Grand National: Capital hopes ride on Mr Moonshine

Mr Moonshine will set off at Aintree today. Picture: Getty Images
Mr Moonshine will set off at Aintree today. Picture: Getty Images
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A JOCKEY will wear the lucky colours of a Victorian race champion in a bid to bring success to an Edinburgh racehorse owner in the Grand National.

Peter Buchanan will today wear the purple and white jersey of a previous winner when he rides out on 100/1 outsider Mr Moonshine in the most famous race in the world.

Auroras Encore will set off at Aintree today. Picture:  John Grossick

Auroras Encore will set off at Aintree today. Picture: John Grossick

The colours were originally worn by the great-great-
grandfather of Jim Beaumont’s business partner, April Strang-Steel.

Alec Goodman won the 1866 Grand National on Salamander and the duo are hoping the nod to the past will rub off on today’s ride – and help them romp home an Edinburgh 

Mr Beaumont said: “Every National winner has to have a good story it seems, so at least we have that with Mr Moonshine. April really wanted to see the colours her great-great-grandfather wore being run in again so Peter Buchanan will be wearing them – purple with a white stripe.

“Hopefully they’ll bring us the luck we’ll need.”

The 79-year-old, from Dean Village, has had several runners at Aintree over the years but he reckons this year could be his “best chance yet” of claiming racing’s top prize.

Mr Moonshine isn’t the only starter he has in the steeplechase. Auroras Encore, ridden by Ryan Mania, an 80/1 shot, is also due to compete.

Both are trained by leading horse trainer Sue Smith and owned by Jim and his long-term business partner, Douglas Pryde.

Mr Beaumont, a former course liaison officer at Musselburgh Racecourse, reckons both horses will make the gruelling trip, but Ms Strang-Steel’s equal share in Mr Moonshine means that with a bit of luck and guidance from Alec, they all may just end up in the winner’s enclosure.

He said: “They’re both good horses, probably the best I’ve ever had run at Aintree. They can both do the distance no problem. But the thing with the National is that it’s a lottery so with a clear run, who knows?

“I’d love to win it, who wouldn’t?”

It seems that Mr Beaumont isn’t alone in rating the horses’ chances.

Trainer Sue Smith said: “Auroras Encore is probably the more guaranteed to stay of the two, but Mr Moonshine has a bit of class.

“It’s been a tough season for him with the ground the way it has been, but he showed what he can do when he was second in the Rowland Meyrick Chase.

“If he stays the trip and takes to the fences I wouldn’t rule him out. Auroras Encore could go well, too, if things go right for him. He was second in the Scottish National off a higher mark less than a year ago.”

Back in 1866, Salamander was a 40/1 outsider with larger odds than any winner for years. The horse had been born with a crooked leg and was thought to be near worthless.

Salamander repaid the faith shown in him and romped home, setting a spooky precedent for today’s drama which is due to get under way at 4.15pm.

Controversial event

MILLIONS will enjoy a flutter on today’s meet, but the race is certain to attract controversy.

Some 40 horses are expected to start the steeplechase but, if past races are anything to go by, they won’t all finish.

Last year, only 15 horses crossed the line and two had to be put down after suffering horror falls.

Organisers have taken steps to improve race safety, but critics are still concerned at the high equine cost of a sporting event they feel is outdated.

Despite the controversy, millions of pounds will be bet on today’s race – the 166th Grand National.

One Edinburgh-based turf accountant said: “It’s the one betting-based event that brings people across the city together.”