Grand National Weights Revealed
Many Clouds allotted top weight as he attempts to become first dual winner in over 40 years
Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood) will have to carry top-weight of 11st 10lb, compared to 11st 9lb to in 2015, as he bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the Crabbie’s Grand National since the great Red Rum in 1973 and 1974. The nine-year-old, who is owned by Trevor Hemmings, is the clear favourite with Betfred, official betting partner of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival.
Weights for the world’s greatest chase, which takes place at Aintree on Saturday, 9th April, are revealed today. The Crabbie’s Grand National is by far the richest chase outside of Japan and has a total prize fund of £1 million. It is staged over four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards and will be run for 169th time in 2016, with a new start time of 5.15pm.
Five of the first six horses home in 2015 are among the 126 entries – runner-up Saint Are (Tom George, 10st 5lb), fourth Alvarado (Fergal O’Brien, 10st 2lb), fifth Shutthefrontdoor (Jonjo O’Neill, 10st 11lb) and sixth Royale Knight (Dr Richard Newland, 10st 1lb).
In addition to Many Clouds, there is another horse attempting to win a second Crabbie’s Grand National in Pineau De Re (Dr Richard Newland, 10st 2lb), who was victorious in 2014 under 10st 6lb. Other contenders with winning form over the Grand National fences include this season’s Betfred Becher Chase scorer Highland Lodge(James Moffatt, 10st 2lb) and Triolo D’Alene (Nicky Henderson, 11st) who collected the 2013 Crabbie’s Topham Chase.
There are 38 Irish-trained horses entered, including last’s season’s RSA Chase hero Don Poli (Willie Mullins, 11st 9lb), Carlingford Lough (John Kiely, 11st 7lb), who recently won the Grade One Irish Gold Cup for the second year in succession and Sir Des Champs (Willie Mullins, 10st 13lb) who was runner-up in the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Other contenders trained in Ireland include the 2015 Irish Grand National victor Thunder And Roses (Sandra Hughes, 10st 6lb), 2014 Crabbie’s Grand National third Double Seven (Martin Brassil, 10st 1lb) and Goonyella (Jim Dreaper, 10st 8lb), who won last season’s Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter and finished runner-up in Ayr’s Scottish Grand National. Ted Walsh has two contenders with dual Grade Two winner Foxrock (11st 3lb) and Seabass (9st 12lb), who was third in 2012.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has more entries than any other trainer, with nine engaged. These are headed by six-time Grade One victor Silviniaco Conti (11st 8lb) and Just A Par (10st 6lb), who triumphed in last season’s bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park.
There are two past winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup engaged with the 2014 scorer Lord Windermere (Jim Culloty, 11st 1lb) and the 2011 victor Long Run (Robert Waley-Cohen, 10st 8lb).
Other contenders prominent in the market include Houblon Des Obeaux (Venetia Williams, 11st 5lb), who bounced back to form with a Grade Two victory at Newbury on Saturday, Kruzhlinin (Philip Hobbs, 10st 7lb), who finished 10th in 2014 and recorded an eye-catching victory at Kempton Park last month and The Druids Nephew (Neil Mulholland, 11st), who was leading the field when falling at Valentine’s on the second circuit last year.
Andrew Tulloch, Jockey Club Racecourses’ Regional Head of Racing for the North West and Clerk of the Course at Aintree, said: “The 169th renewal of the Crabbie’s Grand National is all set to be one of the strongest ever Grand Nationals with no less than 83 of the 126 entries currently in the handicap, having been allotted 10 stone or more.
“It will be fascinating to see if Many Clouds can become the first back-to-back winner since Red Rum 42 years ago, particularly as he is in the unique position of being only set to carry a pound more than when successful in 2015.”