Outlander (33/1 with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National meeting), winner of the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, heads the weights on 11st 10lb for the £1-million Randox Health Grand National.
The world’s greatest chase, by far the richest Jump race anywhere outside of Japan, is the feature at Aintree on the third and final day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival on Saturday, April 8.
The nine-year-old is one of three chasers in the top four of the weights trained by Gordon Elliott and owned, like last year’s winner Rule The World, by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.
The other two are 10-year-old Empire Of Dirt (11st 8lb, 20/1), narrowly beaten in Sunday’s Grade One Irish Gold Cup, and eight-year-old Don Poli (11st 7lb, 16/1 joint-favourite), a three-time Grade One winner and third in the Irish Gold Cup.
In fact, Irish-trained horses dominate the top of the weights in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National by occupying the top five slots – an unprecedented situation.
Impressive Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase winner Champagne West (33/1), trained by Henry de Bromhead, is second in the weights with 11st 9lb, while the J P McManus-owned and John Kiely-trained Carlingford Lough (25/1), fourth in the Irish Gold Cup, has the fifth-highest weight, 11st 6lb.
Elliott, successful in the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007, has 14 entries in all, while Gigginstown House Stud tops that with 16, the most of any owner They also combine together with Lord Scoundrel (11st, 50/1), Clarcam (10st 12lb, 50/1), Roi Des Francs (10st 12lb, 50/1), Tiger Roll (10st 10lb, 66/1), A Toi Phil (10st 9lb, 40/1), The Game Changer (10st 9lb, 66/1), and bottom-weight Killer Crow (9st, 66/1).
Meanwhile, the other Gigginstown House Stud horses are Devils Bride (11st 1lb, trained by Henry de Bromhead IRE, 50/1), Road To Riches (10st 13lb, Noel Meade IRE, 50/1), Wounded Warrior (10st 11lb, Noel Meade IRE, 50/1) and Measureofmydreams (10st 4lb, Noel Meade IRE, 40/1), plus Irish Grand National victor Rogue Angel (10st 3lb, 33/1) and Thunder And Roses (10st 2lb, 66/1), who are both from the Co Tipperary yard of last year’s winning handler Mouse Morris.
There are 73 horses in the handicap proper (from 11st 10lb down to the minimum weight of 10st) and Elliott is responsible for three more – the J P McManus-owned Cause Of Causes (10st 8lb, 40/1), last year’s sixth Ucello Conti (10st 7lb, 33/1), owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, and Bless The Wings (10st, 100/1).
The 2017 Randox Health Grand National entry is officially the highest-class one ever, with 88 per cent of the remaining 109 entries rated 135 or above – the previous highest percentage was 85 per cent.
Also the median rating of the horses entered in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National comes out at 146, again the highest figure seen – the best median before this year was 144.
A maximum of 40 horses can line up for the Randox Health Grand National, over 30 fences and an extended four miles and two furlongs, at 5.15pm on April 8.
Last year’s Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri (16/1 joint-favourite), owned by Paul and Clare Rooney and trained by Kim Bailey (successful with Mr Frisk in 1990), has 11st 5lb this time as against 10st 8lb in 2016.
The 2016 third Vics Canvas (Dermot McLoughlin IRE, 66/1) is now 14 and has 10st 5lb rather than the 10st 6lb he carried a year ago when surviving a bad blunder at Becher’s first time around to become the first horse as old as 13 to be placed in a Grand National since 1969.
The Scottish-based One For Arthur (10st 6lb, 20/1), owned by the Golf Widows and trained by Lucinda Russell, is just outside the top 40 in the weights but should get a run after winning the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick in January.
Vieux Lion Rouge (10st 7lb, David Pipe – who sent out the 2008 Grand National winner Comply Or Die, 20/1) beat Highland Lodge (10st 6lb Jimmy Moffatt, 40/1) a short-head in a very tight finish to the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National course at Aintree in December, with The Last Samuri in third, Ucello Conti fourth and One For Arthur fifth.
The Young Master (10st 8lb, Neil Mulholland, 25/1) fell in the same race but won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April, while Vicente (10st 5lb, Paul Nicholls – responsible for the 2012 Grand National victor Neptune Collonges, 33/1) captured the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April but has yet to strike form in three outings so far this season.
