There was a chaotic end to the card at Wolverhampton on Monday night as a false start resulted in the original 12-strong field being reduced to just two runners.

The 8.30pm Download The Racecourse App Raceday Ready Handicap saw the starter flag for a false start after the stalls opened, but the majority of runners covered most of the seven furlongs before pulling up.

When they lined up again, the field had been reduced to Rose Fandango and A Pint of Bear.

The former, trained by John O’Shea and ridden by Rossa Ryan, prevailed at 25/1.

The mass withdrawal led to an 85p Rule 4 being applied.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) is announcing the appointment of three women to its Board of Directors, marking a historic milestone for gender diversity and inclusion within the organization.

Ms. Diann Campbell and Mrs. Louise Victor-Frederick join as new appointees, while Mrs. Debra Coryat-Patton returns to the board.

Ms. Diann Campbell, a distinguished Jamaican cricket administrator with nearly three decades of experience, holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Politics. Her expertise in cricket administration, corporate governance, and organizational development will greatly benefit CWI's strategic initiatives.

Mrs. Louise Victor-Frederick, a seasoned branding and communications strategist from St. Lucia, brings a wealth of experience to the board. With a Master’s degree in International Public Relations and Global Communications Management, along with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Mrs. Victor has made significant contributions to the corporate landscape of St. Lucia. She also serves as a Director of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture.

Returning to the Board of Directors is Mrs. Debra Coryat-Patton, an accomplished Attorney-at-Law from Trinidad & Tobago. Mrs. Coryat-Patton specializes in Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Diplomatic Protocol, bringing invaluable legal expertise to the board. She is also a Chartered Director and Chartered Corporate Secretary, reflecting her commitment to governance excellence.

In addition to these appointments, Mr. Hallam Nichols has been reappointed as an Independent Director, further enhancing the board's collective expertise and vision. Mr. Nichols is a prominent Barbadian entrepreneur. He served on the CWI Stakeholders Relations Committee.

Dr. Kishore Shallow, President of Cricket West Indies, expressed his enthusiasm for the new appointments, stating, "We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Campbell and Mrs. Victor-Frederick as new appointees, and we warmly welcome back Mrs. Coryat-Patton and Mr. Nichols to the CWI Board of Directors. Their diverse backgrounds, extensive experience, and unwavering commitment to excellence will undoubtedly strengthen our organization and contribute to the advancement of cricket in the West Indies."

Regarding diversity on the board, President Shallow emphasized, "Since the beginning, I've advocated for diversity within CWI to ensure fairness both on and off the field. This appointment is a natural progression of our ongoing commitment."

President Shallow also thanked the outgoing Independent Directors saying "My profound gratitude to both Manniram Prashad and Gail Mathurin for their service as independent directors. They have certainly made meaningful contributions to West Indies Cricket, and we anticipate their continued involvement and impact in other capacities".

With these appointments, CWI reaffirms its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, setting a new standard for cricket governance in the region. All four appointments are for a one-year period ending March 2025.

Jockey Paddy Brennan was banned for 18 days and trainer Fergal O’Brien fined £4,000 after Northern Air finished second in Golf Membership On Sale Now Maiden Hurdle at Wincanton.

The 5-1 chance was making her debut over hurdles having won a point to point at the backend of last year and had one bumper start at Newbury last month since joining the O’Brien team.

Brennan’s mount made up late ground having been held up in the early stages and was eventually beaten three and a quarter lengths by an odds-on favourite in the one-mile-seven-furlong affair.

The stewards inquired into the performance with Brennan stating his instructions were “to switch off” Northern Air as she had been keen last time and finished the race “fairly distressed” after “emptying out”.

Brennan also reported Northern Air had made a respiratory noise and he wanted to ensure she finished more positively, focusing on “keeping the bit up in her mouth, being patient and riding her up the straight to hit the line”.

Both O’Brien and his representative confirmed the instructions and were satisfied with the ride, with the stewards deciding to suspend Brennan and fine O’Brien for “schooling and conditioning the horse on the racecourse”. Northern Air also received a 40-day ban from running.

