The Grand National Hero Maori Venture by djsgjg0045

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									When Maori Venture won the Grand National in 1987 it was his first and last
appearance in the Aintree race. Sired by St Columbus out of Moon Venture, he was
bred by Welsh publican Dai 'Maori' Morgan, so nicknamed because of his ventures to
New Zealand where he played rugby. The horse won a Taunton bumper at the age of
five, at odds of 50-1, and under his new owner Major Jack Rubin was sent to Jim Old
for training. His first notable win over fences was in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury
on New Year's Eve 1984.
  His owner's death meant he was sold on at the Ascot sales, where he was bought by
Marlborough trainer Andrew Turnell on behalf of Mr Joel for 17,000 guineas. Not
long after the sale Maori Venture won four races at Lingfield, but on the run up to the
1987 Grand National he showed very mixed form, and gathered himself a bit of a
reputation as an unsafe jumper. While he came third in the Hennessy Cognac Gold
Cup, won the Mandarin Chase for the second time and was runner-up in Sandown's
Grand Military Gold Cup, he was also unplaced in one race and fell in another -
falling in the run up to the National is never a good thing, and many began to believe
that there was no way that he would manage the Aintree fences with their formidable
reputation.
  Mr Joel; whose previous entry to the National, Door Latch was well fancied, but
ended up falling at the first fence; entered Maori Venture almost resigned to the fact
that he wasn't going to do well. He went off twelfth in the betting at 28-1, ridden by
Steve Knight. The gelding didn't do anything special on the first circuit, in fact it was
a wonder he stayed standing considering his nose touched the ground on landing after
Becher's Brook, but he managed to see it through. The second circuit saw him
transform - he started jumping with precision, something he had never previously
done, and started to increase his pace. He began closing on the leaders which included
Lean Ar Aghaidh who was demonstrating excellent jumping form, and by the last he
joined The Tsarevich - he won from them by four and five lengths respectively. The
favourite West Tip, the previous year's winner, came fourth while second favourite
Dark Ivy had suffered a fatal fall at the first Bechers.
  Maori Venture achieved the then third fastest time on record in the National and gave
his owner Mr Joel his big race double - he had won the 1967 Epsom Derby with
Royal Palace - the ninety-two year old had started trying to win the National in 1957.
When he found out that he had won the National he was in mid flight from South
Africa to England, and declared at the celebrations the following day that Maori
Venture was to retire to Childwick Stud - he left him in his will to Steve Knight, his
winning jockey.
  The Aintree Grand National 2011 is odds on to be one of the best ever, with
champion gold cup winners already being pointed a the Aintree festival. Last years
winner is sure to be in with a good shout in 2011. But who are we backing in the big
race? Find out now.

								
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