a lot of people will be holding their breath on Saturday.

Peter Scudamore looks at the major fences at this year's Grand…

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Racing tips for Aintree day one by Peter Scudamore and Sam Turner

Countrywide Flame can light up Aintree… Sportsmail's experts dissect day one

By
Sam Turner and Peter Scudamore

PUBLISHED:

21:04 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 3 April 2013

The decision to switch the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle to the opening day of the National meeting looks a smart move as the track is rewarded with a tremendous renewal.

Countrywide Flame (Aintree, 3.05), Zarkandar and Grandouet represent the Champion Hurdle form, while star novice The New One, a classy winner of the Neptune Investments Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, adds further glamour.

The celebrated quartet are supplemented by Oscar Whisky and Thousand Stars, first and second in both the last two renewals, to give the contest even further depth.

In form: Countrywide Flame will be suited to the step up in trip Aintree provides

In form: Countrywide Flame will be suited to the step up in trip Aintree provides

This lofty level of competition means selecting a winner is anything but straightforward.

However, Countrywide Flame did enough at Cheltenham to suggest he can mix it at this level and the step up in trip should suit a horse who was narrowly denied in the marathon Flat handicap, The Cesarewitch, last autumn.

I like the fact that John Quinn’s horses are in rude health, their wellbeing advertised by a Lincoln Handicap win for Levitate at Doncaster on Saturday, and the selection has already run with great credit at today’s venue when a game second to Grumeti in the opener 12 months ago.

Warne (Aintree, 3.40) caught the eye at Fairyhouse with a stylish defeat of Tammys Hill under Mikey Fogarty and could prove the answer to the Fox Hunters’ Chase with the drying going over the National course likely to play to his strengths. He looks to have the touch of class required to win.

Tony Martin enjoyed a wonderful Cheltenham with two winners and Pires (Aintree, next best, 4.15) can strike for the shrewd Irish handler in a warm renewal of the Red Rum Chase.

Hot contest: Zakandar (left) and Countrywide Flame (right) will renew battle in the Aintree Hurdle

Hot contest: Zakandar (left) and Countrywide Flame (right) will renew battle in the Aintree Hurdle

A flat two miles on decent ground are the nine-year-old’s optimum conditions and I’m hoping his ability to travel well off a strong pace before displaying a change of gear are two attributes which come into play this afternoon.

Sixty Something (Aintree, nap, 5.25) is a sporting nap in the finale as he stuck to his task well to score at Market Rasen last time and has a seven-length win over course and distance to his name, courtesy of an easy victory in a hood last October.

SCU'S VIEW – Peter Scudamore's verdict on the 2.30 Aintree Betfred Bowl Chase

Favourites have a poor record in the Betfred Bowl Chase with only one winning in the last 10 years but I still think market leader Silviniaco Conti will be tough to beat.

The seven-year-old, trained by Paul Nicholls, seemed to be going best of all when falling three fences out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

One to watch: The Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti will be tough to beat in the Betfred Bowl Chase

One to watch: The Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti will be tough to beat in the Betfred Bowl Chase

Some had questioned his ability to handle that undulating track — something he clearly did — but his record on flat left-handed tracks this season is three from three.

The unknown is how much the Gold Cup run took out of him but he should have too much speed for Gold Cup fourth and fifth, The Giant Bolster and Cape Tribulation.

Quito De La Roque commands respect as a novice winner here at the 2011 meeting who is fresh having by-passed the Cheltenham Festival. He may be more of a threat than fellow Irish raider Flight Lieutenant, the Ryanair Chase runner-up.

Grand National sweepstake kit 2013

Grand National sweepstake: Your essential kit for the 2013 race!

PUBLISHED:

15:10 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:10 GMT, 2 April 2013

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Neptune Collonges

Click here to open the MailOnline sweepstake page. You may find it easier to print from this file.

*Please note – there may be withdrawals
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Get yourself ready for the Grand National with Sportsmail's brilliant sweepstake kit.

Simply print out this article – or the PDF file (see right) – then cut the
names into individual pieces of paper, fold them and put them into a hat ahead of the big race on Saturday, April 6 at 4.15pm.

Once
you're ready, you can start your own sweepstake at work, at home or
down the pub. Charge as much as you like per entry (or as much as people
are willing to pay).

Get people to pay their entry fee and draw a
name from the hat at random. Write down who draws which horse on the corresponding ticket (it saves a lot of argument later!).

Make sure you sell all of the horses. If you have some left
after everyone has brought a horse see if anyone wants a another.

Obviously you're free to split the winnings how you wish,
but make sure all the money is paid out in prizes. We suggest you split the
winnings as follows: 1st=60 per cent; 2nd=25 per cent; 3rd=10 per cent; 4th=5 per cent.

