Reaction To Grand National Weights 2018

It was billed as Phil Smith’s handicapping swan song, the Grand National weights dinner for the race he had presided over for the last twenty years, but alas things did not all go to plan. After an embargo, a single horse weights teaser and a major power cut, the weights were finally revealed in a mad, free-for-all, media scramble as it was decided the presentation would be unable to go ahead.

It is the second year that the event has failed to come off as was originally planned, begging the question – why keep holding it at a fancy venue in the capital? The calls for “bring it home” were certainly resonating around social media for much of the evening following yet another disappointing dud.

Eventually it came to light that Definitly Red, the winner of the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham last month, was heading the handicap with 11st 10lb off a rating of 165.

“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” said Brian Ellison.

Blaklion, the current bookies favourite at 10/1, has been allotted 11st 6lb following his impressive victory in the Becher Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree in December.

Those odds could easily contract furthermore should the Nigel Twiston-Davies nine-year-old win the Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday.

Twiston-Davies said: “We’ve got the Becher Chase in the bag and races in the bag are better than prayers. We could get struck by lightning next week!

“He will be ridden differently at Aintree this year. He was beaten eight lengths last year and there was no blame on Noel (Fehily) at all, but he kicked on a mile from home. Maybe if you don’t kick on a mile from home that eight lengths could be found.

“I did a bit of research ages ago and Red Rum used to win with 12st. I don’t know if I’m being a bit silly, but he reminds me a bit of Red Rum. He is small and very neat over his fences and after watching him jump round there twice, he doesn’t seem to make a mistake.”

The Last Samuri currently sits ninth in the weights’ list with 11st 4lb off a rating of 159.

Trained by Kim Bailey for owners Paul and Clare Rooney, The Last Samuri finished second behind Rule The World in the 2016 running of the world’s greatest steeplechase.

The 10-year-old finished runner-up to Blaklion in the Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree earlier in the season and was last seen out to good effect in the Cotswold Chase.

Bailey, who won the National with Mr Frisk in 1990, said: “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.”

Last year’s runner-up Cause Of Causes (10st 12lb), trained by Gordon Elliott, is one of seven entries for owner J P McManus, who also has the recent Irish Gold Cup scorer Edwulf (Joseph O’Brien, 11st 9lb), last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup second Minella Rocco (Jonjo O’Neill, 11st 7lb) and Anibale Fly (Tony Martin, 11st 4lb).

Elliott is currently mob handed with a total of ten runners entered but this list will be probably whittled down to a maximum of five come April time. As of the weights revealing day he has: Outlander (11st 8lb), Mala Beach (11st 3lb), Noble Endeavor (10st 13lb), Cause Of Causes (10st 12lb), Tiger Roll (10st 9lb), Ucello Conti (10st 6lb), Bless The Wings (10st 2lb), General Principle (9st 12lb), Out Sam (9st 3lb), Poormans Hill (8st 7lb).

Asked about his intended runners, Elliott replied: “I wouldn’t like to second guess Michael O’Leary about the Gigginstown horses. If I was a betting man, I would say Outlander’s most likely target is the Punchestown Gold Cup. The handicapper has a job to do and you won’t hear me complaining.

“I’d imagine I will run Cause Of Causes, Noble Endeavor, Ucello Conti and Tiger Roll. They would be the four at the moment. Bless The Wings could also go if he gets in.

“You’d have to imagine Cause Of Causes is the principal one. He was second in the race last year and he looks like he has a lovely weight with 10st 12lb there again. I’m not complaining and I’d imagine he will go for the cross-country again at Cheltenham.

“Noble Endeavor will have one run and then go for the National and that will definitely be in Ireland.

“Ucello Conti is going to go straight to the race and Tiger Roll will run in the cross-country race at Cheltenham, all being well.”

There is every chance that Phil Smith may have left some lucky owners attached to the Gordon Elliott stable a small parting gift.

