Veteran steeplechaser Tidal Bay tops the weights for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National at Aintree on 5 April, announced during a special lunch held at Abbey Road studios in London.
The Paul Nicholls trained 13-year-old has been allocated the maximum weight of 11st 10lb, one pound more than 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run.
The Grand National is a handicap chase, so unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup horses are allocated different weights based on previous form.
The handicapper’s ultimate (although in practice unfeasible) aim is for all 40 horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.
The weight carried by a horse has traditionally formed an important part in determining a Grand National winner – in fact between 1984 and 2009 no horse had carried more than 11st 1lb to victory.
However since 2008 the weight differential between horses 1 and 40 has been reduced to a maximum of 24lbs, meaning that classier horses near the top of the handicap have fared very well, with Don’t Push It (11st 5lbs) and Neptune Collonges (11st 6lbs) both winning off high weights in recent times.
114 horses remain entered for the big race, with those horses currently in positions 1-40 effectively guaranteed a place in the 4 mile 3 1/2 furlong marathon if their owners and trainers see fit.
Among the bookies favourites, Triolo D’Alene has been allocated 11st 6lbs while perennial National fancy On His Own carries 11st 3lbs and both horses have seen their prices drift as a result.
Taking their place as ante-post favourite is Teaforthree who will carry 10st 12lbs – 5lbs less than when he finished 3rd last year while 2012 Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude, part-owned by former England rugby union captain Mike Tindall and ex-Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson carries 10st 9lbs.
Meanwhile 2013 Welsh National winner Mountainous and recent Doncaster winner The Rainbow Hunter both sit just outside the top 40 on the list of entries, but at 44 and 45 respectively both should make the cut carrying 10st 7lbs.
However, last year’s sixth and seventh-placed finishers Swing Bill and Soll could both miss out on a run, ranking 79 and 81 respectively.
Look out for a more detailed analysis of how weight is a massive factor in determining your Grand National winner.