Top-weight Bristol De Mai has been scratched from the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey was due to carry the burden of 11st 10lb in the world’s most famous steeplechase.
However, having run his best race at Cheltenham to date when a fine third behind Al Boum Photo in the Magners Gold Cup earlier this month, connections have decided to run the dual Betfair Chase hero in Aintree's Betway Bowl on Thursday week – two days before the National.
Twiston-Davies said: “He’s fine and the plan is to run in the Bowl. It was just decided that on his Gold Cup form he ought to win the Bowl and it’s possibly the easier option. He’s in good form.”
Bristol De Mai was a disappointing fifth in the Bowl two years ago, but filled the runner-up spot behind Might Bite in last year’s renewal.
His defection from the National means the weights will rise at least 4lb, with Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly the new top-weight and last year’s winner Tiger Roll – hot favourite to become the first Connections of Anibale Fly report last year’s fourth to be on course for the race following his fine effort to finish second in the Gold Cup.
"The plan is to run at the minute, all being well," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus. "He ran a fantastic race in the Gold Cup. Tony is happy with him. It's a big ask with top-weight, but hopefully he'll be doing a bit of work at the weekend and if all goes well he'll arrive there.
“Minella Rocco and Regal Encore will run as well.”