Smith explained his reasoning behind one of his many quandaries: “Bless The Wings is rated 17lb higher on his Cheltenham cross-country form compared to his rating in Ireland, and the form of the cross-country races at Cheltenham has historically been very good in relation to Aintree, with the likes of Silver Birch, Balthazar King and Cause Of Causes.

“On the one hand, Bless The Wings’ rating of 137 in Ireland would not get him in the race, but 154, his cross-country rating, seemed to me to be too high compared to his form on park courses.

“In the end I settled on 143 as a compromise, which should hopefully get him in. He’s a very interesting horse – even though he’s 13. He is an absolutely super jumper and his cross-country form is very good indeed.”





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At number 66 in the pecking order it will be touch and go whether the thirteen-year-old will make the final cut, but at 50/1 for a horse that has never fallen in his career, he is certainly worth an ante-post flutter.

Dr Richard Newland and owner John Provan combined to land the 2014 race with Pineau de Re. This year they have purchased another interesting contender in Abolitionist (10st 4lb), who finished third in last season’s Irish Grand National. Abolitionist is 51st on the list off a mark of 145, and looks a safe bet to get into the race proper.

Dr Newland said: “I bought him for the race in the autumn and although he had a little stress fracture he’s over it now and I’m hoping to run him at the weekend over hurdles at Ascot.

“He’s got to get through Ascot for a start then he needs to run over fences, probably in the Kim Muir, but it’s very much our intention to train him for the National and I think he has the right profile.”

Odds of 33/1 ante-post says that he has the right profile for the race according to the bookmakers.

Please see the full list of weights below:

Horse Age Wgt Rating Owner Trainer
1) DEFINITLY RED (IRE) 9 11-10 165 Phil & Julie Martin Brian Ellison
2) BRISTOL DE MAI (FR) 7 11-09 164 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies
3) EDWULF 9 11-09 164 J P McManus Joseph O’Brien IRE
4) OUTLANDER (IRE) 10 11-08 163 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
5) MINELLA ROCCO (IRE) 8 11-07 162 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
6) BLAKLION 9 11-06 161 Simon Such & Gino Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies
7) SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE) 9 11-05 160 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
8) ANIBALE FLY (FR) 8 11-04 159 J P McManus Tony Martin IRE
9) THE LAST SAMURI (IRE) 10 11-04 159 Paul & Clare Rooney Kim Bailey
10) MALA BEACH (IRE) 10 11-03 158 Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE
11) VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 9 11-03 158 Gigginstown House Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
12) AMERICAN (FR) 8 11-02 157 The Jago Family Partnership Harry Fry
13) TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 11-01 156 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
14) ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR) 8 11-00 155 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
15) GOLD PRESENT (IRE) 8 11-00 155 John & Barbara Cotton Nicky Henderson
16) NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE) 9 10-13 154 Chris Jones Gordon Elliott IRE
17) PERFECT CANDIDATE (IRE) 11 10-13 154 ISL Recruitment Fergal O’Brien
18) SIZING CODELCO (IRE) 9 10-13 154 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Colin Tizzard
19) CAUSE OF CAUSES (USA) 10 10-12 153 J P McManus Gordon Elliott IRE
20) SHANTOU FLYER (IRE) 8 10-12 153 Carl Hinchy Richard Hobson
21) CARLINGFORD LOUGH (IRE) 12 10-11 152 J P McManus John Kiely IRE
22) O O SEVEN (IRE) 8 10-11 152 Christopher Hanbury Nicky Henderson
23) TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR) 11 10-11 152 Boultbee Brooks Ltd Venetia Williams
24) GO CONQUER (IRE) 9 10-10 151 Paul & Clare Rooney Jonjo O’Neill
25) TRAFFIC FLUIDE (FR) 8 10-10 151 Galloping On The South Downs Partnership Gary Moore
26) VICENTE (FR) 9 10-10 151 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
27) ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR) 8 10-09 150 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
28) RATHVINDEN (IRE) 10 10-09 150 Ronnie Bartlett Willie Mullins IRE
29) REGAL ENCORE (IRE) 10 10-09 150 J P McManus Anthony Honeyball
30) TIGER ROLL (IRE) 8 10-09 150 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
31) VIEUX LION ROUGE (FR) 9 10-09 150 Prof Caroline Tisdall & John Gent David Pipe
32) A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (IRE) 7 10-08 149 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
33) AS DE MEE (FR) 8 10-08 149 The Stewart Family & Judi Dench Paul Nicholls
34) CHASE THE SPUD 10 10-08 149 Christine Banks Fergal O’Brien
35) ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE) 8 10-08 149 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
36) SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT 10 10-08 149 Quona Thomson Sandy Thomson
37) WARRIORS TALE 9 10-08 149 Michelle & Dan Macdonald Paul Nicholls
38) BELLSHILL (IRE) 8 10-07 148 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
39) FLYING ANGEL (IRE) 7 10-07 148 Rob Rexton Nigel Twiston-Davies
40) GAS LINE BOY (IRE) 12 10-07 148 The Three Graces Ian Williams



