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Sam gets chance to make a big noise on Black Thunder

By Keith Hamer

Sam Waley-Cohen will ride Black Thunder in tomorrow's Grand National after the Paul Nicholls-trained chaser was sold at the Aintree sales to a syndicate that includes his father, Robert.

The top amateur, who has a tremendous record at Aintree and was second on Oscar Time in 2011, is able to ride despite serving a seven-day ban following an about-turn by the authorities amid confusion about his eligibility that centred around a race restricted to conditional and amateur jockeys on the same day.

"I've bought him with three other people, so we've got a quarter each. We have a quarter of the bills and 100 per cent of the fun," said Waley-Cohen senior.

"The National is great, but we're looking to next season with him. We hope to have a lot of fun with him. He's nine years old with a very good record.

"He was a cracking good novice and has probably got a bit high in the handicap, but after the National he'll have a summer out and we'll start again."

Annie Power and Cue Card were the big winners - in the Aintree Hurdle and Betfred Bowl - on the opening day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree yesterday.

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