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Dilemma for trainers over which Grand National to aim for

The 2022 Randox Grand National is rapidly approaching with the three-day Aintree Festival set to get underway in less than a fortnight’s time, therefore now is a great time to take full advantage of all the best Grand National free bets up for grabs from the leading UK bookmakers.

Dilemma for trainers over which Grand National to aim for


The decision to stage the Scottish Grand National one week before it’s Aintree counterpart has left many trainers facing a £1 million dilemma.

The 2022 Scottish National has been moved forward and is set to take place one week before the Aintree steeplechase, however trainers are torn between aiming their runners towards the Ayr race or waiting for Aintree seven days later and risk the possibility that their entries won’t make the cut. Indeed £150,000 will be on offer at Ayr in a race which generally attracts some of the horses which have contested the Randox Grand National.

Domaine De L’Isle is joint 44th in the Grand national list but with a safety limit of 40, there is every likelihood that this runner will fail to make the cut.

Trainer Sean Curran said: “It’s in the lap of the gods.

“I’d love to have a crystal ball. I want to run in the English National, obviously, because these chances are few and far between. He’s in great order but what do you do? I’m betwixt and between at the moment. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have a lot of horses in at Aintree, will they run all of theirs?”

Curran tasted Scottish Grand National glory with Iris De Balme in 2008 and he continued: “I’ll probably leave him in at the next stage for Ayr and keep playing it by ear – if it turns up a bit quick there, that would definitely decide it because he wouldn’t be going there.”

Go Another One is also 44th on the Aintree list and as such, the Scottish Grand National is a possibility for this runner.

Trainer John McConnell said: “We’re pretty hopeful he’ll get in at Aintree.

“He should do judged on past experience, but you never know.

“We were first reserve in the National last year with Some Neck, which was frustrating, and it could happen again to us.

“Aintree would be preferable but Scotland will be a possibility as well. We’re thinking about it and I’ll probably make up my mind by early next week.”

When finishing in sixth position in the Grand National in 2021, Blaklion was the first British horse home but as yet he isn’t guaranteed a run in the Aintree marathon.

Trainer Dan Skelton said: “We’ll have a good look on the Thursday of declarations for Ayr but we want to go to Aintree and there are only two to come out so I think we’ll be all right.”

The chances of Eclair Surf – runner-up in the Eider Chase – taking part in either the Aintree or the Ayr contests depends on the weather. Handler Emma Lavelle said: “He needs soft ground. I wouldn’t run him at Ayr unless they got a lot of rain and I’m depressed with how little there is forecast.

“We’ll keep looking at the National and see what happens, but if it rained a lot and that changed the going at Ayr it would definitely move our minds, but as things stand the weather will dictate where he goes.”

The decision to hold the Ayr race a week before the Aintree contest has caught many by surprise, however there is a clear reason behind it as explained by Iain Ferguson, spokesman for Ayr Racecourse.

He said: “It’s to do with the way that Easter falls and if Aintree had been a week before it would have been very close to Cheltenham so we agreed to a one-off move this season.

“We’re delighted with the standard and the number of our entries and quite a lot of horses are being aimed at the Scottish National.”