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87 Go Forward In The 2020 Grand National
The Grand National is one of the world’s most spectacular horse races. Every year nearly 600m viewers tune in to watch the event from around the world, with the winner writing themselves into the history books.

Run over more than four miles and with 30 fences to be navigated, the race is notoriously difficult. But the glory is worth it. There can only be 40 Grand National runners and they are decided after a lengthy process which begins in January every year.

For 2020 there were 105 entries. It is then the job of the BHA Handicapper to allocate a weight to each horse. Starting with the highest rated, they are given top weight which is 11st 10lbs. The Handicapper then ranks the remaining entries by official rating, in descending order and the lower the rating, the lower the weight the potential runner is given.

Following that, there are a number of scratching stages. This is where trainers have the opportunity to withdraw their horses from the race. As horses get withdrawn, those left in contention move up the list. By the day before the Grand National, the 40 runners are decided.

For the 2020 National, the Jockey Club announced that 89 potential runners are still in contention following the first scratching stage.

The biggest name to get withdrawn was Delta Work. The Gordon Elliott trained seven-year-old received joint top weight alongside stablemate Tiger Roll but is a certainty for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and will be swerving the National. Elliott still has 15 entries left in the mix.

Withdrawn Horses At First Scratching Stage

16 horses were officially withdrawn in February. They include the likes of Native River who is now injured and Cadmium who hadn't qualified for entry. Here are all horses who are no longer going to participate in the 2020 Grand National:

- Acting Lass
- As de Mee
- Cadmium
- Champagne Classic
- Chris's Dream
- Delta Work
- Heron Heights
- Missed Approach
- Mister Whitaker
- Native River
- Noble Endeavor
- Princeton Royale
- Sizing John
- Steely Addition
- Voix du Reve
- Yorkhill

However, since then there have been two more non-runners declared. They are Now McGinty and Activial, so there are now only 87 left.

Still in the mix is last year's runner up, Magic Of Light. Despite a relatively disappointing run in the recent Boyne Hurdle, trainer Jessica Harrington is still optimistic.

She said: “Magic Of Light is in good form. She wasn’t as slick at her hurdles in Navan, but I think the ground was just too heavy for her.

“The Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham was an option, but the race looks very competitive. She would have been taking on two talented mares in Benie des Dieux and Honeysuckle if they run. With that in mind, she will go straight to Aintree.

“She has a nice weight for Aintree and we are looking forward to taking her back there.”

If Magic Of Light can actually win this year, she will become the first mare since Nickel Coin in 1951 to do so.

A fresh batch of runners now enter the mix and are guaranteed a spot in the final line-up. They include Ramses De Teillee from trainer David Pipe, Double Shuffle from Tom George and Kimberlite Candy from Tom Lacey.

Saint Xavier, Valtor, Walk In The Mill and Warriors Tale have also made the cut.

A maximum of 40 runners can line up for the 2020 Randox Health Grand National, with the next scratchings stage on Tuesday, 17 March.

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