Definitly Red was handed top weight of 11st10lb for the Randox Health Grand National as the British Horseracing Authority’s Liverpool-born head of handicapping Phil Smith framed his final handicap for the world’s greatest steeplechase. But with four or five at the head of the handicap not certain to line-up at Aintree Racecourse on April 14, it could mean the current 10-1 favourite with the bookmakers Becher Chase hero Blaklion – who has been handed 11st6lb – could end up carrying top weight on Merseyside in the spring. Following his rise through the chasing ranks Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red will have to become the first horse since another mighty red, Red Rum in 1977, to carry top weight to victory if he does run in the National for a second year running. Having been unlucky in last year’s renewal of the Aintree marathon, when he had to be pulled up by jockey Danny Cook after his tack broke following a fall by a horse in front of him early on, Definitly Red is now on course for a crack at the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup this year. He was an excellent winner of the Grade Two Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase at Prestbury Park last month and connections are favouring a crack at the Cheltenham Festival feature on March 16, for which he is a best-priced 16-1 with most bookmakers. Any bid for Grand National glory as well will be dependent on how he gets on at Cheltenham first next month. The nine-year-old, who also won the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase over the Mildmay fences at Aintree in December, is a 20-1 chance for the National with most bookmakers.
British Horseracing Authority’s Liverpool-born head of handicapping Phil Smith, who framed the handicap for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National for a 20th and final time Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Handicapper Smith, a former schoolteacher from Allerton, has now completed his 20th and final handicap for the Grand National. Speaking ahead of the revealing of the weights at BAFTA in London’s West End on Tuesday, he said: “This is my 20th and final year of handicapping the Grand National. “It is a task that has got easier in some respects and harder in others. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time – it has been both a privilege and a pleasure to frame the weights for the great race. “We had a record 88 per cent of horses rated 135+ entered last year but have broken that record again this year with 90 per cent of this year’s entries falling into that category. The percentage is double what it was in 2003, when only 45 per cent of entries were rated 135+. I think that is pretty impressive progress. “This year, 73 per cent of horses are in the handicap, compared to 67 per cent in 2017. “In terms of getting a run on April 14 (there are a maximum of 40 runners), I would say you have a reasonable chance if you are in the top 70, which is down to 10st 2lb. “There are six horses in total on 10st 1lb and 10st. Connections of these horses should run and get their marks up as a priority to get to the top of their respective weight groups. “The median rating this year is 145 – it was 146 last year and 144 in 2016, so it is well within the normal range.” After top weight Definitly Red, there are three Grade One winners on the list. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai, an impressive winner of the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, has been handed 11st9lb. But his trainer has already stated that he is to miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup and although he will run at Aintree, he is more likely to take in the Betway Bowl over the Mildmay fences on Grand National Thursday on April 12.
Gavin Sheehan on Blaklion wins the Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase on Saturday, December 9 2017 Picture by Andrew Teebay
Stable-mate Blaklion, who is set to run in Saturday’s Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park, will lead the charge to provide Twiston-Daves with a third Grand National success 20 years on from his first with Earth Summit. Two JP McManus-owned runners, recent Grade One Irish Gold Cup hero Edwulf – trained by Joseph O’Brien – and last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco will carry 11st9lb and 11st7lb respectively should they run at Aintree. They are both entered in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Edwulf is a 66-1 chance for the National with Paddy Power and the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Minella Rocco is a best-priced 25-1 with Ladbrokes and Betfed. They are two of seven entries for the powerful Irish owner who famously won the Grand National with O’Neill’s Don’t Push It in 2010, ridden by Sir Anthony McCoy. The Dutchman among 15 entries for the Grand National Trial at Haydock McManus has last year’s runner-up Cause Of Causes, who was handed 10st12lb, engaged again and the Gordon Elliott-trained 10-year-old is a best-priced 33-1 with bet365 to go one better. Another McManus entry is Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly, who will carry 11st4lb and is a 33-1 chance with most bookmakers including official Grand National betting partner Betway. Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins won the National in 2005 with favourite Hedgehunter and has the leading contender this year in Total Recall, who will carry 11st1lb. Total Recall stayed on strongly to beat Whisper by a neck in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in December and also won over mark over hurdles at the Dublin Racing Festival earlier this month. He is a best-priced 20-1 with Unibet. Mullins’ 10 entries also include promising novice Rathvinden (10st9lb), Pleasant Company (10st7lb) and Polidam (10st5lb).
