Staged over four and a quarter miles and 30 fences, the Randox Health Grand National is the world’s richest and greatest chase – the highlight of Aintree’s famous three-day Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Last year’s fourth Blaklion, one of six entries for dual Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, looked as good as ever on his latest start as he powered to a nine-length victory over The Last Samuri (Kim Bailey) in the G3 Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (3m 2f) over the Grand National fences on December 9.
The Last Samuri, who was second to Rule The World in the 2016 Grand National, finished an excellent fourth behind likely top-weight Definitly Red (Brian Ellison) in the G2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase (3m 2f) at Cheltenham on January 27.
Thanks to the victories of Earth Summit (1998) Bindaree (2002), Twiston-Davies is the only current trainer to have won the Grand National more than once. His 2018 entries also include multiple G1 winner Bristol De Mai, also a candidate for top-weight, BetVictor Gold Cup hero Splash Of Ginge and Aintree G1 scorer Flying Angel.
Britain’s champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson has three contenders in Gold Present, who wore down Frodon to land a Listed handicap chase at Ascot before Christmas, Vyta Du Roc and O O Seven as he seeks a first victory in the Randox Health Grand National.
Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins accounts for 10 of the 40 Irish-trained entries, with his double handful headed by Ladbrokes Trophy victor Total Recall, Polidam and promising novice Rathvinden.
Mullins’ big rival in Ireland, Gordon Elliott, landed the Grand National with Silver Birch (2007) in his first season with a training license. Elliott also has a 10-strong team which features Troytown Handicap Chase victor Mala Beach and three-time G1 winner Outlander.
Outlander is one of 11 possible contenders for owner Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, successful with Rule The World in 2016, while J P McManus’ seven entries include last year’s runner-up Cause Of Causes (Gordon Elliott), G1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup second Minella Rocco (Jonjo O’Neill) and Paddy Power Handicap Chase victor Anibale Fly. McManus saw his famous colours carried to success in the 2010 Grand National by Don’t Push It.
Worcestershire handler Dr Richard Newland, who tasted Grand National glory with Pineau De Re in 2014, has another eye-catching Irish import among the entries in the Abolitionist.
Abolitionist captured the valuable Leinster National Handicap Chase at Naas in March before finishing third behind Our Duke in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, when trained by Ellmarie Holden.
The 10-year-old, who is now part-owned by Pineau De Re’s owner John Provan, has not raced since finishing down the field next time out in a handicap hurdle at Killarney in August.
Newland revealed: “Abolitionist is coming back from an injury. We got him in the autumn and then he had an issue with a stress fracture.
“He is on the way back now and doing really nicely. He is a nice horse who shows a good attitude and we are pleased to have him.
“We are stepping up his work and hope to have him on the track towards the end of February. Then all being well, he will go on to Aintree for the Randox Health Grand National.
“He could have a spin over hurdles at Ascot on February 17 or there is a veterans’ chase at Doncaster on February 21.
“The rules have changed, so he has to run in a chase this season to be qualified. If he starts off over hurdles, then he would run again over fences in March.”
Other Grand National-winning trainers with 2018 entries include Paul Nicholls, whose sextet of possible runners is headed by dual Scottish Grand National victor Vicente, and Mouse Morris, who has Irish Grand National scorers Rogue Angel and Thunder And Roses among his three entries.
Vicente’s owner Trevor Hemmings has won the Grand National three times since 2005 and is the joint most successful trainer in the history of the world’s greatest chase. His other entry is Welsh Grand National fourth Vintage Clouds (Sue Smith).
Welsh Grand National hero Raz De Maree (Gavin Cromwell IRE) is engaged, as is impressive G3 Classic Handicap Chase victor Milansbar (Neil King).
The entry figure has broken the 100-mark for the fourth time in the last five years – entry details since 2010 are as follows:- 2018-105; 2017-110, 2016-126, 2015-98; 2014-115; 2013-84; 2012-82; 2011-102 and 2010-112.
The weights for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National, framed personally by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, will be unveiled on the evening of Tuesday, February 13, at BAFTA in London’s West End.
