Seventy two horses still hold an entry in Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National at Aintree but with a maximum permitted field of just 40 there will be many disappointed owners / trainers come Thursday’s final declaration stage, while those currently on the verge of making the cut for the world’s most famous steeplechase will be holding their breath in the days ahead.
Of the top forty-rated contenders Cause Of Causes, Bellshill, Rathvinden and As De Mee are all unlikely to take their chance according to their respective trainers along with the recently deceased A Genie In A Bottle, leaving Milansbar and Bryony Frost as the last horse guaranteed a place in the extended 4m 2f marathon.
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Just below Neil King’s gelding on a mark of 143 come Final Nudge and Double Ross, 1lb higher than the trio of Road To Riches, Thunder And Roses and Delusionofgrandeur. It is likely to be touch and go for one or more of those five horses lining up at 5.15pm on Saturday afternoon while those connected to Walk In The Mill and Vintage Clouds ( both rated 141 ) look destined to be disappointed.
The nearest a woman jockey has come to winning the great race so far was the third place of Seabass and Katy Walsh behind Neptune Collonges in 2012 and the Irish rider will hope to improve upon that position when she partners the Ross O’Sullivan-trained Baie Des Iles on this occasion and the pair can be backed at a best price 40/1 with several bookmakers including Ladbrokes and William Hill.
One of the highlights of the national hunt season to date has been the success of Bryony Frost who will be back on board her Betfred Classic Chase winner Milansbar and the two will be prove hugely popular with the once-a-year punter. The eleven-year-old son of Milan is currently available at a standout 40-1 with Betfair Sportsbook who are non-runner-no-bet and a fifth the odds 188.8.131.52.5.
28-year-old Rachael Blackmore will make it three rides for the fairer sex in this year’s renewal as the Irish champion conditional has been booked to partner Mouse Morris’s 50-1 chance Alpha Des Obeaux.