Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised heads the list of 59 horses left in the Grand National after the latest forfeit stage. Jonjo O’Neill’s horse is set to carry top weight of 11st 10lb in the National and would be trying to emulate the legendary Golden Miller who was the last horse to win both races in the same season way back in 1934. Garrison Savannah came closest to achieving it in recent times when he was just denied by Seagram in the 1991 National.
There were no surprise withdrawals with all of the leading fancies standing their ground for Aintree on Saturday 14th April. Synchronised runs in the colours of J P McManus who won the National with Don’t Push It in 2010 and he also has another leading entry in Sunnyhillboy, winner of the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at Cheltenham last week. No decision on the participation of either horse will be made until much nearer the time.
Donald McCain’s 2011 winner Ballabriggs is set to carry 1lb less than the Gold Cup winner with 11st 9lb and he could still be joined stable companion Weird Al who pulled up in the Gold Cup. Nicky Henderson’s Burton Port ran an excellent trial in the Cheltenham feature in fourth place and he could join his stable mate Shakalakaboomboom in the Aintree line up on 14th April.
The strongly fancied Willie Mullins duo of Prince de Beauchene and On His Own have been declared among a six strong entry from the stable. There are 23 Irish-trained runners still engaged in the race including the progressive Seabass and 2011 Irish National winner Organisedconfusion. Trainer Malcolm Jefferson had a fantastic week at Cheltenham with two winners and his hopes rest with Peter Marsh Chase winner According To Pete. David Pipe’s Junior and Alan King’s West End Rocker have been prominent in the market for several months and remain on course for Aintree.
The most significant withdrawals from the race were Quantitativeeasing and Hold On Julio who both disappointed in the competitive JLT Speciality Chase at Cheltenham and the recently retired Niche Market. Stewart’s House has also been withdrawn which leaves trainer Tim Vaughan relying solely on Postmaster. He suffered disappointment earlier in the season when leading hope Beshabar was forced to miss the race through injury. Also out of the race are Tartak, Hector’s Choice, Massini’s Maguire, Crescent Island, Uncle Junior, Fair Along, Shakervilz, Wymott, Backstage, Some Target, Schindler’s Gold, King Fontaine, Minella Theatre and Scotsirish. The absentees mean that Killyglen (36), Always Waining (39) and Becauseicouldntsee (40) are all guaranteed a place in the starting line up. Those still just outside the top forty include Le Beau Bai (41), State of Play (42), Postmaster (44) and The Package (45).
The five-day declaration stage for the Grand National is on April 9th with the final declaration stage at 10am on April 12th. The safety limit means that there will be a maximum field of 40 runners with the provision for up to four reserves.