Neil King thrilled to see Milansbar sneak into Grand National field

Neil King is delighted that Milansbar is guaranteed a place in the maximum 40-runner field for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

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Neil King is delighted that Milansbar is guaranteed a place in the maximum 40-runner field for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

The 11-year-old, who will be ridden by leading conditional Bryony Frost, made the cut as number 38 at the five-day stage for the world's greatest steeplechase.

"We were delighted to get the confirmations today to see that he definitely gets a run," said King.

"The horse is in great form, so we can look forward to it."

The Wiltshire trainer was pleased to acquire the services of Frost, who guided the horse to victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January on the only occasion she has partnered him in a race.

"It's great to have Bryony on board again. She schooled him over National-style fences in Lambourn the other day and all went well," said King.

"He's done all his work - he had that school the other day. It's just a case of keeping him happy now."

The list of 63 horses left in the world's greatest steeplechase is headed by the Jonjo O'Neill-trained top-weight Minella Rocco.

Last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up is likely to be ridden by Noel Fehily as owner JP McManus' team firmed up jockey plans for the National.

Racing manager Frank Berry confirmed: "Barry Geraghty rides Anibale Fly, Noel Fehily is set to partner Minella Rocco, Mark Walsh will be on Carlingford Lough and Richie McLernon will be on Regal Encore. We don't know about Pendra yet.

"As of today they are all in great form."

At present, the 40th and final place is taken by the Nigel Twiston-Davies' Double Ross.

If there are any withdrawals from the final 40 between declaration time on Thursday and 1pm on Friday, one of four reserves will step up in the order they are selected.

Twiston-Davies also has leading hope Blaklion in the mix, while all the other major candidates such as Tiger Roll for Gordon Elliott and the Mullins-trained Total Recall were left in.

Fergal O'Brien reports Chase The Spud and Perfect Candidate to be in top form.

"Perfect Candidate and Chase The Spud both schooled on Monday. Alain Cawley will ride Perfect Candidate and Paddy Brennan will ride Chase The Spud," he said.

"I'm very happy with both of them, but it is the National and anything can happen, so it is a case of fingers crossed," he said.

"You would have to be a bit disappointed with Chase The Spud as he won the Midlands National, then won a decent three-mile handicap first time at Haydock and the wheels have since fallen off.

"Perfect Candidate is a funny one. They had a standing start in the veterans' race at Sandown on his penultimate start and he never went a yard. He was beaten going to the second. Nothing against Conor Shoemark, we are going to change jockeys.

"Paddy got a great tune out of him in the Cotswold Chase and he led for three-quarters of the race before getting outclassed.

"We are more hopeful than confident. He is better in small fields, but the one thing about the National is a lot of the jockeys say there is always somewhere you can find space because they are so spread out."


Aintree 17:15, 14 April 2018

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