Two previous winners of The Grand National are both out of contention for the 2008 race after picking up injuries.
The 2006 Grand National winner, Numbersixvalverde, and the 2007 winner Silver Birch will not run in this year’s race — on Saturday 5 April.
The Martin Brassil-trained 12-year-old Numbersixvalverde has been ruled out for the season, as he has not made sufficient progress after an injury.
Mr Brassil said: “He suffered a slight setback in October and the degree of fitness needed for a Grand National is not yet sufficient for him to run. He needs to be in tip top shape for the race.”
“Numbersixvalverde is out for the season and we will now just concentrate on getting him back next year.”
Named after owner Bernard Carroll’s holiday home in the Algarve, Numbersixvalverde also won the 2005 Irish Grand National but propelled Mr Brassil and jockey Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden into the spotlight after his 2006 Grand National success.
Numbersixvalverde has not run since finishing sixth in last year’s race, behind the Gordon Elliott trained Silver Birch — who is also out for the season with a leg injury.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Mr Pointment currently heads the betting after his win over the Grand National fences in November’s Becher Chase.
2007 Irish Grand National winner Butlers Cabin trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Willie Mullins trained Snowy Morning, Bewleys Berry trained by John Howard Johnson and the John Spearing trained Simon are all also leading contenders with the bookmakers for the 2008 race.
A bumper entry of 150 has today, Wednesday 30 January, been revealed for the 2008 race. This is the second highest amount of entries in recent years. Six of the last nine races have been won by Irish entries and this year a massive 38 entries hail from Ireland.
Julian Thick, Managing Director at Aintree, commented: “The John Smith’s Grand National is worth a record £800,000 in 2008 and it is heartening to see this has been rewarded with a magnificent 150 entries.”