A 10 year old jointly owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and Ged Mason, he is half brother to My Little Lady a winning pointer. He is trained by Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls who was looking for back-to-back wins in the 2013 Grand National.
What A Friend is already a Dual Grade 1 winner and ridden by Daryl Jacob he was placed 4th in the 2011 Gold Cup but fell when he ran in it again in 2012. He only had two run outs between then and the 2013 National, the first when he finished in 7th place in April 2012 at Aintree in the Betfred Bowl Chase and at Kempton when he finished in 8th spot on February 23rd 2013.
In 2011 he ran off 11st 6lb and though he was originally given 11-05 for 2013 race that was increased by 4lbs after top contenders were withdrawn so he carried 11-09 and was the second highest weighted horse behind Imperial Commander.
A classy horse, he has no doubt had his share of success and his win in the Totesport Bowl Chase at Aintree in 2010 was one of the best finishes of any race but that form has eluded him in the last couple of seasons but Nicholls is not one to give up and may have been trying to bring him back to form for April 6th.
He is talented but enigmatic and has already had a shot in the Grand National when he ran in 2011 but mistakes cost him dearly and he was subsequently pulled-up. It's possible that the race came too soon after the Gold Cup, especially as he's another who has often produced his best after a break.
He was entered into the Gold Cup again in 2013 but skipped it to go to Aintree where he couldn't go any better better than being pulled up at the open ditch at the 19th by jockey Sam Thomas.
He may very well take his chances again for the 2014 Grand National but we'll have to wait and see.
Photo Credit | Meteorshoweryn
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