Nigel Twiston-Davies gained Grand National glory with Earth Summit in 1998 and again with Bindaree in 2002, making him the only current trainer to have enjoyed more than one success in the great race. The in-form handler has last season’s G1 RSA Chase victor Blaklion (10st 10lb, 33/1) and Benbens (9st 11lb, 100/1).
McManus, who combined with trainer Jonjo O’Neill and legendary jockey Sir A P McCoy, to win the Grand National with Don’t Push It in 2010, has eight entries in all including 2016 National Hunt Chase scorer Minella Rocco (11st 2lb, Jonjo O’Neill, 33/1), Gallant Oscar (10st 1lb, Tony Martin IRE, 33/1), who fell when going well last year, and More Of That (11st 1lb, Jonjo O’Neill, 33/1).
Maggio (10st 8lb, Patrick Griffin IRE, 50/1) was a shock 50/1 winner of the Listed Betfred Handicap Chase over the Mildmay Course on Grand National Day last year, scooting clear in the closing stages to win by 12 lengths under James Reveley.
The contest over three miles and a furlong has proved a good pointer to running well in the Randox Health Grand National, with State Of Play, placed three times, Don’t Push It and 2015 runner-up Saint Are (10st 5lb, Tom George, 40/1) all successful in recent years.
Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins, successful with Hedgehunter in 2005, has five entries – Alelchi Inois (11st 3lb, 33/1), Pleasant Company (10st 7lb, 50/1), Sambremont (9st 11lb, 66/1), Polidam (9st 10lb, 50/1) and The Crafty Butcher (9st 4lb, 50/1)
Venetia Williams, who gained Grand National glory with 100/1 chance Mon Mome in 2009 and rode in the race too, also is responsible for five hopefuls, with the main two being Tenor Nivernais (10st 10lb, 66/1) and Houblon Des Obeaux (10st 7lb, 50/1).
Neil Mulholland has three entries; Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up Carole’s Destrier (10st 12lb, 33/1) and Goulanes (9st 7lb, 100/1) besides The Young Master.
The 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere (Jim Culloty IRE, 50/1) gets in with 10st 5lb, while dual Sky Bet Chase winner Ziga Boy (Alan King, 40/1) has the same weight.
Dame Judi Dench part owns the Paul Nicholls-trained As De Mee (10st 3lb, 50/1) and the seven-year-old has already won over the Grand National fences, being the five-length winner of the Betfred Sefton Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs at Aintree on December 3 last year.
|Outlander (IRE)||11 10||166||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Champagne West (IRE)||11 9||165||Mr R. S. Brookhouse||Henry de Bromhead|
|Empire of Dirt (IRE)||11 8||164||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Don Poli (IRE)||11 7||163||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Carlingford Lough (IRE)||11 6||162||Mr John P. McManus||J. E. Kiely|
|The Last Samuri (IRE)||11 5||161||Paul & Clare Rooney||Kim Bailey|
|Alary (FR)||11 4||160||Ann & Alan Potts||Colin Tizzard|
|Alelchi Inois (FR)||11 3||159||L.McMahon/Mrs F.Murphy/F.Mangan||W. P. Mullins|
|Minella Rocco (IRE)||11 2||158||Mr John P. McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|Devils Bride (IRE)||11 1||157||Gigginstown House Stud||Henry de Bromhead|
|More of That (IRE)||11 1||157||Mr John P. McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|Lord Scoundrel (IRE)||11 0||156||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Perfect Candidate (IRE)||11 0||156||ISL Recruitment||Fergal O’Brien|
|Saphir du Rheu (FR)||11 0||156||The Stewart Family||Paul Nicholls|
