2016 Crabbie’s Grand National weights – reaction from connections
David Metcalf | Updated February 17, 2016
Following the unveiling of the weights for Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 9th, here’s what connections of some of the leading fancies had to say.
Sherwood pleased with Many Clouds
Oliver Sherwood, trainer of last year’s winner Many Clouds, who is 12/1 with Coral to triumph in 2016, said: “I was staggered by the worldwide response to Many Clouds’ win last year with interest from everywhere including Japan, America and Australia. I couldn’t believe how much the Grand National means to the rest of the world.
“I was expecting 11st 10lb, anything less would have been a bonus. There are two Gold Cup and two King George winners in the race which says a lot for the race and where it is going.
“Many Clouds will head to Kelso before Aintree for a Listed race 10 days before Cheltenham. It is very different to last year when he was being trained for the Gold Cup with the National something of an afterthought.
“It is very important Leighton Aspell rides Many Clouds. Nobody else has ridden him in a race or schooled him. After two Grand Nationals, his confidence must be sky high.”
Walsh believes Foxrock is “ideal” candidate
Katie Walsh, amateur rider and Crabbie’s Grand National Festival ambassador, said: “It is a shame that Seabass (9st 12lb) is unlikely to get a run in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National but it is being realistic.
“He is 13 years old and it was fantastic when he was placed in the race but that was back in 2012.”
Asked to rate the chances of Foxrock (11st 3lb), trained by her father Ted, and Thunder And Roses (10st 6lb) whom she rode to win the Irish Grand National last year, she replied: “Foxrock is ideal for a National, whether it is this year or next year, I am not too sure.
“He has the size and scope to carry the weight. He is at that divide at the moment where he is not a Gold Cup horse, but he is a high-class handicapper. He must have a chance but who knows what will happen.
“Thunder And Roses was not that fancied when he won the Irish Grand National but he would have a chance on his form. Gigginstown, the owners, have a lot of horses in the Crabbie’s Grand National and we will see.”
Henderson triple handed in bid for elusive first win
Nicky Henderson, the Lambourn trainer, reflected on his lack of a winner in the Crabbie’s Grand National and looked forward to this year’s race: “We will certainly run all three of horses if possible – Triolo d’Alene (11st), Bear’s Affair (10st 7lb) and Hadrian’s Approach (10st 6lb).
“It is an elusive race for us – we have been short of ammo for it over the last few years and so it is nice to have three in 2016.
“Triolo is good and won at Kempton Park the other day over two and a half miles. He has won a Hennessy and a Topham (over the Grand National fences). Winning a Topham is quite easy but the Grand National is impossible – I don’t know why these horses cannot go around twice at Aintree.
“Triolo loved it the last time he was at Aintree and jumped beautifully. He will probably go to Ascot this weekend.
“Hadrian’s Approach has not run for a bit but he is in really good shape. We were going to go to Kelso for the Ivan Straker race but sadly, with the ground likely to be very soft up there, I don’t think we will be making the journey. So Hadrian has to find another route to Aintree.
“Bear’s Affair has won twice over the Mildmay Course at Aintree but that has no relevance to the Grand National course. He is in good form though.
“We have had the second a couple of times in the Crabbie’s Grand National but the race has been a bit elusive.”
Aachen a definite for Venetia
Venetia Williams, who sent out the 2009 Grand National winner, Mon Mome, at 100/1, has seven possibles this time.
She said: “Houblon Des Obeaux (11st 5lb) has got a stone more for winning what was probably a highfaluting veterans’ chase which I think is quite steep.
“It has to be decided whether he will run. He is nine and might have next year as an option.
“I think Aachen (10st 10lb) will definitely run in the race if I can get him there – believe me that is the challenge. He is a talented horse but it is quite a challenge to get him to the races. Fingers crossed.”
Waley-Cohen looking for Long Run to turn back the clock
Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse and trainer and owner of Long Run (10st 8lb), said: “He is all right at the moment after having a problem with a foot a few weeks ago.
“He is now back cantering but he is not going to get to the Foxhunters’ at Cheltenham. We had to have a saver in the National just in case.
“Long Run was going sweetly at the time when he came down at Valentine’s first time around in 2014. He has not run for 22 months now so we will find out more when we run him back.
“He was rated 182 when he won the Gold Cup and he is now 149 in the Crabbie’s Grand National. He is 11 and won his first Grade One at three so he has been going a very long time.”
Liverpudlian Neild hoping Ginge can cause a Splash
Splash Of Ginge (10st), owned by Liverpudlian John Neild and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies in Gloucestershire, qualified for the Crabbie’s Grand National by being placed over three miles last weekend.
Neild said: “He is made for the race – he will win it eventually. I was born literally at the back of the racecourse. It is a dream to have an entry – the Grand National is the greatest race in the world.
“As a Liverpudlian and a Merseysider, I am just incredibly proud we have a chance of running.”
Bailey bullish about The Last Samuri
Kim Bailey, who sent out the 1990 winner Mr Frisk, is going to be represented by The Last Samuri (10st 8lb).
He said: “We have an outstanding chance. He has won at Kempton, jumps very well and gets the trip. He is the ideal National horse. He will run at Doncaster at the beginning of March.”
Twiston-Davies excited about Bally Beaufort
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won the Grand National twice, more than any other current trainer, with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002), has six entries.
He said: “Double Ross (10st 9lb) will definitely get in and he is lovely. Bally Beaufort (10st 1lb) is a novice who stays and jumps well and he is more exciting than the others.”
O’Brien hoping Alvarado can make it third time lucky
Fergal O’Brien, trainer of Alvarado who has finished fourth for the last two years, commented: “I was delighted to finish fourth with Alvarado again and win £52,000.
“It will be the same preparation as last year – we will keep him fresh and he will start off at Doncaster on February 24. He is a very good horse and we keep him in a routine. Fingers crossed, as you need an enormous amount of luck with the Grand National.”
Eliott keen on Conti and Causes
Gordon Elliott, who trains in Ireland, made a great start to his career when capturing the 2007 Grand National with Silver Birch. He has six entries this time around.
He said: “Ucello Conti (10st 8lb) and Cause Of Causes (10st 1lb) would be my main ones for the race.
“I think the National is made for Ucello Conti and Daryl Jacob will ride him.”
Simon Munir, Ucello Conti’s owner, added: “I think it is every owner’s dream to win the Grand National.”
Pipe sweet on the chances of Soll
David Pipe, successful with Comply Or Die in 2008, has seven engaged this year and is keenest on Soll (10st 11lb).
He said: “Soll loves the ground there and jumps well. He has bleeding issues and was running a big race until that happened last year.
“He goes to Kelso and we will see what happens after that. Broadway Buffalo (10st) will probably not get in the National but he is going to Haydock Park this weekend.”
A maximum of 40 horse can line up in the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National. Check out all the latest Coral odds on the big race.