Minella Times faces weighty task in bidding for back-to-back wins at Aintree Grand National Yorkshire News

History maker: Minella Times wins last year’s Grand National with Rachael Blackmore, the first woman to accomplish the feat. Image: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

But the nine-year-old of Bromhead’s Henry will have to carry 11th in the 10lbs this time around as he tries to follow in the footsteps of Tiger Roll’s hooves by successfully defending his crown.

The only other horse previously in the top 40 that has been eliminated is Chatham Street Lad, trained by Mick Winters.

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Instead, he could tackle the famous hurdles at Friday’s Topham Chase. The beneficiaries of the two defections are another De Bromhead runner at Poker Party and Dan Skelton’s Blaklion, who was previously trained by Phil Kirby at Catterick, is now guaranteed a spot in the field.

Impressive win: Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan’s Dark Moon Rising won a valuable race at Chelmsford last week. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

The top three on the market are Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work (11st 9lb), Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now (11st 8lb) and Snow Leopardess (10st 9lb) from Charlie Longsdon’s yard.

Elliott’s strong squad also includes Escaria Ten (11th 1lb) and Farclas (11th 1lb), while Ciaran Murphy’s Enjoy d’Allen (10th 11lb) is another top contender from Ireland.

Elliott’s Death Duty and Sean Curran’s Domaine De L’Isle are currently ranked 41st and 42nd respectively.

Emma Lavelle’s Eclair Surf, second to easy Scottish national winner Win My Wings in the Eider Chase last time out, is currently 43rd on the list.

Ben Pauling is keen to saddle Kildisart, who won the handicap race that precedes the Grand National three years ago.

The 10-year-old was sidelined for 16 months before finishing fourth in last month’s Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury and his coach believes that run has left him ready for the big day.

Pauling said: “He remains in good form and we are very happy with his preparation.

“So far we’ve had no setbacks, knock on wood, and we’re looking forward to getting there.

“I think he has improved a lot since Newbury and I hope he can show his fitness on Saturday.”

Kildisart is one of the few horses that the trainer plans to race during

Aintree’s three-day meeting, with its Cheltenham Festival winner Global Citizen set for Thursday’s Red Rum Handicap Chase.

He added: “Global Citizen is going on Thursday and I’m looking forward to racing a nice horse named Bowtogreatness in the three-mile Novice Hurdle (Sefton Novices’ Hurdle) on Friday.

“We have a couple more handicapped, including Severance in the conditional jockey race.”

Hambleton manager Kevin Ryan will keep the options open for the up-and-coming Dark Moon Rising after their impressive success at Chelmsford.

The colt began his season in the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes on Wednesday night, a one-mile contest valued at more than £50,000 to the winner.

The race was also part of the Road To The Kentucky Derby series, an initiative in which the field of the famous race is determined by a ranking system in which horses accumulate points in selected events in Europe, Japan and America.

The 30 points offered to the Chelmsford winner went to Ryan’s colt, who triumphed by a length and a quarter to beat Andrew Balding’s Harrow.

A ticket for the Dante in York: The famous Epsom Derby trial was held for the son of Night Of Thunder, but Ryan doesn’t have any confirmed next steps in mind yet.

“He’s doing well and he’s come out of the race very well, we haven’t decided where we’re going to go yet,” he said.

“He is a very good horse, it was a good race and there was enough quality there.

“We have always thought a lot about this horse, it is one that we have always held in very high regard.

“We have a lot of options with him now, we’ll decide which one to take closer to the time.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-04 16:30:10

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