Senior steward Tom Evetts told Racing TV: “Mr Brennan’s case was that he wanted to hold her up, she raced keenly at Newbury and didn’t finish her race, so his and Mr O’Brien’s priority coming here today was to get her to finish her race strongly.

“I guess our concern came in that having turned out of the back straight at a time when we would like horses to be improving their position, Mr Brennan was very tender in his handling of the mare and then up the entirety of the straight we just felt he wasn’t doing enough on a mare that was passing horses and finishing off strongly.

“The question you could ask is where is the line between intent and schooling, we have done her under schooling. Intent is when the rider is doing the opposite of what we would expect, schooling is when the rider is just not doing enough and up the straight we felt Mr Brennan just wasn’t doing enough.

“The penalty (range) under schooling is 10 to 18 days for the jockey with an entry of 14, as she has finished second strongly, we have had to go to the top of that range and then that applies to Mr O’Brien.”

Brennan’s suspension encompasses April 22-27, May 4 and May 6-16.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) have announced a T20 ‘A’ Team tour as part of their respective ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 preparations.

This historic series will be the first time a West Indies team has toured Nepal and will consist of five (5) T20 matches, all of which will be played at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kirtipur.

Miles Bascombe, CWI Director of Cricket commented, "this A-team tour is another indication of the importance we are placing on A-team cricket and a significant phase in our preparations for the T20 World Cup. It gives us a final opportunity to see many of the contenders for a place in the squad who are not participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Even for those players who do not make the final World Cup squad they will be a part of the reserve pool. A hallmark of the 2016 T20 World Cup campaign was the ability of reserve players to come in and have an immediate impact so we must be ready for all eventualities. We also relish the opportunity to take the West Indies brand to Nepal for the first time, as cricket continues to grow in popularity there.”

CAN Secretary, Paras Khadka, stated, “we are humbled and excited with the prospect of the West Indies ‘A’ team touring Nepal. This marks a significant moment in our cricketing history as we embrace this wonderful opportunity bestowed upon us, which will help us prepare significantly for the T20 World Cup and beyond.  This historic tour to Nepal, a young cricketing nation slowly finding its pathway in the world of cricket, will excite our passionate fans. Our heartfelt gratitude towards CWI for their support and belief in Nepal cricket and for continuing to help grow the game all over the world. We hope this will ignite more future tours and bilateral cricketing tie-ups between us and other top cricketing nations, as we march forward with great enthusiasm and appreciation.”

The only time West Indies have played Nepal in International cricket was a One Day International at the Harare Sports Club, during the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in 2023, with the West Indies winning by 101 runs.

Co-Hosts, West Indies are in Group C in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and will face Papua New Guinea, Uganda, New Zealand, and Afghanistan, whilst Nepal is in Group D and will face the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Bangladesh.

West Indies ‘A’ Tour to Nepal Schedule

All matches to be played at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground (TU) in Kirtipur, Nepal.  All matches start at 1.00 pm (local time)

Saturday 27 April - 1st ‘A’ Team T20, Nepal v West Indies ‘A’ at TU at 1:00 pm

Sunday 28 April - 2nd ‘A’ Team T20, Nepal v West Indies ‘A’ at TU at 1:00 pm

Wednesday 1 May - 3rd ‘A’ Team T20, Nepal v West Indies ‘A’ at TU at 1:00 pm

Thursday 2 May - 4th ‘A’ Team T20, Nepal v West Indies ‘A’ at TU at 1:00 pm

Saturday 4 May - 5th ‘A’ Team T20, Nepal v West Indies ‘A’ at TU at 1:00 pm

 

 

Caoilin Quinn can begin to dream of Randox Grand National glory aboard Nassalam after being given the all-clear to return to race riding following injury.

The 22-year-old has been somewhat the man for marathon events this season and as well as being aboard Gary Moore’s mud-loving stayer when romping to victory in the Welsh Grand National in December, he has also won the Surrey National for his boss aboard Movethechains and the Sussex National with David Bridgwater’s Dom Of Mary since the turn of the year.

