Saint Are back on Crabbie’s Grand National trail & will be entered again in Aintree’s showpiece on Tuesday

Saint Are (Tom George) is on course to try and go one place better in the £1-million Crabbie’s Grand National, which takes place over 30 fences and four miles, two furlongs and 72 yards on Saturday, April 9 at Aintree.

Entries for the world’s greatest and probably richest chase, which is run for the 169th time in 2016 with a new start time of 5.15pm, close at noon on Tuesday, February 2 and will be revealed 24 hours later, with Saint Are among them.

Saint Are, the runner-up in the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National, went down by a length and three quarters when the French-bred was the only horse to shake up the winner, Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood).

The 10-year-old has made two appearances so far this season, finishing sixth in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November and seventh on his return to Aintree in the Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences on December 5.

He is a dual winner already at Aintree, having taken the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 and a Listed handicap chase over the Mildmay fences in 2012.

Gloucestershire-based George commented: “Saint Are is very good at the moment and we just keeping him ticking along. We are looking to give him a run towards the end of February.

“He is in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock Park (February 20), although the ground could be a bit soft for him there, and there is also a race at Kelso (the Ivan Straker Memorial Handicap Chase on February 18) which might fit in for him.

“Saint Are has had two races this season but really needs good ground and there is no point in running on very soft ground, so that is why we have given a quiet time in the middle of the season.

“He won’t probably wouldn’t run in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He is a big horse and I felt he wasn’t really suited by it when he ran there in November as the bends are a bit tight for him.

“We would be looking at just having one run then heading to Aintree. That is what he did last year and we will stick to that route.”

The weights for the Crabbie’s Grand National are framed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, and will be unveiled at the Sky Garden in the heart of London on Tuesday, February 16.

The Crabbie’s Grand National is the only handicap of the year where Smith has absolute discretion to deviate from the normal handicap ratings when determining the weights.

Entries for the Crabbie’s Foxhunters’ Chase and the Crabbie’s Topham Chase, the two other races over the famous Grand National course, close for entries on Tuesday, March 22.

All other races at the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National Festival (Thursday, April 7 to Saturday, April 9) close at the five/six-day stage.

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