Character Building, owned by John Wright, who was brought up almost next door to Carlisle racecourse, was considered a sure bet for the 2009 Grand National. Bearing in mind that the last Grand National winner from Yorkshire was nearly 50 years ago, the people of the county were excited to have the grey as such a definite for the race.
Bred to be a steeple-chaser, Character Building was the 12-1 third favourite prior to the big race. He had been placed second twice, third and fourth once in all of his bumpers.
By March of 2007 he really showed what he was made of at Cheltenham by coming second to Jonjo O’Neill-trained Butler’s Cabin in The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup. By March of 2009 he had proved he was one of the big guns by winning the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase, while Butler’s Cabin came in fifth.
It was a cool ride where jockey Jamie Codd settled Character Building towards the rear early on, made steady progress, and pushed his mount out to hold off Pretty Star by a length.
Following this win the John Quinn-trained horse became one of the leading contenders for the Grand National, but Quinn pulled him from the race after sustaining a stone bruise.
He did not race again that season, but for many he is the ideal Aintree type, a great jumper with lots of staying power. Having placed 7th in the 2010 Grand National, the now 11 year old is still highly fancied for the 2011 race and with Nina Carberry on board, expect plenty of backers as she bids to become the first female winning jockey of the Grand National.
Unfortunately Character Building didn’t make history for Nina Carberry and despite a good race with little or no mistakes, he simply didn’t have it in the tank to pose any real threats on the day. Finishing in 15th place the soon to be 12 year old is unlikely to run again the 2012 Grand National but what a horse!