Paul Nicholls reacts to Randox Grand National weights

Published 2021/02/16

Paul Nicholls claims he would love to see Yala Enki (11st 3lb) contest this years Randox Grand National at Aintree but needs to persuade his owners first.

The 11-times Champion Jump Trainer, who saddled Neptune Collonges to Grand National glory in 2012, believes the ultra-tough 11 year old is the ideal horse to contest the iconic race.

Despite Yala Enkis fall at the first on his previous outing over the famous fences in this seasons William Hill Becher Chase in December, the Ditcheat handler still feels the experience proved to be beneficial.

He said: "The horse Id love to run is Yala Enki and Ive got to sweet-talk his owners into letting him run. To be fair to him he did fall at the first in the Becher but that might not all be lost on him as he woke up fairly quickly and he jumped round loose afterwards very well.

"Since that day his jumping has been much better and at Sandown the other day he was brilliant. He is an experienced horse and he has been round everywhere.

"To me he is the ideal horse for the National.

"He has got a nice weight so it is just a matter of persuading his owners to let me run him.

"Yala Enki is currently enjoying a short break having run three races in the space of four weeks, culminating with a fourth place behind 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River in the re-arranged Cotswold Chase at Sandown Park.

Nicholls added: "

He is tough. It was a good performance in the Welsh National (when third under 11st 11lb) and plenty of horses have run well in that and the Grand National.

"If the owners do decide to let me run him we would give him a bit more schooling over the Aintree fences.

"He did well at Taunton, then he ran okay at Sandown but that was probably a grade too high for him and he was just out of his comfort zone.

"He is much better running off big weights in handicaps. It was his third run in four weeks so he ran very well. He is having a well-deserved break.

Nicholls admits his other two entries in the race, Give Me Copper (10st 4lbs), who is part owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Shantou Flyer (9st 7lbs) are both doubtful participants.

He added: "Give Me A Copper was a bit disappointing when he ran at Doncaster the other day and he is not the easiest horse to train. The biggest challenge I have got to be honest with you is getting him there. It will be like a winner if he gets there. We have got it all to do to get him fit and healthy on the day. Shantou Flyer wont get in the race.