Following the surprise withdrawal of some of the more likely 2013 Grand National Runners, Ninetieth Minute made it into the starting line-up for 2013. Trained by Tom Taaffe, he was, at the time, a 10-year old bay gelding with a decent race record.
He had 11 chase starts but had only won one of them, adding four place finishes to his tally and despite his age he had run in more hurdles and had also been more successful over them. Over his career he rewarded connections well and earned them in exces of £130K with a large part of that coming from his Coral Cup win at Cheltenham in 2009.
His most recent win was back in February of 2012 at Fairyhouse over 2m6f and since that time he’d had a bit of a hiccup to his form falling a couple of times and languishing further down the places in some of his most recent runs.
With five runs during the season prior to the race, his best finish was his most recent when he came 2nd at Down Royal on March 16th 2013 but he did lose to Treacle, another Grand National Runner, and there were only five in the field and if it’s statistics you’re after then the bad news is that other than that one time he had never won or placed again at over 3m so his ability to compete over the long distances is questionable.
Adding to that, 20 starts had been on Heavy to Soft going with only seven on relatively good going and given that Aintree were watering to get the course Good to Good Soft the trip may have be too fast for him.
Cheltenham in 2009 was his only run in the UK, with all of the others taking place in Ireland. The weight of 10-03 for the National was the lowest he’d run off since his win at Cheltenham so maybe it was better for him and without the heavier burden he should have been able to pick up his pace and stay in contention.
Unfortunately he didn’t and with Niall Madden on board, was the only horse pulled up at the 11th fence. But he may be back for the 2014 Grand National, if connections feel that he is in better form.