Three out of Grand National

Top-weight Minella Rocco, Vicente and Beeves have all been declared non-runners in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday on account of the ground.

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Minella Rocco filled the runner-up spot in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and pulled out of this year’s renewal on the morning of the race due to the prevailing testing conditions at Prestbury Park.

He was a best-priced 20-1 for the world’s most famous steeplechase before being withdrawn on Friday morning.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “It’s purely ground related, he’s just not as good in soft-heavy ground.

“It’s a real shame as he’s been aimed at this for a long time, but there’s no point him running on that ground.”

Vicente, a dual winner of the Scottish Grand National, was also taken out before the 1pm deadline.

First reserve Thunder And Roses, who won the 2015 Irish Grand National, is now guaranteed a run for trainer Mouse Morris.

Morris, who won the 2016 Grand National with Rule The World, will now fire a twin assault at this year’s renewal, with Thunder And Roses, who will wear the number one saddle cloth, joining stablemate Alpha Des Obeaux.

He said: “If you’re not in you can’t win and it’s good Thunder And Roses has got a run.

“The two horses have travelled over fine and everything is good.

“We can’t complain.”

Second reserve Delusionofgrandeur, trained by Sue Smith – who struck gold in the National in 2013 with Auroras Encore – and ridden by Henry Brooke, will take Vicente’s saddle cloth number of 12.

Beeves’ spot has been taken by third reserve Walk In The Mill, who runs in the colours of Baroness Harding, who won the Gold Cup in 1998 with Cool Dawn. He will be ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen and has been handed saddle cloth number 24.

Walk In The Mill’s trainer Robert Walford said: “I’m absolutely amazed, I didn’t think we had a chance of getting a run as third reserve.

“We’ve got Sam Waley-Cohen booked, and his record speaks for itself over the fences, and the ground won’t be an issue.

“If he gets into a rhythm he’s the sort of good jumper who could go well.”

The weights for all runners in the Grand National are now raised 1lb. The new top-weight is Blaklion with 11st 10lb.

Source.