However, Quinn has been out of action since the end of February after breaking his collarbone at Plumpton, sitting on the sidelines throughout the Cheltenham Festival where his star mount, Nassalam, was pulled up in his Aintree prep in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Now the young jockey is set to step off the treatment table and into the pressure cooker of Aintree on Grand National day as he receives the leg-up on not only Nassalam, but also aboard John and Yvonne Stone’s Botox Has in the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle on the same card.

“It’s a big weekend and I have two very good rides on Saturday, I’m looking forward to it now,” said Quinn.

“Obviously I’ve been injured for the last few weeks, but I’ve just been to see the specialist and I have been given the all-clear to start riding from Thursday onwards. So hopefully I will be riding Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“Looking at the weather forecast, it’s looking like it could be in our favour – if it’s right anyway. They are due a lot of rain over the next couple of days and that is only going to help Botox and definitely Nassalam. It will certainly increase their chances if it keeps raining.

“The two of them have been really important to me so far in my career, they have given me big Saturday winners and have got me into the good races and I’m delighted to be associated with them.

“I can’t thank John and Yvonne Stone enough, they have stuck by me and kept me on their good horses and I have to especially thank my boss (Moore) for having the faith in me in the first place and giving me the opportunities. Hopefully I can keep repaying them in some big races.”

Nassalam heads to Merseyside as the highest-rated British contender in the National and is set to carry 11st 7lb as he bids to join the likes of Corbiere, Bindaree and Silver Birch in supplementing Welsh National glory with success at Aintree.

As short as 14-1 with William Hill, the seven-year-old has already had a taste of the famous course when fourth in the Grand Sefton in November and his big-race pilot feels that experience will serve him well come 4pm on Saturday.

Quinn continued: “The way the season has panned out, it was probably a good thing he ran in the Grand Sefton.

“He has got that experience over the fences now and he seemed to take to them that day. He jumped very well late on and finished very well over a much shorter trip than it’s going to be on Saturday.

“I’m delighted going into it and it takes a bit of weight off your shoulders, knowing he took to them the last day and he’s been round there before.

“It’s a completely different scenario on Saturday, but hopefully everything goes to plan for us. If it all works out it will be great.”

Jamaican Southern Miss junior Zayne Palomino secured his third win of the season in the high jump with victory at the Crimson Tide Invitational at the Sam Bailey Stadium in Alabama on Saturday.

Palomino entered the competition with a first-time clearance of 2.05m before clearing 2.10m on his second attempt.

He then needed three attempts to clear 2.14m before eventually clearing 2.17m, his winning height, on his second attempt. Palomino then had three unsuccessful efforts to clear 2.20m, his personal best which he did to win at the Sun Belt Indoor Championships on February 20.

Corvell Todd and Jacob Patten both cleared 2.10m for second and third.

Barton County Community College sophomore Christopher Young was also a winner on Saturday, producing 18.57m for top spot in the men’s shot put.

Memphis sophomore Sascha Schmidt threw 18.43m in second while Southern Miss sophomore Piers Cameron threw 17.95m for third.

On the track, Florida State sophomore Shenese Walker won the women’s 200m in 23.20 ahead of teammate Kaniya Johnson (23.62) and Southern Miss senior Kenia Seals (23.65).

Course specialist Mac Tottie could be rerouted from the Grand National to the Randox Supports Race Against Dementia Topham Handicap Chase if conditions at Aintree remain testing in the lead up to the weekend.

Peter Bowen’s 11-year-old is assured of his spot in the National’s final 34 on Saturday and has thrived at Aintree in the past, winning the Topham two years ago to supplement his victory over the famous spruce in the Grand Sefton earlier that season.

He was last seen scoring at the Merseyside track over the regulation fences on Boxing Day, but his quest to become the first Welsh-trained winner of the Grand National since 1905 will rest on how the track dries throughout the week, with a switch to the shorter Topham Chase a real possibility.

