Racing: Russell's Resolve to earn National chance

The most eye-popping ladies' day in world racing awaits at Aintree on Friday, but the horses are not running scared and a total of 85 remain in the greatest steeplechase on the planet.

The most eye-popping ladies' day in world racing awaits at Aintree on Friday, but the horses are not running scared and a total of 85 remain in the greatest steeplechase on the planet.

Le Coudray, the property of a man we have recently learned is worth £400m, is left carrying top weight of 11st 12lb in the Grand National as he attempts to add the biggest chunk of the race's £700,000 prize-money to the JP McManus fortunes. Le Coudray has been raised 3lb following the withdrawal of Grey Abbey and Sir Rembrandt.

First Gold is next in the handicap on 11st 11lb, though François Doumen's gelding also holds an entry in Thursday's Betfair Bowl over the Mildmay fences. Among those high in the handicap also taken out yesterday were Seebald, Rince Ri and Alexander Banquet.

Seebald's trainer, Martin Pipe, has also withdrawn Jurancon II and Venn Ottery, but such are the serried ranks at Pond House that he will not fail for lack of numbers on Merseyside. The champion trainer has a quartet guaranteed a run - last year's third Lord Atterbury, It Takes Time, Iznogoud and Polar Red - while there are another three - Heart Midoltian, Montreal and Latitude - who are some way off making the top 40 allowed to participate.

The cut-off weight is 10st 6lb and of the 10 on that weight all bar one are guaranteed a run. Although Lucinda Russell's Welsh National runner-up Strong Resolve is the unlucky one in numerical order, that is unlikely to be the case when the new handicap ratings become known today. Eliminations of horses on the same weight will be determined by ratings current at the 48-hour declaration stage.

Most intriguing is the failure of Peter Bowen to find a rider for his runner Take The Stand. Runner-up to Kicking King in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and as low as 12-1 in the betting, the nine-year-old should have jockeys crawling over each other like termites to get on his back.

Tony Dobbin rode Take The Stand at the Festival, but he has agreed to ride the Martin Todhunter-trained Just In Debt, while Seamus Durack, who has ridden the horse seven times this season, is committed to riding Bowen's Ballycassidy.

"It's a strange situation after the great race he ran at Cheltenham, but, as none of the top boys can take the ride, I'd rather wait as long as possible in the hope that one of them comes available," Bowen said. "Any jockey who is free now will probably still be free on Thursday."

Jonjo O'Neill is three-handed, with last year's runner-up, Clan Royal, Simply Gifted and Shamawan. "Clan Royal looks OK, but without him having a run for so long, you can't be confident," the trainer said.

Tony McCoy, who will partner Clan Royal, believes his mount's record at Aintree, where he has also won the Becher and Topham Chases, will stand him in good stead. "The form book suggests he's a much better horse over the National fences," the champion jockey said. "He's only average over normal fences but the ones at Aintree bring the best out of him and hopefully they will on Saturday."

Grand National: (Aintree, Saturday): Ladbrokes: 8-1 Hedgehunter, 9-1 Amberleigh House, 10-1 Clan Royal, Forest Gunner, Strong Resolve, 16-1 Joly Bey, Longshanks, Lord Atterbury, Take the Stand, 20-1 Colnel Rayburn, Innox, Monty's Pass, Nil Desperandum, 25-1 Bindaree, Double Honour, First Gold, It Takes Time, Le Coudray, Marcus Du Berlais, Royal Auclair, Spot Thedifference, 33-1 others. Totesport: 8-1 Hedgehunter, 10-1 Strong Resolve, Amberleigh House, Clan Royal, 11-1 Forest Gunner, 16-1 Take The Stand, 18-1 Colnel Rayburn, Joly Bey, 20-1 Innox, Lord Atterbury, Nil Desperandum, Spot Thedifference, 25-1 others. Coral: 8-1 Hedgehunter, 9-1 Clan Royal, Amberleigh House, 11-1 Forest Gunner, 12-1 Strong Resolve, 14-1 Joly Bey, Take The Stand, 20-1 Royal Auclair, Longshanks, Lord Atterbury, Spot Thedifference, 25-1 others.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Jivaty

(Sedgefield 2.30)

NB: It's Music

(Sedgefield 5.00)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas