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National weights – what they say

Trainer Ted Walsh – Any Second Now (11st 2lb)

Any Second Now on his way to winning the Kim Muir
Any Second Now on his way to winning the Kim Muir (Nigel French/PA)

“I knew he was going to get a few pounds more as he was third in the National last year. He was a bit unlucky then – whether he’d have beaten the winner I’m not sure, but he’d definitely have been closer.

“Of course I’d always be happier with less weight and I’d be happier with less than 11 stone but it is what it is. The only problem is if the top weights don’t run and we end up around 11st 6lb or 11st 7lb – that would be tough.

“He might run at the weekend in the Red Mills (Chase) at Gowran Park. Either that or we’ll go to Naas or Fairyhouse after that.

“He’s up there with Papillon (Grand National winner in 2000) and Seabass (third in 2012) for ability, you’d think. They had nice weights in the race and they both ran well and he’s that type of horse.

“A win would be the main thing for me – when you get to my age you don’t get too many more chances to win it again! I’d like to win it again, I must say. It was great to win it once and it would be marvellous to win it twice.”

Trainer Gordon Elliott – Conflated (11st 10lb), Galvin (11st 10lb), Tiger Roll (11st 4lb), Delta Work (11st 3lb), Run Wild Fred (11st 1lb), Battleoverdoyen (11st), Mount Ida (10st 13lb), Escaria Ten (10st 9lb), Farclas (10st 9lb), Samcro (10st 9lb), Coko Beach (10st 7lb), Braeside (10st 5lb), Milan Native (10st 2lb), Death Duty (10st 1lb), Smoking Gun (9st 11lb), Defi Bleu (9st 8lb), Definite Plan (9st 8lb), Mortal (9st 8lb), Alpha Des Obeaux (9st 1lb)

“It looks like it might be one of my best hands in the Grand National as we look to have a lot of great chances. You would have to be looking forward to the likes of Mount Ida, Run Wild Fred and Death Duty, who is a dual Grade One winner that at the moment is off 10st 1lb, which looks a lovely weight. Hopefully he creeps in to the race.

“Conflated will be going to Cheltenham, while the aim is the Gold Cup with Galvin and he would only run in the National if anything happened in the Gold Cup.

“Delta Work is definitely a possibility for the Grand National. He might not quite be up to Gold Cup class anymore. We were half-thinking about the Grand National and it looks like he has got a nice weight there. I think he could easily take to these fences.

“Samcro has had a lot of problems with his sinuses, but we have them sorted again and the plan is to go straight to the Grand National. He is a very good horse on his day and we are just hoping these fences might light him up.”

Trainer Willie Mullins – Melon (11st 6lb), Franco de Port (11st 4lb), Brahma Bull (11st), Burrows Saint (10st 13lb), Ontheropes (10st 9lb), Class Conti (10st 4lb), Agusta Gold (10st 3lb), Stones And Roses (9st 1lb)

Melon and Paul Townend after winning at Leopardstown
Melon and Paul Townend after winning at Leopardstown (PA)

“Melon has been second four times at the Cheltenham Festival. He hasn’t ever run at Aintree (over fences) and it could be a track that might suit him. We decided to give him an entry and see where he is.

“He would be an interesting runner there. He is at an age now where he is finding it hard to win at the top level. We felt this was a bit of a last roll of dice to see if Aintree lit his fire.

“Franco De Port is a horse that has plenty of stamina in his pedigree. If he likes Aintree it is the place he could go back over the next few years being that he is only seven.

“Brahma Bull is a proper handicapper that has been placed in plenty of top staying handicap chases. He is a horse that the heavy winter ground probably doesn’t suit – he really improves in the spring.

“Burrows Saint looked very good for most of the race last year (finished fourth). He just ran out of petrol a bit going to the last.

“However, he is more mature this year and he is certainly one a lot of jockeys would like to ride. He is definitely a horse with a chance off that weight.”

Trainer Polly Gundry – Santini (10st 10lb)

Santini is bound for the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Santini is bound for the Cheltenham Gold Cup (David Davies/PA)

“That (weight) is quite encouraging. We’re going to go to the Gold Cup so it would have to be if something goes wrong.

