With the National just a week away, the betting is really beginning to hot up and a few entries are confirming their intentions or withdrawing due to injury. The past week has already seen Prince De Beauchene and Beshabar ruled out – and now Wyck Hill has joined the list of non-runners.
The nine year-old hasn’t managed to recover fully from an injury sustained at Kempton in February. The JP McManus-owned horse was a 33-1 shot for the big race but trainer David Bridgwater said Wyck Hill had run out of time.
However, the trainer of the winner of Aintree’s Topham Chase for the last three years in a row, Always Waining, has said the horse will now run in the National rather than aiming for an historic four timer.
A crack at the big one was a possibility last year but Always Waining failed to make the shortlist for the final field. But this year, his mark of 143 will be sufficient to see him 25th on the National list
and, therefore, guaranteed a run. The horse is scheduled to carry a potentially winning weight of 10st 10lb and his trainer, Peter Bowen, says he’s on top of his game – though he is hoping for good ground.
Bowen isn’t sure whether Always Waining will stay the 4½ mile trip, but he’s been so good over the National course in the Topham and also ran well over 3m2f in the Becher Chase on heavy going – which isn’t his preferred surface. So if the ground is good on April 6th, he could run a very big race. He’s currently a best-priced 50-1 for the National.
Another confirmation for the great race is Paul Nolan-trained Joncol, also a 50-1 chance. The dual Grade 1 winner will carry 10st 13lb and has all the makings of a typical Aintree type.
The latest going at Aintree is good-to-soft with the weather forecast to get a little warmer over the fortnight ahead.