THIS year’s Grand National, sponsored for the first time by Crabbie’s has attracted 115 entries, the most since 2009 and up 31 on last year.
The 2005 winning trainer with Hedgehunter, Willie Mullins has eight entries while Paul Nicholls, who won with Neptune Collonges in 2012, has Rocky Creek and Tidal Bay amongst his seven entries.
Likely topweights are Nicky Henderson’s Gold Cup winner Long Run and Tidal Bay for Paul Nicholls The weights will be announced in February.
In form Sussex trainer Gary Moore has two entries, with Well Refreshed – currently rated as a 33-1 shot, and Vino Griego, priced at 50-1. It would give each of his sons who ride over jumps, Joshua and Jamie, a ride in the big race.
Joshua normally partners Well Refreshed, whose poor performance in the Welsh National can be discounted because the horse was later found to be unwell. He won the 2013 Sussex National with this race.
Meanwhile his brotherJamie has ridden Vino Griego to four good victories and countless placings.
There was news that last year’s winner, Aurora Encore, has had to be retired following an injury. This removes any chance of him retaining his title for the second consecutive year.
Trainer Sue Smith, based at Eldwick, near Bingley, in Yokshire, announced that the 12-year-old chaser had been injured during a prep race at Donaster last Saturday in the Sky Bet Chase.
He suffered a fracture to his off-fore during the race and has been operated on to have screws inserted. He will not race again.