Aintree Grand National 2011 

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The importance of Cheltenham Festival performances to the Grand National is becoming more and more apparent as the Aintree race becomes increasingly attractive to top-quality horses.

Tidal Bay

Tidal Bay

This was shown when Paul Nicholls announced that his well-liked What A Friend would run at Aintree following his fourth place finish in the Cheltenham God Cup and was underlined today as Tidal Bay was also declared for the race.

After discussions with owners Graham and Andrea Wylie, those over at note how trainer Howard Johnson declared that the popular horse would once again take his place in the Aintree field.

The smart ten-year-old bay gelding may not be one of the favourites to claim victory in the National, he is currently 33/1 in the ante-post betting markets, but following a solid sixth place in the Gold Cup he will be expected to attract a number of each way punters.

The horse will carry a reasonable weight of 11st 9lbs and his entry will be his sixth run at the meeting and will be looking for a little cut in the ground to show his best.  

His ambitions may be helped by news that the Aintree may look to water the course before the race.

The current going at the track is described as good to soft on the National course and with a forecast of dry weather for the next few weeks it looks likely that water will b applied in order to preserve the existing conditions.

There are currently 74 runners remaining following the second forfeit stage on Tuesday but with a maximum field of 40 for the big race ante-post punters should be aware of that just under half of those will not fall under starters orders in April.

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