Sam Waley-Cohen has landed a Grand National ride at the last moment – after his father bought a horse for £90,000 last night (April 7).

Robert Waley-Cohen bought 66-1 shot Black Thunder at the first Goffs UK Aintree Sale.

Robert said the nine-year-old was bought with next season in mind, but in the mean time he will line up on Saturday with Sam, (pictured above on Long Run), on board.

Black Thunder, last seen finishing sixth behind Le Reve at Sandown in February, carries a rating of 147 over fences.

His new owners include Newbury chairman Dominic Burke, Clemmie Shipp, an owner with Warren Greatrex, and a friend of Sam.

Robert told the Racing Post: “There’s four of us in the syndicate, which will be fun, and Saturday is really a bonus as we’re planning next season.

“We’ll keep him with the same trainer [Paul Nicholls] until Saturday and he’ll definitely run. I like him very much, he was a wonderful novice and he’s rather lost his way handicapping and is probably a little high in the handicap.

“We’ve just seen the winner of the Foxhunters rated 147 and this horse is very similar. These opportunities don’t come very often with a nine-year-old with good form and I hope to have a lot of fun.”

Tessa Greatrex added: “With that kind of horse you’re buying the profile and he’s a nice good horse who’s ready to go for Saturday.”

Robert confirmed that Sam will take the ride, replacing Gavin Sheehan.


Related articles:


Sam had originally been banned from racing on Grand National day (April 9) for failing to ride out to the line on Long Run at Carlisle (20 March).

His appeal against the ban failed but thanks to a loophole regarding the days on which it could apply, the British Horseracing Authority conceded he could ride on Saturday.