CHESTER CHESHIRE, United Kingdom, March 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Midnight Club still remains the bookmakers favourite but other market movers include, the Paul Nicholls trained and Sir Alex Ferguson owned, What A Friend, following a fantastic Cheltenham Gold Cup run where he placed fourth.
The John Smith's Grand National is one of the few races to have eluded champion trainer Paul Nicholls and along with What A Friend, he also looks set to be represented by the 2009 Irish Grand National victor Niche Market and The Tother One having previously withdrawn Neptune Collonges and Tricky Trickster.
Traditionally Irish horses do exceptionally well at the Grand National and following a record breaking Cheltenham Festival, with 13 winners over the four days, they also hold a strong hand in the John Smith's Grand National with 26 of the remaining 74 entries.
Leading the way is Cheltenham Champion Trainer 2011 Willie Mullins who previously won the National in 2005 with Hedgehunter. He started with nine entries and still has seven in contention including the favourite The Midnight Club. Other contenders from Ireland include the Martin Lynch-trained Oscar Time, and Backstage, trained by 2007 winner Gordon Elliott.
The biggest news to date for this years 2011 Grand National is the fact that, with just days to go, Harry Findlay has sold hotly tipped Big Fella Thanks for an undisclosed sum. The nine-year-old finished fourth in last year's National when trained by Paul Nicholls. This year he will race in the blue colours of Max Fawbert and Nick Williamson, after Findlay rejected bigger offers which would have taken the horse away from trainer Ferdy Murphy.
The six-day confirmation stage for the John Smith's Grand National is on Monday, 4 April, with the final declaration stage at 10am on Thursday, 7 April.
SOURCE Grand National