Grand National: Synchronised handed top weight

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL 2012

  • Venue: Aintree
  • Date: Saturday, 14 April
  • Start time: 1615 BST

Coverage: BBC television, radio and online

Synchronised has been handed top weight of 11st 10lb for this year's Grand National at Aintree.

The nine-year-old Lexus Chase winner, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, recently won the Leopardstown Grade One and in 2011 triumphed in the Welsh National.

Ballabriggs, who shouldered 11st to victory in last year's race, will be saddled with 11st 9lb on 14 April.

Analysis

Henrietta Knight knows all about winning the biggest prizes at jump-racing's Cheltenham Festival; now she is looking to scale the sport's iconic heights at Aintree.

Weird Al and Midnight Chase both sit on 11st 8lb, while Irish Hennessy winner Quel Esprit is on 11st 7lb.

The Henrietta Knight-trained Calgary Bay and Paul Nicholls's Neptune Collonges are both on 11st 6lb, while John Hanlon's Alfa Beat and Philip Hobbs' Planet Of Sound have been allotted 11st 5lb.

"I'm very happy with his weight but I wanted 11st," said Hanlon. "He's in great form at the moment and he'll have a run in Down Royal in about three weeks.

"Good ground is vital to him and he should get it over there. The National has been his aim all year."

The David Pipe-trained Junior, the 14-1 market leader who has completed the rare double of winning at Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, failed to get in the field last year but has a certain place in 2012 with 11st 2lb.

"We are right where we thought we would be - Junior has enough weight with 11st 2lb, but the handicapper always compresses the weights to encourage the best possible field," said Pipe.

"That means that all of our entries are badly off with several of the top weights, but that is not a new scenario and the handicapper faces a very difficult task in trying to make the race as competitive as possible without alienating those further down the handicap."

Aintree managing director Julian Thick said: "It is tremendous to see 69 of the 82 entries in the handicap and the 2012 renewal of Grand National promises to be a race full of quality, with more horses rated over 135 entered than ever before."

A maximum of 40 runners will line up on the day and a series of safety measures are being introduced after the deaths of two horses in the race last year.

Three fences have been modified, the minimum age of runners has been raised from six to seven, and every contender must have finished in the first four of a steeplechase run over at least three miles.

Full weights:

Synchronised - 11st 10lb

Ballabriggs - 11st 9lb

Weird Al, Midnight Chase - 11st 8lb

Quel Esprit, Burton Point - 11st 7lb

Calgary Bay, Neptune Collonges - 11st 6lb

Alfa Beat, Planet Of Sound - 11st 5lb

Blazing Tempo, Roberto Goldback - 11st 4lb

Deep Purple, Black Apalachi - 11st 3lb

Junior, Scotsirish, Quantitativeeasing, Tartak - 11st 2lb

Apt Approach, Little Josh - 11st 1lb

Psycho - 11st 0lb

Chicago Grey, Tatener - 10st 13lb

Shakalakaboomboom, West End Rocker, According to Pete, Seabass - 10st 12lb

On His Own, Hector's Choice, Massini's Maguire - 10st 11lb

Cappa Bleu, Always Right - 10st 10lb

Crescent Island, Rare Bob - 10st 9lb

Mon Mome, Organisedconfusion, The Midnight Club, Treacle - 10st 8lb

Hold On Julio, Alan King, Arbor Supreme, Cooldine, Hold on Julio - 10st 7lb

Prince De Beauchene, Pearkysteps, Prince de Beauchene 10st 6lb

Roulez Cool, Niche Market, Stewart's House, Sunnyhillboy, Uncle Junior - 10st 5lb

Fair Along, Killyglen, Quiscover Fontaine, Tharawaat - 10st 4lb

State Of Play, Always Waining, Becauseicouldntsee, Le Beau Bai, Swing Bill - 10st 3lb

Postmaster, Shakervilz, The Package, Wymott - 10st 2lb

Backstage, Giles Cross, Hello Bud, In Compliance, Midnight Haze, Northern Alliance, Vic Venturi, Viking Blond - 10st 1lb

Qhilimar - 9st 13lb

Some Target - 9t 10lb

Neptune Equester - 9st 9lb

Any Currency - 9st 8lb

Our Island, Schindler's Gold - 9st 7lb

Abbeybraney, Saddler's Storm, Smoking Aces - 9st 5lb

King Fontaine - 9st 4lb

Another Palm - 9st 3lb

Ballyvesey - 9st 2lb

Minella Theatre - 9st 0lb