Grand National debut for David O’Meara

Rose of the Moon at Wetherby

Rose of the Moon at Wetherby

First published in Sport
Last updated

DAVID O'MEARA says he is "more hopeful than confident" about Rose Of The Moon's chances of ending a 54-year Grand National hoodoo.

The Nawton trainer saddles his first National horse when the nine-year-old lines up as one of 40 runners in the world's most famous steeplechase tomorrow at Aintree, in Liverpool.

Not since 1960 and Merryman II, trained by Neville Crump at Middleham and ridden by Gerry Scott, has North Yorkshire celebrated having the winner of the four mile marathon and Rose Of The Moon will be the county's only representative in the contest.

O'Meara, a former jump jockey, never got the chance to ride in the race himself but did win the amateur rider's version, the Foxhunters' Chase, on Bells Life for Philip Hobbs back in 2000.

Rose Of The Moon has also had a spin over the demanding fences, finishing tenth in the Becher Chase in December, before following up with a comprehensive nine length victory at Wetherby the following month.

"It's great for us," said O'Meara when asked what training a runner in the National meant to everyone at his Arthington Barn Stables yard. "We don't have too many jumpers and to have a runner in the national is great for the yard. There has been so much work going on that I haven't really got too excited about it but it will be great on the day.

"Rose Of The Moon got round in the Becher Chase and won at Wetherby in what was a really good performance. He stays well and it's great for his owners Middleham Park Racing.

"The fences been modified a number of times since I rode over them but you have to have quite a brave horse, who will take to the course and enjoy it. He would have an outside chance and Aurore's Encore last year showed that outsiders can still win it.

"We are on the same racing weight as he was and they are similar priced horses (with Rose Of The Moon at 50-1). We go there more hopeful than confident. He has jumped well in most of his chases and he has great stamina. His jockey Jake Greenall has won on him three or four times and gets on well with him."

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