Tiger tops National field as Joe Farrell makes final cut

Defection of Pairofbrowneyes sees Scottish National winner run

  • Thursday 04 April
  • News
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Last year’s winner Tiger Roll tops a maximum field of 40 for Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National at Aintree

Gordon Elliott’s charge is bidding to become the first back-to-back winner of the race since the legendary Red Rum completed the feat back in 1974.

He is one of 13 runners for trainer Gordon Elliott, with his team also numbering last year’s third Bless The Wings, the well-fancied Jury Duty and the 2018 Irish Grand National victor General Principle.

The odds about Joe Farrell winning the extended four-and-a-quarter-mile contest have tumbled in recent days, and trainer Rebecca Curtis was thrilled to see him sneak into the field at declaration time.

Last year’s Scottish National hero had been sitting in the first reserve position, but the the withdrawal of Pairofbrowneyes means he is the final runner to make the cut.

The absence of Pairofbrowneyes means Willie Mullins will now have four runners in the field as he bids for a second National success.

Rathvinden leads the Mullins squad, and will be ridden by Ruby Walsh, with 2018 runner-up Pleasant Company aiming to avenge his head defeat for the master of Closutton.

Walsh explained his decision to ride Rathvinden.

He told Racing TV: “He has 11st, which is a nice weight.

“He won the Bobbyjo, won last year’s four-miler at Cheltenham, and he’s in good form – so I sided with him.

“He beat Ms Parfois in the four-miler, with Jury Duty in behind, so it’s solid form.

“He’s a safe jumper who stays – but he’s won over shorter, so he’s got pace.

“He ticks a lot of boxes – but you still need a lot of luck.”

Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up Anibale Fly carries top weight for trainer Tony Martin, with the Trevor Hemmings-owned pair of Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad also prominent in the betting.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson has yet to the win the National and he will team up with the Philip Hobbs-trained Rock The Kasbah as he tries to end his luckless run.

Becher Chase winner Walk In The Mill, 2017 Grand National hero One For Arthur and Step Back for Gold Cup-winning trainer Mark Bradstock are other names to note.

Just A Par is the first reserve for the race, with The Young Master, Isleofhopendreams and Exitas also poised to join the field should there be any non-runners before Friday’s 1pm deadline.

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