Aintree Grand National Entries Preview

I know, I know we are living in the world of sponsorship and without it racing probably wouldn’t survive. So thanks must go to each and every sponsor that invests money in racing, whether it be a maiden point to point for older geldings , the Irish Derby or the Aintree Grand National.

Some like the Hennessy at Newbury have taken on a life of there own, others have drifted from memory, the chances are that this years title of the Aintree spectacular the Crabbies Grand National wont live to long in the memory either!

Its a dreadful name put on an iconic race for sponsorship purposes, hopefully the racing authorities never get an offer from Ann Summers or Rentokil to sponsor the race in the future!

Entries were released today for this years renewal on the 5th of April seeing a staggering 115 horses entered with 39 trained in Ireland.

Gone are the days of old with horses from outside of the 10st mark getting a run or horses with little form being allowed run. The alterations to the fences have for some sanitised the race making it no more than a “big” handicap run over unusually presented fences for the most part.

Even if this was totally true it remains a race that nearly everybody, owner, jockey, trainer, breeder, punter, stable staff etc really want to win.

A quick glance at the entries shows up a few interesting contenders. Of course the big talking point will be when the weights are announced with this being the only race that a horses track form can be over ridden by its record over the Aintree fences.

Co Carlow based Willie Mullins has 8 entries, some speculative I would imagine at this stage but they include his dual Gowran Park Thyestes Chase winner, On His Own as well as the Leopardstown Paddy Power winner Rockyaboya and the recent Ballinaboola Open Lightweight winner Quel Esprit.

The 2013 Galway Plate winner , Carlingford Lough , now one of this seasons top novice chasers has been entered by Co Waterford trainer John Kiely, with Henry De Bromhead coming from the same neck of the woods including Buckers Bridge at this initial stage.

Co Kildare based Martin Brassil took the Gigginstown House Stud National at Kilbeggan last summer with Double Seven and he also won the top Listed Chase at Wexford at Halloween to set himself up for a tilt at this race.

Dot Love sprang a huge surprise at Fairyhouse last Easter when the Co Westmeath trainer saddled Liberty Counsel to win the Irish Grand National under Ben Dalton. Will they be able to repeat the surprise here? Or will Thomas Gibney and Lion Na Bearnai be in a position to do the exact same double from their Co Meath yard?

Seabass, third in 2012 under Katie Walsh behind Neptune Collonge hasn’t seen a racecourse since Auteuil last June, but Im assuming Ted Walsh knows where he is and will have him ready to race.

Seabass had won an Open Lightweight at the Wexford Foxhound meeting in Ballinaboola in November 2011, prior to his transfer to the track in 2012, so maybe Quel Esprit can repeat the trick for Willie Mullins?

With Barry Connell the new owner of that good Hunter Chaser Mossey Joe following his purchase last weekend, he now has this interesting entry to ponder with in the coming months.

When you throw in the classy British pair Tidal Bay and Long Run into the mix it makes for interesting race and will lend itself to much talk over the coming weeks.

They will race for £1,000,000 stg So perhaps that will help the winner to forget the Crabbies name! 

Guest Post By Dick White From