Sam Waley-Cohen has already enjoyed a remarkable 2011 thanks to Long Run’s victories in both the King George and the Cheltenham Gold Cup and now he is set to partner one of the market leaders in the Grand National.
Jim Culloty was the last jockey to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National double in 2002, but for an amateur rider to accomplish this feat is something that is unheard of.
But Waley-Cohen has more than an average chance, with his mount Oscar Time second favourite in the Grand National odds at 12/1.
And trainer Martin Lynch is convinced that the horse will take a liking to Aintree, particularly after finishing his preparations with a decent run in third behind 8/1 Grand National favourite The Midnight Club at Fairyhouse last month.
Meanwhile, he is also sure that despite his amateur status, Waley-Cohen’s appointment will not be a weakness and the jockey has the required talent to steer his horse to victory.
Lynch said: “All anyone has to do is look again at the last mile of the Gold Cup. Sam’s a very determined and fit guy and the horse will want for nothing.
“Considering the number of rides he has per year he’s a remarkable rider and his record around Aintree is encouraging. Oscar Time jumps and travels so well and he has the gears you need for Aintree. it’s a question really of nothing falling in front of him.”
No amateur jockey has won the Grand National since Marcus Armytage rode Mr Frisk to victory in 1990, but Waley-Cohen does have Aintree experience in his favour.
He rode Katarino to back-to-back Fox Hunter victories over the Grand National fences in 2005 and 2006, while finishing fifth in the actual Grand National in 2007 on board Liberthine.
A £20 stake on Oscar Time winning the Grand National would return £240. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of free bets totalling up to £60.