Tony McCoy with Synchronised in the parade ring after winning The Lexus Steeplechase. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
he ain't heavy

Synchronised saddled with top weight for 2012 Grand National

JP McManus’s horse heads the weights, with 31 Irish-trained runners declared for this year’s Aintree showpiece.

JP MCMANUS’S SYNCHRONISED heads the weights for the 2012 Aintree Grand National, which were announced this morning.

The nine-year-old, winner of the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, has been assigned a top weight of 11st10lbs for the 165th renewal of the race, which takes place this year on 14 April.

Last year’s winner Ballabrigs will carry just one pound less, 11st9lbs, if Donald McCain sends him out to defend his title, while Midnight Chase, Weird Al and Burton Port round out the top five in the weights.

Quel Esprit, Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham Gold Cup contender, is the highest-weighted Irish entrant at 11st7lbs. In total, 31 of the 82 entries are trained in Ireland — 12 of which are saddled by Mullins, who won the race with Hedgehunter in 2005.

Bookmakers have installed David Pipe’s Junior, who carries 11st2lbs, as the ante-post favourite at a best-price of 14/1.

Ballabriggs is 16/1 generally to win back-to-back Nationals, a feat not achieved since the legendary Red Rum in 1973 and 1974. Synchronised, Alan King’s West End Rocker (10st12lbs) and Willie Mullins’ On His Own (10st11lbs) are next in the early markets.

A maximum of 40 horses, plus four reserves, will go to post at Aintree in April.

For full details of the weights for the 2012 Aintree Grand National, click here >

Voler la Vedette sets her sights on World domination