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Grand National: Analysing this year’s top-weight horses

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As the iconic Aintree Racecourse prepares to host the highly anticipated 2024 renewal of the Grand National on April 13th, enthusiasts and punters alike are gearing up for one of the most thrilling spectacles in National Hunt racing.

Amidst the flurry of excitement for this year’s race, the handicapper has had his say — dishing out the all-important weight allocations to the current list of entries for the Aintree showpiece.

How much extra a horse has to carry can make all the difference in the Grand National, and being one of the top weights in the prestigious race often hinders a runner’s chances of winning.

To put it into context, just two of the last 10 winners of the Grand National have carried over 11 stone — they were Tiger Roll (11-5) in 2019 and Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015.

So, with weight such a key factor at Aintree, it’s worth shining a spotlight on some of the horses who have the tough task of lugging extra baggage around this already testing trip.

Conflated – 11st 12lbs

With King George VI heroin Hewick being scratched by John ‘Shark’ Hanlon, Conflated now carries the top weight of 11st 12lb.

Despite having two previous runs at Aintree, including a win in 2021, this could be the Gordon Elliott-trained horse’s first crack at the Grand National.

However, he’s got a favourable weight from the handicapper and is currently priced at 40/1 in the Aintree Grand National 2024 odds.

Noble Yeats – 11st 11lb

A shock Grand National winner in 2022, landing the spoils from outside odds of 50/1, Noble Yeats has his work cut out if he wants to regain his crown this year.

The Emmet Mullins-trained horse was 10st 10lb when he won the contest two years ago, and put up a bold showing when fourth at this weight last year.

Based on that though, it seems it’s going to be very difficult for Noble Yeats when he returns to Aintree this month.

Nonetheless, the fantastic Harry Cobden has been booked to ride the nine-year-old and he’s priced at 16/1 in the Aintree horse racing odds.

Nassalam – 11st 7lb

Gary Moore is still on the hunt for his maiden Grand National success as a trainer, and he might have to wait a while longer as Nassalam has been allocated 11st 7lb.

In December, the seven-year-old won back-to-back steeplechases at Chepstow in emphatic fashion, especially when coming home 34 lengths clear in the Welsh Grand National.

However, he was pulled up by jockey Niall Houlihan four out from the finish in the recent Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Regardless, Moore is not best pleased with the officials, saying: “At the moment he still goes [to the National].

“The handicapper hasn’t dropped him, he must think it was quite a good run. I don’t think he understands racing anyway.”

Coko Beach – 11st 7lb

Having been pulled up Cobden last year, Coko Beach is set to give the Grand National a second attempt this month.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned horse has displayed some fine form this campaign, with two wins, a second, and a third in his four runs.

However, that has resulted in the nine-year-old being given 11st 7lb to carry — a rather large rise from last year’s 11st.

Capodanno, who was also pulled up in last year’s Grand National, is set to lug 11st 7lb, while I Am Maximus, former Gold Cup winner Minella Indo, defending champion Corach Rambler, and Janidil all currently carry 11st 5lb.

The Willie Mullins-trained Stattler makes up the top 10 with an allocated weight of 11-4 for the 40/1 shot.

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