|Shantou Flyer (IRE)||11 0||156||Mr Carl Hinchy||Rebecca Curtis|
|Road To Riches (IRE)||10 13||155||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade|
|Sausalito Sunrise (IRE)||10 13||155||Mrs Diana L. Whateley||Philip Hobbs|
|Carole’s Destrier (GB)||10 12||154||Mrs C. Skipworth||Neil Mulholland|
|Clarcam (FR)||10 12||154||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Foxrock (IRE)||10 12||154||Mr Barry Connell||T. M. Walsh|
|Roi des Francs (FR)||10 12||154||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Wonderful Charm (FR)||10 11||153||R J H Geffen & Sir John Ritblat||Paul Nicholls|
|Wounded Warrior (IRE)||10 11||153||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade|
|Blaklion (GB)||10 10||152||S Such & CG Paletta||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|Drop Out Joe (GB)||10 10||152||The Jesters||Charlie Longsdon|
|Tenor Nivernais (FR)||10 10||152||Boultbee Brooks Ltd||Venetia Williams|
|Tiger Roll (IRE)||10 10||152||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|A Toi Phil (FR)||10 9||151||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Le Mercurey (FR)||10 9||151||Chris Giles & Colm Donlon||Paul Nicholls|
|The Game Changer (IRE)||10 9||151||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Cause of Causes (USA)||10 8||150||Mr John P. McManus||Gordon Elliott|
|Maggio (FR)||10 8||150||D G Pryde/James Beaumont||Patrick Griffin|
|Regal Encore (IRE)||10 8||150||Mr John P. McManus||Anthony Honeyball|
|The Young Master (GB)||10 8||150||Dajam & The Old Masters||Neil Mulholland|
|Definitly Red (IRE)||10 7||149||Mr P. J. Martin||Brian Ellison|
|Double Shuffle (IRE)||10 7||149||Crossed Fingers Partnership||Tom George|
|Houblon des Obeaux (FR)||10 7||149||Mrs Julian Blackwell||Venetia Williams|
|Pleasant Company (IRE)||10 7||149||Mr Malcolm C. Denmark||W. P. Mullins|
|Ucello Conti (FR)||10 7||149||Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede||Gordon Elliott|
|Vieux Lion Rouge (FR)||10 7||149||Prof Caroline Tisdall & Mr John Gent||David Pipe|
|Ballynagour (IRE)||10 6||148||Mr Allan Stennett||David Pipe|
|Highland Lodge (IRE)||10 6||148||Bowes Lodge Stables||James Moffatt|
|Junction Fourteen (IRE)||10 6||148||Martin St. Quinton & Tim Syder||Emma Lavelle|
|O’Faolains Boy (IRE)||10 6||148||Trembath, Hyde, Outhart & Hill||Rebecca Curtis|
|One For Arthur (IRE)||10 6||148||Two Golf Widows||Lucinda Russell|
|Vivaldi Collonges (FR)||10 6||148||The Gi Gi Syndicate||Paul Nicholls|
|Bishops Road (IRE)||10 5||147||Mr Alan Halsall||Kerry Lee|
|Lord Windermere (IRE)||10 5||147||Dr R. Lambe||J. Culloty|
|Saint Are (FR)||10 5||147||Mr D. W. Fox||Tom George|
|Vicente (FR)||10 5||147||Mr John Hales & Mr Ian Fogg||Paul Nicholls|
|Vics Canvas (IRE)||10 5||147||Bodeen Bandits Partnership||Dermot Anthony McLoughlin|
|Ziga Boy (FR)||10 5||147||Axom LI||Alan King|
|Just A Par (IRE)||10 4||146||Paul K. Barber & The Late C. G. Roach||Paul Nicholls|
|Measureofmydreams (IRE)||10 4||146||Gigginstown House Stud||Noel Meade|
|Raz de Maree (FR)||10 4||146||James J. Swan||Gavin Cromwell|
|Stellar Notion (IRE)||10 4||146||Mr R. S. Brookhouse||Henry de Bromhead|
|As de Mee (FR)||10 3||145||The Stewart Family & Judi Dench||Paul Nicholls|
|Cocktails At Dawn (GB)||10 3||145||R J H Geffen & Sir John Ritblat||Nicky Henderson|
|Pendra (IRE)||10 3||145||Mr John P. McManus||Charlie Longsdon|
|Rogue Angel (IRE)||10 3||145||Gigginstown House Stud||M. F. Morris|
|Seventh Sky (GER)||10 3||145||Mrs Fidelma Toole||Charlie Mann|
