Brother and sister ride in Grand National

09:41 12 April 2012

Jockey Ruby Walsh and Trainer Willie Mullins (right) before day one of the 2012 Cheltenham Fesitval at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire.

Jockey Ruby Walsh and Trainer Willie Mullins (right) before day one of the 2012 Cheltenham Fesitval at Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Sibling jockeys are set to clash in the John Smith’s Grand National on Saturday following news that brother and sister Ruby Walsh and Katie Walsh both have confirmed rides.

Katie Walsh is no stranger to the big time and has been booked to ride Seabass for her father, the Grand National winning trainer Ted Walsh who won the Aintree showpiece in 2000 with Papillon.

The trainer confirmed his daughter – who shot to fame when bagging a brace of Cheltenham Festival winners on Thousand Stars and Poker De Sivola in 2010 – as the rider of the 16-1 shot as 48 possible contenders vie for a place in a maximum National field of 40 runners.

“Katie will ride Seabass in the National,” Ted Walsh confirmed. “She knows the horse like the back of her hand and has won two handicap chases on him this season.”

Meanwhile older brother Ruby bids to land his third Grand National, following victories on Papillon and Hedgehunter, the latter for trainer Willie Mullins who he teams up with again to ride 12-1 chance On His Own.

“You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the manner in which On His Own won the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park in January and that race is sometimes a good test for Aintree,” the jockey said.

“Willie wanted me to ride for him, Paul Nicholls was anxious I go with Neptune Collonges and, of course, there was also my father’s Seabass to consider,” said Walsh who is stable jockey to both Mullins in Ireland and champion trainer Nicholls in the UK.

“But I had to be very professional about this and just wouldn’t feel comfortable not riding for either Willie or Paul.

“I harbour doubts about Seabass getting four and a half miles in any case, but I’m sure he will give my sister, Katie, a terrific spin.

“Likewise, I’m concerned about On His Own travelling left-handed, because I think his form is better going the other way, but am prepared to take a chance on that.”


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