The 2014 Grand National will be the seventh for jockey Andrew Tinkler when he gets on board the Nicky Henderson trained Hunt Ball on April 5th 2014.
Working for Henderson, Tinkler is quite frequently mistaken for another famous ‘Andrew Tinkler', boss of the Stobart Group, but according to the young jockey it has it's advantages.
In one story the jockey hit the jackpot when he arrived at his hotel for the Stobart-sponsored awards ceremony, the Lesters, the Professional Jockeys’ Association’s big night of the year just before Easter.
He was taken to a suite of five rooms were a massive wide screen television, leather sofas, a Jacuzzi and a bed so large it scoffed at the description king-size.
He rang his girlfriend Emily, who had booked the room, to ask how much the ‘villa’ had cost. She said £89.00 and suggested that the hotel must have run out of ordinary rooms and that the jockey had merely landed on his feet.
After a trip to the bar Tinkler returned to his suite to discover his wash bag had gone missing and he rang reception. “There has been some confusion,” replied the receptionist, but even before he had resigned himself to inevitable demotion, she added: “But it’s our mistake – you can stay there. We’ll bring your wash bag up now, sir.”
Of course none of that would compare to winning a Grand National and despite his best attempts it hasn't happened. Of his six previous trips around the Aintree fences his best finish came on his first go, back in 2004 on Smarty when placing 6th.
2006, '08, '09 and '10 all saw him pull-up and after skipping the 2011 renewal he was back for another shot in 2012 where he finished 11th for Willie Mullins on The Midnight Club, that had been ridden the previous year by Ruby Walsh.
He didn't book a ride last year but is back for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National with Hunt Ball who up until very recently was a doubtful starter but it looks like it's all go from now on!