The 12-year-old son of Blueprint fell at the first fence in 2015, before coming home an excellent fifth in the 2017 renewal of the world’s greatest and richest chase, 17 lengths behind winner One For Arthur.
Gas Line Boy, a 33/1 chance for 2018 with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, was the four and a half-length winner over the Grand National fences of the 188Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree on heavy ground over two miles and five furlongs on December 9, 2017
Since then he has finished a creditable five-length third to fellow Randox Health Grand National contender Buywise in a three-mile veterans’ handicap chase over regulation fences at Sandown Park on January 6.
Gas Line Boy also holds an entry in the £140,000 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (2m 5f) on Ladies Day, Friday, April 13 at Aintree, but Williams is targeting the Randox Health Grand National over 30 fences and four and a quarter miles again.
Gas Line Boy is attempting to become the first 12-year-old to win the Randox Health Grand National since Amberleigh House in 2004.
The horse races in the colours of The Three Graces, a partnership consisting of Wirral-based Peter Le Gros and Southport-based Peter Thwaites.
Williams, based at Dominion Racing Stables near Alvechurch in Worcestershire, has trained Gas Line Boy since late 2015, while Jim Best was the horse’s handler for the first Grand National attempt.
The trainer said today: “Gas Line Boy is in great form at home and everything has gone well with him since his last run at Sandown.
“He has schooled over Grand National-type fences at home and his work has been good.
“Despite the wet weather, we are still very keen to run in the Randox Health Grand National, even if it ended up soft on the day.
“He does hold an entry in the Topham Chase, but hopefully conditions will dry out – the Grand National is still the plan.
“He’s been really well in the build-up to the race and he was an excellent fifth in last year’s Grand National.
“We’re hopeful of his well-being between now and the race, while his form in the race and over the fences reads well. He’s a good performer.
“Robbie Dunne, who rode him in both last year’s Grand National and the Grand Sefton, will ride him once again as he knows the horse well – we’re looking forward to the day.”
Dunne has only had two rides in the Randox Health Grand National, but his record is excellent. He finished third on 13-year-old Vics Canvas, a 100/1 chance in 2016, after recovering from a bad blunder at Becher’s first time around. Gas Line Boy was a 50/1 chance last year.
A maximum of 40 runners can line up at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14 for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National.
The five-day acceptance stage for the Randox Health Grand National is at noon on Monday, April 9.
The final declaration stage is at 10.00am on Thursday, April 12. The 40 horses, plus a maximum of four reserves, will be known shortly after this time. Reserves come into the race if there are any withdrawals among the 40 declared runners prior to 1.00pm on Friday, April 13.
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree runs from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14.
Grand National Thursday, April 12 begins proceedings with four G1 contests on the seven-race card, while the Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase over the Grand National fences also features, with amateur jockey Guy Disney set to become the first amputee to ride over the Grand National fences.
Ladies Day, Friday, April 13 has four G1 events too, including the JLT Melling Chase (2m 4f, £250,000), in which Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Altior could run.
Liverpool 2018 to back Leading Jockey Award
Liverpool 2018 is announced as the sponsor of the Leading Jockey Award at the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival.
The award will go to the jockey who wins most races over the three days of the Randox Health Grand National Festival (April 12-14), with countback on placed horses in the event of a tie on number of wins.
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