Britain’s four-time champion Jump trainer has yet to win the world’s greatest and most valuable chase, having come closest when filling the runner-up position with Zongalero (1979) and The Tsarevich (1987).
He has also had a third (Classified 1986), fourth (Brown Windsor 1990) and two fifths (Classified 1985 and Liberthine 2007).
Gold Present, a 20/1 chance with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, was pulled up in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong at the Cheltenham Festival on March 13.
The eight-year-old had previously followed up a handicap success over an extended two miles and six furlongs at Newbury on December 2, with a Listed handicap victory over three miles at Ascot on December 23.
Gold Present was travelling well when falling at the 12th fence in the 2017 Randox Health Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree, and connections are keen to run in the 2018 Randox Health Grand National over four and a quarter miles and 30 fences.
Seven Barrows maestro Henderson, hoping for further big-race success following the victories of Buveur D’Air (G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle) and Altior (G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase) at the Cheltenham Festival, reported: “The Randox Health Grand National is definitely the plan with Gold Present.
“He is fine after Cheltenham and he had a trickle of blood from one nose, but he has not shown any more signs of that since.
“We’ve got plenty of time to target Aintree with him because of the longer gap between the meeting and the Cheltenham Festival.
“He has always been a brilliant jumper and he jumped so well at the Cheltenham Festival last year [finished second in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase] and that was one of the reasons that we decided to run him over the Grand National fences in the Topham.
“He was running well in the Topham and it wasn’t really his fault or anybody else’s when he fell at the Canal Turn.
“I needed to find out how much he stayed, but we’re hopeful that he should OK regarding the trip. You never really know until you try it.
“Gold Present will be our only runner in the Grand National.”
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 final field of 40, 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.
The £140,000 G3 Randox Health Topham Chase which takes place over two miles and five furlongs of the Grand National course on Ladies Day, Friday, April 13.
Henderson is the most successful trainer in the history of the Randox Health Topham Chase, with five wins. His three entries this year are the 2017 fourth O O Seven (11st 5lb, 12/1 with Betway), Kilcrea Vale (10st 4lb, 20/1) and Days Of Heaven (11st 3lb, 33/1), with 79 horses in total entered for the G3 event.
He explained: “O O Seven will head for the Topham instead of the Grand National and he ran really well in the race last year when he was fourth.
I think two and a half miles is more his trip and he showed last year that he handles the fences.”
Henderson’s stable stars Buveur D’Air, Altior and Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite could also head to Aintree.
Buveur D’Air (2017 G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle, 2m 4f) and Might Bite (2017 G1 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase, 3m), both tasted success at last year’s Randox Health Grand National Festival and Henderson is keen to once again target the meeting.
He reported: “The plan is to go to Aintree with Buveur D’Air again (G1 Betway Aintree Hurdle, Thursday, April 12) like last year.
“Might Bite has come out of the Gold Cup well and he also could head to Aintree (G1 Betway Bowl, Mildmay Course, Thursday, April 12). With the four-week gap this year, we will wait before making a firm decision on his next target.
“Altior could either go to Aintree or Sandown and we haven’t made a decision just yet. I would love to try him over two and a half miles at Aintree (G1 JLT Melling Chase, Mildmay Course, Friday, April 13), but he did have a hard race at Cheltenham, so it might make sense to wait for Sandown.
“None of the horses at Cheltenham had easy races, but the intention is that most of my Cheltenham runners will run again this season.”
