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Grand National 2018: Blaklion compared to Red Rum by Nigel Twiston-Davies

Blaklion is the bookies favourite to win the Grand National
Randox Health Grand National
Date: Saturday 14 April Venue: Aintree racecourse Time: 17:15 BST
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, text updates on the BBC Sport website and mobile app

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies says that Blaklion reminds him of Red Rum after the Grand National favourite was given a weight of 11st 6lb.

The legendary three-time winner used to win with 12st, prompting Twiston-Davies to draw comparisons with his nine-year-old horse.

“I don’t know if I’m being a bit silly, but he reminds me a bit of Red Rum,” said Twiston-Davies. “He is small and very neat over his fences and after watching him jump round there twice, he doesn’t seem to make a mistake.”

Blaklion who will race in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday has shown impressive form this season and is a 10-1 favourite for Aintree. Twiston-Davies is aiming for a third National success following victories for Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

A 40-strong Irish representation headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall, who has been allotted 11st 1lb, will provide stern competition.

Mullins trained 2005 winner Hedgehunter and has 10 entries in total this time.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: “We are very happy with Total Recall. With over 11st it will be hard, but he has got that kind of an improving profile that makes him very interesting.

“He looks like a fantastic jumper, he handles big handicaps and he should stay.”

The weighting game
Allocation of weights is a pivotal moment for trainers, jockeys, owners and punters.
Unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where horses race off level weights, the Grand National is a handicap.
Horses are ranked according to their previous form, with the best given top weight.
The handicapper’s ultimate (although in practice unfeasible) aim is for the horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.
The closest finish came in 2012 when Neptune Collonges denied Sunnyhillboy by the shortest possible distance – a nose.

The Grand National is the only handicap of the year when the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) can deviate from normal handicap ratings when determining the weights.

Phil Smith of the BHA said: “In terms of getting a run on 14 April, I would say you have a reasonable chance if you are in the top 70, which is down to 10st 2lb.”

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BBC Sport – Horse Racing

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