McGlades to share limelight with Kuru?

Cambridge trainers Sheryl and Roger McGlade have full confidence in local jumps jockey Aaron Kuru to deliver them a win in the $70,000 Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge Grand National Steeplechase at Riccarton on Saturday.

Kuru (21) has been aboard the McGlade-trained and part-owned Karlos in his last four starts for wins at Te Aroha and last Saturday’s Koral Steeplechase at Riccarton and his performances in both races has earned him the Grand National mount.

“Aaron had his first look around the Riccarton country last week and he walked the course a couple of times before the race,” said McGlade. “He rode Karlos well. He’s a sympathetic rider and he’ll do his best.”

Kuru has ridden 11 winners and his performances this winter have attracted favourable comment from many highly experienced and successful horseman and women.

This is Karlos’ second trip to Riccarton. Two years ago he was second in the Koral Steeplechase then third to Counter Punch in the Grand National Steeplechase, so already he has improved his past record. And judging by the fight he showed last weekend when beating Tobouggie Nights he could go two placings better in this year’s Grand National.

It has been well-documented that Karlos’ dam, Just Jojo, won the Grand National Steeplechase in 1996, so it would be a rare feat for mother and son if Karlos could succeed on Saturday.

McGlade still clearly remembers the highlight she had with Just Jojo, who won only two races from 52 starts and both were at the 1996 Grand National meeting. “That year Just Jojo had run seven seconds faster when she won (the novice steeplechase) on the first day than they did in the Koral, so I knew she had to be a chance,” she recalled.

Sheryl McGlade has also picked up Grand National Steeplechase placings with Clem (her 1997 Great Northern Hurdles winner), who finished second to Deecee Seven in 1997, and his brother Hidden Asset, who was fourth to Just Red two years earlier.