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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 10:40 GMT
National attracts big entry
The Grand National takes place at Aintree on 3 April
Harbour Pilot and Macs Gildoran were among the withdrawals at the latest entry stage for the 2004 Martell Cognac Grand National.

A total of 77 horses are now left in the Aintree contest, which takes place on 3 April.

A maximum field of 40 will line up for the 4m 4f race.

Of the horses left in, 47 are in the handicap proper with the Francois Doumen-trained First Gold, owned by Irish tycoon JP McManus, topping the weights on 11st 12lb.

No horse allocated a weight of 11st or more has won the race since Rhyme 'n Reason in 1988.

Among the 23 horses to come out at the forfeit stage are the Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup third Harbour Pilot, Fondmort, Commanche Court and the Willie Mullins-trained Macs Gildoran.

We are assured of a highly competitive race
Charles Barnett, Aintree MD
The 2004 race has a notably strong entry from Ireland and the 15 remaining Irish-trained entries include last year's winner Monty's Pass and the 2003 Irish National hero Timbera.

First Gold, who finished fifth in the Gold Cup after making much of the running, is one of four remaining French-trained entries along with stablemates Innox and Kelami, and the Jacques Ortet-trained Paladin.

Champion trainer Martin Pipe still has 12 entries in the race, including Red Square Vodka Gold Cup winner Jurancon II, Puntal, Mildmay Of Flete Chase second Iznogoud and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase victor Maximize.

Pipe's son David is represented by hunter chaser Lord Atterbury.

The 2003 National third and fourth, Amberleigh House and Gunner Welburn, remain in the race.

Jonjo O'Neill has a strong hand, with Tote Becher Chase winner Clan Royal, who also landed last season's Martell Cognac Topham Chase, Joss Naylor and Simply Gifted.

Others with good form claims include the 2002 National winner Bindaree, Bear On Board, trained by Alan King, along with Sue Smith's pair Artic Jack and Ardent Scout.




SEE ALSO
Monty's Pass wins Grand National
05 Apr 03  |  Horse Racing


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