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Grand National 2016 - 87 remain
Mon, Apr 4th, 2016

Many Clouds tops 87 in Crabbie's Grand National

Monday, April 4, 2016 - Last year's winner Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood) tops 87 horses going forward for the £1-million Crabbie's Grand National, staged at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 9, 2016.

The nine-year-old Many Clouds, 8/1 clear favourite with Betfred, official betting partner of the Crabbie's Grand National Festival, is bidding to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the world's greatest since the legendary Red Rum in 1973 and 1974. He completed his preparation in fine style with victory in the Listed Premier Chase at Kelso on March 13 when he proved 10 lengths too good for Unioniste (Paul Nicholls).

The only winner of the Grand National trained in Wales was Kirkland 101 years ago in 1905 but the principality could have up to three representatives in 2016, including Buywise (Evan Williams).

Buywise achieved his biggest victory to date in the 2014 Grade Two Silver Trophy at Cheltenham in April, 2014 and has been in the first four on all four of his starts this season, including when a fast-finishing runner-up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November. His most recent appearance was in the Listed Sky Bet Chase over three miles at Doncaster on January 30, when he was third.

Williams, who is based at Llancarfan in the Vale Of Glamorgan, commented today: "Everything is good with Buywise ahead of the Crabbie's Grand National.

"I wouldn't be confident at all whether he will stay or whether he will jump but we will take our chance and see what happens.

"He is has won on all types of ground, so that does not really concern me - I have plenty of other things to worry about with Buywise."

The two other possible starters for Wales on Saturday are O'Faolain's Boy and The Romford Pele (both Rebecca Curtis).

The 10/1 second-favourite with Betfred is The Last Samuri (Kim Bailey), an impressive winner of the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster last time. Silviniaco Conti (Paul Nicholls), a seven-tine Grade One winner including twice in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree, is a 12/1 chance and one of seven remaining entries for Britain's reigning champion trainer.

Other contenders prominent in the market with Betfred are The Druids Nephew (Neil Mulholland, 14/1), second behind The Last Samuri at Doncaster and travelling well when falling five from home in the 2015 Crabbie's Grand National. Three horses are on the 16/1 mark - Holywell (Jonjo O'Neill), runner-up in the Grade Three Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last time and a Grade One winner at Aintree in 2014, last year's runner-up Saint Are (Tom George) and Cause Of Causes (Gordon Elliott IRE), who won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival but is number 50 on the list at present. A maximum field of 40 can line up in the Crabbie's Grand National.

There are a total 23 horses going forward from Ireland, including last year's Midlands National winner and Scottish National runner-up Goonyella (Jim Dreaper, 20/1) plus Gallant Oscar (Tony Martin, 20/1), successful in a valuable handicap chase at Punchestown in May.

Morning Assembly (Pat Fahy, 25/1), fourth in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last time, was a Grade Two winner back in 2013, when he claimed the very notable scalp of Don Cossack, successful in this season's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Fahy said today: "Morning Assembly was quiet in himself after Cheltenham, so we gave him a few days' break.

"But he's back in good form now - he's the best we've had him all year. I was pleased with his run at Cheltenham, he just made a slight mistake at the vital time but apart from that I was delighted with him.

"The Crabbie's Grand National has always been his main target, we've always had the race in mind for him."

Another contender from Ireland is Home Farm (Hendry de Bromhead, 66/1), who was third in the 2013 Irish Grand National and was last seen out when sixth over hurdles at Leopardstown on February 28.

De Bromhead said: "Home Farm is in really good form and definitely goes for the Crabbie's Grand National. He is a high class horse and I am expecting a really good run."

Willie Mullins, Ireland's champion trainer, has four entries going forward as he chases his first British trainers' championship - Boston Bob (33/1), On His Own (40/1), Sir Des Champs (40/1) and Ballycasey (50/1).

