What the trainers are saying about their runners in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
Nigel Twiston-Davies – Blaklion: “He’ll be ridden with a little bit more restraint. He was only beaten eight lengths last year. I know he has gone up 8lb, but with a bit more restraint hopefully he’ll be there.”
Carl Llewellyn – assistant trainer Blaklion: “He hasn’t missed a day’s work and we couldn’t be happier with his physical condition – he looks really well. Some very good horses were pulled up at Haydock last time on ground that was very deep and holding. Blaklion had a lot of weight and I thought he ran a big race despite people picking holes in him because he got tired – I wouldn’t let that performance at Haydock put me off him. He was impressive in the Becher Chase earlier this season. His jumping was superb and very accurate – he won as he liked. If he can be in that sort of form and jump as well as that, then hopefully he will have a good chance.”
Carl Llewellyn – assistant trainer Double Ross: “He was running well in the 2016 National when the saddle slipped and looked to be taking to the track. Who knows what would have happened.”
Patrick Mullins, assistant trainer Total Recall, Childrens List, Pleasant Company: “Total Recall was running the race of his life when he came down in the Gold Cup and David Mullins felt he would have finished third at worst. That would suggest he’s still ahead of the handicapper and he seems to have come out of the race fine. He has big-field handicap experience and a touch of class, too. If he gets luck in running he should give Paul Townend a very good ride.”
“Childrens List beat Edwulf in his beginners’ chase and if you take that form literally he’s well handicapped. He has only had four chase runs and one point-to-point run, so he’s inexperienced for a race like this, but if he gets a clear round you never know.”
“Pleasant Company was running an eyecatching race in last year’s National until he made a mistake at Valentine’s. He doesn’t go there in the same form this year, but we’re hoping he might rediscover his spark and if he does, he has to have an each-way chance.
Frank Berry – racing manager JP McManus – Anibale Fly: “He ran a great race at Cheltenham and Tony is very happy with him.”
Gordon Elliott – Tiger Roll, Ucello Conti, Bless The Wings: “We’re running three but I suppose you’d have to say Tiger Roll is the main one. I think he’s got a great profile going into the race. Davy Russell rides him and he’s got 10st 12lb on his back, which is a lovely weight.
Sandy Thomson – Seeyouatmidnight: “I’m feeling remarkably laid-back at the moment, although I found in my rugby days the nerves start to come on when you get closer to the event. We’ve been dealt the cards we’ve been dealt and I’m very happy with how the horse is. Conditions shouldn’t affect him – they’ll certainly affect other horses more – but it’s the Grand National and anything can happen, which rather takes the pressure off a bit.”