Shark confirm Aintree attack as Hewick tops Grand National weights

Last Updated 21 Feb 2024 | By Enda McElhinney | Commercial content | 18+ | Play Responsibly | T&C Apply | Wagering

Jump Season Finale Hewick ridden by Rachael Blackmore Emerald green, black seams wins the bet365 Oaksey Chase during the Jump Season Finale meeting at Sandown Park, Esher PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxCHN Copyright: xMarkxChappellx FIL-18458-0024

King George hero Hewick has been given top weight for the Grand National at Aintree as trainer Shark Hanlon admits it is a fair assessment and says he’ll target the race.

Hewick, who rallied having looked beaten in the three-mile Boxing Day Grade 1 at Kempton, has been handed 11st 12lb for the contest on April 13th.

He leads the 87 entrants for the four-and-a-quarter-mile race at Aintree and his trainer says he deserves the billing.

“I knew he’d have top weight. You have to expect that. He probably deserves top weight,” Hanlon said.

Aintree and Cheltenham targets in place

Hanlon has never been one to shirk a challenge with the horse that cost a mere £850. He was going well in the Gold Cup last March at Cheltenham only to fall late on, and is bound for the Cotswolds once more.

All being well, he will come out of the Gold Cup on March 15th and have the best part of a month before returning to Britain for a race his trainer clearly holds very dearly.

“I think the trip will suit him. He’s going for the Gold Cup first and, please God, he comes out of the Gold Cup safe and if he does he’ll definitely head there (to Aintree),” Hanlon added at the weights announcement in Liverpool.

“It’s a mighty day. It’s one of those days you look forward to all year. The National, the Gold Cup and the King George at Kempton – they’re the three big days in England aren’t they, so it’s great to have a runner there.”

Corach Rambler no longer favourite

Last year’s runner-up Vanillier usurped his Aintree conqueror Corach Rambler with some bookmakers when the weights were revealed on Tuesday.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell has had great success in British races this season, including the Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday with Yeah Man, and Vanillier now finds himself 9lb better off with the Lucinda Russell-trained 2023 National winner.

Corach Rambler was handed a weight of 11st 2lb – a fair assessment – ensuring he will concede 8lb to Vanillier, who was finishing strongly when only beaten two-and-a-quarter-lengths in last year’s contest.

Corach Rambler was eased to 14/1 in some quarters, while Vanillier assumed favouritism at 12/1.

Mahler Mission (11st 1lb), 2022 winner Noble Yeats (11st 8lb) and Panda Boy (10st 3lb) are others towards the front of the market.

Irish dominant on Aintree entry list

There are 56 Irish-trained contenders remaining on the Grand National entry list. Conflated, one of a battalion of Gordon Elliott-trained entries, is second in the handicap on 11st 9lb.

January’s Cotswold Chase winner Capodanno is the highest-weighted of Willie Mullins’ entries on 11st 4lb.

Mahler Mission has been among the leading contenders in the antepost betting and has been given 11st 1lb for trainer John McConnell.

As part of safety changes made by Aintree for the 2024 renewal, the field size has come down from 40 to 34, leaving some fancied names already needing a number of runners to drop out before they are guaranteed a run.

There are just seven British-trained entries in the top 34, including Welsh Grand National winner Nassalam (11st 4lb), Threeunderthrufive (10st 13lb), Eldorado Allen (10st 10lb) and Dusart (10st 7lb) alongside the likes of Corach Rambler and 2022 Foxhunters’ winner Latenightpass (10st 6lb) for Dan Skelton.