“We’re not sure if we’re going to run him yet,” said Bowen.

“We haven’t decided if he goes in the Topham or the National yet because the ground is going to be pretty bad. Probably if it is very soft he will probably go for the Topham.

“He loves the fences and he loves Aintree, but he’s not a lover of heavy ground though.”

Bowen has won the Topham five times in the past, but it appears both Sean and James Bowen – who have both won over the National fences aboard Mac Tottie – will be unable to receive the leg-up aboard the track regular in Friday’s two-mile-five-furlong event, with title-chasing Sean Bowen required by Olly Murphy and James Bowen inked in against defending champion Bill Baxter.

Crack Irish amateur Derek O’Connor is lined up to play the role of able deputy in the Topham, while it is James Bowen who will do the steering if Mac Tottie does go for the National on Saturday afternoon.

“I think Sean is going to ride one of Gordon’s (Elliott) in the National, it sounds like that anyway.

“If Mac Tottie runs in the National then James will ride him and Sean will be probably be on one of Gordon’s.

“James has got the favourite in the Topham and I think Sean will be riding one of Olly’s horses, Grandad Cottage, so I think Derek O’Connor will ride him if the boys don’t ride him in the Topham.”

King George hero Hewick has emerged as a surprise contender for the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle, with trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon keen to keep options open with conditions at Aintree currently testing ahead of the three-day Grand National meeting.

Famously acquired for just €850, the nine-year-old’s rags-to-riches tale as seen him become one of the most popular horses in training and he has picked up prizes such as the Galway Plate and American Grand National en route to becoming a bona fide Grade One operator.

After striking at Kempton on Boxing Day, the wet weather has already scuppered Hanlon’s plans to run Hewick in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Grand National itself this spring and the continued rainfall has seen him searching for a Merseyside alternative to running in Thursday’s Aintree Bowl.

However, the County Carlow handler has no concerns about switching to the smaller obstacles, unwilling to expose his stable star to what could be the worst of conditions on Thursday.

“We know he is as good a hurdler as he is a chaser and I’m not worried about running him over hurdles,” said Hanlon.

“We ran him in the French Champion Hurdle and he ran a cracker, the ground was just too soft and if the ground was too soft there at Aintree on Thursday and we didn’t run him, it gives us the option to run him there on Saturday.

“They are giving the weather to dry up from Tuesday on and the ground could be good again on Saturday, so if the ground was OK we would run him.

“I’ve had it in my mind for the last fortnight and he wouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground over hurdles, it’s just that he’s not over big himself and over fences I would be afraid he would burst his heart trying to jump out of heavy ground, which over a hurdle he won’t. It’s not that he has to have good ground, it is just that a fence looks very big to him on soft ground.

“He’s in great form and he’s worked nice. We’re just going to wait now and see and it might be that (hurdles) division this year might not be overly the best. I just have to keep all my options open.”

There are a total of 20 entries for the three-mile Grade One with Stayers’ Hurdle champion Teahupoo one of four possible runners for Gordon Elliott alongside defending champion Sire Du Berlais, Irish Point and Beacon Edge.

Stayers’ Hurdle runner-up Flooring Porter will bid to turn the tables for Gavin Cromwell, while fellow Irish raider Buddy One could seek a first Grade One victory having also acquitted himself well at the Cheltenham Festival.

Fergal O’Brien’s Crambo is among the British hopes, with dual Coral Cup winner Langer Dan taking the leap into deep waters for the trainers’ championship-seeking Dan Skelton.

The Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle could see record buy Caldwell Potter make his debut for Paul Nicholls, with a collection of talented novices, including Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Slade Steel, amongst the 24 initial entries.

Meanwhile, there has been little to separate Elliott’s Found A Fifty and Willie Mullins’ Il Etait Temps this season and they could lock horns for a third time in the My Pension Expert Maghull Novices’ Chase – the last of three Grade Ones on the Grand National day card.

King George hero Hewick has emerged as a surprise contender for the JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle, with trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon keen to keep options open with conditions at Aintree currently testing ahead of the three-day Grand National meeting.

