A TOTAL of 18 Irish-trained horses are among the field of 40 runners declared for Saturday's Aintree Grand National.
Bristol De Mai heads the weights but the strongly-fancied Secret Reprieve is only a second reserve at this stage.
Trained by Evan Williams, Secret Reprieve won the Welsh National in December and has been kept fresh in the hope of a crack at the Grand National on Saturday.
However, it has been touch and go whether he would make the cut or not – and as only The Storyteller was not declared at the 48-hour stage, Secret Reprieve’s connections are still sweating.
Should there be any non-runners before 1pm on Friday, the reserve system will come into play.
Dan Skelton’s Blaklion was the beneficiary of of The Storyteller’s no-show and creeps in as number 40. The first reserve is John McConnell’s Some Neck, with Kauto Riko third reserve and Fagan the fourth and final one.
Ante-post favourite Cloth Cap will aim to give Trever Hemmings a record fourth win in the race following the successes of Hedgehunter, Ballabriggs and Many Clouds – and his trainer Jonjo O’Neill is chasing his second National, having won with Don’t Push It.
After their domination at Cheltenham, the Irish battalion bring a strong team in which Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now is well touted.
Rachael Blackmore enjoyed a dream Festival and aims to top an incredible year on Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Times. The Gold Cup-winning stable is also responsible for Chris’s Dream and Balko Des Flos.
Willie Mullins is without the services of Paul Townend, who suffered an injury at Fairyhouse earlier this week. He is replaced on Burrows Saint by Patrick Mullins.
Danny Mullins rides Acapella Bourgeois, and Brian Hayes is on Class Conti – with Sean O’Keeffe on Cabaret Queen.
Denis O’Regan comes in for the ride on Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly, who has run well in the race twice before and has also twice been placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Leading amateur Jamie Codd rides Milan Native, with Sean Flanagan on Tout Est Permis.
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AINTREE, SATURDAY, APRIL 10th
5:15pm Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 4m 2f 74y
1 Bristol de Mai (FR) 10 11 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob
2 Chris's Dream (IRE) 9 11 7 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Robcour Darragh O'Keeffe
3 Yala Enki (FR) 11 11 b3 Paul Nicholls Hills of Ledbury Ltd Bryony Frost
4 Ballyoptic (IRE) ts 11 11 1 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mills & Mason Partnership Sam Twiston-Davies
5 Definitly Red (IRE) p 12 11 1 Brian Ellison Phil & Julie Martin Henry Brooke
6 Lake View Lad (IRE) p 11 11 0 N. W. Alexander Mr Trevor Hemmings Brian Hughes
7 Burrows Saint (FR) ts 8 10 13 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci Mr P. W. Mullins
8 Magic of Light (IRE) p 10 10 13 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Ann & Alan Potts Limited Robbie Power
9 Acapella Bourgeois (FR) h 11 10 12 W. P. Mullins Ireland Slaneyville Syndicate Daniel Mullins
10 Talkischeap (IRE) 9 10 12 Alan King Mr Charles Dingwall Tom Cannon
11 Tout Est Permis (FR) p 8 10 12 Noel Meade Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Sean Flanagan
12 Anibale Fly (FR) ts 11 10 12 A. J. Martin Ireland Mr John P. McManus Denis O'Regan
13 Mister Malarky ts, p 8 10 12 Colin Tizzard Wendy & Malcolm Hezel Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
14 Kimberlite Candy (IRE) p 9 10 10 Tom Lacey Mr John P. McManus Richie McLernon
