All the weights for the Grand National - find out what your fancy will carry
Tuesday 14 February 2017
By Racinguk.com staff
Phil Smith says says the class of this year's Grand National is the highest ever.
The British Horseracing Authority's Head of Handicapping has framed the weights for the race every year since 1999 and has never had to juggle so much quality.
"The percentage of horses rated over 135 entered in 2017 is 88 per cent, which is the highest ever," he said. "The previous highest percentage of horses in this category was 85 per cent.
"Significantly, the number of horses rated above 150 stands at a record level, with 34 horses falling into that category. If you go back a decade to 2007, there were only half that number (17) having a rating of 150 or higher at the time the weights were unveiled.
"The median rating for all entries in this year's Randox Health Grand National is 146, which again is the highest ever, and if you go back to 2007 it was 137."
He added: "The top of the handicap is dominated by Irish-trained horses, which is a symbol of the respective strength of Irish and UK jump racing."
A maximum field of 40 will be allowed to take part in National. For many years, horses in the mid-70s made the cut for National but last year, but in 2015 it dropped to 67 and the lowest-weighted horse to get a run in the race last year was 59th on the list at the time the weights were unveiled.
Smith said: "I would be a bit surprised to see it as low as 59 again this year, but I would expect it to be somewhere in the 60s. Where exactly in the 60s is in the lap of the gods.