Grand National 2015: Aintree set to water National course as dry weather forecast

Auroras Encore and Ryan Mania (no 35) jumping the chair  winning The John Smith's Grand National.  Pic: Dan Abraham -

Auroras Encore and Ryan Mania (no 35) jumping the chair winning The John Smith’s Grand National. Pic: Dan Abraham –

By Simon Jackson.

Aintree appear likely to water the course this week ahead of the 168th Grand National where 65 horses remain in contention for a start in the big race at Aintree on Saturday.

Last year’s joint-favourite, Teaforthree, was one of nine horses withdrawn yesterday from the £1million contest that permits a maximum field of 40 runners and where the going on the Grand National course is currently riding Good to Soft, Soft in places.

Andrew Tulloch, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Aintree said: “The going remains Good to Soft, Good in places on the Mildmay Course, Good to Soft on the Hurdle Course and Good to Soft, Soft in places on the Grand National Course.

“The going is likely to dry up a bit more today [Monday] and we are looking at putting some water on tomorrow to maintain the current going descriptions.

“The forecast is for another dull and dry day tomorrow, Wednesday could be brighter and Thursday looks likely to be the best day of the week, with temperatures getting up to 16 to 17 degrees Celsius and sunny conditions.

“We are planning to water selectively on the Mildmay Course and may put the odd bit on the Grand National Course.

“We have got a pop-up irrigation system which can be very specific. It is like a system on a golf course. The pop-ups are every 30 yards inside and outside, as well as on the landing and take-offs of each fence and can be controlled individually.

“The watering is likely to be between three and four millimetres in the selected areas but the exact amount will be decided tomorrow.

“If we water tomorrow, that will carry us through until after racing on Thursday and then we will reassess.

“In the seven days up to and including Good Friday, we had 35 millimetres of rain which was great. It is just drying out a bit on top at the moment.

“It is still cold during the mornings and nights and so the grass growth has not been as far forward as we would have liked it.”

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.