Grand National meeting: Tom Messenger eyes Aintree win

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL

  • Venue: Aintree
  • Date: Saturday, 9 April
  • Kick-off: 1615 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Radio 5 live, online

Messenger assesses Grand National chances

Northamptonshire jockey Tom Messenger says he has to believe he can win the Grand National on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is making his debut in the Aintree showpiece on 66-1 outsider Surface To Air.

"You've got to believe you can win because it's the biggest steeplechase in racing," he told BBC Look East.

"You've got to be in the right frame of mind and realistically you've got to believe you can win it, or else you'd be a mad man to go around there."

But he added: "If he got round and finished in the top 10, top six that would be brilliant."

Messenger has ridden the 10-year-old, owned by Chris Bealby, to two previous wins - at Stratford and Sedgefield - but both of those came almost two years ago.

It's something I've dreamed of since I was a kid and I'm really looking forward to it

Tom Messenger Surface To Air jockey

They were last paired together over the hurdles at Market Rasen on 13 March, where they finished dead last in a field of 10.

"He seems in good order, he's only had one run in the last two years because he's been plagued with injuries," explained Creaton-based Messenger.

"He's really been coming into his own at home recently.

"I've ridden over the Aintree fences before but never in the Grand National.

"It's something I've dreamed of since I was a kid and I'm really looking forward to it."