Trainer Phil Kirby has been forced to take Blaklion out of the race for next weekend’s Grand National at Aintree.
Kirby has been eagerly anticipating Blaklion’s appearance on Merseyside but the luck is not on their side;
“He’s got a back joint problem and he won’t be running next week. I’m disappointed, the owners really wanted to have a National runner and we’ve done everything we can to get him there in one piece.
It’s not something that will stop him forever, but most likely for this season”, said the Blacklion trainer.
Aintree was the key target for Blaklion this year. Winner of the 2017 Becher Chase at Aintree, Blaklion had earlier that season chased home One For Arthur in finishing fourth in the National itself, when well fancied before the off.
He was again prominent in the betting last year, only to suffer a cruel blow when he was brought down at the first fence under Sam Twiston-Davies.
Kirby hopes to have him back in training for next season but, for now at least, he has had to pull stumps.
It is the second major defection in as many days, following the news that would-be top-weight Bristol De Mai isn’t going to run in the National. The Grade One-wining grey is instead being aimed at the Aintree Bowl on Thursday.
At Bet365, last year’s winner Tiger Roll is *7/2 to become the first back-to-back Aintree National winner since Red Rum, with Gordon Elliott’s star having demolished the opposition in the Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival.
*Odds by Bet365, correct at the time of writing. Subject to change without prior notice