Famously acquired for just €850, the nine-year-old’s rags-to-riches tale as seen him become one of the most popular horses in training and he has picked up prizes such as the Galway Plate and American Grand National en route to becoming a bona fide Grade One operator.

After striking at Kempton on Boxing Day, the wet weather has already scuppered Hanlon’s plans to run Hewick in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Grand National itself this spring and the continued rainfall has seen him searching for a Merseyside alternative to running in Thursday’s Aintree Bowl.

However, the County Carlow handler has no concerns about switching to the smaller obstacles, unwilling to expose his stable star to what could be the worst of conditions on Thursday.

“We know he is as good a hurdler as he is a chaser and I’m not worried about running him over hurdles,” said Hanlon.

“We ran him in the French Champion Hurdle and he ran a cracker, the ground was just too soft and if the ground was too soft there at Aintree on Thursday and we didn’t run him, it gives us the option to run him there on Saturday.

“They are giving the weather to dry up from Tuesday on and the ground could be good again on Saturday, so if the ground was OK we would run him.

“I’ve had it in my mind for the last fortnight and he wouldn’t mind a bit of cut in the ground over hurdles, it’s just that he’s not over big himself and over fences I would be afraid he would burst his heart trying to jump out of heavy ground, which over a hurdle he won’t. It’s not that he has to have good ground, it is just that a fence looks very big to him on soft ground.

“He’s in great form and he’s worked nice. We’re just going to wait now and see and it might be that (hurdles) division this year might not be overly the best. I just have to keep all my options open.”

There are a total of 20 entries for the three-mile Grade One with Stayers’ Hurdle champion Teahupoo one of four possible runners for Gordon Elliott alongside defending champion Sire Du Berlais, Irish Point and Beacon Edge.

Stayers’ Hurdle runner-up Flooring Porter will bid to turn the tables for Gavin Cromwell, while fellow Irish raider Buddy One could seek a first Grade One victory having also acquitted himself well at the Cheltenham Festival.

Fergal O’Brien’s Crambo is among the British hopes, with dual Coral Cup winner Langer Dan taking the leap into deep waters for the trainers’ championship-seeking Dan Skelton.

The Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle could see record buy Caldwell Potter make his debut for Paul Nicholls, with a collection of talented novices, including Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Slade Steel, amongst the 24 initial entries.

Meanwhile, there has been little to separate Elliott’s Found A Fifty and Willie Mullins’ Il Etait Temps this season and they could lock horns for a third time in the My Pension Expert Maghull Novices’ Chase – the last of three Grade Ones on the Grand National day card.

David Menuisier’s Devil’s Point will take the first step in his three-year-old campaign in the Prix Djebel at Deauville on Tuesday.

The colt enjoyed a successful juvenile season, winning a Ffos Las maiden and then placing third and fourth respectively in the Solario Stakes and the Prix Thomas Bryon.

He then ended his year at Group One level in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, finishing second to Godolphin’s Ancient Wisdom over a mile.

He will now begin 2024 over a lesser trip of seven furlongs when he contests the Prix Djebel, a Group Three at Deauville where he will face six rivals.

“Devil’s Point seems well, it’s a prep run and the ground will be testing but we know he likes those sorts of conditions,” said Menuisier.

“It’s the first run of the season, he is at 80 per cent but let’s hope it is enough to win tomorrow.

“We will take his races one by one and we feel he might be more efficient over seven furlongs than a mile.

“Depending on how he goes, we can then make a decision on what he does next.”

Jerome Reynier’s unbeaten gelding Lazzat steps up in grade for the contest after striking three times in three runs so far this term.

All of those performances were at Cagnes-Sur-Mer, where he won the Listed Prix de la Californie on heavy ground in February.

“He is unbeaten in three starts, he won his maiden, a class one and a Listed race – all at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in testing ground,” said Reynier.

“Tomorrow will be pretty deep and sticky, he’s running around a straight course for the first time.