|Shutthefrontdoor (IRE)||10 3||145||Mr John P. McManus||Jonjo O’Neill|
|Gas Line Boy (IRE)||10 2||144||The Three Graces||Ian Williams|
|Goodtoknow (GB)||10 2||144||Burling Daresbury MacEchern Nolan Potter||Kerry Lee|
|The Romford Pele (IRE)||10 2||144||Trembath & Outhart||Rebecca Curtis|
|Thunder And Roses (IRE)||10 2||144||Gigginstown House Stud||M. F. Morris|
|Triolo d’Alene (FR)||10 2||144||Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr||Nicky Henderson|
|Vieux Morvan (FR)||10 2||144||N. H. Bloodstock Ltd||Mrs I. Pacault|
|Doctor Harper (IRE)||10 1||143||The Johnson Family||David Pipe|
|Gallant Oscar (IRE)||10 1||143||Mr John P. McManus||A. J. Martin|
|La Vaticane (FR)||10 1||143||Ms Maria Bukhtoyarova||David Pipe|
|Bless The Wings (IRE)||10 0||142||Adrian Butler/S P O’Connor||Gordon Elliott|
|Tour des Champs (FR)||10 0||142||Prestbury Racing Club||Samuel Drinkwater|
|Knock House (IRE)||9 13||141||Mr T. G. Leslie||Donald McCain|
|Hadrian’s Approach (IRE)||9 12||140||Mr & Mrs R. Kelvin-Hughes||Nicky Henderson|
|Benbens (IRE)||9 11||139||S Such & CG Paletta||Nigel Twiston-Davies|
|Potters Cross (GB)||9 11||139||Conyers, O’Reilly, Roddis, Zeffman||Rebecca Curtis|
|Sambremont (FR)||9 11||139||Shanakiel Racing Syndicate||W. P. Mullins|
|Straidnahanna (IRE)||9 11||139||M. B. Scholey & R. H. Scholey||Sue Smith|
|Viva Steve (IRE)||9 11||139||Paul & Clare Rooney||Fergal O’Brien|
|Cloudy Too (IRE)||9 10||138||Formulated Polymer Products Ltd||Sue Smith|
|Lamb Or Cod (IRE)||9 10||138||Mr Terry Warner||Philip Hobbs|
|Milansbar (IRE)||9 10||138||Mr Robert Bothway||Neil King|
|Polidam (FR)||9 10||138||Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede||W. P. Mullins|
|Dromnea (IRE)||9 9||137||Mrs A. M. Daly||M. F. Morris|
|Streets of Promise (IRE)||9 9||137||Gempro||Michael Scudamore|
|Vyta du Roc (FR)||9 9||137||Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede||Nicky Henderson|
|Beeves (IRE)||9 8||136||Paul & Clare Rooney||Jennie Candlish|
|Royale Knight (GB)||9 8||136||C. E. Stedman & R. J. Corsan||Dr Richard Newland|
|Alfie Spinner (IRE)||9 7||135||Alan Beard & Brian Beard||Kerry Lee|
|Emperor’s Choice (IRE)||9 7||135||The Bellamy Partnership||Venetia Williams|
|Goulanes (IRE)||9 7||135||Mr R. S. Brookhouse||Neil Mulholland|
|Lessons In Milan (IRE)||9 7||135||Mr Trevor Hemmings||Nicky Henderson|
|Mountain King (GB)||9 7||135||Jack McKay/Paul McKay/Mark McKay||Gordon Elliott|
|Out Sam (GB)||9 7||135||Swanee River Partnership||Warren Greatrex|
|Sizing Coal (IRE)||9 7||135||Alan & Ann Potts Partnership||J. T. R. Dreaper|
|Dare To Endeavour (GB)||9 6||134||Mr Aidan J. Ryan||Eric McNamara|
|Father Edward (IRE)||9 6||134||Mr Fergus Wilson||David Pipe|
|Samingarry (FR)||9 6||134||Nigel Hawke Racing Club & Partner||Nigel Hawke|
|Silver Man (GB)||9 6||134||Mr John Wardle||Jo Hughes|
|Alvarado (IRE)||9 5||133||Mr & Mrs William Rucker||Fergal O’Brien|
|Milborough (IRE)||9 5||133||Miss Helen Cross||Ian Duncan|
|The Crafty Butcher (IRE)||9 4||132||P Byrne/P W Mullins/D Ryan/I Madigan||W. P. Mullins|
|Waldorf Salad (GB)||9 4||132||Mr Alan Parker||Venetia Williams|
|Katenko (FR)||9 3||131||Mr A. Brooks||Venetia Williams|
|Federici (GB)||9 2||130||Mr Jon Glews||Donald McCain|
|Gone Too Far (GB)||9 1||129||Mr Fergus Wilson||David Pipe|
|Racing Pulse (IRE)||9 1||129||Mr Carl Hinchy||Rebecca Curtis|
|Killer Crow (IRE)||9 0||128||Gigginstown House Stud||Gordon Elliott|
|Otago Trail (IRE)||SCR||Mrs Marie Shone||Venetia Williams|