Call The Police: one of three taken out of Grand National by Willie MullinsPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Mullins scratches trio from Grand National
WILLIE MULLINS has cut his John Smith's Grand National options after Call The Police, a 33-1 chance, was one of three of his Aintree entries scratched from the race on Wednesday.
Ireland's champion jumps trainer also removed Lambro and Shakervilz from the field as he concentrated his challenge on a group of four horses that are headed by Prince De Beauchene and On His Own, the stablemates who are vying for favouritism with the Ted Walsh trained Seabass.
They were among 11 horses taken out at the first scratching deadline leaving 73 horses to go forward for the £975,000 contest for which Albertas Run heads the weights on 11st 10lb.
Kim Bailey, who landed the 1990 John Smith's Grand National with Mr Frisk, believes a return to better ground will suit The Rainbow Hunter who finished fourth in a Listed handicap chase at Ascot behind fellow Aintree hopefuls Cappa Bleu and Saint Are.
"The Rainbow Hunter is still on course for the John Smith's Grand National," he said. "He came out of his run at Ascot very well and I think he will improve for that. He wants good ground - it was very gluey at Ascot. He found it hard to jump out of that ground because he is not very big and finds it quite difficult. He will go on soft but not when the going is like that.
"He seems to stay well and his size wouldn't concern me around Aintree because I ran Docklands Express around there and he was smaller. It all depends on how they jump.
"I'm hoping there is more to come from him because he seems to be improving and I think the ground will make a big difference. He is in at Cheltenham but I have not made a decision about whether or not he runs there first."
Donald McCain has four entries including 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs who is entered to run at Kelso this weekend.
"Everything has gone smoothly with Ballabriggs' preparation this time - we are very happy with him," he said. "He will complete his preparation in the same Kelso event he has run in for the last two years. He is 12 years old but Amberleigh House won it at 12. Ballabriggs is an Aintree horse - he likes the place."Of his other challengers, he said: "Weird Al was running a nice race last year when he fell at the fourth last. His form has been disappointing this season but he is a little bit that way.
"He seemed to be taking to Aintree quite well last year. It was slightly unusual that Across The Bay's last race was over hurdles but he won a Grade Two at Haydock.
"He stays, he jumps and is a young and improving horse, who is going the right way. If he took to the place, he could run a massive race."