Tidal Bay handed top weight for Grand National
Paul Nicholls-trained 13-year-old missed last year’s Aintree showpiece due to injury
Tidal Bay, with Ruby Walsh on board, clears the last to win The John Smith’s Hurdle Race at Wetherby in 2012. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Tidal Bay has been allotted top weight of 11st 10lb for the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on April 5th.
The Paul Nicholls-trained 13-year-old was given the same weight for the race last year only for injury to bring a premature end to his season and force him to miss the marathon event.
Tidal Bay, who was last seen finishing second in the Hennessy at Leopardstown over the weekend, is followed by Nicky Henderson’s Long Run, who has been given 11st 9lb at Aintree.
Fellow Henderson inmate Hunt Ball, a previous Cheltenham Festival winner, is on 11st 7lb, while Gordon Elliott’s Roi Du Mee has been given 11st 6lb.
Another Henderson contender, the Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene, who claimed the Topham Chase over the National fences last year, is on the same weight.
The Seven Barrows team is completed by Shakalakaboomboom on 10st 3lb.
Rocky Creek, runner up in both the Hennessy and the Argento Chase, is another leading fancy for Nicholls on 11st 5lb, with Venetia Williams’ Katenko on 11st 4lb, the same weight as he was given at this stage last year.
Nicholls also has Kauto Stone (11st 1lb), Sire Collonges (10st 8lb), Hawkes Point (10st 6lb), Mon Parrain (10st 7lb) and There’s No Panic (9st 11lb).
The Michael Scudamore-trained Monbeg Dude is towards the head of the market with most firms for the four-mile-three-and-a-half-furlong race and he has been given 10st 9lb, while last year’s third Teaforthree, trained by Rebecca Curtis, has 10st 12lb.
Curtis said: “I think that’s a lovely weight for Teaforthree. I’m very happy.
“He’s got 5lb less than he carried in the race last year, so you’d have to be very hopeful.
“I do want to get two runs into him before Aintree, so he’ll probably run at Ascot on Saturday and then in something at Cheltenham.”
Willie Mullins has eight possibles, headed by Boston Bob and On His Own, who have both been given 11st 3lb.
Prince De Beauchene (10st 10lb), Vesper Bell (10st 5lb), Away We Go (10st 4lb), Quel Esprit (10st), Up The Beat (10st) and Rockyaboya (9st 11lb) comprise his team at this stage.
Bolger said: “I think he looks highly rated for a hunter chaser, but all his best form seems to be in the latter half of the season.
“We intend to give him a run in a point-to-point on Sunday week. He’s settled in fine.”
The handler also has Quantitativeeasing (10st 9lb) and Quiscover Fontaine (9st 10lb) engaged at this stage.
Bolger said: “I don’t think he (Quantitativeeasing) is qualified to run in the race yet, so we are running out of time as the ground has been so heavy.
“That’s a nice weight for Quiscover Fontaine. He’ll probably go for the cross-country race at Cheltenham first.”
Bog Warrior is an interesting entry on 11st 2lb with the 10-year-old having been off the track since suffering an injury when finishing fifth in the World Hurdle last year.