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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Dream Alliance is a Grand National chance

By Pete Shuttleworth

Tom O'Brien celebrates his Welsh National win on Dream Alliance
Tom O'Brien celebrates his Welsh National win on Dream Alliance

Welsh National winner Dream Alliance is to run in the Grand National at Aintree, it has been confirmed.

The 20-1 chance won the 60th Welsh National at Chepstow in December to complete a remarkable return to racing after career-saving stem-cell surgery.

Now the nine-year-old, owned by a 22-strong Welsh syndicate, is to run at the famous 10 April hurdle marathon.

"He will definitely not be balloted out because he is ranked 18 in the race," said syndicate manager Howard Davies.

"There will be 40 runners on the day and as he is rated inside the top 40 and will not be withdrawn, unless something untoward happens in the meantime, he will race."

Some 111 horses were initially entered for the 2010 Grand National, reduced to 98 earlier in March.

More withdrawals were confirmed on Tuesday before the field is eventually cut to 40 in the week of the Grand National.

But Davies insists Dream Alliance, whose odds have topped 40-1, will not be one of the withdrawals as "injury or illness permitting" the Welsh horse will line up in the demanding four-and-a-half mile showpiece.

Dream Alliance is an enigma and on his day he has the ability to beat any handicapper in the country

Syndicate manager Howard Davies

"He is fine at the moment so providing everything goes to plan the horse will take its chance at Aintree," said Davies.

"He won the Welsh National off the same weight that saw him finish second to Denman in the 2007 Hennessey Gold Cup.

"So we expected a rise by the handicapper and Dream will have a nine pound rise and run off 11 stone three pounds.

"Dream is an enigma and on his day he has the ability to beat any handicapper in the country and put in a winning performance - but he cannot string together a raft of successes."

The Welsh gelding held off Silver By Nature to win the 2009 Welsh National by three-quarters of a length to seal his first triumph since pioneering treatment to save his career.

Now the Phillip Hobbs-trained horse - who is set to be ridden by Welsh National hero jockey Tom O'Brien - is to return to the scene of an accident that threatened his life.

Dream Alliance, who made his jumps debut in November 2004, had enjoyed a host of top four finishes and four wins - including the 2007 Perth Gold Cup - before suffering a career-threatening injury at the 2008 Grand National meeting.

He severed a tendon in a leg - an injury that could end a horse's career - in a handicap hurdle at Aintree but was rescued by stem cell surgery.

Dream Alliance then completed a remarkable comeback by winning the Welsh National after 18 months recovery.

"He is ready for National and we're all touching wood that he remains illness and injury free," said Davies.

"He pulled up at Haydock in his only run since the Welsh National win, but we're confident."

Dream Alliance's trainer Hobbs has come close in the Grand National in previous years but the Somerset trainer is bidding to win the world's richest jump race for the first time.

Hobbs did saddle the 2002 runner-up What's Up Boys who led over the last before being the grey was passed by Bindaree in the dying strides.

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see also
Grand hopes for stem cell horse
21 Feb 10 |  Wales
Albertas to miss Grand National
23 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Grand National's forest spruce-up
13 Mar 10 |  Cumbria
Dream Alliance wins Welsh honours
28 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
Alliance fulfils a valley's dreams
28 Dec 09 |  Horse Racing
National prize to top 1m by 2013
24 Oct 09 |  Horse Racing
Mon Mome seals shock National win
04 Apr 09 |  Horse Racing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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