15 Any Second Now (IRE) bl 9 10 9 T. M. Walsh Ireland Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh
16 Balko des Flos (FR) 10 10 9 Henry de Bromhead Ireland RacehorseClub.com Aidan Coleman
17 Alpha des Obeaux (FR) bl,ts 11 10 9 Mrs Denise Foster Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jody McGarvey
18 Ok Corral (IRE) 11 10 8 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Mr Derek O'Connor
19 Takingrisks (IRE) p 12 10 7 Nicky Richards Mr Frank Bird Sean Quinlan
20 Shattered Love (IRE) ts, p 10 10 7 Mrs Denise Foster Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Kevin Sexton
21 Jett (IRE) p 10 10 7 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Mr Robert Waley-Cohen Mr Sam Waley-Cohen
22 Lord du Mesnil (FR) ts, p 8 10 6 Richard Hobson Mr Paul Porter & Mike & Mandy Smith Nick Scholfield
23 Potters Corner (IRE) bl 11 10 6 Christian Williams All Stars Sports, Davies & RacehorseClub Jack Tudor
24 Class Conti (FR) ts, p 9 10 6 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Brian Hayes
25 Milan Native (IRE) ts 8 10 6 Mrs Denise Foster Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Mr J. J. Codd
26 Discorama (FR) ts 8 10 6 Paul Nolan Ireland Thomas Friel/Andrew Gemmell B. J. Cooper
27 Vieux Lion Rouge (FR) ts, p 12 10 5 David Pipe Prof Caroline Tisdall & Mr John Gent Conor O'Farrell
28 Cloth Cap (IRE) p 9 10 5 Jonjo O'Neill Mr Trevor Hemmings Tom Scudamore
29 Cabaret Queen 9 10 5 W. P. Mullins Ireland Syndicates.Racing Sean O'Kebeffe
30 Minellacelebration (IRE) 11 10 5 Katy Price Mr Nick Elliott Ben Poste
31 Canelo (IRE) p 8 10 4 Alan King Mr John P. McManus Tom Bellamy
32 The Long Mile 7 10 4 J.P.Dempsey Ireland Mr John P. McManus Luke Dempsey
33 Give Me A Copper (IRE) ts 11 10 4 Paul Nicholls Done, Ferguson, Mason, Nicholls & Wood Harry Cobden
34 Farclas (FR) ts 7 10 3 Mrs Denise Foster Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy
35 Minella Times (IRE) ts 8 10 3 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Mr John P. McManus Rachael Blackmore
36 Sub Lieutenant (IRE) ts, p 12 10 3 Georgie Howell Ms G. Howell Tabitha Worsley
37 Hogan's Height (IRE) ts 10 10 3 Jamie Snowden Foxtrot Racing: Hogan's Height Gavin Sheehan
38 Double Shuffle (IRE) 11 10 2 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke
39 Ami Desbois (FR) ts 11 10 2 Graeme McPherson The Reserved Judgment Partnership Kielan Woods
40 Blaklion 12 10 2 Dan Skelton Darren & Annaley Yates Harry Skelton
R1 Some Neck (FR) p 10 10 1 John McConnell Ireland Some Neck Partnership Simon Torrens
R2 Secret Reprieve (IRE) 7 10 1 Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker
R3 Kauto Riko (FR) ts 10 10 0 Tom Gretton Mr and Mrs J.Dale and Partners
R4 Fagan 11 10 0 Alex Hales Mr S Brackenbury Harry Bannister
Reserves come into the race if there are any non-runners before 1pm on Friday
LATEST BETTING: 4/1 Cloth Cap, 9/1 Burrows Saint, 10/1 Any Second Now, Minella Times, 12/1 Kimberlite Candy, Secret Reprieve (2nd reserve), 16/1 Discorama, 20/1 Bristol De Mai, Magic Of Light, Farclas, 25/1 Anibale Fly, Potters Corner, 33/1 Acapella Bourgeois, Mister Malarkey, Takingrisks, Lord Du Mesnil, Milan Native, Canelo, 40/1 Chris’s Dream, Yala Enki, Definitly Red, Lake View Lad, Ok Corral, Class Conti, Vieux Lion Rouge, The Long Mile, Give Me A Copper, Some Neck (1st reserve), 50/1 Talkischeap, Balko Des Flos, Shattered Love, Hogan’s Height, Double Shuffle, Blaklion, Fagan (4th reserve), 66/1 Alpha Des Obeaux, Jett, Cabaret Queen, Minellacelebration, 80/1 Ballyoptic, Tout Est Permis, 100/1 Sub Lieutenant, Ami Desbois, Kauto Riko (3rd reserve)