Trainer Gordon Elliott with Outlander at his stables in Longwood, County Kildare on Monday, November 20 2017 Picture courtesy of Haydock Park
Multiple Grade One winner scorer Outlander is another at the head of handicap and has been handed 11st8lb. Trained by Elliott, who won the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007, he has the most weight of the 11 Gigginstown House Stud-owned contenders. Others to note for Michael O’Leary’s operation, which won the National with Rule The World in 2016, include Valseur Lido (Henry de Bromhead, 11st5lb) and G2 National Hunt Chase hero Tiger Roll (Elliott, 10st9lb). Elliott’s 10 entries also include the Chris Jones-owned pair of Mala Beach (11st 3lb, 40/1), winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in November, and Noble Endeavor (10st 13lb, 33/1). Gold Present (11st), successful in handicaps at Newbury and Ascot this season, headlines three contenders for Britain’s champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson. The Lambourn trainer could also run O O Seven (10st11lb) and Vyta Du Roc (10st6lb) in his bid to land a first Grand National victory. Paul Nicholls, who won the National with Neptune Collonges in 2012, has six entries are led by dual Scottish Grand National winner Vicente. He is owned by triple Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings and has been handed 10st10lb – although he could had back to Ayr to become the first horse to win the Scottish version three times. Other Nicholls’ entries include Aintree course winner As De Mee (10st8lb) and Warriors Tale (10st8lb), who has been beaten narrowly on both his starts this season. Irish handler Mouse Morris saddled the 2016 winner Rule The World. His three entries, all owned by Gigginstown House Stud, include Alpha Des Obeux (11st) and 2015 Irish National scorer Thunder And Roses (10st1lb).
James Bowen and Raz De Maree clear the last to win the Coral Welsh Grand National Handicap at Chepstow racecourse on January 6 2018 Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Further down the weights, the Gavin Cromwell-trained Welsh Grand National hero Raz De Maree, who at the age of 13 is the oldest winner of the Chepstow showpiece, has been handed 10st5lb. While impressive Classic Chase victor, the Neil King-trained Milansbar, is 69th on the list on 10st2lb. Last year’s Grand National hero One For Arthur, who won’t defend his crown due to injury, won the Classic Chase en route to Aintree success last season. Trainer Dr Richard Newland and owner John Provan combined to win the Aintree marathon in 2014 with Pineau de Re. They have another interesting contender in Abolitionist (10st4lb), who finished third in last season’s Irish Grand National.
Connections of Gas Line Boy including jockey Robbie Dunne, trainer Ian Williams (far right), part-owner Peter Thwaites (second right) in the winner’s enclosure at Aintree Racecourse after winning the 188Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase on Saturday, December 9 2017
A maximum 40-strong field will go to post at Aintree on April 14 and currently the 40th horse is the Ian Williams-trained Gas Line Boy and he has been allotted 10st7lb. The 12-year-old – owned by the Three Graces partnership of business associates and friends Peter Thwaites, who now lives in Southport, and Wirral-based Peter Legros – finished a fine fifth in the world’s greatest steeplechase last April. He fell when going well at Aintree on his seasonal reappearance, but bounced back to win over the Grand National fences in December’s Grand Sefton Chase. He is a 40-1 chance with William Hill for this year’s National. Other local owners with possible runners are Southport solicitor Carl Hinchy, who has two currently in the running in Shantou Flyer, who was pulled up in last year’s race and the Warren Greatrex-trained Long House Hall and. They were handed 10st12lb and 10st5lb respectively.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies (right), Splash Of Ginge’s Liverpool-born owner John Neild (second right) and Willy Twiston-Davies watch the horses gallop at Twiston-Davies’ Grange Hill Farm stable in Naunton, Gloucestershire on Wednesday, December 6 2017
