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"Far Hills races include the American Grand National" by Ekem (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Horse Racing

American Grand National Winner Jury Duty Goes for English Equivalent at Aintree

Horse racing in the USA tends to focus on the Flat with big annual events including the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and the Breeders’ Cup which is hosted at a different venue each year.

One of the highlights of the National Steeplechase Association circuit though, is the American Grand National run over hurdles and a distance of between two-and-a-half and two-and-three-quarter miles.

Last year’s winner of the big jumps race at Far Hills, Jury Duty, is primed for a bid in the English Grand National. That is a very different type of event over about a mile-and-a-half further and much larger obstacles called fences at Aintree Racecourse near the city of Liverpool.

Jury Duty is now an eight-year-old Well Chosen gelding trained by Gordon Elliott, who has twice won the English Grand National before. Those successes include the 2018 running of the Aintree showpiece with Tiger Roll, who is favourite to win it again.

Far Hills races take place in the Tristate area about 40 miles west of New York City within the state of New Jersey. Jury Duty raced in midfield early on during the American Grand National, before making headway after four out and chasing the leaders to take it up over the second last flight.

 

Jockey Robbie Power, who has won the Aintree Grand National himself for Elliott aboard Silver Birch back in 2007, then rode him out as Jury Duty stayed on strongly to win by more than three lengths.

The horse has also followed-up since back over fences and after a winter break when upped in distance to three-and-a-quarter miles at Down Royal in his native Ireland.

This was a very impressive performance as he gave 10lb in weight away to others from his stable also being aimed at the big British race and won comfortably.

Aiming to do the American and English Grand National double isn’t a gimmick. Many of the fences at Aintree are much bigger than regulation obstacles at other British and Irish racetracks.

Jury Duty has won three of his 11 steeplechase starts and placed on a further six occasions, so is consistent enough. Plenty of Irish horses are among the Grand National tips offered by betting.betfair, not least because raiders from the Emerald Isle have won at Aintree in two of the last three years.

In the last 20 years, Ireland have a 40 per cent success rate of winning the English Grand National. Over half the field at Aintree could be Irish this year and Jury Duty is in good company as a result.

Five of the last seven Grand National winners have been priced at 25/1 or bigger, and those odds are the antepost quote given by Betfair on Jury Duty in the build-up to the race.

Before his exploits in America, he was a respectable third in the Galway Plate last summer. That is one of the most competitive handicaps in Ireland and Jury Duty was giving weight away to the first two home.

On the pick of his form, and granted some luck which is much-needed in the 40-runner Aintree marathon, Jury Duty could outrun his odds in the English Grand National and go very well.

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