Grand National 2024 | Hewick among early runners scratched from Aintree showpiece

Hewick, Grand National

Hewick and Monbeg Genius were the headline names withdrawn on Tuesday for next month’s Randox Grand National.

In the first-round cut of runners to be scratched from April 13’s start list, 75 runners were trimmed to 58.

King George VI victor, Hewick, is once again withdrawn from a marquee contest this season.

However, the 9yo could switch focus to earlier on Grand National weekend.


Top weight

It’s now into a fourth month since Hewick’s last outing, his stunning Grade 1 win at Kempton over Christmas.

Withdrawn from Cheltenham Trials Day in January, the gelding was then taken out of this month’s Gold Cup proper.

An 18/1 shot for the National, JJ Hanlon made the difficult decision to withdraw the top weighted runner due to recent rain softening the ground.

However, Hewick’s hopes for Aintree remain, with Hanlon setting his sights on the Aintree Bowl, two days before the National.

A good mile-plus shorter in trip, if Hewick fares well he could then race back on home turf for the Punchestown Gold Cup to end the term.

His ultimate goal is still for a third crack at Gold Cup glory in 2025.


Monbeg drops out

Of the other names to drop out at this stage, Monbeg Genius has been scratched by Jonjo O’Neill.

Pulling up at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ultima, the 8yo will be denied his debut National bow.

And, it might be fair to say Aintree bigwigs will be quietly relieved, with owners Michelle Mone and Doug Barrowman at the centre of the PPE scandal.

Meanwhile, as Gordon Elliott looks to make National history, his total entries are now also reduced.

Trainer of two-time winning legend Tiger Roll, Elliott can become the first trainer to bag four winners.

However, Gevrey, Dunboyne and Diol Ker will not be in contention.

Longhouse Poet – sixth in 2022 and last year travelled well before falling late – is also withdrawn for Martin Brassil.

Asterion Forlonge, James Du Berlais, Threeunderthrufive and Letsbeclearaboutit will all also be absent.


April 8th cut

With just over a fortnight to go until the off, before the tape goes up next month, a further 24 names will be rubbed.

As safety regulations and horse welfare are tighter than ever, the vast majority of those will be cut on April 8.

There, the balloting of horses set to carry the same weight will be decided using their current handicap mark at the time of elimination.

Following the chaos of last year, organisers hope to avoid further protests.

As it stands, Corach Rambler remains antepost favourite, now 4/1 with BoyleSports for back-to-back National crowns.


The 2024 Randox Grand National takes place at Aintree Racecourse, Saturday 13 April at 16:00 BST.

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