The Grand National weights: What connections have to say

Wed 14 Feb 2018

By staff

Read what connections have said after the weights for the Randon Health Grand National were revealed on Tuesday night.

Trainer Brian Ellison - Definitly Red (11st 10lb)

"I sort of expected him to be top-weight really. He's rated 167 so they couldn't do much else.

"The Gold Cup is the plan. We'll get that out of the way and see about Aintree after that.

"He's in great form at home. I couldn't be happier with him."

Trainer Kim Bailey - The Last Samuri (11st 4lb)

BetBright Festival - Doncaster Races

"The Last Samuri's weight is what we were expecting given his rating. If the weights stay as they are and don't rise, I think he would have more of a chance.

"I have been very happy with him since Cheltenham and he will have a prep race somewhere between now and Aintree. We have got several options, but there are no firm plans as we will have to see what the weather does first.

"The Last Samuri doesn't need to have a prep race, but we are lining up to have one at the moment."

Trainer Jonjo O'Neill - Minella Rocco (11st 7lb), Go Conquer (10st 10lb)

Ludlow Races

"Minella Rocco will go for the Gold Cup first and we will see what happens after that.

"You would think he would make a good Grand National horse, but he has been disappointing since last year's Gold Cup really.

"He is not as economical as you would like him to be. He jumps a bit in and out. He is good when he's good, but he would have to be a little more consistent for the National.

"I wouldn't know if Go Conquer would get the trip or not. If the ground is good he might go.

"He is in on Saturday at Ascot. If the ground was on the soft side, he might not go and then he would probably end up going to Cheltenham."

Trainer Paul Nicholls - Vicente (10st 10lb), As De Mee (10st 8lb), Warriors Tale (10st 8lb), Silsol (10st 3lb), Sametegal (10st), Braqueur D'Or (9st 10lb)

Paul Nicholls' Stable Visit - Manor Farm Stables

"As De Mee will go and Warriors Tale will go. They would be my main two and they are both intended runners. As De Mee is ready to run. He could run in something like the Greatwood Gold Cup on March 3 at Newbury.

"I am not sure Sametegal will stay and he will probably go in the Topham.

"Vicente is in it but he does so well at Ayr (dual winner of Scottish Grand National), so we will see what happens. He definitely wouldn't want to run at Aintree if it is soft and there is a question mark over his jumping as well round there.

"Last year I was lucky he jumped one and that was it and I was able to go to Ayr with him. If you ended up getting decent ground I suppose you could go. The Scottish National is really my main aim with him.

"Silsol would want it bottomless."

Trainer Nicky Henderson - Gold Present (11st), O O Seven (10st 11lb), Vyta Du Roc (10st 6lb)

2017 Cheltenham Festival - Champion Day - Cheltenham Racecourse

"I think it is probably the plan to run Gold Present (pictured above, centre) in the National. If he is going to run again (beforehand) it will be at Ascot on Saturday. I thought we might go there and possibly leave Cheltenham alone.

"He ran in the Topham last year as a novice and ran well until he nearly got knocked down. He has jumped beautifully all year and he does strike me as one of the more likely candidates that we have had for a long time. If everything goes right between now and then, we could say he is a realistic contender.

"O O Seven could go to Kempton next weekend or wait for Cheltenham. The way he ran in the Topham last year, finishing fourth, I think that was a good prep for the National."

__Trainer David Pipe - Vieux Lion Rouge

Haydock Racecourse - Betfair Chase Day (10st 9lb)__

"I thought he was in great form this season, but he has not done as well as I thought he would in the first half of the season. He has dropped a few pounds and hopefully he will have a better second half of the season.

"Obviously he has not quite stayed the trip the last two years, but he stayed a bit better last year and now he is another year older, we thought we would give it another go

"He is in at Ascot and Haydock at the weekend. It is going to be a slog at Haydock on Saturday, which he should have liked in the Becher Chase, but he didn't quite run up to form in that.

"He has got a nice weight pull with Blaklion."

Trainer Ian Williams - Gas Line Boy (10st 7lb), Ballyalton (9st 11lb)

Horse Racing - Leicester Racecourse

"Gas Line Boy is guaranteed a run and that makes the debate on whether he will get in or won't non-existent this year.

"He loves the Aintree fences and he ran a cracking race to finish fifth last year. You have to respect the fact that he is getting on in years, but he doesn't know how old he is.

"His form this year is better than it was at this stage last year and he is like a fine Bordeaux (wine) - maturing with age!

"It's a relief we know he is going to get a run and not having to worry. The race remains his spring target and he won't run beforehand.

"If the ground is soft he will run in the Topham, but ultimately there is only one Grand National."

Trainer Fergal O'Brien - Perfect Candidate (10st 13lb), Chase The Spud (10st 8lb)

bet365 Meeting - Wetherby Racecourse

"Perfect Candidate has a much better weight than he had last year (11st 5lb). He had a terrible preparation last year. He won that veterans' chase at Exeter and that just shot him up the weights.

"To be fair, he ran well last year for a long way. He jumped and travelled well and just ran out of steam. He will go for the Ultima at Cheltenham and if he comes out of that well, he'll go to Aintree.

"Chase The Spud was very unfortunate in the Welsh Grand National last time. It just doesn't seem to be his place. He won first time out at Haydock and the plan was to go to Chepstow again, but he ran a bit fresh and keen with the choke out and couldn't get home on that ground.

"If he runs a good race in the Eider Chase (at Newcastle) it will put him spot-on for Aintree."

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