A record number of entries have been made in the world’s most famous steeplechase
The Martell Grand National, run at Aintree on 6 April has attracted a modern-day record entry of 144. The previous best was 141 in 1984.
Red Marauder, last year’s winner of the extraordinary race in which there were only four finishers, and Papillon, successful in 2000, feature high among what could be a high quality field.
Papillon heads a 26-strong entry from Ireland, while First Gold, winner of last year’s Martell Cup at Aintree, is one of six French-trained entries.
Ginger McCain, trainer of triple Grand National hero, the legendary Red Rum, relies on Amberleigh House, who won the Tote Becher Chase over the National fences in November. Champion trainer Martin Pipe has 16 possible in the big race.
Aintree chairman Lord Daresbury, clerk of the course Charles Barnett and Martell representative Judy Menier have been on a fact finding mission to the Melbourne Cup in Australia and have invited a promotional team from Down Under to raise the profile of the race and build up public awareness.
The weights for the 2002 Martell Grand National will be announced at a lunch in London on Tuesday, 5 February .
Charles Barnett, Aintree’s managing director, said: “This is another tremendous entry combining top quality with quantity – the perfect National formula.
“We have our biggest-ever overseas entry with yet again amazing support from Ireland. I’m also delighted with the number of French entries and in particular the prestige of J P McManus’s First Gold from the Doumen yard.