Band will not play at Aintree

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Smith's Band has had a training setback and will miss the Martell Grand National at Liverpool on 30 March.

The trainer Jenny Pitman's son Mark said yesterday: "Smith's Band has had a successful year (winning three times) but won't run again this season. It is nothing too serious and hopefully, he will be back for all the big races next season."

Smith's Band's defection still leaves Mrs Pitman with three entries in the big race, last year's winner Royal Athlete and Superior Finish - both definite starters according to Mark - while a decision on the participation of Lusty Light has yet to be made.