Sport Horse Racing

Monday 27 January 2020

No defections as Many Clouds spearheads 40-strong Grand National field

Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell on their way to victory at Aintree last year Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Many Clouds and Leighton Aspell on their way to victory at Aintree last year Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Keith Hamer

Last year's winner Many Clouds heads a maximum field for the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

The top 40 in the handicap from the five-day confirmation stage all stood their ground at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

As a result, the last horse in the field is the Rebecca Curtis-trained The Romford Pele.

It means there is no place for 2014 winner Pineau De Re, nor Alvarado, who has finished fourth for the last two years.

Double Seven, who was third in 2014, and Cheltenham Festival winner Cause Of Causes also miss the cut.

However, all eyes will be on the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds, who will have to carry top weight of 11st 10lb round the unique course if he is to become the first horse since the great Red Rum in 1974 to record back-to-back victories in the world's greatest steeplechase.

Last year's runner-up Saint Are will try to go one better, while other fancied runners include Silviniaco Conti, The Last Samuri, Holywell, The Druids Nephew and Shutthefrontdoor.

Bishops Road is the first of four reserves on standby should any of the top 40 drop out of the race by 1pm on Friday.

To ensure he gets an appearance at Aintree, Kerry Lee has declared her Betfred Grand National Trial winner for the Crabbie's Topham Chase on Friday.

The second reserve is the Mick Channon-trained Knock House, while Fergal O'Brien's Perfect Candidate is number three and Maggio, trained in County Dublin by Patrick Griffin, is four.

Meanwhile, Barry Geraghty has selected Shutthefrontdoor as his ride in the National.

The Jonjo O'Neill-trained nine-year-old, who is a general 20-1 chance for the race, is one of four horses - the other three being Gallant Oscar, Gilgamboa and Pendra - set to run for Geraghty's boss, owner JP McManus.

Shutthefrontdoor finished fifth in the National 12 months ago under the great Sir Anthony McCoy.

Frank Berry, racing manager to JP McManus, said: "Barry had first pick and he went for Shutthefrontdoor as he has the form round the course.

"He run well in it last year and hopefully he will go well again.

"Mark Walsh has gone for Gallant Oscar, while Pendra will be ridden by Aidan Coleman and Gilgamboa will be ridden by Robbie Power."

PA Media

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