Grand National 2018: Minella Rocco, Vicente & Beeves out of Aintree race

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport at Aintree
Minella Rocco
Minella Rocco won his first two races on soft ground in 2015
Randox Health Grand National
Venue: Aintree Date: 14 April Grand National race start: 17:15 BST
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live, sports extra and live updates on the BBC Sport website More details

Top weight Minella Rocco has been withdrawn from Saturday's Grand National at Aintree.

Trainer Jonjo O'Neill said last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up, rated at around a 25-1 chance, would not run because of the rain-softened ground.

Thunder And Roses - the 10-year-old first reserve trained by Mouse Morris - will take Minella Rocco's place.

Vicente and Beeves have also withdrawn, replaced by Delusionofgrandeur and Walk In The Mill.

Sam Waley-Cohen will be aboard Walk In The Mill while Henry Brooke has been booked to partner Delusionofgrandeur.

Vicente will now be aimed at claiming a third Scottish National at Ayr on 21 April. A maximum field of 40 runners will line up for the contest, which starts at 17:15 BST.

Eight-year-old Minella Rocco, which was due to carry 11st 10lb, was seeking to become the first top weight to win the famous steeplechase since the legendary Red Rum in 1974.

On Thursday, trainer Nicky Henderson chose not to run Gold Present because of the soft ground at the Liverpool venue.

The National is a handicap chase with all runners allocated weights by the official handicapper Phil Smith.

After Minella Rocco's withdrawal, each runner will carry 1lb more with Blaklion the new top weight.

Their racecard numbers remain the same, except for Thunder And Roses who will have number one on his saddlecloth while Delusionofgrandeur will take the 12 initially earmarked for Vicente and Walk In The Mill is number 24.

A wet Friday morning, with five millimetres of rain, meant the going on the Grand National course was officially described as heavy, soft in places.