Monday, 11 February 2019

Darts Ace Michael van Gerwen to Ride in Grand National 2019

Ranked No 1 in the world, the Dutch professional darts player is known by millions for his ability to hit the bullseye. But the three-times PDC Worlds Champion in 2014, 2017 & 2019 harbours another passion which may surprise dart fans. 

He has a passion for the Grand National steeplechase. In particular, the possibility of riding in this year's 2019 Grand National, Aintree, Liverpool.   

Gerwen was born in 1989, the year Little Polvier won at odds of 28/1 for trainer Toby Balding ridden by Jimmy Frost. 

Whether Gerwen's father was an avid fan of the greatest steeplechase in the world no one knows. However, it is reputed he has bet on a few Aintree winners over the years. 

His confidence was high after winning the 2006 World Masters, then the youngest player at 17 to throw a televised 9-dart finish in 2007.    

2009 

Joyous times in the van Gerwen household as Mon Mome wins for Venetia Williams at odds of 100/1

Family and friends scoffed at the chances of Vida Bingham's nine-year-old when Gerwen announced he fancied the gelding to win the John Smith's Grand National while burning the midnight oil with his new Grand National Rating System. Darting legend Eric Bristow questioned the worth of his analysis. Days later, The Power Phil Taylor stated: ''His head was in the shed''. A defiant Gerwen was adamant that victory was for the taking. His analysis detailed a comfortable win. As history proved, he was spot on. Talk of a mysterious Dutch grandma placing a bet of £50 each-way would have seen winning of over £5,000 (not sure how much in guilders). Mon Mome won by 12-lengths and the longest priced winner since Foinavon back in 1967. 

Many blamed his love of the Grand National for years of inconsistent play. However, 2012 would be the year he had a breakthrough. He improved from a ranking of 38 to number 4 within that year. 

2012

While some associated this turn of form by listening to the wise words of Bullseye's Jim Bowen (UK game show). Others detailed he had a real spring in his step after eleven-year-old Neptunes Collonges won the 2012 Grand National for Paul Nicholls. Certainly, a flood of Dutch money hit bookmakers hard as the grey gelding powered home. Sightings of a flushed-faced Bowen at Aintree racecourse went viral on social media while Tony Green struggled to contact him via phone because the line was so busy with well-wishers and pundits looking for winning tips. 

From that day, darts fan knew it was only time before van Gerwen would hit the heights. In 2014, he became the youngest player to win the PDC World Championship.

It's been something of a running joke within darting circles that Michael van Gerwen has his eye on this year's Grand National which takes place on 6th April 2019. One of the potential runners Up For Review, trained by Willie Mullins has yet to be found a jockey!

This year could be the ride of his life. 

Good luck.