The Randox Health Grand National is the only handicap of the year where Smith has absolute discretion to deviate from the normal handicap ratings when determining the weights.
A maximum of 40 runners can go to post at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14.
John Baker, Regional Director North West, The Jockey Club, said: “We are delighted with the excellent quality of entries for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National, which once again offers a total prize fund of £1 million.
“It is also pleasing to break the 100-barrier for the fourth time in five years in terms of the number of entries and we continue to receive very strong support from Ireland.
“The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival offers record prize money of £3.21 million and preparations are well underway at Aintree for what will be an outstanding three days of racing.
“We are now eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the weights for the world’s greatest chase, with the surroundings of BAFTA in London providing a suitably dramatic backdrop.”
The Randox Health Grand National Festival consists of Grand National Thursday on April 12, Ladies Day on Friday, April 13 and Grand National Day on Saturday, April 14.
For further information please contact:
Grant Rowley, Regional Communications Manager, The Jockey Club (North West) on 07884 655990 email: [email protected]
Nigel Payne, Press Officer for Aintree for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National, on 07768 025265 email: [email protected]
About Aintree Racecourse / The Jockey Club
Aintree is home to The Randox Health Grand National, the most famous horse race in the world which is the climax to a three-day Festival meeting in April every year. The racecourse hosts five other fixtures and is a leading conference centre in the north west of England. More information is available at aintree.thejockeyclub.co.uk.
Aintree is part of The Jockey Club which stages thrilling sporting occasions including The Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Investec Derby. Millions of people every year enjoy the special experiences we offer through racing, music, food and entertainment. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny we make goes back into British Racing to help the sport thrive. We were founded in 1750 and today we are the largest commercial group in Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport, operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and our charity, Racing Welfare. For more information visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
The Randox Health Grand National
Grade 3 handicap chase, £1 million total prize fund. Aintree, 5.15pm Saturday, April 14, 2018. 4m 2f 74yds over the Grand National fences. For seven-year-olds and upwards who, up to and including March 19 have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a steeple chase with an official distance description of’ two miles seven and a half furlongs’ or more and which are allotted a rating of 125 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including February 11. Horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain or Ireland at closing may also be entered. Such horses may be eligible for a weight providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including February 11 would merit a minimum rating of 125. To qualify, horses must have run at least three times in chases run under the Rules of Racing of the same Recognised Racing Authority up to and including February 11. At the Handicapper’s discretion, such horses may be allocated a rating. The decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final. Entries closes January 30, entries revealed January 31 (105 entries), weights revealed February 3, first scratchings deadline February 27, second scratchings deadline March 20, five-day confirmations April 9, final declarations 10am April 12. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.
|A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE)||7||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|ABOLITIONIST (IRE)||10||M Albon, J A Provan & C E Stedman||Dr Richard Newland|
|ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)||8||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|ALFIE SPINNER (IRE)||13||Alan Beard & Brian Beard||Kerry Lee|
|ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR)||8||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|AMERICAN (FR)||8||The Jago Family Partnership||Harry Fry|
