The 2019 Grand National: Six contenders for any shortlist

By Tom Thurgood@tdthurgood
Tue 12 Feb 2019

The weights for the 110 entries in the £1m Randox Health Grand National at Aintree were revealed on Tuesday.

Grade One performer Bristol De Mai heads the weights on 11st 10lb with a rating of 168 which leaves the eight-year-old 5lb ‘well-in’ as his official rating is 173. The Grand National is the one race in the year in which the BHA Handicapper has total discretion.

With a maximum field of 40 runners allowed, a Grand National contender at this stage needs to be rated in the low 140 bracket to have a good chance of getting a run. Handicapper Martin Greenwood believes that any horse in the top 80 in the weights currently “has a chance” of lining up at Aintree.

Here are six to keep in mind between now and the world's most famous race on April 6.

MISSED APPROACH

Trainer: Warren Greatrex. General odds: 40-1. Weight: 10st 1lb.

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: 6

Our experts analyse Missed Approach Festival triumph

Winner of the Kim Muir at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and that contest has proved a decent National guide in recent years.

Also, Missed Approach found only Tiger Roll too good in the National Hunt Chase the year before and the nine-year-old already has good form over four miles.

Sixth on his first try over the National fences in December, the gelding was left 15 lengths behind after a recurring standing start but took to the obstacles very well. He has a good weight and makes considerable appeal at the 40-1 on offer.

TIGER ROLL

Trainer: Gordon Elliott. General odds: 20-1. Weight: 11st 1lb.

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: 1

Our top team pick through last year's Grand National

Surely there’s something to be said for a horse that has already thrived for the unique occasion of a Grand National and Tiger Roll fits the bill.

Last year’s winner answers all the questions and, while 9lb higher now, he cruised into the lead at the second-last and looked the class act for much of the race despite only winning by a head.

He seeks to become the first dual winner since Red Rum and this wonderfully versatile performer, one off 22 entries for Gordon Elliott, can make a bold bid once again.

LAKE VIEW LAD

Trainer: Nick Alexander. General odds: 33-1. Weight: 10st 11lb.

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: --

Unbeaten this season, Lake View Lad is on a roll after victory in the Rehearsal Chase and Rowland Meyrick.

He has gone up 16lb in the weights but Nick Alexander is confident there is more to come and three-time Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings has bought into the nine-year-old with Aintree in mind.

Undefeated under jockey Henry Brooke and boasting a high strike-rate over fences, a trip to Kelso next month looks next on his agenda. Ballabriggs won that event before his Aintree triumph in 2011.

WALK IN THE MILL

Trainer: Robert Walford. General odds: 25-1. Weight: 10st.

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: 1

How good was Walk In The Mill's Becher win? And note Missed Approach's slow start

Winner of the Becher Chase last month when putting up a career-best performance, Walk In The Mill has all-important experience of the Grand National fences and his experience over cross country fences in France also looks valuable.

The gelding got into a lovely rhythm in the Becher and, while not the quickest, keeps galloping and has the blueprint of a likely Grand National contender from the foot of the weights. Soft ground would be a bonus.

UP FOR REVIEW

Trainer: Willie Mullins. General odds: 40-1. Weight: 10st 2lb;

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: --

The ten-year-old made eye-catching progress in the competitive Thyestes Chase from a long way back, the only horse able to make up that kind of ground at Gowran last month.

The gelding is entitled to improve from that despite his good record fresh and he’s likely to sneak in at the bottom of the weights. He is lightly raced and has performed with credit at Grade One level for his master trainer.

ABOLITIONIST

Trainer: Dr Richard Newland. General odds: 33-1. Weight: 10st 1lb.

Form of previous runs over the Grand National fences: --

Dr Richard Newland won the Grand National with a horse sourced from Ireland in 2013 with Pineau De Re and Abolitionist has a similar profile, finishing third in the Irish Grand National two years ago for trainer Ellmarie Holden.

The 11-year-old was an impressive winner at Aintree over hurdles on his first start for his new stable in November and connections have minded Abolitionist with the Grand National in mind.

He is a fascinating contender on paper and needs one more run over fences to qualify for the big race.

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