Racing: Ness limps out of National lists

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ESHA NESS, who led the field home in last year's void Grand National, is likely to miss this year's race after finishing lame on his seasonal debut at Wincanton yesterday.

Jenny Pitman's 11-year-old was reunited with his Aintree partner, John White, to run what seemed a promising trial in the Wincanton Limited Handicap Chase, staying in contention until two out and coming home 10 lengths behind the winner, Smartie Express.

The performance prompted William Hill to cut Esha Ness to 16-1 from 20-1 for the Grand National. But the price did not last long, as the horse's condition became apparent and he was taken out of the firm's Aintree list.

Mrs Pitman said: 'I'll have my back against the wall to get him ready in time. He's had problems with his off-fore leg in the past but I don't like the look of it at all.'