Aintree Grand National weights - What they say
Last Updated: 13/02/18 9:02pm
Reaction from trainers to the Randox Health Grand National weights with Nigel Twiston-Davies comparing Blaklion to Red Rum.
Trainer Brian Ellison - Definitly Red (11st 10lb)
"I sort of expected him to be top-weight really. He's rated 167 so they couldn't do much else.
"The Gold Cup is the plan. We'll get that out of the way and see about Aintree after that.
"He's in great form at home. I couldn't be happier with him."
Trainer Kim Bailey - The Last Samuri (11st 4lb)
"The Last Samuri's weight is what we were expecting given his rating. If the weights stay as they are and don't rise, I think he would have more of a chance.
"I have been very happy with him since Cheltenham and he will have a prep race somewhere between now and Aintree. We have got several options, but there are no firm plans as we will have to see what the weather does first.
"The Last Samuri doesn't need to have a prep race, but we are lining up to have one at the moment."
Patrick Mullins, assistant to father Willie Mullins - Total Recall (11st 1lb), Acapella Bourgeois (10st 9lb), Rathvinden (10st 9lb), Bellshill (10st 7lb), Pleasant Company (10st 7lb), Polidam (10st 5lb), Childrens List (10st 4lb), Arbre De Vie (9st 11lb), Pairofbrowneyes (9st 10lb), Bravissimo (9st 5lb)
"It is going to be hard for Total Recall to win two big handicaps in one season (after winning the Ladbrokes Trophy). It is not impossible but it makes life difficult, but with a horse like him you don't know when they are going to stop improving.
"Bellshill is back in full training. He is a high-class horse. He beat Coney Island at Punchestown when he was a novice hurdler. He's only had four runs over fences and one of those was a fall, so that would be at the back of your mind, but I think there is a a handicap in him off his rating. We will try to get a run into him sooner rather than later and we'll know more after that.
"Pleasant Company will get in right at the bottom and he was running a great race last year until he made a mistake. He has been very disappointing this year, but I do think he is a spring ground horse.
"Polidam was sent to us with the National in mind. He has been a bit hit and miss and the trip would be an unknown, but he has a very eyecatching weight, so there is a possibility he could run.
"Acapella Bourgeois has been quite disappointing - no bones about it. We have given him a break since his last run and he would have to do something special to come into consideration."
Trainer Gordon Elliott - Outlander (11st 8lb), Mala Beach (11st 3lb), Noble Endeavor (10st 13lb), Cause Of Causes (10st 12lb), Tiger Roll (10st 9lb), Ucello Conti (10st 6lb), Bless The Wings (10st 2lb), General Principle (9st 12lb), Out Sam (9st 3lb), Poormans Hill (8st 7lb).
"I wouldn't like to second guess Michael O'Leary about the Gigginstown horses. If I was a betting man, I would say Outlander's most likely target is the Punchestown Gold Cup. The handicapper has a job to do and you won't hear me complaining.
"I'd imagine I will run Cause Of Causes, Noble Endeavor, Ucello Conti and Tiger Roll. They would be the four at the moment. Bless The Wings could also go if he gets in.
"You'd have to imagine Cause Of Causes is the principal one. He was second in the race last year and he looks like he has a lovely weight with 10st 12lb there again. I'm not complaining and I'd imagine he will go for the cross-country again at Cheltenham.
"Noble Endeavor will have one run and then go for the National and that will definitely be in Ireland.
"Ucello Conti is going to go straight to the race and Tiger Roll will run in the cross-country race at Cheltenham, all being well."
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill - Minella Rocco (11st 7lb), Go Conquer (10st 10lb)
"Minella Rocco will go for the Gold Cup first and we will see what happens after that.
"You would think he would make a good Grand National horse, but he has been disappointing since last year's Gold Cup really.
"He is not as economical as you would like him to be. He jumps a bit in and out. He is good when he's good, but he would have to be a little more consistent for the National.
"I wouldn't know if Go Conquer would get the trip or not. If the ground is good he might go.
"He is in on Saturday at Ascot. If the ground was on the soft side, he might not go and then he would probably end up going to Cheltenham."
Trainer Paul Nicholls - Vicente (10st 10lb), As De Mee (10st 8lb), Warriors Tale (10st 8lb), Silsol (10st 3lb), Sametegal (10st), Braqueur D'Or (9st 10lb)
"As De Mee will go and Warriors Tale will go. They would be my main two and they are both intended runners. As De Mee is ready to run. He could run in something like the Greatwood Gold Cup on March 3 at Newbury.
"I am not sure Sametegal will stay and he will probably go in the Topham.
"Vicente is in it but he does so well at Ayr (dual winner of Scottish Grand National), so we will see what happens. He definitely wouldn't want to run at Aintree if it is soft and there is a question mark over his jumping as well round there.
"Last year I was lucky he jumped one and that was it and I was able to go to Ayr with him. If you ended up getting decent ground I suppose you could go. The Scottish National is really my main aim with him.
"Silsol would want it bottomless."
Trainer Nicky Henderson - Gold Present (11st), O O Seven (10st 11lb), Vyta Du Roc (10st 6lb)
"I think it is probably the plan to run Gold Present in the National. If he is going to run again (beforehand) it will be at Ascot on Saturday. I thought we might go there and possibly leave Cheltenham alone.
"He ran in the Topham last year as a novice and ran well until he nearly got knocked down. He has jumped beautifully all year and he does strike me as one of the more likely candidates that we have had for a long time. If everything goes right between now and then, we could say he is a realistic contender.
"O O Seven could go to Kempton next weekend or wait for Cheltenham. The way he ran in the Topham last year, finishing fourth, I think that was a good prep for the National."
Trainer David Pipe - Vieux Lion Rouge (10st 9lb)
"I thought he was in great form this season, but he has not done as well as I thought he would in the first half of the season. He has dropped a few pounds and hopefully he will have a better second half of the season.
"Obviously he has not quite stayed the trip the last two years, but he stayed a bit better last year and now he is another year older, we thought we would give it another go
"He is in at Ascot and Haydock at the weekend. It is going to be a slog at Haydock on Saturday, which he should have liked in the Becher Chase, but he didn't quite run up to form in that.
"He has got a nice weight pull with Blaklion."
Trainer Ian Williams - Gas Line Boy (10st 7lb), Ballyalton (9st 11lb)
"Gas Line Boy is guaranteed a run and that makes the debate on whether he will get in or won't non-existent this year.
"He loves the Aintree fences and he ran a cracking race to finish fifth last year. You have to respect the fact that he is getting on in years, but he doesn't know how old he is.
"His form this year is better than it was at this stage last year and he is like a fine Bordeaux (wine) - maturing with age!
"It's a relief we know he is going to get a run and not having to worry. The race remains his spring target and he won't run beforehand.
"If the ground is soft he will run in the Topham, but ultimately there is only one Grand National."
Trainer Fergal O'Brien - Perfect Candidate (10st 13lb), Chase The Spud (10st 8lb)
"Perfect Candidate has a much better weight than he had last year (11st 5lb). He had a terrible preparation last year. He won that veterans' chase at Exeter and that just shot him up the weights.
"To be fair, he ran well last year for a long way. He jumped and travelled well and just ran out of steam. He will go for the Ultima at Cheltenham and if he comes out of that well, he'll go to Aintree.
"Chase The Spud was very unfortunate in the Welsh Grand National last time. It just doesn't seem to be his place. He won first time out at Haydock and the plan was to go to Chepstow again, but he ran a bit fresh and keen with the choke out and couldn't get home on that ground.
"If he runs a good race in the Eider Chase (at Newcastle) it will put him spot-on for Aintree."