Bristol De Mai heads the weights for the 2019 Randox Health Grand National with a lowered mark of 168, 5lb less than his master rating of 173.
With a prize fund of £1 million, the Grand National is the most valuable jumps race globally and takes place over four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards and over 30 fences at Aintree, at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 6, day three of the Randox Health Grand National Festival. This year sees the 172nd running of the great Aintree chase.
Bristol De Mai, carrying 11st 10lb, is one of nine entries for dual Grand National-winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and he gained his second Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November, when he defeated Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River by four lengths.
Twiston-Davies, whose Aintree successes came courtesy of Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002), also has impressive Sky Bet Chase victor Go Conquer (10st 13lb) and 2017 Becher Handicap Chase winner Blaklion (10st 12lb) among his nine entries.
The 2018 Randox Health Grand National hero Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott IRE) has been given 11st 1lb, as he bids to become the first dual winner of the race since the legendary Red Rum.
Tiger Roll is prominent in the betting alongside Elegant Escape (Colin Tizzard, 11st 4lb) who will bid to follow in the hoofprints of Earth Summit - the last horse to win the Welsh Grand National and Grand National in the same season (1997/98).
Tiger Roll's trainer Gordon Elliott, also successful with Silver Birch in 2007, accounts for 22 of the record 47 Irish-trained entries. Elliott's team also features Cheltenham Festival winner The Storyteller (11st 3lb) and General Principle (10st), winner of the 2018 Irish Grand National.
Elliott's big Irish rival Willie Mullins, responsible for 2005 Grand National scorer Hedgehunter, has 10 entries in total. Mullins' contenders are headed by last year's head runner-up Pleasant Company (10st 11lb), National Hunt Chase winner Rathvinden (10st 10lb) and Up For Review (10st 2lb), who was an eye-catching third in the Thyestes Chase on his latest start.
Anibale Fly (Tony Martin, 11st 6lb) has the biggest weight of any Irish-trained challenger. The J P McManus-owned runner finished fourth last year on the back of a career-best third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Owner Trevor Hemmings is chasing a fourth Grand National triumph, which would make him the winning-most owner of all time. His three entries include the highly-progressive Lake View Lad (Nick Alexander, 10st 11lb), winner of the Listed Rehearsal Chase and Rowland Meyrick Chase already this season, and Betway Grand Sefton Handicap Chase scorer Warriors Tale (Paul Nicholls, 10st 9lb).
The 2017 Grand National victor One For Arthur (Lucinda Russell) was unable to defend his crown last year due to injury. He has been allotted 10st 10lb.
Other entries with proven form over the Grand National fences include this season's Becher Handicap Chase winner Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford, 10st) and Ultragold (Colin Tizzard, 10st 3lb), who has captured the two most recent renewals of the Randox Health Topham Chase.
Trainer Dr Richard Newland, who tasted Grand National glory in 2013 with Pineau De Re, is chasing another victory with Abolitionist (10st 1lb). Third in the 2017 Irish Grand National for Ellmarie Holden, the 11-year-old won a three-mile handicap hurdle impressively at Aintree in November on his first start for Newland and has not raced since.
No mare has won the Grand National since Nickel Coin in 1951. The four female contenders this time around are Shattered Love (Gordon Elliott, 10st 10lb), a dual Grade One-winning novice over fences last season, National Hunt Chase second Ms Parfois (Anthony Honeyball, 10st 2lb), Magic Of Light (Jessica Harrington IRE, 10st 7lb) and Baie Des Iles (Ross O'Sullivan IRE, 9st 12lb).
Other entries include Rock The Kasbah (Phillip Hobbs, 10st 9lb), winner of a Grade Three handicap chase at Cheltenham in November, and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase second Mall Dini (Pat Kelly).
British Horseracing Authority Handicapper Martin Greenwood, who framed the weights for the first time this year and has total discretion for the Randox Health Grand National, said: "It was fairly straightforward to do the weights. I tried to treat it like any other race whilst bearing in mind there has to be some digression when needed.
"Bristol De Mai heads the weights and his rating has been compressed by 5lb as I thought it was better to have a horse at the top of the handicap whose rating was slightly out of kilter. If Bristol De Mai does run then I think it was the right call to make.
