NORTH Yorkshire trainer Keith Reveley could not be happier after his Crabbie’s Grand National prospect Night In Milan was allotted 10st 9lb for the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Even if the weights go up because the top four in the 98-runner field – Carlingford Lough, Lord Windermere, Many Clouds and Sam Winner are likely to be significant players in next month’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup – Saltburn-based Reveley is content.
He also confirmed that his son James, victorious yesterday at Wetherby aboard Stuart Coltherd’s Aye Well in a thrilling two-mile chase, will be in the saddle and will have no trouble making the weight.
“Perfect. As long as one of the top ones stay in we’ll stay below 11st and that was the sort of weight I was thinking of, which means James can ride him at a comfortable weight,” said Reveley snr.
“He’s in great form at the moment, he’ll go for the Grimthorpe a week on Saturday at Doncaster and that gives him a month to recover which is just what he likes between his races.
“Even at nine he could still be improving and while he’s not that well handicapped we know he is capable of competing off his mark. It’s all about having a go, the owner is keen and the game is all about races likes this.”
As for the jockey, Reveley jnr cannot wait for another crack at the National following his ride on Rambling Minster in 2009.
“It’s a nice weight which I can do without too much trouble,” said the jockey, one of the taller members of the weighing room.
Much of the pre-race build-up will focus around the mount of AP McCoy as jump racing’s most successful rider prepares for his final ride in the National before the 20-times champion jockey retires from the saddle.
The likelihood, at this early stage, is that he will be aboard the ante-post favourite Shutthefrontdoor – the Irish National winner, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, has 11st 2lb and is owned by McCoy’s boss JP McManus. This is the same team who were victorious in 2010 with Don’t Push It.
Last year’s runner-up Balthazar King has also been given 11st 2lb as McCoy’s great rival Richard Johnson seeks a first National win while the ever popular Monbeg Dude, whose owners include rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall, has a competitive 10st 7lb.
As for Aintree course specialist Oscar Time, second to Ballabriggs in 2011 and fourth to Yorkshire hero Auroras Encore two years later, the 14-year-old has 10st 5lb.
He is due to reappear in a veterans’ chase at Doncaster today with owner Robert Waley-Cohen saying at Wetherby yesterday, following his mare Makadamia’s win, that Oscar Time is an intended runner in the National in spite of the horse’s advancing years.
As for the Sue Smith pair of Vintage Star and Lackamon, they are unlikely to make the cut – they are 80th and 90th in the handicap with 9st 13lb and 9st 7lb respectively. Like David O’Meara’s Rose Of The Moon, the fourth Yorkshire entrant, who has 9st 5lb, they need at least half the field to come out to stand any chance of making the 40-runner cut.
Meanwhile, Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Chase winner Dolatulo has 10st 11lb as trainer Warren Greatrex looks to continue his fine form.
His One Track Mind looks to be a class act after recording a third course victory at Wetherby yesterday under stable jockey Gavin Sheehan, who went on to complete a double aboard Grand Turina for Pam Sly.