41) PLEASANT COMPANY (IRE) 10 10-07 148 Malcolm C Denmark Willie Mullins IRE
42) THE DUTCHMAN (IRE) 8 10-07 148 SprayClad UK Colin Tizzard
43) BEEVES (IRE) 11 10-06 147 Paul & Clare Rooney Jennie Candlish
44) SAINT ARE (FR) 12 10-06 147 David Fox Tom George
45) UCELLO CONTI (FR) 10 10-06 147 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Gordon Elliott IRE
46) VYTA DU ROC (FR) 9 10-06 147 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
47) CAROLE’S DESTRIER 10 10-05 146 Carole Skipworth Neil Mulholland
48) LONG HOUSE HALL (IRE) 10 10-05 146 Carl Hinchy Dan Skelton
49) POLIDAM (FR) 9 10-05 146 Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Willie Mullins IRE
50) RAZ DE MAREE (FR) 13 10-05 146 James Swan Gavin Cromwell IRE
51) ABOLITIONIST (IRE) 10 10-04 145 Mark Albon, John Provan & Chris Stedman Dr Richard Newland
52) BAIE DES ILES (FR) 7 10-04 145 Zorka Wentworth Ross O’Sullivan IRE
53) BUYWISE (IRE) 11 10-04 145 T Hywel Jones Evan Williams
54) CHILDRENS LIST (IRE) 8 10-04 145 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
55) I JUST KNOW (IRE) 8 10-04 145 M B Scholey & the late R H Scholey Sue Smith
56) MAGGIO (FR) 13 10-04 145 Douglas Pryde/James Beaumont Patrick Griffin IRE
57) PENDRA (IRE) 10 10-04 145 J P McManus Charlie Longsdon
58) VIRGILIO (FR) 9 10-04 145 C J Edwards, D Futter, A H Rushworth Dan Skelton
59) CAPTAIN REDBEARD (IRE) 9 10-03 144 Stuart Coltherd Stuart Coltherd
60) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 11 10-03 144 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams
61) LORD WINDERMERE (IRE) 12 10-03 144 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE
62) SILSOL (GER) 9 10-03 144 Michelle & Dan Macdonald Paul Nicholls
63) THIRD INTENTION (IRE) 11 10-03 144 Robert & Sarah Tizzard Colin Tizzard
64) THREE FACES WEST (IRE) 10 10-03 144 Paul & Clare Rooney Philip Hobbs
65) WILD WEST WIND (IRE) 9 10-03 144 Simon Clarke Tom George
66) BLESS THE WINGS (IRE) 13 10-02 143 Adrian Butler & S P O’Connor Gordon Elliott IRE
67) DOUBLE ROSS (IRE) 12 10-02 143 Options O Syndicate Nigel Twiston-Davies
68) FINAL NUDGE (IRE) 9 10-02 143 Corbett Stud David Dennis
69) MILANSBAR (IRE) 11 10-02 143 Robert Bothway Neil King
70) MORNING ASSEMBLY (IRE) 11 10-02 143 Clipper Logistics Group Ltd Pat Fahy IRE
71) DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR (IRE) 8 10-01 142 McGoldrick Racing 3 Sue Smith
72) ROAD TO RICHES (IRE) 11 10-01 142 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
