Florida Pearl (pictured) and Marlborough head the Martell Grand National weights which were announced in London yesterday (Tuesday 4 February).
These two star chasers will contest next month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup before plans for the National at Aintree on April 5 are finalised.
Irish trainer Willie Mullins said Florida Pearl has a “50-50” chance of running in the National, while Nicky Henderson was more emphatic saying: “With a three week gap between the Gold Cup and the National Marlborough must go to Aintree.”
Ad Hoc, who was brought down by Irish National winner Davids Lad when travelling like a winner four fences from home in last year’s race, has been allotted 10st 13lb. Ad Hoc is joint favourite at 14-1 with Davids Lad, who is also on the 10st 13lb mark.
The record entry of 149 has attracted one of the highest class fields in the long and colourful history of the race with Behrajan, Cyfor Malta, Gingembre, Hussard Collonges and First Gold up there among the high weights.
Three previous Aintree heroes Bindaree (10st 9lb), winnerlast year, Red Marauder (10st 6lb), winner in 2001, and Papillon (10st 11lb), the 2000 winner, are all expected to line up again.
If any trainer looks likely to pull off the momentous Gold Cup-Grand National double it is North Yorkshire-based Peter Beaumont, who runs Hussard Collonges at Cheltenham, and is particularly pleased with Bobby Grant’s weight of 10st 6lb.
Aintree legend Ginger McCain, who trained triple Grand National winner Red Rum, was delighted with Amberleigh House’s mark of 10st 2lb. “He’s a tough little horse and will go there with a very good chance,” he said.