Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

George Has Illusions of Grandeur at Aintree

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

George Has Illusions of Grandeur at Aintree

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

THE old names were all present to hear their fate when the weights for the John Smith's Grand National were published at the Savoy today. But the omens suggest that there could be a new name on the roll of honour when the world's most famous steeplechase reaches its climax on 8 April.

Willie Mullins knew that Hedgehunter (11st10lb) would pay dearly for last year's Aintree victory and did his best to put on a brave face, despite the knowledge that no horse has won back-to-back Nationals since Red Rum in 1974.

Leading Gold Cup contender Monkerhostin (11st 12lb) topped the weights but is not a certain runner at Aintree.

However, Clan Royal has had a return to Liverpool on top of his agenda ever since he was carried out when leading last year and totesport immediately cut Jonjo O'Neill's gelding from 7-1 to 6-1 on hearing that he will carry just 10st10lb.

Last year's runner-up Royal Auclair and Ginger McCain's 2003 winner Amberleigh House have been allotted 11st10lb and 10st 7lb respectively, but at 25-1 the pick of the ante-post prices could be Lord Of Illusion. …

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