2024 Grand National weights

1 Hewick 11st 12lb 169
2 Conflated 11st 9lb 166
3 Noble Yeats 11st 8lb 165
4 Capodanno 11st 4lb 161
5 Coko Beach 11st 4lb 161
6 Nassalam 11st 4lb 161
7 Fakir D’Oudairies 11st 3lb 160
8 Ash Tree Meadow 11st 2lb 159
9 Corach Rambler 11st 2lb 159
10 I Am Maximus 11st 2lb 159

11 Janidil 11st 2lb 159
12 Minella Indo 11st 2lb 159
13 Asterion Forlonge 11st 1lb 158
14 Mahler Mission 11st 1lb 158
15 Stattler 11st 1lb 158
16 Classic Getaway 11st 157
17 Delta Work 11st 157
18 Foxy Jacks 11st 157
19 Threeunderthrufive 10st 13lb 156
20 Galvin 10st 12lb 155

21 Farouk D’Alene 10st 11lb 154
22 Salvador Ziggy 10st 11lb 154
23 Eldorado Allen 10st 10lb 153
24 Letsbeclearaboutit 10st 10lb 153
25 Ain’t That A Shame 10st 9lb 152
26 Fury Road 10st 9lb 152
27 James Du Berlais 10st 9lb 152
28 Bronn 10st 8lb 151
29 Vanillier 10st 8lb 151
30 Dusart 10st 7lb 150

31 Le Milos 10st 7lb 150
32 Longhouse Poet 10st 7lb 150
33 Mr Incredible 10st 7lb 150
34 Latenightpass 10st 6lb 149
35 Minella Crooner 10st 6lb 149
36 Run Wild Fred 10st 6lb 149
37 Adamantly Chosen 10st 5lb 148
38 Chemical Energy 10st 5lb 148
39 Mac Tottie 10st 5lb 148
40 Favori De Champdou 10st 4lb 147

41 Limerick Lace 10st 4lb 147
42 Meetingofthewaters 10st 4lb 147
43 Monbeg Genius 10st 4lb 147
44 Roi Mage 10st 4lb 147
45 The Goffer 10st 4lb 147
46 Chambard 10st 3lb 146
47 Eklat De Rire 10st 3lb 146
48 Embittered 10st 3lb 146
49 Galia Des Liteaux 10st 3lb 146
50 Gevrey 10st 3lb 146

51 Glengouly 10st 3lb 146
52 Kitty’s Light 10st 3lb 146
53 Panda Boy 10st 3lb 146
54 Busselton 10st 2lb 145
55 Empire Steel 10st 2lb 145
56 Fiddlerontheroof 10st 2lb 145
57 Malina Girl 10st 2lb 145
58 Desertmore House 10st 1lb 144
59 Fantastic Lady 10st 1lb 144
60 Highland Hunter 10st 1lb 144

61 Kinondu Kwetu 10st 1lb 144
62 Fakir D’Alene 10st 143
63 Ontheropes 10st 143
64 Shakem Up’Arry 10st 143
65 Amirite 9st 13lb 142
66 Angels Dawn 9st 13lb 142
67 Annual Invictus 9st 13lb 142
68 Diol Ker 9st 13lb 142
69 Rhiaan 9st 13lb 142
70 Sail Away 9st 13lb 142

71 Samcro 9st 13lb 142
72 Macs Charm 9st 12lb 141
73 Cepage 9st 11lb 140
74 Dunboyne 9st 11lb 140
75 Iron Bridge 9st 11lb 140
76 Tullybeg 9st 11lb 140
77 Famous Bridge 9st 10lb 139
78 Ashtown Lad 9st 9lb 138
79 Frontal Assault 9st 9lb 138
80 Mister Coffey 9st 9lb 138

81 Good Boy Bobby 9st 8lb 137
82 Tommie Beau 9st 7lb 136
83 Revels Hill 9st 6lb 135
84 Where It All Began 9st 6lb 135
85 Moroder 9st 2lb 131
86 Full Back 9st 1lb 130
87 Minella Trump 9st 1lb 130

Enda McElhinney

Enda McElhinney is a racing writer with a growing portfolio of work on both British and Irish racing, with a particular fondness for National Hunt racing. While he acknowledges there have been many great runners; there has only ever been one Denman.

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