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Minella Rocco backed to win 2018 Grand National after forfeit stage

Minella Rocco 16/1 to win Aintree showdown, with Blaklion trading as the 10/1 favourite

Minella Rocco is likely to go off as top weight for the 2018 Grand National after several horses were withdrawn at the latest forfeit stage.

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained charge is now off a mark of 11-10 after Definitly Red, Bristol De Mai, Edwulf and Outlander were all pulled out of the race, with the weights going up by 3lb after the latest announcement.

O’Neill said a few weeks ago: “Minella Rocco will go for the Gold Cup first and we will see what happens after that. You would think he would make a good Grand National horse, but he has been disappointing since last year’s Gold Cup really.

“He is not as economical as you would like him to be. He jumps a bit in and out. He is good when he’s good, but he would have to be a little more consistent for the National”.

Bet365 offer 16/1 that last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up wins the race, although it will be a tough ask to do this off such a high mark, with Blaklion also going off a substantial weight.

It hasn’t stopped bet365 from making the Nigel Twiston-Davies horse their 10/1 favourite, with the trainer previously comparing the horse to Red Rum.

“He will be ridden differently at Aintree this year” said the trainer. “He was beaten eight lengths last year and there was no blame on Noel (Fehily) at all, but he kicked on a mile from home. Maybe if you don’t kick on a mile from home that eight lengths could be found.

“I did a bit of research ages ago and Red Rum used to win with 12st. I don’t know if I’m being a bit silly, but he reminds me a bit of Red Rum. He is small and very neat over his fences and after watching him jump round there twice, he doesn’t seem to make a mistake.

“He is flying and he is running on Saturday. I am very tempted by the Gold Cup, but we probably won’t go. Nothing is ruled out, but we will probably go for the National after Saturday.”

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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