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Mullins has eight for Grand plan


IN its first year of sponsorship, the Crabbie's Grand National is not exactly rolling off the tongue, but the new sponsors were given a boost yesterday as the race boasted 115 entries – the biggest number since 123 were entered for the 2009 running of the Aintree showpiece.

The world's most famous jump race will carry a prize fund of £1million this year and among the 115 entries are 38 Irish-trained runners.

Willie Mullins (pictured), who won the race in 2005 with Hedgehunter, has more entries than any other trainer with his eight featuring recent Paddy Power Chase winner Rockyaboya, while Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O'Neill have each declared seven horses for the National.

Tony Martin has given an entry to five horses, while 2007 winning trainer Gordon Elliott will try and repeat his feat with Silver Birch, with Roi Du Mee also in the running.

Barry Connell's Mossey Joe is one of two entries for Enda Bolger, who also included Quiscover Fontaine, while Papillon trainer Ted Walsh has entered the two that represented him last year, Seabass and Colbert Station.

Martin Brassil won the race in 2006 with Numbersixvalverde and he could have another live contender in Double Seven, while Cheltenham Festival winner Big Shu is a first entry in the race for Kildare-based Peter Maher.

Irish Grand National winners Liberty Counsel and Lion Na Bearnai are also included along with Carlingford Lough and Jim Dreaper's Gononyella.