Grand National: Emma Lavelle relishing Aintree debut

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Grand National debut excites Lavelle
Crabbie's Grand National 2015, Aintree
Festival dates: 9-11 April Grand National: Saturday, 11 April at 16:15 BST
Coverage: Live commentaries of all the big races on BBC Radio 5 live and online with live text commentary on 11 April

Hampshire trainer Emma Lavelle says she "couldn't be happier" with her Grand National hope Court By Surprise.

The 10-year-old will be a first runner in the world-famous steeplechase for Lavelle, who is based near Andover.

Currently available around the 40-1 mark, Court By Surprise will be favoured by the drying conditions at Aintree and has not run since November, to avoid softer ground.

"He definitely likes nice ground," Lavelle told BBC South Today.

Lavelle added: "The good weather has been a big bonus for him. They do a fantastic job at Aintree of keeping the ground safe, so I imagine it'll be spot on for him.

"He goes well fresh. It was always the plan to give him a break over the winter and wait for better ground and he's really enjoyed his break.

"It's really exciting to have a runner. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes to plan and we get to the start line without any hitches.

"You don't get lots of opportunities to run in the National so, when everything is right, you have to take the chance and I think his profile is pretty good for it.

"We thought about running him last year but, in the end, his rating wasn't enough to get him in the race."

As well as training Court By Surprise, Lavelle also rides the horse on the gallops herself every day.

Grand National 2015 odds
7-1 Shutthefrontdoor; 10-1 Rocky Creek, Balthazar King; 12-1 The Druid's Nephew; 14-1 Cause Of Causes; 16-1 Alvarado; 20-1 Spring Heeled, Soll, Godsmejudge. 25-1 Bar

"I've had all the staff here telling me that it's all down to me," she joked. "I guess there's no-one else to blame but myself if things don't work out.

"I've ridden the race on him in my dreams many times this week."

Court By Surprise carries 10st 3lb, and will be ridden at Aintree by Richie McLernon, who was beaten by a nose aboard Sunnyhillboy in the 2012 race.

"Richie is a great horseman. He's here at the yard every week, he knows our set-up and the horse well. His National experience is also a positive," Lavelle added.

"From our point of view, everything that could be right is right. The thing about the National is there are 40 runners, everything can happen around you.

"Hopefully we'll arrive on the day with all our boxes ticked. Then it is down to him, and what goes on around him."

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