Grand National: attracted two more entries in 2013 compared to 2012PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Beauchene and Own
head 84 for National
THE John Smith's Grand National has attracted 84 entries for the 2013 edition headed by the Willie Mullins-trained pair On His Own and Prince De Beauchene.
Both owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, On His Own and Prince De Beauchene are 16-1 joint-favourites for the race with Betfred.
Neptune Collonges triumphed by a nose in last year's race and has since headed into retirement but Sunnyhillboy, Seabass and Cappa Bleu - second, third and fourth in the 2012 edition - are back again.
Welsh National second Teaforthree, Imperial Commander, Ballabriggs and Oscar Time also feature in the entries.
Cappa Bleu's trainer Evan Williams believes the experience gained by his runner in last year's race will benefit him this time around.
He said: "He is a very unexposed horse and his inexperience probably caught him out last year, but hopefully he will benefit from that this time around.
"Everything has been very good with him since his comeback at Carlisle [second of five in November] and, given the way the weather has been, I am delighted we managed to get the run into him when we did.
Evan Williams: trains Cappa BleuPICTURE: Mark Cranham
"Since he ran, it has been very wet and very heavy ground doesn't suit him. When he encountered that for the first time in the Welsh National in 2011, it took me a long time to get him back after that.
"He holds entries this weekend but he will be entered everywhere as I am very keen to get another run or two into him before Aintree. I will give him every opportunity to run but, as I have said all season, if the ground is very heavy, he won't run."
This year's National will be run over 4m3½f with the start moved closer to the first fence. Fences will also contain a soft core. The £975,000 contest is to be run under John Smith's sponsorship for the last time.
Full list of entries to follow. . .