Grand National: 2014 winner Pineau De Re set to miss out

By Frank KeoghBBC Sport
Pineau De Re
Pineau De Re, ridden by Leighton Aspell, won the National for trainer Dr Richard Newland
Crabbie's Grand National 2016
Venue: Aintree Date: Saturday, 9 April, 17:15 BST
BBC coverage: Commentary and updates on Radio 5 live; live text commentary, pinstickers' guide, sweepstake kit on BBC Sport website

The 2014 winner Pineau De Re needs six late withdrawals to make the cut for Saturday's Grand National at Aintree.

A final order of elimination for the £1m race, which has a maximum of 40 runners, was announced on Tuesday.

Lower-rated horses are balloted out, with The Romford Pele currently occupying the number 40 slot.

As it stands Bishops Road (41), Knock House, Perfect Candidate and Maggio (44) will be the four reserves for the race, with Pineau De Re at 46.

In danger of missing the cut
41: Bishops Road, winner of the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February46: Pineau De Re - Winner of the Grand National two years ago
47: Highland Lodge, winner of the Becher Chase - Aintree's trial over the National fences48: Alvarado, fourth in the National in 2014 and 2015

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has indicated it is open to reviewing the entry system ahead of next year's National.

Pineau De Re was 43rd on the list before revised ratings were applied on Tuesday.

Others in danger of missing out are Becher Chase winner Highland Lodge (47), Alvarado (48) - who has twice finished fourth in the National - and Cheltenham Festival winner Cause Of Causes (49), who was rated about 16-1 joint fifth favourite for the race .

"It's life, I'm afraid. It's like complaining about the weather. It's one of those things, there's nothing we can do about it," said Alvarado's trainer Fergal O'Brien.

Pineau De Re won the National two years ago under jockey Leighton Aspell, who also triumphed last year with Many Clouds for trainer Oliver Sherwood.

Latest odds
8-1 Many Clouds; 10-1 The Last Samuri; 12-1 Silviniaco Conti; 14-1 Holywell
16-1 The Druids Nephew, Saint Are, Cause Of Causes; 20-1 Shutthefrontdoor, Gooonyella; 25-1 Bar
(Approximate prices as of 11:30 BST, Tuesday 4 April)

Pineau De Re is now in the twilight of his career at 13 - no horse of that age has won the National since Sergeant Murphy in 1923.

What do racing's rulers say?

A spokesman for the British Horseracing Authority said the quality of Grand National contenders was improving, but it remained open to new ideas regarding entries.

"We are always open to innovative race planning ideas and would never rule any suggestions out before we have had a chance to consider any proposals fully," he said.

Grand National 2016: A brief history of the famous Aintree race

"The current entry and handicapping approach seems to be working well, with the race going from strength to strength and arguably in 2016 producing the strongest ever running of the race."

The National is a handicap chase, with the different weights each horse is required to carry announced by official handicapper Phil Smith in February, two months before the race itself.

"The idea was raised last year that trainers could incur an 'optional penalty' on any horse who won after the Grand National weights had been published in order to increase their chances of getting into the race," said a spokesman.

"It didn't meet with universal approval at this stage but it is something that we would like to revisit again for next year, in consultation with trainers and other stakeholders."

Who's in the running for 2016?

Many Clouds is 8-1 favourite to become the first horse since Red Rum in the 1970s to win consecutive runnings, and victory would make Aspell the first rider to triumph three years on the trot.

Other leading contenders include the two-time King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, for champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Nine horses were withdrawn on Monday: Carlingford Lough, Third Intention, Roi Du Mee, Turban, Living Next Door, Spring Heeled, Katkeau, Golden Chieftain, Godsmejudge.

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