Grand National Sweepstake Kit: 40 Runners Confirmed

Katie Walsh celebrates after guiding Thunder And Roses to victory in The Boyle Sports Irish Grand National Steeplechase

Blaklion, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies of England, has been pointed to the Grand National since last year's running.

The National always provides a stage for outsiders nonetheless, with Coo Star Sivola being well backed in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham over heavy ground, the conditions look to be in the 8 year-olds favour again at Aintree this weekend.

'What happened at Cheltenham was unfortunate but I suppose the positive is it was far enough out that he didn't have a hard race and as a result we're going to Aintree with a fresh horse, ' said owner Lar Byrne.

The Last Samuri was second to Rule The World two years ago and while he was unplaced last year, trainer Kim Bailey was delighted with his third behind Tiger Roll in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time.

Irish-trained runners have been popular with early bettors. Willie Mullins' Total Recall has been in superb form this season, winning three out of four races. Minella Rocco, who was third in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but fell in his last start in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown on February 4, is the 164-pound highweight, and will carry one more pound than Blaklion.

The problem was the Grand National is 4 5/16 miles.

Walsh is bidding to become the first ever female victor of the National, having previously finished third in 2012.

Captain Redbeard, based with Stuart Coltherd also in the Borders is also due to race alongside Seeyouatmidnight to try to make it back to back wins for Scottish horses at the Grand National.

Baie Des Iles would undoubtedly be a fairytale victor for Katie Walsh, but Total Recall appears a good bet to give Willie Mullins his second National success 13 years after Hedgehunter won in 2005.

"He is enjoying a deserved retirement now after a brilliant career".

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