Chief Dan George is the Irish 11-year-old trained by James Moffat and owned by Maurice Chapman. Winner of the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham in March 2010, hopes are always high for this tough horse.
The Grand National fancy was well-placed in the pack when he fell in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase. James Moffatt’s horse was looking to repeat his success in the event last year, but instead jockey Paddy Aspell had to pick himself up off the turf and watch Bensalem come home at the front of the field.
Having been given a reasonable 10-12 by Phil Smith, the BHA handicapper, Chief Dan George is definitely in with a shot this year but his age may go against him, particularly with such a strong field around him. His form has been very inconsistent this season with two wins followed by two falls.
According to Moffatt, “He is a very clever jumper, who is very quick on his feet and he has a very sharp mind, and we are hoping that we can have a bit of luck over the National fences.” Currently at 25/1 with Paddy Power, the most recent poor performance may hinder his chances in the national but on a good day he is fantastic so don’t rule him out just yet.
Unfortunately the 2011 Grand National was not to be for Chief Dan George who finished in 17th position on the day. A good solid race with minimal mistakes he didn’t have what it takes to beat the likes of Ballabriggs, Don’t Push It and Oscar Time and as he’s soon to be 12 years old, it’s unlikely that we will see him back for the 2012 Grand National.