Grand National crucial to jumps sire title race
King's Theatre and Flemensfirth fighting it out at top of the table
Saturday's Randox Health Grand National is set to have a big say in this year's jumps sire standings, with £500,000 prize-money on offer to the winner of the marathon – an amount that separates the four leading names in the 2017/18 table, all of whom are represented.
King's Theatre held a wafer-thin advantage over Flemensfirth in number one spot after Thursday's action - £2,286,990 v £2,277,804 in progeny earnings - and the late Ballylinch Stud stalwart is set to be triple-handed in the National, a race his progeny are yet to win with Balthazar King doing best when second in 2014.
Regal Encore, a winner at Ascot last time out, perhaps holds the most credible chance of the trio, which is made up by Carlingford Lough and The Dutchman.
Beeches Stud veteran Flemensfirth is also yet to supply a Grand National winner but has had two runners-up in King Johns Castle and The Last Samuri, and the The Last Samuri is the sire's sole runner in 2018.
Presenting, third in the sires' championship with £1,862,491 prize-money, has three runners – Childrens List, Pleasant Company and Thunder And Roses. They are bidding to become the sire's second winner of the big race after Ballabriggs.
With £1,770,708 banked this season, Milan is in striking distance of the champion jumps sire title too. The source of last year's winner One For Arthur is represented by Milansbar 12 months on.
Not far behind Milan, with £1,766,808 prize-money, is Oscar. The sire of Grand National place-getters Oscar Time and Teaforthree has one chance of a winner of the world's most famous race this year in Lord Windermere.
Victory at Aintree for Blaklion or Final Nudge would put their sire Kayf Tara in championship contention, with his tally for 2017/18 currently at £1,620,701.
Arguably the best Grand National record of any sire is held by former champion Old Vic. He gave us two winners – Comply Or Die and Don't Push It – and nearly a third when Sunnyhillboy was touched off by just a nose by Neptune Collonges.
Don't Push It led home a one-two for Old Vic when he beat Black Apalachi and the sire is also responsible for 2016 third Vics Canvas to boot.
That fine Aintree heritage suggests Old Vic's one runner in this year's race, the outsider Pendra, could be worth an each-way bet for breeding aficionados.
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