Grand National 2014: Katenko & Godsmejudge to miss Aintree race
CRABBIE'S GRAND NATIONAL MEETING
- Venue: Aintree Racecourse
- Date: 3-5 April
- Grand National: 16:15 BST, Saturday, 5 April
Coverage: Big-race commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live. Programme from Aintree on Grand National day; live text commentary on BBC Sport website
Godsmejudge and Katenko are among eight non-runners as 65 Grand National entries remain for Saturday's Aintree race, with a maximum of 40 to run.
The other withdrawals are Sunnyhillboy, Same Difference, Goulanes, Roi Du Mee, Bog Warrior and Mossey Joe.
Grand National odds
- 9-1 Teaforthree
- 14-1 Long Run, Tidal Bay
- 16-1 Monbeg Dude
- 20-1 Pineau De Re, Prince De Beauchene, Triolo D'Alene
- 25-1 Bar
- (Best prices 15:00 BST Mon)
Favourite Teaforthree, top weight Tidal Bay and 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run are leading contenders.
Those yet to be guaranteed a place include Goonyella, Soll, Night In Milan, Saint Are and Tranquil Sea.
If, as expected, the race remains over-subscribed, the lowest-rated horses will be balloted out.
Teaforthree, the 8-1 favourite trained in Wales by Rebecca Curtis, finished third last year but 2013 winner Auroras Encore has been retired and runner-up Cappa Bleu is injured.
Long Run, the Nicky Henderson-trained dual King George VI Chase winner, is the mount of amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen.
Champion trainer Henderson also has Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo D'Alene, Hunt Ball and Shakalakaboomboom as he looks to win the race for the first time.
Ireland's hopes of a first Grand National winner since Silver Birch in 2007 include the Willie Mullins-trained Prince De Beauchene.
The weighting game
Unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where horses race off level weights, the Grand National is a handicap.
Horses are ranked according to their previous form, with the best given top weight.
The handicapper's ultimate (although in practice unfeasible) aim is for the horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.
The closest finish came in 2012 when Neptune Collonges denied Sunnyhillboy by the shortest possible distance - a nose.
Stablemate Vesper Bell has also been left in, as have compatriots Double Seven and Colbert Station - the two possible JP McManus-owned options for champion jockey AP McCoy.
The National, which has a record prize fund of £1m this year, is a handicap chase run over nearly four-and-a-half miles, with different weights given to runners based on previous form.
Sam Twiston-Davies, 21, will ride Tidal Bay as the 13-year-old - carrying top weight of 11st 10lb - bids to become the race's oldest winner since Sergeant Murphy in 1923.
Trainer Paul Nicholls, triumphant with Neptune Collonges in 2012, is also likely to run Hennessy second Rocky Creek and Welsh National runner-up Hawkes Point.
Among the favourites with bookmakers this time is the 2012 Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude, which is part-owned by former England rugby union captain Mike Tindall, team-mate James Simpson-Daniel and Welsh fly-half Nicky Robinson.
Tindall's wife Zara, a leading equestrian rider, supervised schooling sessions last year to help the horse, trained by Michael Scudamore.
Officials hope there will be no serious injuries after all runners came home safely in 2013, when a more flexible fence structure was introduced following two equine fatalities in each of the previous two runnings.