“The colt trained by David Menuisier (Devil’s Point) seems to be a good benchmark to compare Lazzat, so we will see how he runs in this one.

“I am very happy with Lazzat, he looks good, has been training very well and I’m very enthusiastic about him.

“It’s going to be a good test tomorrow, it’s very exciting to run an unbeaten three-year-old so fingers crossed.”

On the same card there is another Group Three in the Prix Imprudence, a fillies’ race run over seven furlongs for which a field of seven has assembled.

Christopher Head’s highly promising Ramatuelle makes her seasonal debut in the race after a juvenile term than included successes in the Prix du Bois and the Prix Robert Papin and a second-placed run at Group One level behind the impressive Vandeek in the Prix Morny.

Charlie Appleby’s Romantic Style also kicks off her campaign in the race after wrapping up last year with a Listed victory in the six-furlong Bosra Sham at Newmarket, where she beat Cammidge Trophy fourth and subsequent Bath winner Adaay In Devon.

“We have been very pleased with how Romantic Style has done through the winter,” Appleby said via the Godolphin website.

“She won the Bosra Sham Stakes on testing ground, so similar conditions shouldn’t be an issue, but the step up to seven furlongs is the slight question mark.”

Ground conditions will be the deciding factor in whether top-weight Conflated will line up in the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday – with the weather pointing towards Delta Work as the number one contender for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud.

The 10-year-old Conflated, who holds alternative entries in the Aintree Bowl on Thursday and Friday’s Melling Chase, is one of 13 contenders for Gordon Elliott following the confirmation stage, with Coko Beach, Delta Work and Galvin also part of the three-time Grand National-winning trainer’s squad.

Conflated, Coko Beach and Delta Work all carry the colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, who are also responsible for Farouk D’Alene, Run Wild Fred and Frontal Assault, although the latter is almost certain to miss the cut.

When asked whether the first five were intended runners Gigginstown’s racing manager Eddie O’Leary said: “I would think at the moment yes, maybe Conflated might not, we’ll see how heavy the ground is going to be. If it’s very heavy he might come out to go in the Bowl or even the Melling.

“Would we chance him (in the National) over that trip on good ground yes, would we chance him over that trip on heavy ground, probably no. We’ll see what Gordon thinks.

“Coko Beach likes soft ground, but he mightn’t like what the handicapper’s done to him. He’s a lovely old horse, but he’s run it he race twice and failed to get home twice.

“We’ll obviously give him a bit more of a chance this year, rather than trying to make the running with him, but he got a big hike for winning the Troytown and off that weight (11st 7lb) it’s hard to fancy him. Conflated has to give him 5lb and Conflated would carry him.”

The Gigginstown colours have been carried to Aintree glory three times – twice by Tiger Roll and once by Rule The World. Like Tiger Roll, Delta Work is a winner of the cross-country chase at Cheltenham, although that race was called off this year, meaning a slightly less smooth preparation than had been hoped for.

O’Leary is still hopeful, however. He said: “I’d say of ours Delta Work would be the one. He’s a good horse and he’ll love the ground. It was a pity he didn’t get to run in Cheltenham after they called the cross country off as horses were trained for that to come forward for the National, but we are where we are now.”

Willie Mullins is also heavily represented, as he seeks a second victory in the world’s most famous steeplechase, having previously struck with Hedgehunter in 2005.

The Closutton handler’s nine-strong team features last year’s Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus, fellow JP McManus-owned runner Meetingofthewaters and Mr Incredible.

Other leading hopes for Ireland include last year’s runner-up Vanillier, trained by Gavin Cromwell, the Emmet Mullins-trained 2022 National hero Noble Yeats, Martin Brassil’s Panda Boy, Mahler Mission from John McConnell’s yard and Henry de Bromhead’s 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

The home team is led by Corach Rambler, victorious 12 months ago and the current favourite to strike gold again following an excellent third place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.

Kitty’s Light would be a popular winner for Welsh trainer Christian Williams, as would Gary Moore’s Welsh Grand National scorer and proven mudlark Nassalam.