“If we had a really good run in the Gold Cup then I’m not sure we’d go that way anyway, but if something went wrong we might go for the National. It’s slightly immaterial at the moment but on the other hand, that is not going to put his owner, Richard Kelvin-Hughes, off.

“We’ve been saying that if he got 11st then that would be amazing, so 10st 10lb is even more amazing. I’m sure that will tickle Richard’s interest.”

Trainer Nicky Henderson – Chantry House (11st 3lb), Caribean Boy (10st 6lb)

Nicky Henderson views Caribean Boy as a likely Grand National candidate
Nicky Henderson views Caribean Boy as a likely Grand National candidate (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I’ve yet to win any National – English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh! We won’t mention the American National as I can’t count that!

“Of course you want to win it – more than anything – and it would be very sad to have to go to bed without one. We’ve been very lucky over the years and most things have fallen our way but this doesn’t seem to want to.

“There’s every chance that Chantry House will be right at the top at the weights, but I’d say it’s a million to one that he runs, personally. At the moment he’s going to the Cheltenham Gold Cup and he’s not going to do both – it would be an almighty ask.

“Caribean Boy is guaranteed a run, so that’s all that matters. It was a really good run at Kempton last month and the plan is to go back there in a fortnight’s time.

“He will be one of the more likely horses I’ve had for the Grand National for a long time.”

Mick Meagher, racing manager for the late Trevor Hemmings – Cloth Cap (10st 4lb), Cloudy Glen (10st 3lb), Deise Aba (10st 2lb)

Cloudy Glen will carry the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings at Aintree
Cloudy Glen will carry the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings at Aintree (Tim Goode/PA)

“The horses Trevor had were all there for the purpose of running in the Grand National and if they look like they might be suitable for the job, why wouldn’t you honour his wishes?

“He was very proud of his three winners and his horses were his pride and joy, so it meant the world to him. It’s one of the most famous races in the world and he typified that.

“He would have been chuffed to pieces with Cloudy Glen winning the Ladbrokes Trophy. Cloudy Glen is a homebred, which makes him a little bit more special.

“He’s 6lb higher than when he won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, so we can’t complain at that, though he needs to come back in form a bit as his runs since have been a bit disappointing. He’ll likely run in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival.

“Cloth Cap is probably where we should be really. We won the Ladbrokes Trophy (in 2020) off a mark of 136, so we’ve got the 11lb for winning that race by 10 lengths. In theory you’d have to be happy because if he came back to that kind of form, he’d have to have a great chance. Ground is important with him – he doesn’t want soft ground.

“You’d think Deise Aba will get in and he’ll go straight to Aintree. He’s one of those horses that’s got loads of ability but doesn’t always show it.

“He’s just one of those horses who might take to the place and if he does he’ll run a big race.”

Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer – Lostintranslation (11st), Fiddlerontheroof (10st 12lb), Elegant Escape (9st 11lb)

Lostintranslation is a class horse on his day
Lostintranslation is a class horse on his day (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“Lostintranslation will run in the Ascot Chase this weekend. For a horse that has finished third in the Gold Cup and won on his comeback run this season he has dropped to 157.

“We had a bad season last season with him but I think that is a mark he is capable off of. He has always been a good jumper. We will see if his National mark tempts the owners. I imagine he will go to Cheltenham first, but if he comes out of that really well I imagine he will take his chance.

“This is not a joke entry – it is a proper entry. He is a lovely jumper and that is one thing that plays to his strengths. If we got a bit of good ground he would be well within his capability to travel and jump around there. Let’s not forget he was rated a stone higher at one point and if he got back to somewhere near his best then he could be involved.

“This has been the plan for Fiddlerontheroof since the Ladbrokes Trophy where he had a hard enough race. It was going to be too soon to go for a King George, then we talked about it and we thought he could have a live chance in a Grand National.

“We waited until the weights came out before we decided to run him again. We will run him at Ascot on Saturday in the three mile-handicap chase.

“I’m sure off 155 he would be competitive and he is a lovely jumper.”

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