Only 57 remain in the Grand National after several notable defections at the latest forfeit stage for the worlds greatest steeplechase to be staged at Aintree on April 6th. The weights will rise by at least 4 pounds after the original top weight Tidal Bay was pulled out due to injury last month and now both Albertas Run and Quito De La Roque also being withdrawn after today's forfeit stage leaving 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander heading the 57 horses still engaged for the race.
Looking at the weights after today forfeit stage On His Own who was tanking along when falling at Bechers Brook 2nd time around last year and on his only start since won a grade 2 novice hurdle looking as good if not better than ever in the process looks very favourably weighted off 11-0 and with the strong possibility of Ruby Walsh taking the ride this Willie Mullins trained 9yo gelding looks like the best treated horse in the race especially after his trainer stated he believes he is better horse than his previous Grand National winner Hedgehunter. His stablemate Prince De Beauchene who missed last years race also has leading claims but off 11-7 he has a big task on his hands here despite running a fine warm up race at Fairyhouse to finish 2nd to Roi Du Mee and having last years Grand National 3rd who he is set to repose here Seabass back in 3rd that day. Seabass is due to carry just 1 pound less than Prince Du Beauchene here but I would be confident of him turning the tables from that race at Fairyhouse race after running such a fine race in 3rd last year but off 11-6 here he will need to have improved a fair bit since last year to go two places better come April 6th. Imperial Commander is one horse who's big weight would not concern if he is anywhere near the form of his 2010 Gold Cup success and if allowed to take his chance here I can see him relishing the challenge the Grand National presents and I would rate both him and On His Own as the most likely winners at this stage.