Gigginstown takes its big three out of Aintree National
Ante-post favourite Don Poli, Empire Of Dirt and Outlander were among the 15 horses taken out of the Randox Health Grand National at yesterday's latest forfeit stage, as connections had promised.
The trio's owner, Michael O'Leary, had suggested he would not run any of his big three after disagreeing with the weight they had been given and he has kept his word, with the Gordon Elliott-trained steeds now heading to the Cheltenham Festival.
They could all run too in the BoyleSports Irish National, which has a €500,000 purse this season and is set to be one of the strongest editions in many years.
O'Leary's brother and racing manager, Eddie, told this newspaper on Tuesday that he expected to run "a couple" of horses at Aintree from Thunder And Roses, Rogue Angel, Wounded Warrior, Measureofmydreams and Road To Riches.
Champagne West, Dromnea and Otago Trail have been scratched along with several other Gigginstown runners including Clarcam, Tiger Roll and A Toi Phil. Tiger Roll had a 7lb higher rating in Britain than he has in Ireland.
The weights are now headed by Carlingford Lough, with last year's runner-up The Last Samuri, which is due to run this weekend, next on the list.
A total of 95 horses are still in the National reckoning, with David Pipe's Vieux Lion Rouge heading the ante-post market.
There was high drama in the first race at Ffos Las yesterday, with odds-on favourite Bob Mahler inexplicably unseating Irish rider Gavin Sheehan with little more than 100 yards to the wire. He had been backed in-running just before that on Betfair at 1/25.
Meanwhile, Willie Mullins will break new ground today when Pique Sous becomes his first runner at Chelmsford.
Pique Sous, which recently ran at Dundalk, was a Royal Ascot winner in his younger days.
The 10-year-old will be reunited with Ryan Moore, who partnered him to his biggest triumph.