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Rupert Wyman 23rd Mar 2010 - 18:56

Grand National - 23 scratched as 75 remain

There are 75 horses left in the Grand National following the second scratching stage including Mon Mome who finished a fantastic third in last week's Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The withdrawals include the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner War of Attrition, Ryanair Chase winner Albertas Run, Taranis and Possol.

Although withdrawn from the National, Albertas Run could still feature at Aintree, either in the Bowl on the 8th April or the Melling Chase the following day.

Both Madison du Berlais and Notre Pere remain the top-weight double at 11st 10lb, Mon Mome will carry 11st 7lb should the other two stand their ground.

Mon Mome last year's surprise 100/1 Grand National winner, has been cut in the betting after his impressive show at Cheltenham and is now priced at 12/1, trainer Venetia Williams is not bothered if Mon Mome is allocated more weight, she stated 'at the end of the day, it's only a matter of 3lb, it's not the be all and end all. Three pounds is not a major difference in the great scheme of things'.

Mon Mome's current allocated weight for this year's Grand National is already an increase of 7lb from last year.

The only horse that the betting market identifies pricewise as more likely to beat Mon Mome is the Paul Nicholls' trained Big Fella Thanks (10/1). He is the shortest priced runner at the Grand National, should he win, it would be Nicholls' first Grand National success.

Barry Geraghty gave Big Fella Thanks a great ride in the Raymond Mould Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury earlier this month. With Ruby Walsh likely to pick Nicholls' other short priced National runner Tricky Trickster (14/1), Nicholls can rest assured that this year he may saddle a Grand National winner.

Niche Market (16/1) finished ninth to Chief Dan George (33/1) in the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham last week, the result does not tell the full story. He was ridden forward to get a position handy to the pace and after leading four out, he hit the next fence and weakened.

Silver Birch (50/1), who won the 2007 Grand National as a 33-1 shot with Robbie Power on board, requires 11 horses to pull out of the race to be assured of a run.

Comply or Die (25/1) managed to finish second last year and is certain of a place in this year's Grand National.

The Grand National is the only race in which weights are allotted at the discretion of the British Horseracing Authority's Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith.

Handicapper Phil Smith thinks that Chief Dan George is now best-in at the weights for the National.

Despite his win in the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham, James Moffatt's charge still only lies in 57th position on the list, needing 17 to come out to get a run. Moffatt decided to maintain his entry to the race as he would never get into the race on a mark of 136 again, in which he is currently given 10st 2lb.

The confirmation stage is on April 5th and the final declaration stage on April 8th.



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