With only three days to go a record 99 horses are still in Saturday’s Grand National. In 2007 there were only 68 horses remaining at the same stage.
At the final declaration stage tomorrow, Thursday 3 April, only the 40 top-weighted horses will compete in the £800,000 race.
As the world’s most famous steeplechase, the Grand National attracts millions of viewers worldwide. The race is over four and a half miles and 30 fences —including Bechers Brook, Foinavon, Canal Turn and the largest fence on the track — the Chair, which stands at 5ft2in with a six-foot ditch in front.
At this stage Cloudy Lane remains favourite and it is currently speculated that he will be sent off on Saturday as the shortest priced Grand National favourite since Red Rum — more than 30 years ago.
The eight-year-old is trained by Donald McCain Jnr, whose father Ginger trained two Grand national winners — the legendary Red Rum (1973,1974 and 1977) and Amberleigh House in 2004.
Twelve-times champion jockey AP McCoy will be aboard Butler’s Cabin as he bids to win the race after a dozen previously unsuccessful rides.
Mr Pointment, who won last season’s Becher Chase over the National fences, is one of Paul Nicholls’s leading contenders. The in-form trainer is hoping for a first Grand National success while his stable jockey— dual Grand National winner Ruby Walsh — will be sticking with 2005 winner Hedgehunter, trained by Willie Mullins.
Other top contenders include last year’s runner-up McKelvey, Simon, who is owned by Mercy Rimell— wife of the late Fred Rimell who trained four Grand National winners, David Pipe’s Comply or Die, Willie Mullins’s Snowy Morning, Arthur Moore’s King John’s Castle and French-trained L’Ami.
The 2008 Grand National will be held at Aintree on Saturday, 5 April, at 4.15pm.
Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s 9-page preview of the race, on sale tomorrow (3 April, ’08), plus “ones to watch” online on Friday and a report from the race online on Saturday.