Previous winners among huge Grand National entry
David Metcalf | February 3, 2016
Previous Grand National winners Many Clouds and Pineua De Re were today among 126 entries revealed for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 9th.
The former put in a cracking performance under a welter weight of 11st 9lb to win last year’s renewal, and is 12/1 favourite with Coral to become the first since Red Rum (1973/74) to land back-to-back successes in the stamina sapping contest run over just short of 4m 4f.
Pineau De Re took the spoils in 2014, and the Dr Richard Newland trained gelding is 50/1 to land this year’s running of the £1 million contest.
Five of the first six horses home last year are entered again with runner-up Saint Are (33/1), fourth Alvarado (40/1), fifth Shutthefrontdoor (25/1) and sixth Royale Knight (33/1) all engaged. Alvarado was also fourth in 2014.
Brassil sweet on Double Seven
Double Seven finished third under Sir A P McCoy behind Pineau De Re in 2014 and is being geared up for another tilt at the Aintree spectacular after missing last season through injury. He is one of nine entries owned by J P McManus who was successful with Don’t Push It in 2010.
The 10-year-old won five consecutive races in the build-up to the 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National and ran a fine race to be third in the big race but did not appear again until lining up over hurdles at Punchestown on December 31st. He has raced once more, finishing ninth in a Pertemps qualifier over hurdles at the same course on January 31st.
Double Seven’s trainer Martin Brassil, who sent out Numbersixvalverde to win the 2006 Crabbie’s Grand National, said: “Double Seven is grand. He’s had the two runs over hurdles but it is hard to know what to make of them because he is not a soft ground horse.
“We are taking it one step at a time at the moment and we won’t really know where we are until he runs in a race when the conditions are right for him. He wants nice ground.
“I’m not sure what we are going to do between now and Aintree. He could have a run over fences but we will see how he is.”
High class performers Don Poli and Sir Des Champs among Mullins squad
This year’s entries include plenty of high-class performers. The seven entries from Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins include the multiple Grade 1 winner and 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup second Sir Des Champs as well as Don Poli (25/1 co-second favourite with Coral), whose three Grade 1 victories include the 2015 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and this season’s Lexus Chase at Leopardstown. Their owner, Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, is responsible for 10 entries, more than any other owner.
A total of 38 entries are trained in Ireland. Ted Walsh has entered Seabass (66/1), who achieved the best finishing position for a female rider when third in 2012 under his amateur jockey daughter and Crabbie’s Grand National Ambassador Katie Walsh. The Co Kildare handler has also put in Foxrock (66/1), a staying-on third behind Don Poli last time out.
Gordon Elliott was responsible for the last Irish-trained winner of the Crabbie’s Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007 and his half-dozen entries include Ucello Conti, who has run well when placed in valuable handicap chases on his last two starts, and Causes Of Causes (33/1), successful in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival before finishing eighth in the Crabbie’s Grand National.
Other interesting Irish-trained contenders include the Grade 1 winner Gilgamboa last season’s Scottish Grand National second Goonyella (25/1) and Thunder And Roses (25/1), winner of the 2015 Irish Grand National.
Nine entries for Nicholls
Paul Nicholls, successful in 2012 with Neptune Collonges, is the trainer with most entries, with nine in total. These are headed by Silviniaco Conti (25/1), whose six Grade 1 wins include two King George VI Chases, two Betfair Chases and two renewals of the Betfred Bowl over the Mildmay fences at Aintree (2014 and 2015). Another leading contender from the champion Jump trainer is Just A Par (33/1), successful in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park last season.
A number of entries have already scored over the Grand National fences, including Highland Lodge (50/1) who took the Becher Chase in December, and Triolo D’Alene (33/1), who was the impressive winner of the 2013 Crabbie’s Topham Chase.
Other leading entries include Soll (33/1), successful in a valuable veterans’ handicap chase at Sandown last month and The Druids Nephew (25/1), who was leading the field when falling at Valentine’s on the second circuit in 2015. Two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners have been entered – 2011 victor Long Run and 2014 scorer Lord Windermere.
Interesting duo for Rooneys
Owners Paul and Clare Rooney have two interesting contenders in Kruzhlinin (40/1), a comfortable winner at Kempton Park last month, and The Last Samuri (33/1), who landed a valuable handicap chase in impressive fashion at the same course in December.
The name McCain is synonymous with the Crabbie’s Grand National. The late Ginger McCain sent out the only three-time winner with Red Rum (1973, 1974 and 1977) and also enjoyed success with Amberleigh House in 2004, while his son Donald saddled the 2011 scorer Ballabriggs and has one entry this year in Corrin Wood.
The weights for the Crabbie’s Grand National are framed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, and will be unveiled at the Sky Garden in the heart of London on Tuesday, February 16th.