73 Hold Their Ground For 2018 Aintree Grand National | News

Last Updated 3 weeks ago | Commercial content | 18+

The latest forfeit stage is at the top of 2018 Aintree Grand National News. Yesterday, Tuesday 20th March 2018 saw the 105 runners being whittled down to 73.

With the race being run on Saturday 14th April, we are still just over 3 weeks away, when the field will come down to the maximum 40 runners. Between now and the 14th April we’ll lose another 33 runners. But at this latest forfeit stage, the big absentees to be scratched from the race are Definitly Red, Bristol De Mai, Edwulf and Outlander.

With those big names now out of the race this has meant last season’s Gold Cup runner-up – Minella Rocco – currently weights for the £1 million Randox Health Grand National.

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Grand National News – Minella Rocco

Minella Rocca chased home Sizing John in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup and despite not building on that since is a notably spring horse that often does well at this time of the year.

He was also a non-runner at the recent 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup with the ground being softer than ideal for the Jonjo O’Neill-trained 8 year-old. With two of the last three Grand National winners aged 8 then he’ll also be looking to follow in the hoof-prints of both Many Clouds and One For Arthur, who have flown the flag for this age group in recent years.

Having missed Cheltenham, he’ll also head into the race fresher than most and be looking to give his trainer – Jonjo O’Neill – his second Grand National winner after handling Don’t Push It in 2010.

The hottest topic in Grand National News is the latest forfeit stage leading to the increase of weights. The 3lbs raise has led to Minella Rocco heading the field – he’ll be looking to become the first top-weight since Red Rum (1974) to win the Grand National.

The bookmakers have reacted by pricing Minella Rocco around 16/1* in the Grand National betting market, with last year’s fourth – Blaklion – and this season’s Ladbrokes Gold Trophy winner – Total Recall – heading the betting at around 12/1*.

Of the rest, The Last Samuri and Tiger Roll, who we last saw running third and first in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival, have come in for decent support in the betting.

Tiger Roll will be looking to take the same path as his stablemate, Cause Of Causes, who went onto run a gallant second in the 2017 Grand National after landing the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017.

The Last Samuri is a popular runner in the Grand National these days and will be making third appearance in the race, with a second in 2016 the best he’s managed so far.

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*Odds subject to change.

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