Others of note among 51 confirmations include the Tom Ellis-trained Latenightpass and Dan Skelton’s mare Galia Des Liteaux, with the latter one of six horses on 10st 6lb at the bottom of the weights.

Empire Steel, Fantastic Lady, Angels Dawn and Fury Road were the four horses not left in at Monday’s confirmation stage, while Classic Getaway, Bronn and Full Back had all been scratched.

Corach Rambler is the 4-1 favourite with Coral, with I Am Maximus and Vanillier also single-figure odds.

Coral’s David Stevens said: “Fifty years on from Red Rum’s second National victory, Corach Rambler looks set to start a warm favourite to emulate the Aintree legend and win the race in successive years, although soft ground performers like I Am Maximus and Meetingofthewaters continue to attract support in the betting.”

Undercover officers will be deployed as part of Merseyside Police’s plans for the three-day Randox Grand National Festival.

Last year’s race was disrupted by protesters from the Animal Rising group, with the world’s most famous steeplechase going off nearly 15 minutes late after people made their way onto the track.

That group has stated it has no plans to repeat those actions this year, but Merseyside Police has warned it will deal “robustly” with any incidences of “anti-social behaviour, hate crime, disorder and other criminal activity”.

Racegoers have been warned to expect a series of security checks, including bag searches and badge checks, with Merseyside Police having worked alongside Aintree’s owners the Jockey Club in formulating their plans.

Superintendent Matthew Moscrop said: “As ever, we are expecting a large number of visitors to Aintree, and it is another prime opportunity to showcase what Merseyside has to offer.

“As with all big events, a considerable amount of planning from all partner organisations has been done in the run up to the three-day festival to ensure everyone who attends has a great time, and that it is memorable for all the right reasons.

“There are a number of plans in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any significant or ongoing disruption to spectators and local residents and businesses.

“Anti-social behaviour, hate crime, disorder and other criminal activity will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly. If you see someone acting suspiciously or committing a crime, then please speak to an officer on patrol or contact us directly.

“I would also ask visitors treat the area with respect and to consider local residents who live around the racecourse.

“Visitors can help the organisers and themselves by allowing extra time to get to the course, arriving in good time and limiting the number of bags and other items they bring along. They should also expect to undergo the normal security checks, including bag searches.

“We will be deploying Project Servator officers in uniform and plain-clothes. These officers are specially trained to spot the tell-tale signs that someone may have criminal intent, such as gathering information that may help them plan or prepare to commit a crime.

“These deployments will appear at any time in and around the area of the racecourse, but the public should not be alarmed by this. Officers will be encouraging racegoers to help us make this a safe and enjoyable event by being our extra eyes and ears and to report anything suspicious to us.”

Tiffany James-Rose, the decorated Jamaican 400m runner, faces a pivotal decision about her future in track and field following a two-year suspension imposed by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for a whereabouts violation. The suspension, which commenced in November 2023 and extends until November 2025, has left James-Rose contemplating retirement at the conclusion of the current track season.

The suspension arose from James-Rose missing out-of-competition tests within a 12-month period, leading to a violation of anti-doping regulations. However, the circumstances surrounding the missed tests are deeply personal and tied to her pregnancy, which required urgent medical attention during the times when doping control officers attempted to conduct tests.

The 27-year-old James-Rose was four months’ pregnant when she missed two of her three tests in June 2023.

In a candid interview, she took responsibility for not updating the World Anti-Doping Agency's Administration and Management System (ADAMS) with her whereabouts, attributing her oversight to the urgent health concerns related to her pregnancy. Reflecting on the challenging period, she emphasized her primary focus on ensuring her own well-being and that of her unborn child.

“I found myself in a situation where I had to be making trips to neighbouring states for emergency visits because of my pregnancy and, unfortunately, it happened on the two times when I was there. My husband’s father was here when they knocked on the door and I wasn’t here. It was like ‘why did it have to happen on the two days that I did a morning visit and not on Sunday or something like that,” she told Sportsmax.TV.