The final field of 40, plus four reserves, will be revealed shortly after 10.00am on Thursday, April 7. The order of elimination for horses currently 41 and below on the list of confirmations will be known tomorrow.

Crabbie's Grand National, Betfred bet: 8/1 Many Clouds; 10/1 The Last Samuri; 12/1 Silviniaco Conti; 14/1 The Druids Nephew; 16/1 Cause Of Causes, Holywell, Saint Are; 20/1 Gallant Oscar, Goonyella, Shutthefrontdoor; 25/1 Bishops Road, Kruzhlinin, Morning Assembly; 33/1 Boston Bob, First Lieutenant, Onenightinvienna, Rule The World, Triolo d'Alene, Ucello Conti, Unioniste; 40/1 Alvarado, Just A Par, Le Reve, Midnight Prayer, O'Faolains Boy, On His Own, Sir des Champs, Soll; 50/1 Ballycasey, Ballynagour, Black Thunder, Buywise, Double Ross, Double Seven, Hadrian's Approach, Highland Lodge, Mountainous, Pineau de Re, Royale Knight, The Romford Pele, Vieux Lion Rouge, Wonderful Charm; 66/1 Aachen, Firebird Flyer, Gilgamboa, Home Farm, Katenko, Pendra, Perfect Candidate, Present View, Rocky Creek, Splash Of Ginge, Vics Canvas; 100/1 Amigo, Any Currency, Bally Beaufort, Benvolio, Bless The Wings, Bob Ford, Cogry, Corrin Wood, Dare To Endevour, Doing Fine, Emperor's Choice, Gas Line Boy, Golden Wonder, Indian Castle, Knock House, Maggio, Milborough, Mr Moonshine, No Secrets, Portrait King, Rivage d'Or, Rogue Angel, Russe Blanc, Saroque, Standing Ovation, Summery Justice, Woodford County; 150/1 Big Water, Wyck Hill; 200/1 Aerlite Supreme, Financial Climate, Harry The Viking, Ikorodu Road, Tour des Champs.
¼ 1-2-3-4. NRNB

Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: "Whilst Many Clouds is a firm ante-post market-leader and fully expected to go off favourite, there's no shortage of punters happy to take him on at the prices.

"The Last Samuri is particularly popular, but the most eye-catching support has come in for Gallant Oscar.

"We laid our biggest individual bet on the McManus horse and he looks a prime candidate to shorten further this week."

Tremendous supporting action on Grand National Day

Thistlecrack and Douvan headline a tremendous supporting cast at Aintree on Grand National Day, Saturday, April 9.

Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard), who won the Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle at last year's Crabbie's Grand National Festival, was imperious in winning the Ryanair World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and bids to double up in the £150,000 Grade One Liverpool Stayers' Hurdle (3.40pm) over just short of three miles and a furlong. The 15 entries also feature unexposed six-year-old Different Gravey (Nicky Henderson), who defied top-weight to win a valuable handicap hurdle by 16 lengths at Ascot in February.

Alpha Des Obeaux (Mouse Morris), seven lengths behind Thistlecrack at Cheltenham, heads a strong Irish entry. Willie Mullins has Nichols Canyon and exciting mare Vroum Vroum Mag among a three-strong team, while Gordon Elliott has entered impressive Coral Cup scorer Diamond King.

All eyes will be on Douvan in the £100,000 Grade One Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (3.00pm, 10 entries) over just short of two miles. The six-year-old is unbeaten in eight starts for Willie Mullins and extended his winning sequence over fences to four with an easy seven-length victory in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.

Henry de Bromhead is set to rely on Alisier D'Irlande as he bids for a third victory in four years. The Co Waterford handler took the spoils with Special Tiara in 2013 and Sizing Granite 12 months ago.

Owned by Roger Brookhouse, Alisier D'Irlande has not looked back since falling on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse, scoring by 17 lengths at Naas on February 7 and nine lengths at Leopardstown three weeks later.