|ANIBALE FLY (FR)||8||J P McManus||Tony Martin IRE|
|ARBRE DE VIE (FR)||8||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|AS DE MEE (FR)||8||The Stewart Family & Judi Dench||Paul Nicholls|
|BAIE DES ILES (FR)||7||Mrs Z Wentworth||Ross O’Sullivan IRE|
|BALLYALTON (IRE)||11||John Westwood||Ian Williams|
|BEEVES (IRE)||11||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jennie Candlish|
|BELLSHILL (IRE)||8||Andrea & Graham Wylie||Willie Mullins IRE|
|BLAKLION||9||S Such & C G Paletta||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|BLESS THE WINGS (IRE)||13||Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|BONNY KATE (IRE)||8||Patricia Hunt||Noel Meade IRE|
|BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR)||7||Corsellis & Seyfried||Paul Nicholls|
|BRAVISSIMO (FR)||7||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|BRISTOL DE MAI (FR)||7||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|BUYWISE (IRE)||11||T Hywel Jones||Evan Williams|
|CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE)||9||Stuart Coltherd||Stuart Coltherd|
|CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE)||12||J P McManus||John Kiely IRE|
|CAROLE’S DESTRIER||10||Mrs C Skipworth||Neil Mulholland|
|CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA)||10||J P McManus||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|CHASE THE SPUD||10||Mrs C Banks||Fergal O’Brien|
|CHILDRENS LIST (IRE)||8||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|COGRY||9||Graham and Alison Jelley||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|DANCING SHADOW (IRE)||9||The Dancing Shadows||Victor Dartnall|
|DEFINITLY RED (IRE)||9||Phil & Julie Martin||Brian Ellison|
|DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE)||8||McGoldrick Racing 3||Sue Smith|
|DOUBLE ROSS (IRE)||12||Options O Syndicate||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|EDWULF||9||J P McManus||Joseph O’Brien IRE|
|FINAL NUDGE (IRE)||9||Corbett Stud||David Dennis|
|FLYING ANGEL (IRE)||7||R J Rexton||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|GAS LINE BOY (IRE)||12||The Three Graces||Ian Williams|
|GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE)||9||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|GO CONQUER (IRE)||9||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jonjo O’Neill|
|GOLD PRESENT (IRE)||8||John & Barbara Cotton||Nicky Henderson|
|GOODTOKNOW||10||Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan Potter||Kerry Lee|
|HENRI PARRY MORGAN||10||Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan||Peter Bowen|
|HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR)||11||Mrs Julian Blackwell||Venetia Williams|
|I JUST KNOW (IRE)||8||M B Scholey & The Late R H Scholey||Sue Smith|
|KNOCK HOUSE (IRE)||9||Tim Leslie||Donald McCain|
|KRACKATOA KING||10||J C Harrison Lee & T Howard Partnership||Kerry Lee|
|LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE)||10||Carl Hinchy||Dan Skelton|
|LORD WINDERMERE (IRE)||12||Dr Ronan Lambe||Jim Culloty IRE|
|MAGGIO (FR)||13||Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont||Patrick Griffin IRE|
|MALA BEACH (IRE)||10||Chris Jones||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|MILANSBAR (IRE)||11||Robert Bothway||Neil King|
|MINELLA DADDY (IRE)||8||Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar||Peter Bowen|
|MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)||8||J P McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|MISSED APPROACH (IRE)||8||Alan & Andrew Turner||Warren Greatrex|
|MORNING ASSEMBLY (IRE)||11||Clipper Logistics Group Ltd||Pat Fahy IRE|
|MYSTEREE (IRE)||10||Lynne Maclennan||Michael Scudamore|
|NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE)||9||Chris Jones||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|O O SEVEN (IRE)||8||Christopher Hanbury||Nicky Henderson|
|OUT SAM||9||D Charlesworth||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|OUTLANDER (IRE)||10||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|PAIROFBROWNEYES (IRE)||9||Fibbage Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|PENDRA (IRE)||10||J P McManus||Charlie Longsdon|
|PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE)||11||ISL Recruitment||Fergal O’Brien|
|PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE)||8||Lyreen Syndicate||Tony Martin IRE|
|PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE)||10||Malcolm C Denmark||Willie Mullins IRE|
