Grand National Festival latest: 87 entries remain in big race
David Metcalf | April 4, 2016
Monday’s five-day confirmation stage saw 87 horses go forward for the £1 million Crabbie’s Grand National – run at the new start time of 17:15 BST at Aintree on Saturday, April 9th.
The maximum number of runners on Saturday is 40, and Many Clouds is currently a 7/1 solid favourite with Coral to land back-to-back runnings.
Almost half of the current entries will be whittled down to the final field of 40, plus four reserves, at 10:00 on Thursday, April 7th.
The order of elimination for horses currently 41 and below on the list of confirmations will be known on Tuesday. The Romford Pele is the final horse in the field at the moment.
Saint Are, who finished a gallant runner-up in last year’s race is number 38 on the list and guaranteed a run. He is 16/1 to gone one better.
Nine Grand National entrants taken out today are:
Roi Du Mee
Living Next Door
Sheehan gets call up to partner Black Thunder
Gavin Sheehan has been booked to ride Black Thunder in the Grand National.
It will be the first time that the young pilot has teamed up with champion trainer Paul Nicholls, and the gelding is 50/1 to get the partnership off to a dream start.
However, Sheehan will have to keep his fingers crossed that Black Thunder remains with Nicholls as he is due to go up for sale at Aintree on Thursday.
The nine-year-old is one of five entries Nicholls has in the extended 3m 3f contest; the others being Unioniste (Nick Scholfield, 25/1), Wonderful Charm (Sam Twiston-Davies, 50/1), Silviniaco Conti (Noel Fehily, 12/1), Just A Par (Sean Bowen, 33/1) and Rocky Creek (Andrew Thornton, 50/1).
Ditcheat handler Nicholls told the national press: “It will be Gavin’s first ride for me, but he rode him in work during the week at Wincanton. It just depends if the horse gets sold and what they want to do. A lot can still happen.
“They have all schooled over the National fences and it was all good. The main one is Conti, he’s a seven-time Grade One winner, he’s very well and trained for the race.”
O’Regan bullish over The Druids Nephew
The Neil Mulholland trained gelding was travelling strongly at the head of affairs when coming to grief four from home in last year’s renewal, and has had his whole season targeted around gaining compensation.
O’Regan will be having his 10th ride in the world’s greatest steeplechase, with his best finish so far a second place on Black Apalachi back in 2010.
“When I sat on The Druids Nephew the other day, he was a totally different horse, and I mean a totally different horse,” O’Regan told the tabloids.
“The ground will be important, he has a lot of speed. Last year he was motoring when he fell. Neil is confident he has him in great form. I must have watched the replay of last year’s race 20 times. He was really operating.”