73) THUNDER AND ROSES (IRE) 10 10-01 142 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
74) SAMETEGAL (FR) 9 10-00 141 John & Barbara Cotton Paul Nicholls
75) VINTAGE CLOUDS (IRE) 8 10-00 141 Trevor Hemmings Sue Smith
76) WALK IN THE MILL (FR) 8 10-00 141 Baroness Harding Robert Walford
77) GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE) 9 9-12 139 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
78) VIC DE TOUZAINE (FR) 9 9-12 139 Andrew Brooks & G Moore Venetia Williams
79) VIEUX MORVAN (FR) 9 9-12 139 M L Bloodstock Joseph O’Brien IRE
80) WOUNDED WARRIOR (IRE) 9 9-12 139 Gigginstown House Stud Noel Meade IRE
81) ARBRE DE VIE (FR) 8 9-11 138 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
82) BALLYALTON (IRE) 11 9-11 138 John Westwood Ian Williams
83) BONNY KATE (IRE) 8 9-11 138 Patricia Hunt Noel Meade IRE
84) COGRY 9 9-11 138 Graham & Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies
85) MISSED APPROACH (IRE) 8 9-11 138 Alan & Andrew Turner Warren Greatrex
86) MYSTEREE (IRE) 10 9-11 138 Mrs Lynne Maclennan Michael Scudamore
87) SIR MANGAN (IRE) 10 9-11 138 Frank McAleavy Dan Skelton
88) SPLASH OF GINGE 10 9-11 138 John Neild Nigel Twiston-Davies
89) BRAQUEUR D’OR (FR) 7 9-10 137 Corsellis & Seyfried Paul Nicholls
90) MINELLA DADDY (IRE) 8 9-10 137 Roddy Owen & Paul Fullagar Peter Bowen
91) PAIROFBROWNEYES (IRE) 9 9-10 137 Fibbage Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
92) RELENTLESS DREAMER (IRE) 9 9-10 137 Nigel Morris Rebecca Curtis
93) KNOCK HOUSE (IRE) 9 9-09 136 Tim Leslie Donald McCain
94) THE YOUNG MASTER 9 9-08 135 Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland
95) ALFIE SPINNER (IRE) 13 9-06 133 Alan Beard & Brian Beard Kerry Lee
96) HENRI PARRY MORGAN 10 9-06 133 Ednyfed & Elizabeth Morgan Peter Bowen
97) PHIL’S MAGIC (IRE) 8 9-06 133 Lyreen Syndicate Tony Martin IRE
98) BRAVISSIMO (FR) 7 9-05 132 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
99) DANCING SHADOW (IRE) 9 9-05 132 The Dancing Shadows Victor Dartnall
100) ROGUE ANGEL (IRE) 10 9-05 132 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
101) THEBARROWMAN (IRE) 8 9-04 131 D Keys Adrian Keatley IRE
102) OUT SAM 9 9-03 130 D Charlesworth Gordon Elliott IRE
103) KRACKATOA KING 10 9-00 127 JC Harrison Lee & T Howard Partnership Kerry Lee
104) GOODTOKNOW 10 8-13 126 Burling Lee MacEchern Nolan Potter Kerry Lee
105) POORMANS HILL (IRE) 7 NQ 120 V Caldwell/Mrs K Caldwell Gordon Elliott IRE