"I found Auvergnat (10st 8lb) of Enda Bolger's hard to weigh up. He has a lot of Cross Country form and he was the hardest one I had to deal with. He has been running primarily in Cross Country races and they are events which are having an increasing impact on the Grand National, highlighted by Tiger Roll's success last year.
"His form ties in with Josies Orders and Tiger Roll. He would almost have three different ratings, one in the mid-140s for regulation fences, a high 150s for the Cross Country fences and I have put him somewhere in the middle of that (152) to tie in with Josies Orders.
"Tiger Roll is up 9lb from his mark for last year's Grand National and Pleasant Company 7lb. I have them both on the same mark for what they were rated after last year's Grand National. Tiger Roll confirmed that rating in the Cross Country Handicap at Cheltenham in November. Pleasant Company has been a bit disappointing in a few runs since, but I think the Aintree fences will bring out the best in him, so that is why I left him on that mark.
"I think there are several interesting runners like Vintage Clouds and Elegant Escape, who is towards the top of the betting and he is an improving horse and was a good second to Frodon at Cheltenham last time out so you can see why he is one of the more fancied horses.
"I think it would be a knee-jerk reaction to make too much of the small amount of horses who are weighted 11st or higher. I wouldn't want to get too clever about what the reason is.
"At the entry stage, you needed to be around the mid-70s to get you into the race. I think anything based in the top 80 has a chance of getting in. Four of the last five years, horses approaching that number have got in so some connections shouldn't give up because they are rated towards the bottom."
John Baker, Managing Director at Aintree Racecourse, said on Tuesday: "The countdown to the 172nd running of the world's greatest and most valuable chase begins in earnest today with the unveiling of the weights for the £1-million Randox Health Grand National.
"Our thanks go to Martin Greenwood for framing the weights for the first time in 2019. The entries look very strong, with a record Irish-trained presence, and we look all set for an outstanding race at Aintree on Saturday, April 6."
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Latest odds* from Sky Bet (Non Runner No Bet and FIVE places on each-way bets)
14/1 Tiger Roll, Elegant Escape
20/1 Bristol De Mai
25/1 Abolitionist, Auvergnat, Anibale Fly, Dounikos, Lake View Lad, Rathvinden, Rock The Kasbah, Royal Vacation, Vintage Clouds, Walk In The Mill, One For Arthur, Pleasant Company, Mall Dini, General Principle, Valtor, Vieux Lion Rouge
33/1 Black Corton, Blaklion, Ballyoptic, Folsom Blue, Give Me A Copper, Isleofhopendreams, Joe Farrell, Step Back, Alpha des Obeaux, Minella Rocco, Missed Approach, Monbeg Notorious, Ms Parfois, Out Sam, The Last Samuri, Acapella Bourgeois, Rogue Angel, Total Recall, Up For Review, Ultragold
40/1 Baie des Iles, Go Conquer, Edwulf, Impulsive Star, Fact of The Matter, Mr Diablo, Jury Duty, Cogry, Tea For Two, The Young Master, Noble Endeavor, Traffic Fluide, Pairofbrowneyes, Warriors Tale, Ziga Boy
