Grand National Entries – The 112 initial Grand National Entries for 2019 have been announced and include the race’s past two winners, Tiger Roll and One For Arthur
Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll just held on for a head victory over fellow Irish raider Pleasant Company at Aintree Racecourse to give his trainer a second success in the world’s greatest steeplechase last year and is on course to defend his crown at Aintree on April 6.
He heads the 112 entered – up from 104 in at the 2018 Grand National and 109 in 2017 – and is one of the record 47 trained in Ireland. The previous highest number of Grand National Entries from Ireland was 40 last year.
Tiger Roll is one of the favourites in his bid to become the first horse since the legendary triple star Red Rum in 1973-74 to win the race on more than one occasion. He is a 25-1 chance with Betfred to triumph in the 172nd running of the Aintree marathon.
County Meath-based Elliott, who also won the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007, supplies the most Grand National Entries of any trainer with 22 horses engaged.
His big team also includes last year’s third Bless The Wings (80-1), recent Thyestes Chase runner-up Alpha Des Obeaux (40-1), the 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle (33-1) and last season’s Thyestes Chase scorer Monbeg Notorious (66-1), as well as Grade One winners Outlander and Shattered Love .
Two other ‘National’ winners are among the Elliott’s Grand National Entries in Out Sam , who landed the Cork Grand National in October, and Jury Duty , successful in the Grade One Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills in America in October.
Tiger Roll’s owner, the Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary through his Gigginstown House Stud, also won the Grand National with Rule The World in 2016 – and he has 14 Grand National Entries as he seeks for record-equalling third triumph 11 weeks on Saturday.
Last year’s runner-up Pleasant Company – a 33-1 chance with Betfred, to go one better this time – is among nine entries from Ireland’s multiple champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins.
Mullins, who won the Grand National with Hedgehunter in 2005, could also have last season’s Irish Grand National runner-up Isleofhopendreams (50-1 bet365, Unibet), 2018 Leinster National winner Pairofbrowneyes (66-1 Betfair, bet365, Unibet) and Rathvinden (33-1 most bookmakers), who landed the four-mile Grade Two National Hunt Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival , all joining Pleasant Company at Aintree in the spring.
The most successful current British trainer in the Grand National is Naunton handler Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won the race twice with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).
Twiston-Davies has the most Grand National Entries of any British trainer this year with nine. They are headed by Go Conquer , who was a fine winner of the valuable Listed Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on Saturday, and is a best-priced 66-1 with Betfred.
Twiston-Davies’ entries also include the high-class Bristol De Mai , a winner of the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park for the past two seasons, as well as 2017 Becher Chase winner and Grand National fourth Blaklion ; and Ballyoptic , who was second in last season’s Scottish Grand National. Ballyoptic is 33-1 with most bookmakers.
Twiston-Davies said: “Go Conquer came out of the Sky Bet Chase well.
“It was a really good performance at Doncaster and we have always thought a lot of him.
“The ground was in his favour up there and the trip suited, so everything went well for him.
“Go Conquer jumps and stays well. He has been entered in the Grand National and I think that is something we will consider.
“Others who are under consideration for the Grand National include Blaklion, Ballyoptic and a few others.”
The 2017 Grand National hero One For Arthur became only the second winner of the Aintree showpiece to be trained in Scotland after Rubstic in 1979.
The Lucinda Russell-trained nine-year-old missed the race last season due to injury.
He has run twice since. He unseated Everton FC -supporting jockey Tom Scudamore on his seasonal reappearance in the Grade Betway Many Clouds Chase behind Definitely Red at Aintree in December.
One For Arthur – who is a 40-1 chance with Betfred for this year’s race – also parted company with his Grand National-winning jockey Derek Fox last time out in the Grade Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock on January 19.
Kinross-based Russell, who trains One For Arthur for owner the Two Golf Widows, said: “One For Arthur is in good form.
“He has been fine since Haydock and he will either run again at Haydock in the Grand National Trial (on February 16) or go to Kelso. We are yet to make a decision.
“Obviously, the long-term plan is to return to Aintree in April.”
The other Scottish-trained entry is Lake View Lad from the stable of Nick Alexander.
He has won twice this season in the Listed Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby for triple Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings.
Entries with form over the Grand National fences include the Robert Walford-trained Walk In The Mill , who won in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December and dual Topham Chase winner Ultragold from the Colin Tizzard stable.
Walk In The Mill was due to run in last year’s National when getting in as third reserve only to be found lame on the day of the race. He is a 33-1 chance with Ladbrokes, William Hill, Betway and Betfair for his bid to become first horse to win the Becher Chase and Grand National in the same season.
Ultragold is 40-1 with Betfred.
Ultragold’s trainer Tizzard has five entries with his quintet headed by this season’s Welsh Grand National hero Elegant Escape , who was last seen when a closing second in the Grade Two BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday. He is vying for favouritism with some firms and is a best-priced 25-1 with William Hill.
Other leading contenders include the Hemmings-owned Vintage Clouds (Sue Smith, 25-1), third in last season’s Scottish Grand National behind Joe Farrell (Rebecca Curtis, 40-1), plus Rock The Kasbah (Philip Hobbs, 25-1), who landed a Grade Three handicap chase at Cheltenham in November.
Hemmings, bidding for a record fourth Grand National winner, could also be represented by a third entry in the Paul Nicholls-trained Warriors Tale , who won the Betway Grand Sefton Chase over the big Aintree obstacles in December.
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