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National – odds from official betting partner Betway
10/1 Total Recall, Blaklion
12/1 Tiger Roll
14/1 Minella Rocco
16/1 The Last Samuri, Anibale Fly, Cause Of Causes,
20/1 Bellshill, Gold Present
25/1 Vicente, Rathvinden, Seeyouatmidnight
33/1 The Dutchman, Vieux Lion Rouge, Regal Encore, Gas Line Boy, Pleasant Company, Ucello Conti
40/1 I Just Know, Milansbar, Vintage Clouds, Warriors Tale, Valseur Lido, Saint Are, Shantou Flyer, Raz De Maree
50/1 Chase The Spud, Pendra, Acapella Bourgeois, Lord Windermere, Alpha Des Obeaux, Go Conquer, As De Mee, Final Nudge, Baie Des Iles, Delusionofgrandeur, Bless The Wings, Buywise, Childrens List, A Genie In Abottle, Carlingford Lough
66/1 Thunder And Roses, The Young Master, Walk In The Mill, Cogry, Braqueur d’Or, Bonny Kate, Splash Of Ginge, Double Ross, Road To Riches, Perfect Candidate, Captain Redbeard
80/1 Minella Daddy, General Principle
100/1 Virgilio, Mysteree, Out Sam, Krackatoa King, Beeves, Knock House, Maggio, Alfie Spinner, Relentless Dreamer, Vic De Touzaine, Houblon Des Obeaux, Henri Parry Morgan, Wounded Warrior, Goodtoknow, Rogue Angel, Phil’s Magic, Sir Mangan, Tenor Nivernais, Dancing Shadow
Each-Way: 1/4 odds – 1, 2, 3, 4
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National latest entries
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 remained), second scratchings deadline March 20 (73 entries remain), five-day confirmations April 9, final declarations 10am April 12. Maximum field of 40 plus four reserves.
|1)||MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)||8||11-10||J P McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|2)||BLAKLION||9||11-09||Simon Such & Gino Paletta||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|3)||ANIBALE FLY (FR)||8||11-07||J P McManus||Tony Martin IRE|
|4)||THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)||10||11-07||Paul & Clare Rooney||Kim Bailey|
|5)||VALSEUR LIDO (FR)||9||11-06||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead IRE|
|6)||TOTAL RECALL (IRE)||9||11-04||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|7)||ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR)||8||11-03||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|8)||GOLD PRESENT (IRE)||8||11-03||John & Barbara Cotton||Nicky Henderson|
|9)||PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE)||11||11-02||ISL Recruitment||Fergal O’Brien|
|10)||CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA)||10||11-01||J P McManus||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|11)||SHANTOU FLYER (IRE)||8||11-01||Carl Hinchy||Richard Hobson|
|12)||TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)||11||11-00||Boultbee Brooks Ltd||Venetia Williams|
|13)||CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE)||12||11-00||J P McManus||John Kiely IRE|
|14)||VICENTE (FR)||9||10-13||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|15)||GO CONQUER (IRE)||9||10-13||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jonjo O’Neill|
|16)||TIGER ROLL (IRE)||8||10-12||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|17)||REGAL ENCORE (IRE)||10||10-12||J P McManus||Anthony Honeyball|
|18)||VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR)||9||10-12||Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent||David Pipe|
|19)||RATHVINDEN (IRE)||10||10-12||Ronnie Bartlett||Willie Mullins IRE|
|20)||ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)||8||10-12||Slaneyville Syndicate||Willie Mullins IRE|
|21)||A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE)||7||10-11||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|22)||CHASE THE SPUD||10||10-11||Christine Banks||Fergal O’Brien|
|23)||WARRIORS TALE||9||10-11||Trevor Hemmings||Paul Nicholls|
|24)||SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT||10||10-11||Quona Thomson||Sandy Thomson|
|25)||AS DE MEE (FR)||8||10-11||The Stewart Family & Judi Dench||Paul Nicholls|
|26)||GAS LINE BOY (IRE)||12||10-10||The Three Graces||Ian Williams|
|27)||THE DUTCHMAN (IRE)||8||10-10||SprayClad UK||Colin Tizzard|