|POLIDAM (FR)||9||Simon Munir/Isaac Souede||Willie Mullins IRE|
|POORMANS HILL (IRE)||7||V Caldwell/Mrs K Caldwell||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|RATHVINDEN (IRE)||10||Ronnie Bartlett||Willie Mullins IRE|
|RAZ DE MAREE (FR)||13||James J Swan||Gavin Cromwell IRE|
|REGAL ENCORE (IRE)||10||J P McManus||Anthony Honeyball|
|RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE)||9||Nigel Morris||Rebecca Curtis|
|ROAD TO RICHES (IRE)||11||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE)||8||Diana Whateley||Philip Hobbs|
|ROGUE ANGEL (IRE)||10||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|SAINT ARE (FR)||12||David Fox||Tom George|
|SAMETEGAL (FR)||9||John & Barbara Cotton||Paul Nicholls|
|SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT||10||Mrs A M Thomson||Sandy Thomson|
|SHANTOU FLYER (IRE)||8||Carl Hinchy||Richard Hobson|
|SILSOL (GER)||9||Michelle And Dan Macdonald||Paul Nicholls|
|SIR MANGAN (IRE)||10||Frank McAleavy||Dan Skelton|
|SIZING CODELCO (IRE)||9||Ann & Alan Potts Limited||Colin Tizzard|
|SPLASH OF GINGE||10||Jim Neild||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE)||9||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead IRE|
|TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)||11||Boultbee Brooks Ltd||Venetia Williams|
|THE DUTCHMAN (IRE)||8||SprayClad UK||Colin Tizzard|
|THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)||10||Paul & Clare Rooney||Kim Bailey|
|THE YOUNG MASTER||9||Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters||Neil Mulholland|
|THEBARROWMAN (IRE)||8||D Keys||Adrian Keatley IRE|
|THIRD INTENTION (IRE)||11||Robert and Sarah Tizzard||Colin Tizzard|
|THREE FACES WEST (IRE)||10||Paul & Clare Rooney||Philip Hobbs|
|THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE)||10||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|TIGER ROLL (IRE)||8||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|TOTAL RECALL (IRE)||9||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR)||8||Galloping On The South Downs Partnership||Gary Moore|
|UCELLO CONTI (FR)||10||Simon Munir/Isaac Souede||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|VALSEUR LIDO (FR)||9||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead IRE|
|VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR)||9||A Brooks & G Moore||Venetia Williams|
|VICENTE (FR)||9||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR)||9||Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent||David Pipe|
|VIEUX MORVAN (FR)||9||M L Bloodstock||Joseph O’Brien IRE|
|VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE)||8||Trevor Hemmings||Sue Smith|
|VIRGILIO (FR)||9||C J Edwards, D Futter, A H Rushworth||Dan Skelton|
|VYTA DU ROC (FR)||9||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Nicky Henderson|
|WALK IN THE MILL (FR)||8||Baroness Harding||Robert Walford|
|WARRIORS TALE||9||Michelle And Dan Macdonald||Paul Nicholls|
|WILD WEST WIND (IRE)||9||Simon W Clarke||Tom George|
|WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE)||9||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
Breakdown of entries by trainer with previous successes in the Ranox Health Grand National
Gordon Elliott IRE
(2007 Silver Birch)
Bless The Wings
Cause of Causes
Willie Mullins IRE
Arbre de Vie
(2012 Neptune Collonges)
As de Mee
(1998 Earth Summit, 2002 Bindaree)
Bristol de Mai
Splash of Ginge
Noel Meade IRE
A Genie In Abottle
Road To Riches
O O Seven
Vyta du Roc
Mouse Morris IRE
(2016 Rule The World)
Alpha des Obeaux
Thunder And Roses
Long House Hall
(2013 Auroras Encore)
I Just Know
(2009 Mon Mome)
Houblon des Obeaux
Vic de Touzaine
Henri Parry Morgan
Henry de Bromhead IRE
Wild West Wind
Rock The Kasbah
Three Faces West
Tony Martin IRE
The Young Master
Chase The Spud
Joseph O’Brien IRE
(2010 Don’t Push It)
Gas Line Boy
(1990 Mr Frisk)
The Last Samuri
Raz de Maree
Jim Culloty IRE
Pat Fahy IRE
Patrick Griffin IRE
Adrian Keatley IRE
John Kiely IRE
Dr Richard Newland
(2014 Pineau De Re)
Ross O’Sullivan IRE
Baie des Iles
(2008 Comply Or Die)
Vieux Lion Rouge
Walk In The Mill
Previous winning owners with entries
Gigginstown House Stud (2016 Rule The World)
A Genie In Abottle
Alpha des Obeaux
Road To Riches
Thunder And Roses
J P McManus (2010 Don’t Push It)
Cause of Causes
Trevor Hemmings (2005 Hedgehunter, 2011 Ballabriggs, 2015 Many Clouds)
John Provan (2014 Pineau De Re)
Abolitionist (owned in partnership with Mark Albon & Chris Stedman)
Douglas Pryde & Jim Beaumont (2013 Auroras Encore)