Staged over four and a quarter miles and 30 fences, the Randox Health Grand National is the world’s richest and greatest chase – the culmination of Aintree’s famous three-day Randox Health Grand National Festival.
Last year’s fourth Blaklion (11st 6lb), one of five entries going forward for dual Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, looked as good as ever when scoring by nine lengths over The Last Samuri (Kim Bailey, 11st 4lb, 16/1 with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival) in the G3 Randox Health Becher Handicap Chase (3m 2f) over the Grand National fences at Aintree on December 9.
Blaklion has since finished second under top-weight to Yala Enki in the Betfred Grand National Trial Handicap Chase on heavy ground at Haydock Park on February 17. He is the 10/1 joint-favourite with Betway as he bids to give Twiston-Davies a third winner in the race following the victories of Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).
The Last Samuri, who was second to Rule The World in the 2016 Grand National, finished an excellent fourth behind the Randox Health Grand National top-weight Definitly Red (Brian Ellison, 11st 10lb, 20/1) in the G2 BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase (3m 2f) at Cheltenham on January 27, with American (Harry Fry, 11st 2lb, 50/1) in second.
The Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall (11st 1lb) is the other 10/1 market leader with Betway, having landed the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury and a competitive Leopardstown handicap hurdle on his last two starts. Ireland’s champion Jump trainer, successful at Aintree with Hedgehunter in 2005, has six other entries remaining in the £1-million contest including recent G3 Bobbyjo Chase winner Bellshill (10st 7lb, 18/1) and Pleasant Company (10st 7lb, 33/1), ninth in last year’s renewal.
Britain’s champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson has two contenders engaged, with the talented Gold Present (11st, 20/1), a three-length winner of a Listed handicap chase at Ascot on December 23 and O O Seven (10st 11lb, 50/1), fifth to his stable companion at Ascot, as the Lambourn handler seeks a first victory in the Randox Health Grand National.
Gordon Elliott, who landed the Grand National with Silver Birch (2007) in his first season with a training licence, has eight remaining entries headed by three-time G1 winner Outlander (11st 8lb, 33/1), Troytown Handicap Chase victor Mala Beach (11st 3lb, 33/1) and last year’s runner-up Cause Of Causes (10st 12lb, 14/1).
Scottish handler Stuart Coltherd is looking forward to saddling Captain Redbeard (10st 3lb, 66/1) in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National following an excellent campaign thus far.
Captain Redbeard finished a creditable third over two and a half miles in an Ayr handicap chase on first start of the season in November, before coming home sixth to Gas Line Boy in the 188Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase (2m 5f) over the Grand National fences in December.
A six-length winner on heavy ground over two miles and seven furlongs in the Betfred Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase at Haydock Park later that month, Captain Redbeard was an excellent second to Colin Tizzard’s The Dutchman (10st 7lb, 33/1) on heavy ground in the G2 Peter Marsh Chase, also at Haydock Park, over an extended three miles and one furlong on January 20.
The improving nine-year-old is set to run in the Listed totepool.com Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday, March 3, weather permitting.
Coltherd, based in Selkirk, reported today: “Captain Redbeard is in excellent form at home and has come out of his latest race at Haydock in great shape.
“That was a really good performance over the longest trip he’s tried, so we were delighted with that run, particularly off a career-high mark.
“Everything’s good and his work has been good at home. The plan was to run at Kelso on Saturday, but with the weather playing havoc with the racing schedule, there’s a likelihood that the meeting won’t go ahead. He’ll run if the weather is OK as the race fits nicely into our schedule.
“However, there is a covering of snow, it is bitterly cold and there is more bad weather forecast so it’s not looking good. The temperatures are not rising much this week so we’ll just have to keep an eye on the weather.
“If we can’t run on Saturday, then we’ll look to run him somewhere else as I’m keen to get another outing into him before the Randox Health Grand National.
“There are plenty of options for him and everybody else is in the same boat – you can’t account for the weather,
“If the worst came to the worst, we could go for a couple of racecourse gallops just to keep him sharp, but we’ll see.
“I think the Randox Health Grand National will suit him. The race is definitely the plan and off his weight [10st 3lb], he should definitely get in so we’re looking forward to hopefully running him.
“I’ve always thought he was a horse that wanted better ground as he does look like a bit of a spring horse, but he won nicely on heavy going at Haydock in December and then followed that up in bottomless ground when he was second in the Peter Marsh Chase which surprised me.
“That proved he goes on any ground, but I do believe he is a better horse on better ground even if the ground won’t inconvenience him too much.
“Whether he stays the trip is another question. You never know until you actually run, but I’d be hopeful that he would be OK.
