A retired Earlsfield chartered accountant will pop his Grand National cherry today as co-owner of what he hopes to be a winning racing horse.
Robert Corsan, 60, is co-owns the Dr. Richard Newland-trained Royale Knight.
Winning Tony McCoy’s last ever Grand National on his first attempt has the level-headed owner dreaming a place in horsing history.
He said: “If he wins it’ll be Armageddon!”
The young jockey at the helm, Brendan Powell, is an unknown quantity for Mr Corsan having never ridden one of his horses before.
He said: “His first fence in the Grand National will be on Saturday and hopefully he’ll get over it.”
Powell was on board Battle Group last year but couldn’t get his Grand National career underway as the petulant gelding refused to start.
Mr Corsan has been going to the races since his 20s where at Cheltenham he became friends with Royale Knight’s co-owner Chris Stedman.
It was their friendship that brought Mr Stedman’s cousin, Dr. Newland, to experience the thrill of National Hunt racing.
Dr. Newland shot to fame last year as he trained 25-1 outsider Pineau De Re to win the Crabbie’s Grand National Chase.
At 28-1 with William Hill and 33-1 with Ladbrokes, Royale Knight is similarly priced.
But that shouldn’t deter punters in a race that has historically rewarded the underdog – you have to go back to 2010 to see a favourite follow through with a win.
And that was joint-favourite Tony McCoy on Don’t Push It who claimed his first Grand National victory.
Having won the Foxhunter’s Chase at Aintree in 2010 with 50-1 outsider Silver Adonis, Mr Corsan is used to a turn up in the books.
Before his 2010 triumph Dr Newland took the apprehensive owner to see Aintree’s infamous fence – The Chair.
Standing in the 6ft ditch that precedes the course’s tallest fence, Mr Corsan was reasonably anxious.
He said: “If you stand in the ditch the fence is miles above you. I said to Richard ‘I really don’t think I want my horse to jump this’,” he reminisced.
Silver Adonis’ brilliant jumping form over the imposing fences has calmed the potential for worry in entering his first Grand National.
The owner went to comment on the growing measures taken to ensure safety.
He said: “They have replaced the core of the fences which were wood with plastic to make them less hard if you hit them badly.
“The brush wood makes it seem more dangerous than it seems.”
Royale Knight was entry number 68 out of the 96 entries for this year’s race.
Mr Corsan couldn’t believe his luck last Monday to discover 28 entries had fallen out, leaving Royale Knight the final number 40 entry.
“It’s perfect really as it means we’re carrying less weight than anyone else,” he added.
Powell and Royale Knight will need to continue their vein of luck into a race that requires a substantial amount of it.
Mr Corsan said: “The hope is we’ll just tootle around at the back, not get too far behind and as they get tired we’ll just stay on as the others hit the brick wall.”
The owner said that trainer Dr Newland is bullish about the horse and has never had him in better form.
Aintree’s harder ground on Saturday should have the field jumping better.
But it will be down to a clear run and the horse’s incredible staying power to steer the light blue and chocolate brown colours to victory.
Regarding his main threats, Mr Corsan named three to look out for.
Rocky Creek, The Druids Nephew and Soll look like to be solid bets in a race of uncertainty.
The chance to have a winning McCoy bet slip in his last outing will prevent it becoming a profitable option.
Despite the furor around potential glory Mr Corsan said: “I’d be delighted if he just comes home safe and sound.”
Asked if would he give up his wife and three daughters for a Grand National win he sensibly said: “No, of course not. But I would give up quite a lot!
“If I had a dog, I’d give that up – it would be the best day of my life!” he added with a smile.
Picture courtesy of John Grossick and Racing Post, with thanks