50/1 Allysson Monterg, American, Ballyarthur, Daklondike, Milansbar, Vieux Morvan, Mala Beach, Borice, Looking Well, Calett Mad, Call It Magic, Captain Redbeard,The Storyteller, The Dutchman, Ramses de Teillee, Sandymount Duke, Don Poli, Red Infantry, Shantou Village, Shattered Love, Singlefarmpayment, Some Neck, Carole's Destrier, Yala Enki
*Odds correct at 1500GMT 12/02/2019
Click on the tweet for full list of Grand National weights
Breakdown of entries by trainer (including those with previous successes) in the Randox Health Grand National
Gordon Elliott IRE
(2007 Silver Birch, 2018 Tiger Roll)
Alpha des Obeaux 11st 4lb, The Storyteller 11st 3lb, Tiger Roll 11st 1lb, Outlander 11st, Don Poli 10st 13lb, Mala Beach 10st 12lb, Dounikos 10st 10lb, Shattered Love 10st 10lb, A Toi Phil 10st 7lb, Jury Duty 10st 7lb, Monbeg Notorious 10st 6lb, Noble Endeavor 10st 6lb, Blow By Blow 10st 2lb, Folsom Blue 10st , General Principle 10st, Bless The Wings 9st 13lb, Out Sam 9st 10lb, Borice 9st 7lb, Measureofmydreams 9st 7lb, Rogue Angel 9st 7lb, Woods Well 9st 5lb, Ned Stark 8st 12lb
Willie Mullins IRE
Pleasant Company 10st 11lb , Rathvinden 10st 10lb, Total Recall 10st 10lb, Acapella Bourgeois 10st 5lb, Pairofbrowneyes 10st 2lb, Some Neck 10st 2lb, Up For Review 10st 2lb, Livelovelaugh 10st, Polidam 9st 13lb, Isleofhopendreams 9st 12lb
(1998 Earth Summit, 2002 Bindaree)
Bristol De Mai 11st 10lb, Go Conquer 10st 13lb, Blaklion 10st 12lb, Ballyoptic 10st 11lb, Calett Mad 10st 3lb, Ballyhill 9st 13lb, Ballyarthur 9st 10lb, Cogry 9st 10lb, Splash of Ginge 9st 7lb
(2008 Comply Or Die)
Ramses De Teillee 10st 5lb, Daklondike 10st 4lb, Vieux Lion Rouge 10st 2lb, Rathlin Rose 8st 12lb, Van Gogh Du Granit 8st 11lb
Elegant Escape 11st 4lb, Sizing Codelco 10st 10lb, Royal Vacation 10st 8lb, The Dutchman 10st 3lb, Ultragold 10st 3lb
Shantou Village 9st 12lb, The Young Master 9st 12lb, Impulsive Star 9st 9lb, Carole's Destrier 9st 8lb
(2012 Neptune Collonges)
Black Corton 10st 11lb, Warriors Tale 10st 9lb, Give Me A Copper 10st 1lb
Henry de Bromhead IRE
Sub Lieutenant 10st 13lb, Valseur Lido 10st 2lb
American 10st 10lb, The Last Samuri 10st 6lb
Jessica Harrington IRE
Magic Of Light 10st 7lb, Sandymount Duke 10st 6lb
Valtor 11st 2lb, Kilcrea Vale 9st 5lb
Regal Encore 10st 8lb, Ms Parfois 10st 2lb
Willie Boy 10st, Ballydine 9st 10lb
Just A Par 9st 12lb, Highland Lodge 9st 5lb
Joseph O'Brien IRE
Edwulf 11st 1lb, Vieux Morvan 9st 10lb
Ross O'Sullivan IRE
Baie Des Iles 9st 12lb, Call It Magic 9st 5lb
Lake View Lad 10st 11lb
Enda Bolger IRE
Auvergnat 10st 8lb
Step Back 10st 3lb
Captain Redbeard 9st 13lb
Joe Farrell 9st 12lb
Back To The Thatch 9st 2lb
Philip Dempsey IRE
Mr Diablo 9st 9lb
Singlefarmpayment 10st 2lb
Missed Approach 10st 1lb
Rock The Kasbah 10st 9lb
Allysson Monterg 9st 12lb
Patrick Kelly IRE
Mall Dini 10st 4lb
Ziga Boy 9st 7lb
Milansbar 9st 8lb
Morney Wing 8st 13lb
Tony Martin IRE
Anibale Fly 11st 6lb
Exitas 9st 12lb
Traffic Fluide 10st 10lb
Thomas Mullins IRE
Scoir Mear 8st 11lb
Dr Richard Newland
(2014 Pineau De Re)
Abolitionist 10st 1lb
Master Dee 10st 7lb
Eoghan O'Grady IRE
Westerner Point 9st 11lb
Gearoid O'Loughlin IRE
Jarob 9st 7lb
(2010 Don't Push It)
Minella Rocco 10st 11lb
Looking Well 9st 3lb
(2017 One For Arthur)
One For Arthur 10st 10lb
Kingswell Theatre 9st 9lb
(2013 Auroras Encore)
Vintage Clouds 10st
Fact of The Matter 9st 10lb
Walk In The Mill 10st
Potters Corner 9st 2lb
Red Infantry 9st 12lb
Tea For Two 10st 5lb
(2009 Mon Mome)
Yala Enki 10st 12lb