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Grand National: Field declared for 2011 Aintree race

Full Replay - Don't Push It wins Grand National

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL Aintree, Saturday 9 April, 1615 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Radio 5 live, online
Other races also across the BBC 7-9 April

Royal Rosa, Skippers Brig and Golden Kite were the last horses to make the 40-strong field declared for Saturday's Grand National at Aintree.

Last year's winner Don't Push It, to be ridden again by Tony McCoy, tops the weights for the big race.

There were three withdrawals at Thursday's final declarations - Roll Along, Northern Alliance and Our Monty.

Golden Kite, trained by Adrian Maguire, is number 40 in the field, with four reserves set to be named later.

It is the first British runner for Maguire, who retired from riding in 2002 after a fall at Warwick and said he was "pleased as punch".

He added: "Golden Kite is an economical jumper and just the sort of horse you need for the National. He has been in good form at home, and now that we know we are in, we can jump on the ferry."

Howard Johnson, trainer of Royal Rosa, was delighted his horse made the race, particularly as it will be the 12-year-old's last race.

"Royal Rosa will be retired after the race and it would be a fairytale if he could go out on a high. He is a horse who comes alive when he sees those big fences - he relishes he challenge and he ran well in the Becher Chase there in November, while the rain is also a plus."

Dominic Elsworth said he was "chuffed" to hear his intended mount Skippers Brig, trained by Nicky Richards, now gets in.

"I had a sit on the horse on Monday morning and he felt super. The rain was also a bonus, and I have already won the Becher and had several good spins over the big fences, so I am really looking forward to it."

In the world famous race, the horses compete over four-and-a-half miles and the course includes demanding fences such as Becher's Brook and The Chair.

To have won a lot of the good races and not the National would have been something I would have found quite hard to live with

Tony McCoy

The declared field is determined by each contender's rating, with the highest-weighted horses given preference.

McCoy will seek to make Don't Push It the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum in 1974. The 11-year-old will carry top weight of 11st 10lbs having been quietly campaigned in hurdle races this term.

McCoy said: "He's definitely getting better with each run this year. He's improving all the time. The only reason he's stayed over hurdles is because we're preparing him for the National. It's a gruelling race."

McCoy's emotional victory on the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Don't Push it in 2010 ended a long run of hard luck stories in the National for the 15-time champion jockey.

It also sealed his place among the UK's sporting elite and he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.

McCoy said: "I might not have been nominated in the top 10 let alone winning, and there's no doubt winning the National was the reason I won that award.

"There were a lot of people spending money on phone calls, which I will always be grateful for.

"I've been spoiled in that I've been lucky enough to have won a few, but to have won a lot of the good races and not the National would have been something I would have found quite hard to live with."

Former winner Bob Champion's Grand National tips

In his most recent race, Don't Push It stayed on to finish 10th in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, the same event used for the horse's Aintree preparation last year.

Among his rivals will be the strongly fancied What A Friend, ridden by Daryl Jacob and part-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

What A Friend will be prepared by champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who has entered 44 horses in past Grand Nationals without success.

Nicholls also has another lively contender in Niche Market, who has been allocated 10st 13lb and will be ridden by Harry Skelton after Ruby Walsh opted for The Midnight Club, one of three Willie Mullins entries.

Handily weighted with 10st 13lb, The Midnight Club, a winner at Fairyhouse in February, could start as favourite.

One outsider attracting solid support is Majestic Concorde, which is Irish trainer Dermot Weld's first Grand National runner for 16 years.

Weld went close with Greasepaint, the was runner-up in 1983 and 1984, but is best known for landing some big Flat races across the globe, including the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup at Flemington.

2010 Don't Push It 10-1
2009 Mon Mome 100-1
2008 Comply Or Die 7-1
2007 Silver Birch 33-1
2006 Numbersixvalverde 11-1
2005 Hedgehunter 7-1

Another one tipped to run a big race is Backstage, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Paul Carberry, while Scotland's big hope - and among the leading fancies - is the grey Silver By Nature.

Among the English hopes, Ballabriggs represents Donald McCain, son of Red Rum's trainer Ginger, and has some tidy recent form.

Sam Waley-Cohen, the amateur jockey who rode Long Run to Gold Cup glory in March, gets the ride on Oscar Time, a general 12-1 shot.

Other interesting contenders include Big Fella Thanks and West End Rocker, while 2010 Irish National winner Bluesea Cracker also merits consideration.

Jockey Davy Russell is on track to return from a hand injury to partner the Noel Glynn-trained Becauseicouldntsee, while Welsh trainer Evan Williams is not confident that State Of Play (10st 6lb) will win, despite finishing fourth and third in the last two renewals.

Plenty of last year's runners are back for another crack, including fifth home Hello Bud - again the mount of Sam Twiston-Davies - and seventh Character Building, who is reunited with Nina Carberry.

David Pipe sent out Comply Or Die to win in 2008 and that horse returns with 10st 8lb on his back this time.

