Today’s big news from Aintree is all about the weather. There has been heavy rain on the track this morning, and that of course means soft ground for tomorrow’s Randox Health Grand National. If you’re planning to bet on the big race make sure you keep an eye on this, because as it stands both Minella Rocco and Vicente have pulled out.
The decision to rule Minella Rocco out of the Grand National will have been made with a heavy heart by trainer Jonjo O’Neill. The 8yo was a runner up at last year’s Gold Cup, and having already been forced to pull out of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, O’Neill will certainly be cursing the weather gods.
“It’s very frustrating to say the least but, after talking the matter over with the horse’s connections, we have reached the decision that Minella Rocco will miss the race on account of the ground,” said O’Neill.
“The rain seems to keep falling and it has gone heavy on the Canal Turn so it’s going to be soft everywhere else and he just doesn’t handle that sort of ground, so we have reluctantly decided not to run.”
Indeed, fears over Canal Turn are rampant amongst trainers today, but it’s not bad news for everyone. Minella Rocco dropping out means that 2015 Irish Grand National winner Thunder and Roses will feature in tomorrow’s line up.
The F P Nicholls trained Vicente has also been ruled out of the race for similar reasons, and is set to be replaced by second reserve Delusionsofgranduer.
Nicholls will now prepare Vicente for a run in the upcoming Scottish Grand National, taking a pragmatic approach when deciding what’s best for the 9yo.
“Vicente will go to Ayr [for the Scottish Grand National]. It is pointless going out in the National when things are against you. I would have been very concerned with his jumping off that ground,” said Nicholls.
“One thing he does do at Ayr on better ground is jump well so I am hoping the forecast is right and from Tuesday onwards it will dry up right to the day and we can go there with a chance.
“It’s the right decision and I am really pleased because I was getting nervous about running him. If it had dried up to good to soft it wouldn’t have been a bother but this rain has gone against him.”