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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Autumnal Aintree set to start on ground softer than usual

Aintree clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch: reported improved conditions on Wednesday
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Aintree's Grand National meeting is expected to start on ground varying between soft and good to soft after a dry but increasingly cold day on Wednesday.

With the forecast of drizzle overnight the Grand National course was soft on Wednesday afternoon while the Mildmay chase course and hurdle tracks were soft, good to soft in places.

Andrew Tulloch, Aintree's clerk of the course, said: “It has remained dry but there has been an autumnal feel this afternoon as it has got cooler on an overcast day.

“The threat of drizzle overnight remains with possible showers on Friday and Saturday and I think it will be a mix of soft and good to soft to start with and will ride on the slow side.”

The GoingStick readings confirmed the drying day, following 8mm of rain on Tuesday which had turned the ground soft all over.

The Grand National course figure was 4.2 yesterday afternoon from 3.7 on Tuesday while the Mildmay reading is 5.4 from 4.2 and the hurdle track is 5.0 from 4.1.

Tulloch added: "It is a bit wetter at the Canal Turn but the ground is soft on the National course.

"The course is in very good nick, there's a good cover of grass and the team have done a fantastic job, but it's more like autumn than spring in terms of soil temperatures and things like that, which doesn't help."

Grand National jockey bookings

Adam Wedge will partner the enigmatic Buywise, who is a general 50-1 shot, in the Grand National on Saturday. The popular 11-year-old finished 12th to Rule The World in 2016 and showed he retained plenty of ability when beating Pete The Feat at Sandown in January. 

Paddy Brennan will partner last year's Midlands Grand National winner Chase The Spud, who can be backed at 66-1. Stablemate Perfect Candidate, who is available at the same price and was pulled up last year, will be partnered by Alain Cawley. 

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I think it will be a mix of soft and good to soft to start with and will ride on the slow side

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