Scouser John Neild’s Splash Of Ginge, though, hasn’t fared well with the weights. He was handed 9st11lb and is currently 88th on the list of the 105 entries. He looks like he will struggle to make the final field of 40. Liverpool-born Jim Beaumont, who won the National alongside co-owner and former Blundellsands resident Douglas Pryde with Auroras Encore in 2013, have the Patrick Griffin-trained teenager Maggio (10st4lb) entered this time. On this year’s handicap and on how he framed it, former Quarry Bank student Smith added: “One of those most interesting aspects of this year’s Randox Health Grand National is the top three horses in the handicap. “Defintly Red, Bristol De Mai and Edwulf are all on higher ratings than last season and that is down to their wins in Pattern races. A year ago, they were all rated significantly lower. It is what they have done this season that has moved them upwards with Definitly Red taking the Cotswold Chase, Bristol De Mai the Betfair Chase and Edwulf the Irish Gold Cup. “It will be great if Definitly Red lines up on April 14, because I am confident that he will have already at least been placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup by then. In what looks like an open Cheltenham Gold Cup, I think he will finish in the first four. “In the past, horses at the top of the handicap have been very worthy horses, such as horses that had run well in Gold Cups for example, but were perhaps horses on their way down. The progressive horses at the top of the handicap is the biggest change for me when looking at this year’s race. “We also have the established stars like Outlander and Minella Rocco at the top of the handicap. Outlander is a three-time G1 winner in Ireland and Minella Rocco has finished runner-up in a Cheltenham Gold Cup. “Outlander is a horse that has had a stellar career but has slipped slightly under the radar – if the Grand National was run at Leopardstown, he would be the winner as he is real specialist there. Minella Rocco is a horse that has always looked like he would stay further and it will be interesting to see how he gets on. “There wasn’t a specific race run this season that helped me frame the handicap in a particular way. The closest association at the top of the weights is Edwulf and Outlander, who were first and second in the Irish Gold Cup. There was a neck between them at Leopardstown and there is a pound between them in the handicap for Aintree. “The top of the handicap is not so dominated by Irish-trained horses this year, in contrast to 12 months’ ago. There is a good mix at the top this year – four of the top eight in the handicap are GB-trained and four are Irish-trained.
Derek Fox and One For Arthur (centre) clear the last to win the 2017 Randox Health Grand National from Cause Of Causes (right) with Blaklion (left) at Aintree Racecourse on April 8 2017 Picture by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
“Obviously, there are also horses that have form over the Grand National fences including Blaklion, The Last Samuri, Cause Of Causes and Saint Are. That is something that is great about the Randox Health Grand National – established star performers over the fences who come back for more. “The most difficult horse for me to assess, no doubt about it, was Bless The Wings. The reason being was that he is rated 17lb higher on his Cheltenham cross country form compared to his rating in Ireland. “The form of the cross country races at Cheltenham has historically been very good in relation to Aintree with the likes of Silver Birch, Balthazar King and Cause Of Causes. “On the one hand, Bless The Wings’ rating of 137 in Ireland would not get him in the race but 154, his cross country rating, seemed to me to be too high compared to his form on park courses. “In the end, I settled on 143 as a compromise which should hopefully get him in the race. He is a very interesting horse – even though he is a 13-year-old. He is an absolutely super jumper and his cross country form is very good indeed. “Horses which have tumbled down the weights include Carlingford Lough, who was joint top-weight back in 2015, but is on 10st 11lb this year. Lord Windermere is a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner on 10st 3lb, while Road To Riches is on 10st 1lb this year compared to 10st 13lb a year ago. It will be very interesting if any of these can bounce back to form. “There is less discrepancy than ever before between British and Irish ratings. “The biggest difference we do have is with Pleasant Company (10st 7llb) who was going really well last year before making a terrible error at Valentine’s on the second circuit (25th). After that, he just coasted home and finished ninth. “I didn’t feel I needed to drop Pleasant Company very much for Aintree this year because of that one bad error – his finishing position was not commensurate with how he actually ran on the day. I have him 3lb higher than his Irish rating.” The Randox Health Grand National full list of weights Grade 3 handicap chase, £1 million total prize fund. Aintree, 5.15pm Saturday, April 14 2018. 