There is now under four weeks to go until the world's greatest and most valuable chase, the £1-million Randox Health Grand National, takes place at Aintree on Saturday, April 14. Following today's second scratchings deadline, a total of 73 contenders are still going for glory over 30 fences and four miles, two furlongs and 74 yards.
Currently heading the market with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, are Blaklion (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 11st 9lb), who finished a fine fourth in 2017, and Total Recall (Willie Mullins, 11st 4lb) who was staying on when parting company with David Mullins three fences from home in last week's G1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Total Recall is one of 27 remaining Irish-trained entries, who also include Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup third Anibale Fly (Tony Martin, 11st 7lb), the 2017 Randox Health Grand National runner-up Cause Of Causes (Gordon Elliott, 11st 1lb), last week's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase scorer Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott, 10st 12lb) and Belshill (Willie Mullins, 10st 10lb), successful in the G3 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse when making his seasonal reappearance last month. Another winner from the Cheltenham Festival going forward is Rathvinden (Willie Mullins, 10st 12lb), who landed the four-mile G2 National Hunt Chase.
Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill, 11st 10lb) bypassed the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on account of the ground, having finished runner-up in the same race in 2017 and is the new top-weight in the Randox Health Grand National, with the weights rising 3lb. The Last Samuri (Kim Bailey, 11st 7lb), second in the 2016 Grand National, shaped promisingly at Cheltenham last week when third behind Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
A maximum of 40 runners can line up at 5.15pm on Saturday, April 14 for the 2018 Randox Health Grand National. The five-day acceptance stage for the Randox Health Grand National is at noon on Monday, April 9. The final declaration stage is at 10.00am on Thursday, April 12. The final field of 40, plus a maximum of four reserves, will be known shortly after this time. Reserves come into the race if there are any withdrawals among the 40 declared runners prior to 1.00pm on Friday, April 13. The 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree runs from Thursday, April 12 to Saturday, April 14.