Recent recommendations made by the BHA, following a review of the John Smith’s Grand National have met with some criticism particularly from winning trainer Gordon Elliott who believes the changes to the conditions of the race are a “joke”.
With four horses earmarked for the Aintree showdown in 2012, Elliott, who won the Aintree showpiece in 2007 with Silver Birch, is now doubtful that his Nedzer’s Return would be able to tackle the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Despite having won five times under rules, Nedzer’s Return has not scored or been placed in a race of three miles or more and as such would be unlikely to meet the new criteria.
Reacting to the BHA 30-point plan, Elliott – who also is targeting Backstage, Beautiful Sound and Chicago Grey at the 2012 Grand National, said: “I think it’s all very fair, except the fourth criteria. That’s a joke when you take our horse Nedzer’s Return. He has won two point-to-points, two hunter chases and three handicap chases at Perth and got to the 12th before being unseated in the Fox Hunters’ last year, but wouldn’t be eligible because none of his wins or placings under rules is over more than two miles five and a half furlongs.”
He added: “He has loads of experience, has jumped the National fences and there should be no reason why he shouldn’t be able to run in the Grand National.”