“He’s a good jumper and he ran really well in the Peter Marsh last time and that was the longest trip he’s ever run over.
“Whilst the National trip is another thing entirely, that gave us optimism that he potentially could stay, and I’d like to think that on better ground, he would.”
A maximum of 40 runners can line up at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14 for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National.
The next scratchings’ stage for the Randox Health Grand National is on Tuesday, March 20.
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree runs from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14.
Randox Health Grand National – Betway odds
10/1 Blaklion, Total Recall
14/1 Cause Of Causes
16/1 The Last Samuri
20/1 Definitly Red, Gold Present, Minella Rocco
25/1 Anibale Fly, Vicente
33/1Edwulf, Gas Line Boy, Mala Beach, Outlander, Pleasant Company, Regal Encore, The Dutchman, Ucello Conti, Wild West Wind
40/1 Milansbar, Raz De Maree, Saint Are, Tiger Roll, Valseur Lido, Vieux Lion Rouge, Warriors Tale
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 which, have started in a chase during the current season and 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 13 (104 go forward – 1 not qualified), first scratchings deadline February 27 (90 entries remain), second scratchings deadline March 20, five-day confirmations April 9, final declarations 10am April 12. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.
|1)||DEFINITLY RED (IRE)||9||11-10||Phil & Julie Martin||Brian Ellison|
|2)||EDWULF||9||11-09||J P McManus||Joseph O’Brien IRE|
|3)||OUTLANDER (IRE)||10||11-08||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|4)||MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)||8||11-07||J P McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|5)||BLAKLION||9||11-06||Simon Such & Gino Paletta||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|6)||SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE)||9||11-05||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead IRE|
|7)||ANIBALE FLY (FR)||8||11-04||J P McManus||Tony Martin IRE|
|8)||THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)||10||11-04||Paul & Clare Rooney||Kim Bailey|
|9)||VALSEUR LIDO (FR)||9||11-03||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead IRE|
|10)||MALA BEACH (IRE)||10||11-03||Chris Jones||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|11)||AMERICAN (FR)||8||11-02||The Jago Family Partnership||Harry Fry|
|12)||TOTAL RECALL (IRE)||9||11-01||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|13)||ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR)||8||11-00||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|14)||GOLD PRESENT (IRE)||8||11-00||John & Barbara Cotton||Nicky Henderson|
|15)||SIZING CODELCO (IRE)||9||10-13||Ann & Alan Potts Limited||Colin Tizzard|
|16)||PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE)||11||10-13||ISL Recruitment||Fergal O’Brien|
|17)||CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA)||10||10-12||J P McManus||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|18)||SHANTOU FLYER (IRE)||8||10-12||Carl Hinchy||Richard Hobson|
|19)||TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)||11||10-11||Boultbee Brooks Ltd||Venetia Williams|
|20)||O O SEVEN (IRE)||8||10-11||Christopher Hanbury||Nicky Henderson|
|21)||CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE)||12||10-11||J P McManus||John Kiely IRE|
|22)||VICENTE (FR)||9||10-10||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|23)||GO CONQUER (IRE)||9||10-10||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jonjo O’Neill|
|24)||TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR)||8||10-10||Galloping On The South Downs Partnership||Gary Moore|
|25)||TIGER ROLL (IRE)||8||10-09||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|26)||REGAL ENCORE (IRE)||10||10-09||J P McManus||Anthony Honeyball|
|27)||VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR)||9||10-09||Professor Caroline Tisdall & John Gent||David Pipe|
|28)||RATHVINDEN (IRE)||10||10-09||Ronnie Bartlett||Willie Mullins IRE|
|29)||ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)||8||10-09||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|30)||A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE)||7||10-08||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|31)||CHASE THE SPUD||10||10-08||Christine Banks||Fergal O’Brien|
|32)||WARRIORS TALE||9||10-08||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|33)||ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE)||8||10-08||Diana Whateley||Philip Hobbs|
|34)||SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT||10||10-08||Quona Thomson||Sandy Thomson|
|35)||AS DE MEE (FR)||8||10-08||The Stewart Family & Judi Dench||Paul Nicholls|
|36)||GAS LINE BOY (IRE)||12||10-07||The Three Graces||Ian Williams|