|28)||PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE)||10||10-10||Malcolm Denmark||Willie Mullins IRE|
|29)||BELLSHILL (IRE)||8||10-10||Andrea & Graham Wylie||Willie Mullins IRE|
|30)||UCELLO CONTI (FR)||10||10-09||Simon Munir/Isaac Souede||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|31)||SAINT ARE (FR)||12||10-09||David Fox||Tom George|
|32)||BEEVES (IRE)||11||10-09||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jennie Candlish|
|33)||RAZ DE MAREE (FR)||13||10-08||James Swan||Gavin Cromwell IRE|
|34)||I JUST KNOW (IRE)||8||10-07||Michael Scholey & the late Ray Scholey||Sue Smith|
|35)||VIRGILIO (FR)||9||10-07||C Edwards, D Futter, A Rushworth||Dan Skelton|
|36)||BAIE DES ILES (FR)||7||10-07||Zorka Wentworth||Ross O’Sullivan IRE|
|37)||MAGGIO (FR)||13||10-07||Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont||Patrick Griffin IRE|
|38)||PENDRA (IRE)||10||10-07||J P McManus||Charlie Longsdon|
|39)||BUYWISE (IRE)||11||10-07||T Hywel Jones||Evan Williams|
|40)||CHILDRENS LIST (IRE)||8||10-07||Susannah Ricci||Willie Mullins IRE|
|41)||HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR)||11||10-06||Mrs Julian Blackwell||Venetia Williams|
|42)||LORD WINDERMERE (IRE)||12||10-06||Dr Ronan Lambe||Jim Culloty IRE|
|43)||CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE)||9||10-06||Stuart Coltherd||Stuart Coltherd|
|44)||BLESS THE WINGS (IRE)||13||10-05||Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|45)||MILANSBAR (IRE)||11||10-05||Robert Bothway||Neil King|
|46)||FINAL NUDGE (IRE)||9||10-05||Corbett Stud||David Dennis|
|47)||DOUBLE ROSS (IRE)||12||10-05||Options O Syndicate||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|48)||ROAD TO RICHES (IRE)||11||10-04||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|49)||DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE)||8||10-04||McGoldrick Racing 3||Sue Smith|
|50)||THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE)||10||10-04||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|51)||WALK IN THE MILL (FR)||8||10-03||Baroness Harding||Robert Walford|
|52)||VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE)||8||10-03||Trevor Hemmings||Sue Smith|
|53)||WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE)||9||10-01||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade IRE|
|54)||GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE)||9||10-01||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|55)||VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR)||9||10-01||Andrew Brooks & G Moore||Venetia Williams|
|56)||SPLASH OF GINGE||10||10-00||John Neild||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|57)||BONNY KATE (IRE)||8||10-00||Patricia Hunt||Noel Meade IRE|
|58)||COGRY||9||10-00||Graham and Alison Jelley||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|59)||SIR MANGAN (IRE)||10||10-00||Frank McAleavy||Dan Skelton|
|60)||MYSTEREE (IRE)||10||10-00||Lynne Maclennan||Michael Scudamore|
|61)||MINELLA DADDY (IRE)||8||9-13||Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar||Peter Bowen|
|62)||BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR)||7||9-13||Corsellis & Seyfried||Paul Nicholls|
|63)||RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE)||9||9-13||Nigel Morris||Rebecca Curtis|
|64)||KNOCK HOUSE (IRE)||9||9-12||Tim Leslie||Donald McCain|
|65)||THE YOUNG MASTER||9||9-11||Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters||Neil Mulholland|
|66)||HENRI PARRY MORGAN||10||9-09||Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan||Peter Bowen|
|67)||PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE)||8||9-09||Lyreen Syndicate||Tony Martin IRE|
|68)||ALFIE SPINNER (IRE)||13||9-09||Alan Beard & Brian Beard||Kerry Lee|
|69)||DANCING SHADOW (IRE)||9||9-08||The Dancing Shadows||Victor Dartnall|
|70)||ROGUE ANGEL (IRE)||10||9-08||Gigginstown House Stud||Mouse Morris IRE|
|71)||OUT SAM||9||9-06||D Charlesworth||Gordon Elliott IRE|
|72)||KRACKATOA KING||10||9-03||J Harrison Lee & T Howard P’ship||Kerry Lee|
|73)||GOODTOKNOW||10||9-02||Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan Potter||Kerry Lee|
73 entries remain following March 20 scratchings’ deadline