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banner Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
National going changed to good

There could be frost at Aintree before the race
Aintree officials have changed the official going for Saturday's Grand National to good.

The announcement changes the official going from Tuesday's description of good to soft, good in places.

Wednesday was a dry day at the Liverpool track where the Mildmay and Hurdle courses have actually required some extra water.

We have no plans to water the National course today or tomorrow but we might consider watering on Friday night if conditions permit and we feel that it is required

Clerk of the course Ian Renton
"We have been continuing to water today to maintain good ground," said clerk of the course Ian Renton.

"The forecast is for possible frost tonight and Thursday night. It should be dry on Thursday and Friday but we will consider watering again after racing on Friday if necessary.

"A small area of the Martell Grand National course has been watered, where the Mildmay course crosses it, but that has only been done as part of the Mildmay watering.

"We have no plans to water the National course today or tomorrow but we might consider watering on Friday night if conditions permit and we feel that it is required."

Ante-post favourite Star Traveller pleased trainer Henry Daly in his final workout before the race on Wednesday.

Star Traveller: Ante-post favourite
"Star Traveller is absolutely fine and we're happy with him after he worked nicely with one other horse this morning," said Daly.

"He will be led out tomorrow and then canter on Friday and that will be it."

Final declarations for the big race have to be made on Thursday.

River Unshion and Back Bar will both be declared for the National tomorrow, even though both need several others to come out to get a place in the line-up.

Howard Johnson, trainer of River Unshion, said: "He is so far down the bottom of the list that I had rather given up on the idea of running him.

"But we are very keen to run him and shall definitely declare him. We would be happy to be a reserve if things work out like that."

Decisions for trainers

Ginger McCain will declare Back Bar for the National as well as for the John Hughes Chase the day before.

"We will leave him in both races and see what happens but if we could we would love to run him in the National," said the trainer.

Meanwhile Irish trainer Arthur Moore is still considering running Ryhane in the National, though he felt a more realistic target would be the John Hughes Trophy on Friday.

"It doesn't look very likely that Ryhane will get in the National and we will be looking at the John Hughes for him," he said.

Robert Bellamy declared himself very happy with Norwegian-trained gelding Trinitro after schooling his Martell Grand National mount at Haydock Park.

Trinitro has been jumping a special fence at Haydock
"The head groundsman at Haydock very kindly built an Aintree-style fence in the middle of the track and he just popped over that twice," said Bellamy.

"He was very good and very clever - nothing too flamboyant - and I couldn't be more happy with him."

Meanwhile Wednesday also saw the jockey picture become clearer.

Norman Williamson is to ride Mely Moss in the race after his original choice Betty's Boy was put down on Saturday.

Jimmy McCarthy has been given the ride on Escartefigue.

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See also:

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