Aintree Grand National field

Number Form Name Age Weight Trainer Jockey

1) 23P1-P070 DON'T PUSH IT (IRE) 11-11-10 Jonjo O'Neill Tony McCoy

2) 104-3226 TIDAL BAY (IRE) 10-11-09 Howard Johnson Brian Hughes

3) 61/211-524 WHAT A FRIEND 8-11-06 Paul Nicholls Daryl Jacob

4) 501B-7744 VIC VENTURI (IRE) 11-11-06 Dessie Hughes IRE Andrew Lynch

5) U62/1-31 MAJESTIC CONCORDE (IRE) 8-11-05 Dermot Weld IRE Mr Robbie McNamara

6) 2F1425 OR NOIR DE SOMOZA (FR) 9-11-05 David Pipe Tom Scudamore

7) 01F24-41 DOONEYS GATE (IRE) 10-11-04 Willie Mullins IRE Mr Patrick Mullins

8) 2U14-2F44 BIG FELLA THANKS 9-11-01 Ferdy Murphy Graham Lee

9) 205-244 THE TOTHER ONE (IRE) 10-11-00 Paul Nicholls Mr Ryan Mahon

10) 3111-112 BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 10-11-00 Donald McCain Jason Maguire

11) U3133-21 THE MIDNIGHT CLUB (IRE) 10-10-13 Willie Mullins IRE Ruby Walsh

12) 529P-F58 NICHE MARKET (IRE) 10-10-13 Paul Nicholls Harry Skelton

13) 5121-071 SILVER BY NATURE 9-10-12 Lucinda Russell Peter Buchanan

14) 0BP-57011 BACKSTAGE (FR) 9-10-12 Gordon Elliott IRE Paul Carberry

15) 30011-753F CHIEF DAN GEORGE (IRE) 11-10-12 Jimmy Moffatt Paddy Aspell

16) 4-56242 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 8-10-10 Henrietta Knight Hadden Frost

17) P2P-2536 KILLYGLEN (IRE) 9-10-10 Stuart Crawford IRE Robert Power

18) 3152-263 OSCAR TIME (IRE) 10-10-09 Martin Lynch IRE Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

19) 510-1131 QUINZ (FR) 7-10-08 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson

20) 2212-42 BECAUSEICOULDNTSEE (IRE) 8-10-08 Noel Glynn IRE Davy Russell

21) 2/000-06P COMPLY OR DIE (IRE) 12-10-08 David Pipe Timmy Murphy

22) 2F-FF25P QUOLIBET (FR) 7-10-08 Jonjo O'Neill Mark Walsh

23) 11FP18P GRAND SLAM HERO (IRE) 10-10-07 Nigel Twiston-Davies Aidan Coleman

24) 0/144/P3- STATE OF PLAY 11-10-06 Evan Williams Paul Moloney

25) 3211-11P5 KING FONTAINE (IRE) 8-10-06 Malcolm Jefferson Denis O'Regan

26) 566U-3431U IN COMPLIANCE (IRE) 11-10-05 Dessie Hughes IRE Leighton Aspell

27) 005P-1P HELLO BUD (IRE) 13-10-05 Nigel Twiston-Davies Sam Twiston-Davies

28) 2P/07-11P WEST END ROCKER (IRE) 9-10-05 Alan King Robert Thornton

29) 6-2207710 SANTA'S SON (IRE) 11-10-05 Howard Johnson Jamie Moore

30) 0C21-046 BLUESEA CRACKER (IRE) 9-10-04 James Motherway IRE Andrew McNamara

31) 391059 THAT'S RHYTHM (FR) 11-10-04 Martin Todhunter James Reveley

32) PP2/111/-0 SURFACE TO AIR 10-10-04 Chris Bealby Tom Messenger

33) 00P-234PP PIRAYA (FR) 8-10-04 David Pipe Johnny Farrelly

34) 16F-8P5P CAN'T BUY TIME (IRE) 9-10-04 Jonjo O'Neill Richie McLernon

35) 000-30563 CHARACTER BUILDING (IRE) 11-10-04 John Quinn Miss Nina Carberry

36) 1215/1P/-52 ORNAIS (FR) 9-10-04 Paul Nicholls Nick Scholfield

37) 0U2F-0P2 ARBOR SUPREME (IRE) 9-10-03 Willie Mullins IRE David Casey

38) P5U-42P ROYAL ROSA (FR) 12-10-03 Howard Johnson Paul Gallagher

39) 41/313-011 SKIPPERS BRIG (IRE) 10-10-02 Nicky Richards Dominic Elsworth

40) 1d10019 GOLDEN KITE (IRE) 9-10-02 Adrian Maguire IRE Shane Hassett

Reserves (if there are any non-runners before 0900 BST on Friday):

41) 1-006704 ALWAYS WAINING (IRE) 10-10-02 Peter Bowen

42) 3/472P-02 FAASEL (IRE) 10-10-01 David Pipe

43) 3P-72043P LE BEAU BAI (FR) 8-10-01 Richard Lee

44) F123-P22 GILES CROSS (IRE) 9-10-00 Victor Dartnall

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see also
Don't Push It in form - O'Neill
05 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
Williams writes off National hope
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
Can Silver end Scottish drought?
04 Apr 11 |  Scotland
Walsh picks Grand National ride
27 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Ferguson's Friend set for Aintree
22 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Denman loses after Big Buck's win
07 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
Master Minded wins Melling Chase
08 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
McCoy ends wait for National win
11 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
Grand National meeting schedule
23 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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