65 Horses remain in the mix for the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National at the six-day entry stage but with a maximum permitted field of 40 the connections of many intended runners will be disappointed come Thursday’s final declarations, although those associated with the fancied pair of Soll and Royale Knight can breathe a sigh of relief after filling the final two guaranteed places in the four mile three and a half furlong marathon.
As expected, the Paul Nicholls stable are now left with four intended contenders for the world’s most famous race (Rocky Creek, Unioniste, Rebel Rebellion and Mon Parrain), after the Ditcheat handler withdrew both Sam Winner and Benvolio, both intended starters in the Coral Scottish Grand National the following week, while Nicky Henderson confirmed that he will be without a runner in the race due to his entry Hadrian’s Approach having to miss the rest of the season with a leg injury.
The David Pipe stable, despite having four entries left in the race, are likely to be represented by Soll alone as the other three need horses to defect to be in with a chance of making the cut, of which the trainer told www.davidpipe.com: “It is great that Soll has made the top 40 for the Grand National on Saturday. He is an intended runner and Tom Scudamore will be on board. Our other entries in the National, The Package and Broadway Buffalo, both need horses to come out to get in but they would take their chance if they happened to get in, while Standing Ovation will almost certainly miss the cut.”
“The Package holds an entry in the Topham on Friday and may go there, although the Scottish National and bet365 Chase at Sandown are other possibilities. He seems to have come out of Cheltenham in flying form and is evergreen at the age of 12. Broadway Buffalo has the same two options if he does not make the cut on Saturday. Both Soll and The Package schooled over our Grand National style fences this morning and they jumped nicely as you would expect of horses with experience of the big race.”
The final horse the make it into the guaranteed 40-runner field is our 40-1 ante-post tip Royale Knight who will join last year’s winner Pineau De Re for trainer Dr Richard Newland and is likely to be ridden by Will Kennedy, although Ian Williams is of the opinion that the jockey will be on board his horse Super Duty.