Grand National hopes of three may hinge on Imperial Commander run
Neptune Collonges was the first horse since Red Rum to win the Grand National off a weight greater than 11st5lb last year, which is an indication as to how difficult the race is for those burdened with the heaviest weights.
Things get even tougher for those allocated more than 11st7lb, with Red Rum the only horse to triumph from such a weight in the post-war era.
The likes of Royal Auclair, Hedgehunter and Don’t Push It have placed from the top of the weights in the last decade and an each-way result may be the best that can be hoped for from those with such weights this time.
At present, only five runners will run off 11st7lb or more, but Big Fella Thanks, Roberto Goldback and Seabass would rise into this group if Imperial Commander fails to line up at Aintree, causing all of the horses to rise 1lb in the weights.
Based on previous results, this would be a big deterrent to their chances of victory, with Seabass currently third favourite at 10/1 for Grand National victory.
Meanwhile, 8/1 joint favourite Prince De Beauchene is already guaranteed to run off at least 11st7lb.
Technically, despite his monster weight of 11st10lb, Imperial Commander is well-in for the Grand National, given that he is officially rated 160, but the decision of handicapper Phil Smith to compress those positioned towards the top of the weights means he will compete off 158 at Aintree.
Imperial Commander is 33/1 to win the Grand National, but he was forced to withdraw from the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a lung infection.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was still optimistic at the time that he would recover for Aintree, but the fact that regular jockey Paddy Brennan will not be able to be on board may sway connections to miss the race.
Brennan picked up a nine-day ban for a whip offence at Cheltenham, meaning that Sam Twiston-Davies looks most likely to take the ride if Imperial Commander does run.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.