4m2f74yds over the Grand National fences. For seven-year-olds and upwards which, have started in a chase during the current season and who, up to and including March 19, have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a steeple chase with an official distance description of’ two miles seven and a half furlongs’ or more and which are allotted a rating of 125 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 11. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 11 would merit a minimum rating of 125. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 11. At the Handicapper’s discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. Entries closes January 30, entries revealed January 31 (105 entries), weights revealed February 13 (104 go forward – 1 not qualified), first scratchings deadline February 27, second scratchings deadline March 20, five-day confirmations April 9, final declarations 10am April 12. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves. Horse Age Weight Rating Owner Trainer 1) DEFINITLY RED (IRE) 9 11-10 165 Phil & Julie Martin Brian Ellison 2) BRISTOL DE MAI (FR) 7 11-09 164 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies 3) EDWULF 9 11-09 164 J P McManus Joseph O’Brien IRE 4) OUTLANDER (IRE) 10 11-08 163 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE 5) MINELLA ROCCO (IRE) 8 11-07 162 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill 6) BLAKLION 9 11-06 161 Simon Such & Gino Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies 7) SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE) 9 11-05 160 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE 8) ANIBALE FLY (FR) 8 11-04 159 J P McManus Tony Martin IRE 9) THE LAST SAMURI (IRE) 10 11-04 159 Paul & Clare Rooney Kim Bailey 10) MALA BEACH (IRE) 10 11-03 158 Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE 11) VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 9 11-03 158 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE 12) AMERICAN (FR) 8 11-02 157 The Jago Family Partnership Harry Fry 13) TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 11-01 156 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE 14) ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR) 8 11-00 155 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE 15) GOLD PRESENT (IRE) 8 11-00 155 John & Barbara Cotton Nicky Henderson 16) NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE) 9 10-13 154 Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE 17) PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE) 11 10-13 154 ISL Recruitment Fergal O’Brien 18) SIZING CODELCO (IRE) 9 10-13 154 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Colin Tizzard 19) CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) 10 10-12 153 J P McManus Gordon Elliott IRE 20) SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) 8 10-12 153 Carl Hinchy Richard Hobson 21) CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE) 12 10-11 152 J P McManus John Kiely IRE 22) O O SEVEN (IRE) 8 10-11 152 Christopher Hanbury Nicky Henderson 23) TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 11 10-11 152 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams 24) GO CONQUER (IRE) 9 10-10 151 Paul & Clare Rooney Jonjo O’Neill 25) TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR) 8 10-10 151 Galloping On The South Downs Partnership Gary Moore 26) VICENTE (FR) 9 10-10 151 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls 27) ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR) 8 10-09 150 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE 28) RATHVINDEN (IRE) 10 10-09 150 Ronnie Bartlett Willie Mullins IRE 29) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 10 10-09 150 J P McManus Anthony Honeyball 30) TIGER ROLL (IRE) 8 10-09 150 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE 31) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) 9 10-09 150 Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent David Pipe 32) A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE) 7 10-08 149 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE 33) AS DE MEE (FR) 8 10-08 149 The Stewart Family & Judi Dench Paul Nicholls 34) CHASE THE SPUD 10 10-08 149 Christine Banks Fergal O’Brien 35) ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE) 8 10-08 149 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs 36) SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT 10 10-08 149 Quona Thomson Sandy Thomson 37) WARRIORS