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Grand National News: Big guns stand ground for National

Tidal Bay heads the 65 remaining in the Grand National
Tidal Bay heads the 65 remaining in the Grand National

Sunnyhillboy, the 2012 runner-up, Godsmejudge, Mossey Joe (due to run in the Foxhunters' on Thursday), Roi Du Mee, Bog Warrior, Same Difference, Katenko and Goulanes were the eight horses scratched at the confirmation stage...

Tidal Bay remains at the summit of the weights for the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, for which 65 horses are still in contention...

Paul Nicholls' popular veteran has had the race as his only objective since finishing second in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February. Tidal Bay, who unseated his rider in the 2011 Grand National, could be joined in the line-up by stablemates Rocky Creek, Hawkes Point and There's No Panic, although the latter is not guaranteed to get a run.

Sunnyhillboy, the 2012 runner-up, Godsmejudge, Mossey Joe (due to run in the Foxhunters' on Thursday), Roi Du Mee, Bog Warrior, Same Difference, Katenko and Goulanes were the eight horses scratched at the confirmation stage.

Ante-post favourite Teaforthree, Monbeg Dude and the Nicky Henderson-trained quartet of Long Run, Triolo D'Alene, Hunt Ball and Shakalakaboomboom all stood their ground.

Ireland's hopes of a first Grand National winner since 2007 are perhaps spearheaded by the Willie Mullins-trained Prince De Beauchene. Stablemate Vesper Bell has also been left in, as have compatriots Double Seven and Colbert Station - the two possible JP McManus-owned options for Tony McCoy - Big Shu, Lion Na Bearnai and Last Time D'Albain.

County Wexford trainer Colm Murphy is convinced Quito De La Roque's fortitude could stand him in good stead for a big run.

The Grade 1-winning 10-year-old has had a disappointing season - he was pulled up on his last outing at Fairyhouse in February - but Murphy is not without optimism.

Quito De La Roque shaped encouragingly in two previous starts at Aintree, most significantly when he won the Mildmay Novices' Chase in 2011.

Murphy said: "He's going along nicely at home. He's had his problems over the years but he's a tough horse, which is obviously important in the National.

"We're very happy with him and his preparation has gone well."

Market leader Teaforthree, who jumped superbly when finishing third in the race last season, tops Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings for the race; he can be backed at 10.5n/a.

Long Run, who won the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup and is set to be ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen, a man with a fantastic record over the Nationals fences, is next in at 15.014/1, with the veteran Tidal Bay, bidding to become the first teenage winner since Sergeant Murphy in 1923, a 17.5n/a chance. 

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