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Gordon Elliott '10 or 15' for Aintree Grand National

The Irish trainer may have a third of the field on 6 April.

Gordon Elliott: 'It's the biggest steeplechase in the world.'
Gordon Elliott: 'It's the biggest steeplechase in the world.'
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

GORDON ELLIOTT THREATENED to write his old boss out of the record books as he revealed he could have more than a third of the field in the Randox Health Grand National on 6 April.

He is no stranger to running huge teams in big races in Ireland and 12 of his horses are guaranteed a place at Aintree, featuring in the top 40 when the weights were revealed on Tuesday.

The trainer also has another four chasers in the top 70 for the £1 million race, which has usually been high enough up the handicap to get a run in recent seasons.

The modern record for runners in the National is the 10 sent out in 2001 by Martin Pipe, whose former amateur rider will field as many as he can in a bid to land a third Aintree triumph.

“I’ll run as many as I can get in,” said Elliott. “We’ve won it twice and we want to win it again. If I can get 10 or 15 in there I’ll run them.

“We’re used to it going racing every day, I’ve got good staff working for me. It’s the biggest steeplechase in the world, it’s the race that everyone wants to win. We’ll try to get them all there first but I’ll run as many as I can.”

Tiger Roll emulated Elliott’s Silver Birch by landing the National last year but will race off a mark 9lb higher 12 months on.

“Tiger Roll has a very hard task,” said the trainer. “He has a lot more weight this year but we’ll see what happens. He’s going to run in the Boyne Hurdle on Sunday and then go to Cheltenham.”

Elliott, who has 22 National entries, is happier with the weight handed to last year’s Irish Grand National winner General Principle.

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“He has a nice weight with 10st,” he said. “He’s won an Irish National, he jumps and stays. It’s a race I’ve had in my kind for a while. He looks like he could have a good chance.”

- Brian Fleming 

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