De Bromhead said: "Alisier D'Irlande is in great form and we are looking forward to Aintree.

"He has been good this season. He did not have a great start when he fell at Fairyhouse but, other than that, we have been very happy with him and you can't really fault what he has done in his completed starts. He looks a nice horse.

"I think the track and better ground at Aintree will suit him well. He has won on flat tracks and is definitely better going left-handed."

Yorkhill (Willie Mullins) and Yanworth (Alan King) star among 26 entries for the £75,000 Grade One EZ Trader Mersey Novices' Hurdle (2.25pm) over two and a half miles. The pair were separated by a length and three quarters in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Other eye-catching entries include Buveur D'Air (Nicky Henderson), who was third to stablemate Altior in the Sky Bet Supreme Novicies' Hurdle, and improving Grade Two winner Ball D'Arc (Gordon Elliott).

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle winner Ibis Du Rheu (Paul Nicholls) could step up in trip for the £50,000 Grade Three Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (1.45pm) over short of three miles and a furlong. The 55 entries also include Grade Three handicap hurdle victor Barney Dwan (Fergal O'Brien) and Pertemps Final runner-up Arpege D'Alene (Paul Nicholls).

The action is completed by the £60,000 Listed Betfred Handicap Chase (4.20pm, 31 entries) and the £50,000 Pinset Mason Handicap Hurdle (6.10pm, 43 entries).

GOING NEWS

The going description for the Grand National Course at Aintree has changed this afternoon to Good to Soft, Soft in places after a drying day. It was previously Soft, Good to Soft in places.

Andrew Tulloch, Regional Head of Racing Jockey Club Racecourses North West and Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said at 4.30pm: "We had seven millimetres of rain overnight but it has been a nice drying day and I have changed the going on the Grand National Course.

"It remains Good to Soft on the Mildmay Course and Good to Soft, Soft in places in the home straight on the Hurdle Course.

"We should have another dry day tomorrow (Tuesday), but there is rain forecast on Wednesday, while the weather is likely to be unsettled during the three days of the meeting.

"Temperatures will be around 11 to 12 Celsius. The courses are in good nick and we will be racing on the outer configurations on Grand Opening Day (Thursday, April 7) so as to have fresh ground for later in the week."

THE FOLLOWING NINE HORSES HAVE BEEN SCRATCHED:
CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE), THIRD INTENTION (IRE), ROI DU MEE (FR), TURBAN (FR), LIVING NEXT DOOR (IRE), SPRING HEELED, KATKEAU (FR), GOLDEN CHIEFTAIN (IRE), GODSMEJUDGE (IRE)

THE CRABBIE'S GRAND NATIONAL FESTIVAL
Order of Running

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Grand Opening Day
1.40pm Merseyrail Manifesto Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f £100,000
2.15pm Betfred Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f £100,000
2.50pm Betfred Bowl Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f £150,000
3.25pm Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f £200,000
4.05pm Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase 2m 5f £40,000
4.40pm Betfred Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m £100,000
5.15pm Goffs Nickel Coin Mares' Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f £40,000

Friday, April 8, 2016
Ladies Day
1.40pm Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 4f £50,000
2.15pm Top Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f £75,000
2.50pm Betfred Mildmay Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f £100,000
3.25pm JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f £200,000
4.05pm Crabbie's Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5f £120,000
4.40pm Doom Bar Sefton Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f £100,000
5.15pm Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f £40,000

Saturday, April 9, 2016
Grand National Day
1.45pm Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3m ½f £50,000
2.25pm EZ Trader Mersey Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f £75,000
3.00pm Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m £100,000
3.40pm Liverpool Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f £150,000
4.20pm Betfred Handicap Chase (Listed) 3m 1f £60,000
5.15pm Crabbie's Grand National (Grade 3) 4m 2½f £1,000,000
6.10pm Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional & Amateur Riders) 2m ½f £50,000

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