*Please note – there may be withdrawals and changes ahead of the race that will be updated at the end of each day on this article

Grand National sweepstake kit 2013

Grand National sweepstake kit 2013

Grand National sweepstake kit 2013

Cambridge maths expert devises Grand National formula and is backing Seabass

And this year's Grand National winner is… Cambridge maths whizz reveals winning formula ahead of Aintree race

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

10:48 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 2 April 2013

A University of Cambridge maths whizz is backing Seabass in Saturday’s Grand National – after creating a formula that predicts the winning horse.

William Hartston, 65, forensically examined the names and ages of all victorious nags from the event’s 174 year history.

And he discovered winners are most likely to have names that are just one word, and begin with S, R, M, or C.

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

Racing ahead: Seabass, with Katie Walsh on board, is methematician William Hartson's pick for the National

THE FORMULA IN FULL

Number of letters in the horse’s name
8, 10 = 4 points
7 = 3 points
6, 11 = 2 points
9, 12 = 1 point

First letter of horse’s name
R = 4 points
A, S, M = 3 points
C, T = 2 points
G, B, W = 1 point

Number of words in horse’s name
1 = 4 points
2 = 3 points
3 = 2 points
4 = 1 point

Age of horse
9 = 4 points
10 = 3 points
8, 11 = 2 points
12 = 1 point

The 9 highest-scoring horses based on the William Hartston scoring system
1. Seabass 13/16 (consistently high in all categories)
2. Tatenen 13/16
3. Teaforthree 12/16
4. Rare Bob 12/16
5. Mr Moonshine 12/16
6. Romanesco 11/16
7. Sunnyhillboy 11/16
8. Quel Esprit 11/16
9. Any Currency 11/16

Furthermore, the names usually consist of eight or ten letters – closely followed by seven or 11 – and the horses are typically nine or ten years old.

Mr Hartston used these results to develop a scoring system, which allowed him to rate the 40 horses that will line-up at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday.

He will now back the bookies’ 9/1 second favourite Seabass after it scored an impressive 13 points out of a maximum 16 on his scale.

The Ted Walsh-trained Irish racehorse begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years, and has seven letters.

It was followed by Tatenen and Teaforthree in the study commissioned by bookies William Hill.

Mr Hartston – author of several books, including The Book of Numbers – graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MA or Master of Maths.

The mathematician examined four criteria – number of letters in the horse’s name, first letter of name, number of words in the name, and age.

He then awarded each horse a maximum of four points for each of these criteria, depending on how closely they fit the historic results.

For example, a horse whose name is eight or ten letters long – the most successful in the history of the race – are awarded four points.

But a horse with nine or twelve letters – historically less successfully – are awarded just one point.

Mr Hartston said: 'Seabass is the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria. It begins with S, is a one-word name, aged ten years and has seven letters, which is only slightly short of the preferred eight.

'Tatenen scored an impressive 13/16 while Teaforthree scored 12/16 and

shouldn’t be ruled out – but their scoring pattern is less consistent.'

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Ready and waiting: 14/1 shot Teaforthree, in training last week, also features highly on Hartson's list

Exclusive: As UK Sport"s record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the…

EXCLUSIVE: As UK Sport's record 355m investment in British athletes begins, Sportsmail speaks to those who have already seen gold from the funding boost

, in which Great Britain won 65 Olympic medals and 120 at the Paralympics and finished third in the medals table in both events, but British sport has aimed high since National Lottery funding was introduced in 1997. It is hard to believe Britain won just one gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Joy: The Olympic Parade which celebrated all the British success during the Olympics and Paralympics

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Glory boys: Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the only GB gold medalists in Atlanta

Here, some of the athletes who have benefited from UK Sport funding tell Sportsmail exactly what it has meant to them…

Sir Ben Ainslie, 36
Four-time Olympic gold medallist, sailing

‘Trying to become the first nation to better our performance after a home Olympics is a fantastic goal. For me, it shows just how far British sport has come.

‘I’m not thinking about Rio right now because I’m in San Francisco with my America’s Cup team but you never know – it’s still a few years away.

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

History: Ben Ainslie won a record fourth sailing gold medal after a titanic battle in London

'I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made in my career so far and I’ll definitely be in Brazil in some capacity, even if I’m not racing.

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

Sir: Ainslee was knighted for his heroics

‘I started receiving funding in 1997. I went to my first Olympics in 1996 and won a silver medal, but we didn’t do very well as a team. We won just one gold medal – in rowing, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent in the men’s coxless pair. It was a pretty poor performance overall.

‘Then UK Sport funding came in and I think, straight away, you could see a big change in the way we were able to train. We enjoyed a big jump up the medal table in Sydney (from 36th to 10th) and that continued all the way to London.

‘British sport became more
professional, but the rest of the world upped their game as well. When I
started travelling to compete internationally most people were sleeping
in tents or in the back of their cars and trying to hold down jobs as
well as training.

'There
were very few full-time athletes. I think that’ s been the biggest
change: we have always had the passion but we simply didn’t have the
time to train and recover properly.