“Maybe they (AIU) said that I should have written a letter saying I was pregnant but in the moment, in the situation I wasn’t really thinking about track and field, I was thinking about my life and my child. It was my first pregnancy, I wanted to make sure I was okay, I wanted to make sure I was at those appointments because I was having one of those scary type of pregnancies. When things started to feel a little bit better about the pregnancy about August/September it had already gone bad.”

Her son was born in December 2023.

James-Rose, the 2016 World U20 400 champion, revealed the difficulties she encountered with immigration processes upon relocating to the United States, which coincided with her pregnancy. The unforeseen challenges delayed her return to competitive training and contributed to the administrative oversight that led to the whereabouts violation.

 “Before the pregnancy at the end of the 2022 season, I was in Oregon and shortly after that my husband (Jamari) filed for me so the migration process was taking place and, unfortunately, I had some problems with my documentation and when I arrived in the United States I was unable to travel so that was the first problem for me.

“I arrived in the United States at the end of August to sort out that and I was unable to travel until March the following year. During that time, I was working out, with the hope of going back to join the group at GC Foster. I was communicating with them. I was actively training at that time. When I was able to travel again I did visit Jamaica immediately and that was when I found out I was pregnant.”

Despite expressing a deep love for track and field, James-Rose is relishing the joys of motherhood and is uncertain about her future in competitive athletics. She is committed to making a decision about her career by the end of the current season, acknowledging the importance of mental and physical preparation regardless of her competitive status.

"I think I will have to make that decision by the end of this season (2024), because even though I can't compete, I want to get my mind and body ready," James-Rose stated.

“I can’t really say for sure. I am extremely happy. I am loving it (motherhood). Track and field is my first love but I think I have found true love and right now I am just living in the moment of motherhood and just enjoying the moments with my son and my husband for now. I mean, the suspension ends in November of 2025 so time will tell, I don’t know for sure what my decision will be.

“It’s (track and field) something I would love my son to grow and see me doing so it’s definitely a decision to be made.”

The determination to return to competitive athletics hinges on her motivation and drive, factors that James-Rose will assess carefully as she navigates this pivotal juncture in her career.

As James-Rose contemplates her future, her ultimate wish is for her son to witness her accomplishments in track and field. However, she remains grounded in the present, prioritizing her role as a mother while keeping the door open to a potential return to competitive sport. 

Conflated remains top-weight among the 51 horses still in contention for the Randox Grand National at Aintree on Saturday following the confirmation stage.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned 10-year-old, who holds alternative entries in the Aintree Bowl on Thursday and Friday’s Melling Chase, is one of 13 contenders for Gordon Elliott, with Coko Beach, Delta Work and Galvin also part of the three-time Grand National-winning trainer’s squad.

Willie Mullins is also heavily represented, as he seeks a second victory in the world’s most famous steeplechase, having previously struck with Hedgehunter in 2005.

The Closutton handler’s nine-strong team features last year’s Irish Grand National winner I Am Maximus, fellow JP McManus-owned runner Meetingofthewaters and Mr Incredible.

Other leading hopes for Ireland include last year’s runner-up Vanillier, trained by Gavin Cromwell, the Emmet Mullins-trained 2022 National hero Noble Yeats, Martin Brassil’s Panda Boy, Mahler Mission from John McConnell’s yard and Henry de Bromhead’s 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

The home team is led by Corach Rambler, victorious 12 months ago and the current favourite to strike gold again following an excellent third place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last month.

Kitty’s Light would be a popular winner for Welsh trainer Christian Williams, as would Gary Moore’s Welsh Grand National scorer and proven mudlark Nassalam.

Others of note include the Tom Ellis-trained Latenightpass and Dan Skelton’s mare Galia Des Liteaux, with the latter one of six horses on 10st 6lb at the bottom of the weights.

Empire Steel, Fantastic Lady, Angels Dawn and Fury Road were the four horses not left in at Monday’s confirmation stage, while Classic Getaway, Bronn and Full Back had all been scratched.

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