TALE 9 10-08 149 Michelle & Dan Macdonald Paul Nicholls 38) BELLSHILL (IRE) 8 10-07 148 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE 39) FLYING ANGEL (IRE) 7 10-07 148 Rob Rexton Nigel Twiston-Davies 40) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) 12 10-07 148 The Three Graces Ian Williams 41) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) 10 10-07 148 Malcolm C Denmark Willie Mullins IRE 42) THE DUTCHMAN (IRE) 8 10-07 148 SprayClad UK Colin Tizzard 43) BEEVES (IRE) 11 10-06 147 Paul & Clare Rooney Jennie Candlish 44) SAINT ARE (FR) 12 10-06 147 David Fox Tom George 45) UCELLO CONTI (FR) 10 10-06 147 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott IRE 46) VYTA DU ROC (FR) 9 10-06 147 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson 47) CAROLE’S DESTRIER 10 10-05 146 Carole Skipworth Neil Mulholland 48) LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE) 10 10-05 146 Carl Hinchy Dan Skelton 49) POLIDAM (FR) 9 10-05 146 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Willie Mullins IRE 50) RAZ DE MAREE (FR) 13 10-05 146 James Swan Gavin Cromwell IRE 51) ABOLITIONIST (IRE) 10 10-04 145 Mark Albon, John Provan & Chris Stedman Dr Richard Newland 52) BAIE DES ILES (FR) 7 10-04 145 Zorka Wentworth Ross O’Sullivan IRE 53) BUYWISE (IRE) 11 10-04 145 T Hywel Jones Evan Williams 54) CHILDRENS LIST (IRE) 8 10-04 145 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE 55) I JUST KNOW (IRE) 8 10-04 145 M B Scholey & the late R H Scholey Sue Smith 56) MAGGIO (FR) 13 10-04 145 Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont Patrick Griffin IRE 57) PENDRA (IRE) 10 10-04 145 J P McManus Charlie Longsdon 58) VIRGILIO (FR) 9 10-04 145 C J Edwards, D Futter, A H Rushworth Dan Skelton 59) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE) 9 10-03 144 Stuart Coltherd Stuart Coltherd 60) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 11 10-03 144 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams 61) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) 12 10-03 144 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE 62) SILSOL (GER) 9 10-03 144 Michelle & Dan Macdonald Paul Nicholls 63) THIRD INTENTION (IRE) 11 10-03 144 Robert & Sarah Tizzard Colin Tizzard 64) THREE FACES WEST (IRE) 10 10-03 144 Paul & Clare Rooney Philip Hobbs 65) WILD WEST WIND (IRE) 9 10-03 144 Simon Clarke Tom George 66) BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) 13 10-02 143 Adrian Butler & S P O’Connor Gordon Elliott IRE 67) DOUBLE ROSS (IRE) 12 10-02 143 Options O Syndicate Nigel Twiston-Davies 68) FINAL NUDGE (IRE) 9 10-02 143 Corbett Stud David Dennis 69) MILANSBAR (IRE) 11 10-02 143 Robert Bothway Neil King 70) MORNING ASSEMBLY (IRE) 11 10-02 143 Clipper Logistics Group Ltd Pat Fahy IRE 71) DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE) 8 10-01 142 McGoldrick Racing 3 Sue Smith 72) ROAD TO RICHES (IRE) 11 10-01 142 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE 73) THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE) 10 10-01 142 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE 74) SAMETEGAL (FR) 9 10-00 141 John & Barbara Cotton Paul Nicholls 75) VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE) 8 10-00 141 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith 76) WALK IN THE MILL (FR) 8 10-00 141 Baroness Harding Robert Walford 77) GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE) 9 9-12 139 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE 78) VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR) 9 9-12 139 Andrew Brooks & G Moore Venetia Williams 79) VIEUX MORVAN (FR) 9 9-12 139 M L Bloodstock Joseph O’Brien IRE 80) WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE) 9 9-12 139 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE 81) ARBRE DE VIE (FR) 8 9-11 138 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE 82) BALLYALTON (IRE) 11 9-11 138 John Westwood Ian Williams 83) BONNY KATE (IRE) 8 9-11 138 Patricia Hunt Noel Meade IRE 84) COGRY 9 9-11 138 Graham & Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies 85) MISSED APPROACH (IRE) 8 9-11 138 Alan & Andrew Turner Warren Greatrex 86) MYSTEREE (IRE) 10 9-11 138 Mrs Lynne Maclennan Michael Scudamore 87) SIR MANGAN (IRE) 10 9-11 138 Frank McAleavy Dan Skelton 88) SPLASH OF GINGE 10 9-11 138 John Neild Nigel Twiston-Davies 89) BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR) 7 9-10 137 Corsellis & Seyfried Paul Nicholls 90) MINELLA DADDY (IRE) 8 9-10 137 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen 91) PAIROFBROWNEYES (IRE) 9 9-10 137 