|37)||THE DUTCHMAN (IRE)||8||10-07||SprayClad UK||Colin Tizzard|
|38)||PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE)||10||10-07||Malcolm C Denmark||Willie Mullins IRE|
|39)||FLYING ANGEL (IRE)||7||10-07||Rob Rexton||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|40)||BELLSHILL (IRE)||8||10-07||Andrea & Graham Wylie||Willie Mullins IRE|
|41)||UCELLO CONTI (FR)||10||10-06||Simon Munir & Isaac Souede||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|42)||SAINT ARE (FR)||12||10-06||David Fox||Tom George|
|43)||BEEVES (IRE)||11||10-06||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jennie Candlish|
|44)||LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE)||10||10-05||Carl Hinchy||Dan Skelton|
|45)||CAROLE’S DESTRIER||10||10-05||Carole Skipworth||Neil Mulholland|
|46)||RAZ DE MAREE (FR)||13||10-05||James Swan||Gavin Cromwell IRE|
|47)||I JUST KNOW (IRE)||8||10-04||M B Scholey & the late R H Scholey||Sue Smith|
|48)||VIRGILIO (FR)||9||10-04||C J Edwards, D Futter, A H Rushworth||Dan Skelton|
|49)||BAIE DES ILES (FR)||7||10-04||Zorka Wentworth||Ross O’Sullivan IRE|
|50)||MAGGIO (FR)||13||10-04||Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont||Patrick Griffin IRE|
|51)||PENDRA (IRE)||10||10-04||J P McManus||Charlie Longsdon|
|52)||BUYWISE (IRE)||11||10-04||T Hywel Jones||Evan Williams|
|53)||CHILDRENS LIST (IRE)||8||10-04||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|54)||HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR)||11||10-03||Mrs Julian Blackwell||Venetia Williams|
|55)||THIRD INTENTION (IRE)||11||10-03||Robert & Sarah Tizzard||Colin Tizzard|
|56)||LORD WINDERMERE (IRE)||12||10-03||Dr Ronan Lambe||Jim Culloty IRE|
|57)||WILD WEST WIND (IRE)||9||10-03||Simon Clarke||Tom George|
|58)||CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE)||9||10-03||Stuart Coltherd||Stuart Coltherd|
|59)||DOUBLE ROSS (IRE)||12||10-02||Options O Syndicate||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|60)||MORNING ASSEMBLY (IRE)||11||10-02||Clipper Logistics Group Ltd||Pat Fahy IRE|
|61)||BLESS THE WINGS (IRE)||13||10-02||Adrian Butler & S P O’Connor||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|62)||FINAL NUDGE (IRE)||9||10-02||Corbett Stud||David Dennis|
|63)||MILANSBAR (IRE)||11||10-02||Robert Bothway||Neil King|
|64)||ROAD TO RICHES (IRE)||11||10-01||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|65)||DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE)||8||10-01||McGoldrick Racing 3||Sue Smith|
|66)||THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE)||10||10-01||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|67)||WALK IN THE MILL (FR)||8||10-00||Baroness Harding||Robert Walford|
|68)||VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE)||8||10-00||Trevor Hemmings||Sue Smith|
|69)||VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR)||9||9-12||Andrew Brooks & G Moore||Venetia Williams|
|70)||WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE)||9||9-12||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|71)||GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE)||9||9-12||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|72)||BONNY KATE (IRE)||8||9-11||Patricia Hunt||Noel Meade IRE|
|73)||COGRY||9||9-11||Graham & Alison Jelley||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|74)||SIR MANGAN (IRE)||10||9-11||Frank McAleavy||Dan Skelton|
|75)||SPLASH OF GINGE||10||9-11||John Neild||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|76)||MYSTEREE (IRE)||10||9-11||Lynne Maclennan||Michael Scudamore|
|77)||MINELLA DADDY (IRE)||8||9-10||Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar||Peter Bowen|
|78)||BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR)||7||9-10||Corsellis & Seyfried||Paul Nicholls|
|79)||PAIROFBROWNEYES (IRE)||9||9-10||Fibbage Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|80)||RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE)||9||9-10||Nigel Morris||Rebecca Curtis|
|81)||KNOCK HOUSE (IRE)||9||9-09||Tim Leslie||Donald McCain|
|82)||THE YOUNG MASTER||9||9-08||Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters||Neil Mulholland|
|83)||ALFIE SPINNER (IRE)||13||9-06||Alan Beard & Brian Beard||Kerry Lee|
|84)||HENRI PARRY MORGAN||10||9-06||Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan||Peter Bowen|
|85)||PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE)||8||9-06||Lyreen Syndicate||Tony Martin IRE|
|86)||DANCING SHADOW (IRE)||9||9-05||The Dancing Shadows||Victor Dartnall|
|87)||ROGUE ANGEL (IRE)||10||9-05||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|88)||OUT SAM||9||9-03||D Charlesworth||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|89)||KRACKATOA KING||10||9-00||JC Harrison Lee & T Howard Partnership||Kerry Lee|
|90)||GOODTOKNOW||10||8-13||Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan Potter||Kerry Lee|