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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Aintree diary: day two
By Sophie Brown
BBC Sport at Aintree

Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff will be hoping his horse can claim Aintree success

There are plenty of celebrities who own racehorses but many avoid the limelight by keeping their name out of the racecards.

It is most easily done by giving the horse a neutral, non-personal, name and registering its ownership under a syndicate.

Not all stars are so bashful, however.

No prizes for guessing which sporting hero has a runner in Saturday's bumper. The horse's name? Flintoff.

Irish jockey Conor O'Dwyer celebrates his 39th birthday on Friday but he would be happy to wait 24 hours for a present in the shape of a Grand National win.

Conor O'Dwyer on Hardy Eustace
Conor O'Dwyer is one of the veterans of the weighing room

O'Dwyer, who rode Hardy Eustace to victory at Cheltenham earlier this year, rides Le Coudray in the colours of Irish businessman JP McManus.

Among McManus' other runners is Spot Thedifference, an apt name given that there will be six jockeys wearing the famous green and gold hoops.

The "difference" will be the caps - Robbie Power, Spot Thedifferences's rider, will have a red one with the other five wearing white, green, blue, yellow and black.

Eleven of the last 14 Grand National winners have come from the first eight in the betting.

It is not good news for the once-a-year punters, who tend to pick an outsider in the hope of making a financial killing.

But there could be hope in 2005...

In 1985, Last Suspect won at odds of 50-1 and 10 years later in 1995, Royal Athlete won at 40-1, making them the two biggest-priced winners in the last quarter of a century.

One of the reasons why Tony McCoy is about to be crowned champion jockey for the 10th time is his refusal to give in - and never was it more in evidence than at Aintree on Thursday.

Tony McCoy on Fota Island
Tony McCoy lands safely on his way to victory on Fota Island

After unexpectedly drawing a blank at the Cheltenham Festival, in the first three races of the Aintree meeting he gave his mounts a typically strong ride, only for all three to come second.

But his persistence paid off and he won the fourth race of the day on Fota Island.

And he'll no doubt be hoping his time has also finally come in the Grand National, the one big race to so far elude him in nine attempts, in which he has got round just twice.

BBC Sport's Grand National coverage

Aintree's National weighting game
10 Feb 05 |  Horse Racing
Punters eye right royal result
04 Apr 05 |  Fun and Games
Ford and Forest Gunner chasing first
21 Feb 05 |  Horse Racing

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