Vaughan thrilled as Eva’s Oskar makes National cut

Trainer Tim Vaughan was relieved and delighted in equal measure after Eva’s Oskar was confirmed as the 40th horse in the field following the latest scratchings deadline for the Randox Grand National.

The nine-year-old, who won a competitive handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier in the season, was previously further down the order of entry for the Aintree spectacular, but is now guaranteed a starting berth after a total of 16 horses were taken out.

The defectors include Shark Hanlon’s joint top-weight Hewick and Gordon Elliott’s Cheltenham Gold Cup third Conflated, with both absences anticipated. Becher Chase winner Ashtown Lad has also been removed by Dan Skelton, as has the Willie Mullins-trained Franco De Port.

Vaughan said: “We definitely want to run – we’re eager beavers!

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“What’s lovely is we’ve actually got in. A lad who works for me was counting them down and we were thinking we might be 41st and you’re still lingering then until the day.

“It’s quite nice as it feels like we can relax now, enjoy the process and just hope that he takes to the fences well on the day.”

Since his Cheltenham success of early December, Eva’s Oskar has finished sixth at Sandown and fourth in the Eider Chase at Newcastle.

The grey is a 100-1 shot to claim Grand National glory with William Hill, but Vaughan insists he is not just there to make up the numbers.

Trainer Tim Vaughan (right) at Cheltenham
Trainer Tim Vaughan (right) at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

“We’ve been planning to go there for some time and he seems in good shape. We can make a few fences at home now with the spruce on,” the Welsh trainer added.

“We didn’t want to do that until we knew where we were at. We thought today would sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of who definitely wanted to run and we’re excited to be in there.

“Of course I’m not naive enough to think we’re going there as a 10-1 chance, but as outsiders go he ticks a lot of boxes in that he’s good enough to win a £70,000 premier handicap at Cheltenham and he’s finished fourth in the Eider – we think he can do himself justice.

“It’s obviously a massive step up in class and it’s a great race with all the jazz that goes with it, but you’ve got to be in it to win it and that we are at the moment.”

Any Second Now will carry top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Grand National
Any Second Now will carry top-weight of 11st 12lb in the Grand National (Brian Lawless/PA)

A total of 57 contenders have stood their ground, with Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now – third and second in the last two renewals – out on his own at the head of the weights on 11st 12lb.

Last year’s winner Noble Yeats is just 1lb behind on 11st 11lb, as is Galvin, while ante-post favourite Corach Rambler looks set to carry 10st 5lb.

Eva’s Oskar and Recite A Prayer are the two lowest-rated horses in the field of 40 at this stage, with a mark of 142 translating to a weight of 10st 1lb.

Connections of the three horses rated 141 – Our Power, Dunboyne and Francky Du Berlais – now face an anxious wait to see if they will make the final cut for the great race on April 15.

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