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Minella Times left at top of National weights

Last year’s winner Minella Times has been left at the top of the weights in Saturday’s Randox Grand National following the defection of his stablemate Chris’s Dream.

Minella Times claimed a historic victory 12 months ago as Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the world’s most famous steeplechase.

But Henry de Bromhead’s nine-year-old will have to carry 11st 10lb this time around as he bids to follow in the hoofprints of Tiger Roll by successfully defending his crown.

The only other horse previously in the top 40 that has been taken out is the Mick Winters-trained Chatham Street Lad. He could instead tackle the famous fences in Friday’s Topham Chase.

The beneficiaries of the two defections are another De Bromhead runner in Poker Party and Dan Skelton’s Blaklion, who are now guaranteed a place in the field.

The top three in the market are Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work (11st 9lb), the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now (11st 8lb) and Snow Leopardess (10st 9lb) from Charlie Longsdon’s yard.

Elliott’s strong squad also includes Escaria Ten (11st 1lb) and Farclas (11st 1lb), while Ciaran Murphy’s Enjoy d’Allen (10st 11lb) is another leading contender from Ireland.

Elliott’s Death Duty and Sean Curran’s  Domaine De L’Isle currently occupy the 41st and 42nd spots respectively.

Emma Lavelle’s Eclair Surf, second to easy Scottish National winner Win My Wings in the Eider Chase last time out, is currently 43rd on the list.

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