Grand National weights unveiled
The handicaps for this year's Grand National at Aintree have been unveiled today. Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Authority's head of handicapping, has been busy allocating the weights to all 111 runners and he has given the trio of Albertas Run, Madison Du Berlais and Notre Pere the top weight of 11st 10lb. The top-weight trio are all priced at 40/1.
Recent Aon Chase winner Tricky Trickster leads the betting for this world famous race at 12/1. The Paul Nicholls-trained horse has been given 11st 4lb while the horse he beat by a short head at Newbury, Niche Market, is also on the same weight and priced up as the 16/1 second favourite.
Among the entries there are three former winners of the race including last year's victor Mon Mome. He shocked the nation as he came in at odds of 100/1 but this year he will have to carry 11st 7lb, which is an increase of 7lb from last year. He is available at 25/1 to become the first to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum.
The two other previous winners in the field are 2008 winner Comply Or Die (25/1) who will carry 11st 5lb and 2007 champion Silver Birch (50/1), who fell at Becher's last year, who is on 10st 5lb.
Three horses are co-third favourites and priced at 20/1. Big Fella Thanks is the first of these and he finished sixth as a novice last year and the relatively light weight of 10st 12lb will mean that Paul Nicholls' eight-year-old will appeal to many.
Black Apalachi has been given 11st 6 lb, he is a former Becher Chase winner but has failed to complete the National in each of the past two years. Possol is the last of the trio and having failed to finish outside of the top three just twice in 14 races in Britain will appeal. However, he is off a career-high mark of 11st 3lb and has some stamina questions that need answering.
The field will be further cut on 2 March and 23 March before the field is whittled down to a maximum of 40 runners for the big day on 10 April.