Grand National 2017: 2016 runner-up The Last Samuri heads 70 horses left ahead of Aintree showpiece

Kim Bailey's nine-year-old is set to shoulder top-weight of 11st 10lb in the Aintree spectacular following the withdrawal of John Kiely's dual Irish Gold Cup hero Carlingford Lough

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The Independent Online

Last year's runner-up The Last Samuri heads 70 horses left in Saturday's Randox Health Grand National.

Kim Bailey's nine-year-old is set to shoulder top-weight of 11st 10lb in the Aintree spectacular following the withdrawal of John Kiely's dual Irish Gold Cup hero Carlingford Lough.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: "He's not going to run on Saturday. He's going to wait for the Irish National or the Punchestown Gold Cup - either of them two.

"He could run in the Irish National."

Despite Carlingford Lough's absence, McManus is still set to be well represented as he chases a second National success following the memorable triumph of Don't Push It and Sir Tony McCoy in 2010.

Jonjo O'Neill's More Of That and the Gordon Elliott-trained Cause Of Causes are both prominent in the betting and the owner's retained rider, Barry Geraghty, is set to leave a decision on which horse he will ride until as late as possible.

The McManus silks may also be carried by Charlie Longsdon's Pendra and Regal Encore from Anthony Honeyball's yard.

"Barry is going to leave it a couple of days to make his decision which one he rides," said Berry.

"Aidan Coleman will ride one and possibly Jamie Codd .

"If the ground stays like it is, Regal Encore will probably run as well.

"At the minute we could have four runners."

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Carlingford Lough is out of the race (R) (Getty)

Carlingford Lough was one of six horses who were previously in the top 40 ruled out on Monday.

Alan King's Ziga Boy was a general 50-1 shot having won the last two renewals of the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster, but he is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a tendon injury.

Dan Downie, racing manager for the Axom syndicate that owns the grey, said: "It's very disappointing, obviously. We nearly got there, but we all know how hard it is to get these horses ready for a big day and unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

"Hopefully we'll get him back to fight another day at some stage, but I would have thought he'll miss the whole of next season.

"With a tendon injury, we could probably get him back in about a year's time, but that would be pointless, so we'll aim towards the autumn of 2018."

Maggio also has a problem and while it is not so serious, it is nevertheless a big blow for his connections.

The 12-year-old carries the same colours as 2013 National hero Auroras Encore.

James Griffin, assistant to his father Patrick, said: "It's a minor issue and it's more a case of bad timing than anything.

"He's just not 100 per cent, he's too good to risk and it's too good a race to take a chance.

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Vieux Lion Rouge remains in the race (Getty)

"He'll be back, but obviously it's hugely disappointing for a small yard like ours.

"We didn't enter him for the Scottish National or the old Whitbread (bet365 Gold Cup) at Sandown, so we might aim him at the Perth Gold Cup.

"We'll then bring him back for the Becher Chase and hopefully the National in a year's time."

Other horses taken out include Alechi Inois, Foxrock and The Romford Pele, leaving La Vaticane and Doctor Harper jointly in the 40th spot, with the official elimination order yet to be confirmed.

The likes of Vieux Lion Rouge, Definitly Red, Blaklion and One For Arthur all stood their ground.

PA

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