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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Irish cup hopes top National weights

Carlingford Lough, with Tony McCoy up, cross the finish line to win the Hennessy Gold Cup. Leopardstown, Co. Dublin
Carlingford Lough, with Tony McCoy up, cross the finish line to win the Hennessy Gold Cup. Leopardstown, Co. Dublin

THE weights for this year’s Aintree Grand National were revealed yesterday with recent Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carlingford Lough and Jim Culloty’s 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere both given top weight of 11st10lbs for the race.

With the Aintree Grand National being the only race that British Handicapper Phil Smith has his own discretion, he has allocated Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Carlingford Lough 161 rather than his official rating of 166 in the race, but like Lord Windermere he is unlikely to line up in Liverpool if everything goes according to plan at Cheltenham next month.

“That’s interesting,” said Carlingford Lough’s trainer John Kiely. “The owner (JP McManus) and Frank Berry (racing manager for JP McManus) will decide but I don’t think it would be likely he’d run. The Gold Cup is his main aim and the horse is in good form.”

With 96 horses currently standing their ground for the worlds most famous race that runs 40, a total of 25 are Irish trained and the Mouse Morris trained First Lieutenant is an interesting one with 11st3lbs in a race that his owners Gigginstown House Stud are yet to win.

Morris said: “He’s only put us up 1lb but those above us seem to be better off, if they run. I think he’s a real National horse so he’ll definitely go. He’s such a good jumper.”

Of the horses above First Lieutenant however, English Hennessy Gold Cup winner Many Clouds, the Paul Nicholls trained Sam Winner and Willie Mullins’ Boston Bob are all Cheltenham bound.

With this year’s renewal being the last time that Tony McCoy will ride in the famous Aintree showpiece, there is likely to be a lot of support for his mount which would look most likely to be Jonjo O’Neill’s Irish Grand National winner Shutthefrontdoor who has 11st2lbs on his back and is now 10/1 favourite for the race with some firms after support following yesterday’s announcement of the weights.

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