Aintree National Hopes Of Irish Runners Assessed

Tue 13th Feb 2018, 19:57

One For Arthur leads Cause Of Causes home last year
©Healy Racing Photos
Representatives of Ireland's two biggest jumps stables gave their thoughts after the weights for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree were revealed.

Trainer Gordon Elliott is responsible for 10 of the entries: Outlander (11st 8lb), Mala Beach (11st 3lb), Noble Endeavor (10st 13lb), Cause Of Causes (10st 12lb), Tiger Roll (10st 9lb), Ucello Conti (10st 6lb), Bless The Wings (10st 2lb), General Principle (9st 12lb), Out Sam (9st 3lb) and Poormans Hill (8st 7lb).

The handler said: "I'd imagine I will run Cause Of Causes, Noble Endeavor, Ucello Conti and Tiger Roll. They would be the four at the moment.

"You'd have to imagine Cause Of Causes is the principal one. He was second in the race last year and he looks like he has a lovely weight with 10st 12lb there again. I'm not complaining and I'd imagine he will go for the cross-country again at Cheltenham.

"Noble Endeavor will have one run and then go for the National and that will definitely be in Ireland.

"Ucello Conti is going to go straight to the race and Tiger Roll will run in the cross-country race at Cheltenham, all being well."

Patrick Mullins was the representative of his boss and father Willie Mullins, who could run Total Recall (11st 1lb), Acapella Bourgeois (10st 9lb), Rathvinden (10st 9lb), Bellshill (10st 7lb), Pleasant Company (10st 7lb), Polidam (10st 5lb), Childrens List (10st 4lb), Arbre De Vie (9st 11lb), Pairofbrowneyes (9st 10lb) and Bravissimo (9st 5lb)

Mullins Jr said: "It is going to be hard for Total Recall to win two big handicaps in one season (after winning the Ladbrokes Trophy). It is not impossible but it makes life difficult, but with a horse like him you don't know when they are going to stop improving.

"Bellshill is back in full training. He is a high-class horse. He beat Coney Island at Punchestown when he was a novice hurdler. He's only had four runs over fences and one of those was a fall, so that would be at the back of your mind, but I think there is a a handicap in him off his rating. We will try and get a run into him sooner rather than later and we'll know more after that.

"Pleasant Company will get in right at the bottom and he was running a great race last year until he made a mistake. He has been very disappointing this year but I do think he is a spring ground horse.

"Polidam was sent to us with the National in mind. He has been a bit hit and miss and the trip would be an unknown, but he has a very eyecatching weight, so there is a possibility he could run."

National hero Treadwell retires

Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell has announced his retirement from the saddle.

THE IRISH TIMES