‘I
was lucky because I was still studying, but I relied on my parents an
awful lot. I’m sure they were very relieved when funding came on, as a
lot of parents must have been.

‘The
medical support has been unbelievable. I had a back injury six months
before London and it really was a difficult time. I had to have surgery
and a lot of physio but the support I received was phenomenal. It made a
huge difference to me and my chances of winning that gold medal.

‘Could I have achieved what I did without funding It’s a difficult one. I was fortunate in that I had success early on and was able to attract commercial sponsors, but I couldn’t have done it without the coaching and medical support there in the background.

'It was about setting up a long-term strategy to win medals and they certainly got the right people and the right strategy to do that.’

Perri Shakes-Drayton, 24. Double European indoor champion, athletics

‘It meant a lot to win two gold medals at the European Indoor Championships (in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay) in Gothenburg. You train to win medals and to be a champion was even better.

'The training that I’ve done and any doubts I may have had have gone away. I can do it and I want more. It gave me that confidence that I am as good as the rest of the girls and I want to maintain it.

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

Champion: Perri Shakes-Drayton won gold in the Women's 400m at the European Indoor Athletics

‘It meant a lot after the Olympics. I finished on a high and I kept running close to my personal best but it was a disappointment (failing to make the final of the 400m hurdles). But rewards will come. The European titles have put the Games behind me. It’s a good feeling.

‘The 400 metres isn’t my event and hopefully I can transfer that speeds to the hurdles now. I enjoy them – there is a lot more to think about, but I haven’t achieved what I want to do yet over the hurdles.

'I’m not saying “bye” to them yet. Hurdling comes naturally now. I see a hurdle and I know how to attack it.

‘I want to come home with a medal from the World Championships in Moscow in August. I want one and I have to win one. That’s my aim.

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

Pedigree: The British quarter cruised to victory in the Women 4 x 400m relay

‘Chris Zah has been my only coach, for the past 11 years. He took me from the grass roots to the world-class athlete I am today. It’s not really common for that to happen, but we’ve grown as a team and learnt together.

‘We’ll stay in Mile End, not move to Loughborough. We’ll stay in that gritty, crusty gym in east London because it’s working for us. It’s a good set up and I’ m not going anywhere for the moment.

‘National Lottery funding just makes life so much easier for me. The money I receive in support helps with training camps – I’m going to Daytona in Florida for a month on April 2.

I don’t take it for granted because it makes life so much more stress-free. All I have to do is worry about getting to training on time and being the athlete that I have to be to achieve my goals.’

Becky James, 21. Double world champion, track cycling.

‘I couldn’t have made my career without Lottery funding, I’ve had it since I was 15 and it’s been a huge support for me. Without it, I couldn’t make a career out of cycling because women get paid differently to men if, say, I was on a road team.

'It gives you such a lift when you first get on the programme and you become part of British Cycling, too. It’s been a great help.

‘I’m sure I wouldn’t be a double World Champion if I had a part-time job. I worked until I left home – I used to work in a kitchen doing all the food prep and washing up, which wasn’t the most glamorous job. Then I did a bit of waitressing and then I worked in a cake shop for two years in Abergavenny – serving coffee and cakes. It probably wasn’t the most productive thing to do for my sport, but it was fun.’

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Double: Becky James won two gold medals at the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Funding: UK Sport have been a key part of James' immediate success

Quillan Isidore, 16, joined UK Sport’s World Class Performance Programme as a Development athlete in November 2012 after winning the Boys Under-16 category at the UCI BMX World Championships in Birmingham last May.

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

Winner: James with her gold medal in the individual sprint

‘I always looked up to people in the GB team and wished I could be one of them. It was a dream when I made it onto the Olympic development programme for BMX because there are only five of us: four boys and one girl. It’s really good when we all go away for training – that’s what I want to live my life like but I’m still at school so I have to be patient. But I’m proud to represent the British team and follow in the steps of people like Sir Chris Hoy.

‘I still live at home in south London so I get a set programme to follow from my coach. I’m very dedicated – I never miss training at all. We’re not the richest family so I’m really thankful for the support.

‘You can get pretty bad injuries in
this sport so it’s good to know the back-up is there, too. I’ve been
very lucky so far, but it’s impossible to be injury-free.

'I’m
aiming for the 2020 Olympics but I’ve got 2016 in the back of my mind. I
believe that if I work really hard it can be done. We’re all working
really hard to get up the rankings and try to get GB three spots in Rio.

‘I
do think BMX is becoming more of a recognised sport. I got into it
because my friend just took me to a track in Brixton one day when I was
eight. It only had about five jumps but I just loved the feeling of
getting my front wheel off the ground. I got my first bike for my eighth
birthday and have been hooked ever since.’

UK
Sport, funded by The National Lottery, is supporting Britain’s best
athletes on the #RoadtoRio. Follow their progress @uk_sport