The £1m dilemma that has coaches agonizing over which national to choose | Horse racing news


John Grossick (

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Domaine De L’isle: shared 44th place in the list at Aintree

John Grossick (

By David Carr

The alignment of the Randox Grand National after the Coral Scottish Grand National this year has left some coaches with a £1million dilemma.

Should they take a chance and wait for Aintree on April 9 and risk their horse not making the cut?

Or should they forget the richest race of the jumping season and run at Ayr seven days early, when £150,000 is on offer in a competition usually held afterwards, sometimes attracting those who have competed in the Grand National.

“It’s in the lap of the gods,” said Sean Curran, whose Domaine De L’isle is ranked 44th on the list in Aintree, which has a safety margin of 40.

“I’d like a crystal ball. Of course I want to run for the England national team because these opportunities are rare. He’s fine, but what are you doing? I’m between and in between at the moment. Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have many horses at Aintree, will they all let their horses go free?”

Randox Grand National Racecard and Betting

Curran won the Scottish National with Iris De Balme in 2008 and said: “I’ll probably leave him for Ayr in the next stage and continue to play by ear – if it showed up there a little bit quickly that would definitely decide because he wouldn’t go there .”

44th on the list this year means Ayr is also being considered for Go Another One.

“We’re pretty confident he’ll come in at Aintree,” said manager John McConnell. “He should be judged on past experience, but you never know.

“We were first reserve in the National last year with Some Neck, which was frustrating and it could happen to us again.

“Aintree would be preferable but Scotland would also be an option. We’re considering it and I’ll probably decide by early next week.”

John Grossick (

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Blaklion: Sixth at last season's Grand National

Blaklion: Sixth at last season’s Grand National

John Grossick (

Blaklion was Britain’s home horse home when he finished sixth at Aintree last year but a place in the field is not yet guaranteed.

“We’re going to look closely at Thursday with the explanations for Ayr but we’re going to Aintree and there’s only two coming out so I think we’ll be fine,” said coach Dan Skelton.

The weather will dictate the options for Eider Case runners-up Eclair Surf, whose trainer Emma Lavelle said: “He needs soft ground is forecast.

Coral Scottish Grand National Racecard and Betting

“We’ll keep looking at the National and see what happens but if it rained a lot and that changed what happened in Ayr it would definitely move us but as things stand the weather will dictate where he goes .”

Explaining the calendar change for this year, Ayr spokesman Iain Ferguson said: “It has to do with how Easter falls and if Aintree had been a week earlier it would have been very close to Cheltenham so we have agreed a one-off postponement of the season .

“We are pleased with the level and number of entries we have and there are quite a few horses being entered for the Scottish National.”

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Who are the Aintree contenders waiting anxiously ahead of the Grand National?

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