Fibbage Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE 92) RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE) 9 9-10 137 Nigel Morris Rebecca Curtis 93) KNOCK HOUSE (IRE) 9 9-09 136 Tim Leslie Donald McCain 94) THE YOUNG MASTER 9 9-08 135 Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland 95) ALFIE SPINNER (IRE) 13 9-06 133 Alan Beard & Brian Beard Kerry Lee 96) HENRI PARRY MORGAN 10 9-06 133 Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan Peter Bowen 97) PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE) 8 9-06 133 Lyreen Syndicate Tony Martin IRE 98) BRAVISSIMO (FR) 7 9-05 132 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE 99) DANCING SHADOW (IRE) 9 9-05 132 The Dancing Shadows Victor Dartnall 100) ROGUE ANGEL (IRE) 10 9-05 132 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE 101) THEBARROWMAN (IRE) 8 9-04 131 D Keys Adrian Keatley IRE 102) OUT SAM 9 9-03 130 D Charlesworth Gordon Elliott IRE 103) KRACKATOA KING 10 9-00 127 JC Harrison Lee & T Howard Partnership Kerry Lee 104) GOODTOKNOW 10 8-13 126 Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan Potter Kerry Lee 105) POORMANS HILL (IRE) 7 NQ 120 V Caldwell/Mrs K Caldwell Gordon Elliott IRE 105 entries (1 not qualified), 40 Irish-trained Kim Bailey happy with weight for 2016 Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri
David Bass and the Last Samuri jump over the Canal turn during the 2017 Randox Heath Grand National at Aintree Racecourse on April 8 2017 Picture by Michael Steele/Getty Images
Grand National-winning trainer Kim Bailey believes 2016 runner-up The Last Samuri has a chance in the Randox Health Grand National – if the weights don’t rise too much before the big day on April 14. Aintree regular The Last Samuri was handed ‘the expected’ weight of 11st4lb off his rating of 159 behind current top weight Definitly Red, who would carry 11st10lb if he lined up. The Last Samuri, owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, finished second behind Rule The World in the 2016 running of the world’s greatest steeplechase and was 16th of the 19 finishers in last year’s renewal. The 10-year-old showed his love of the big Aintree obstacles once more when runner-up behind current 10-1 Grand National favourite Blaklion in the Randox Health Becher Chase in December. While he was last seen out when a fine fourth in the Grade Two BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase behind Definitly Red at Cheltenham on January 27 Bailey, who tasted Grand National glory with Mr Frisk in 1990, said: “The Last Samuri’s weight is what we were expecting given his rating. “If the weights stay as they are and don’t rise, I think he would have more of a chance. “I have been very happy with him since Cheltenham and he will have a prep race somewhere between now and Aintree. “We have got several options, but there are no firm plans as we will have to see what the weather does first. “The Last Samuri doesn’t need to have a prep race, but we are lining up to have one at the moment.” Current Randox Health Grand National (Betway) odds: 10/1 Blaklion 14/1 Total Recall 20/1 Definitly Red, Gold Present, Minella Rocco, The Last Samuri 25/1 Cause Of Causes, Edwulf 28/1 Vicente 33/1 Abolitionist, Bristol De Mai, Vyta Du Roc, Ucello Conti, Vieux Lion Rouge, Gas Line Boy, Anibale Fly, Bellshill, Noble Endeavor, Wild West Wind 40/1 Go Conquer, Mala Beach, Milansbar, Outlander, Polidam, Saint Are, Seeyouatmidnight, Valseur Lido 50/1 Acapella Bourgeois, A Genie In Abottle, Wounded Warrior, Tiger Roll, Final Nudge, Pendra, Buywise, Vieux Morvan, Arbre De Vie, Rogue Angel, Sametegal, American, Baie Des Iles, Carlingford Lough, Chase The Spud, Childrens List, Cogry, Delusionofgrandeur, Morning Assembly, Pairofbrowneyes, Pleasant Company, Rathvinden, Raz De Maree, Sub Lieutenant, The Dutchman, The Young Master, Three Faces West, Warriors Tale, Bless The Wings, As De Mee, Vintage Clouds 66/1 Shantou Flyer, Relentless Dreamer, Perfect Candidate, O O Seven, Mysteree, Missed Approach, Minella Daddy, Lord Windermere, General Principle, Alpha Des Obeaux, Vic De Touzaine, Braqueur D’Or, Bonny Kate, Ballyalton, Walk In The Mill, Bravissimo, Henri Parry Morgan, I Just Know, Out Sam, Regal Encore, Road To Riches, Rock The Kasbah, Silsol, Sir Mangan, Sizing Codelco, Splash Of Ginge, Thunder And Roses 80/1 Double Ross, Flying Angel, Long House Hall, Tenor Nivernais, Virgilio 100/1 Thebarrowman, Alfie Spinner, Knock House, Phil’s Magic, Houblon Des Obeaux, Goodtoknow, Dancing Shadow, Beeves, Captain Redbeard, Krackatoa King, Maggio, Third Intention, Traffic Fluide