John Smith's Grand National - 6th April 2013 

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Weights for John Smith's Grand National Revealed on Tuesday, February 12 08/02/13

The countdown to this year’s John Smith’s Grand National continues on Tuesday, February 12, when the annual launch is held in London and includes the eagerly-anticipated unveiling of the Grand National weights.

Frisco Depot
© Racehorse Photos

Frisco Depot

A total of 83 entries remain in the famous handicap chase and, with a prize fund of £975,000, the John Smith’s Grand National is the most valuable jump race in Europe and among the richest in the world. This year’s John Smith’s Grand National takes place on Saturday, April 6, the third and final day of the John Smith’s Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Trainer Charlie Longsdon, based near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, is aiming exciting Irish import Frisco Depot at the Aintree showpiece, which will be run over the new distance of about four miles, three and a half furlongs for the first time.

The lightly-raced nine-year-old progressed into a smart performer for trainer Dessie Hughes last season, chasing home Flemenstar at Naas in March before annexing the Grade Two Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase over three miles at Limerick on April 1.

Frisco Depot was purchased by Robert Waley-Cohen over the summer but luck has not been on his side in two runs for his new stable with the owner’s son Sam Waley-Cohen in the saddle.

He fell three out when travelling well in the Grade Three United House Gold Cup at Ascot on November 3 and, after being pulled up in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on December 1 it transpired he had a wind problem.

Longsdon revealed: “Frisco Depot had a wind operation after his run in the Hennessy but he is back on the go now and everything has been very good with him.

“We are looking at the John Smith’s Grand National and he is going to run in a couple of weeks in a race that probably wouldn’t suit him over two and a half miles at Warwick.

“As he has had a couple of months off after a wind operation, I want to get a run into him but there are not too many races for him.

“He looked very progressive prior to his run in the Hennessy and he is a very nice horse. I think a mark of 140 is a true reflection of his ability but fingers crossed he can be competitive.”

Frisco Depot is a 33/1 chance with Betfred, official betting partner of the 2013 John Smith’s Grand National.

© Caroline Norris

Last year’s third Seabass (16/1 with Betfred), trained in Ireland by Ted Walsh, made an encouraging return to action when staying on strongly to snatch second in a two-mile hurdle at Fairyhouse on February 5. Walsh, who saddled the 2000 Grand National hero Papillon, is also responsible for another leading Irish hope Colbert Station(20/1), who won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and annexed a Pertemps qualifier over hurdles at Punchestown on February 3.

Currently heading the ante-post market at with Betfred at 14/1 are the Willie Mullins-trained duo of Prince De Beauchene and On His Own. Prince De Beauchene was a winner over the Mildmay fences at the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National meeting and returned to action with a smooth success over hurdles at Limerick on December 27, while On His Own was travelling well in third when parting company with Paul Townend at Becher’s  Brook on the second circuit of the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National.

Weights for the John Smith’s Grand National are framed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith.

The John Smith’s Grand National is the only race in the calendar when Smith is permitted to use his own discretion and judgment, rather than relying on central ratings.

Smith said today: “In terms of numbers, there is one more entry than last year. We have got Cheltenham Festival winners, as well as Grade One winners and big handicap winners, among the entries, which is what you would expect for the John Smith’s Grand National.”

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