Grand dreams for owner Outhart

Tony Outhart, left, pictured with Roy Hide, jockey Barry Geraghty and Grand National hope OFaolains Boy
Tony Outhart, left, pictured with Roy Hide, jockey Barry Geraghty and Grand National hope OFaolains Boy

Scarborough racehorse owner Tony Outhart could be set to launch a four-pronged attack on the Grand National Festival.

The former Scarborough FC winger is part of a syndicate, who are aiming for success at the Aintree-based festival, which gets under starter’s orders a week today.

O’Faolains Boy has been confirmed as a runner in the main event, The Randox Health Grand National, while The Romford Pele could also take his place in that race, which is held on Saturday April 8 at 5.15pm.

Likewise, Vintage Vinnie is poised to be unleashed in the Topham Steeple Chase on Friday April 7 if he also makes the cut.

The quartet is completed by Just A Thought, who will hopefully run in a listed bumper race for mares on the first day of the Festival.

Trainer Rebecca Curtis is happy that the horses are fit and ready to run.

Although all of the horses are ranked outsiders by the bookies, Outhart is feeling quietly confident that they will run well, provided each of the horses reach the levels they are capable of and get a bit of luck in running.

He said: “O’Faolains Boy will be a good each-way chance if he can reproduce the fantastic form he showed earlier in his chasing career, when he won the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

“In last year’s National he had a very good chance on paper, but on the morning of the race he banged his leg, which ruled him out. It was so frustrating for everyone involved, but that’s racing.

“He’s had injury problems in the past, but he’s fine to run now and we are really looking forward to seeing how he takes to the unique Grand National fences for the first time.

“The Romford Pele might also run in the National, we’ll just have to see if he makes the field.

“He was up with the leaders in last year’s National when the jockey was unseated at the Canal Turn, but thankfully horse and jockey were none the worse for the experience.

“If he does not run we will probably look at the Scottish National for him in two weeks.

“He was in fine form earlier in the season, winning a good race at Newton Abbot, but unfortunately was pulled up in the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month, when he was caught on the back leg and suffered a gash.

“He’s fine to run now though, he’s just got to make the cut as he is not currently in the top 40 horses in the weights.”

“Just A Thought is a lovely mare that we think turn into make a very smart chaser in a couple of year’s time.

“She is still learning and has only raced in three bumper races so far, winning two and coming third in the other, which was a listed race.

“She is in good order and will run well if we take her to Aintree, although this race is traditionally ultra competitive, so we would be delighted if she finished in the first four.

“Many of my friends ask me for betting tips, but I have to say that my record as a tipster is pretty poor.

“That said, probably the best chance we have is Vintage Vinnie each way if he gets in the Topham as he jumped very well around the unique Aintree fences earlier this season on soft ground that was not ideal for him.

“If he gets into the race, with ground conditions that suit him and with a bit of luck in running that you always need at Aintree, then I can see him being there or thereabouts at the finish’’

As well as watching the horses in action, Outhart is also looking forward to the festival as a whole.

He added: “It’s a wonderful occasion that is part of our national sporting cultural heritage.

“The Grand National is known as the people’s race and in my opinion it’s the most iconic race in the world.”

“As an owner it is both nerve racking and fantastic to have a runner in it.

“Who knows what can happen if we have good luck on the day.”