04/01/2004 12:00AM

Bindaree set for Grand National

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Bindaree is capable of recapturing the glory of his 2002 Grand National Steeplechase Handicap triumph in Saturday's 161st renewal at storied Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England.

Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the 10-year-old Bindaree will carry 158 pounds. He was sixth in last year's race, no mean achievement considering the difficulty of Aintree's 30 National fences. The 12-1 Bindaree can stay the 4 1/2 miles and will appreciate the prevailing good ground. As an indication of his class, Bindaree won the 3 5/8-mile Welsh National on Dec. 27 over Sir Rembrandt, who subsequently finished a half-length second to Best Mate in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Worth $1.1 million, this year's Grand National also features Monty's Pass, the defending champ, but he has been off form of late. A bigger danger in the 40-runner field is the 9-1 favorite, Jurancon II. Trained by Martin Pipe, he has won going 4 1/4 miles and took a 3 1/2-mile Group 3 handicap on Feb. 28.

Clan Royal won over the Grand National course going 3 3/8 miles in November but has not run since. Le Coudray, the 168-pound highweight, has never won beyond 2 1/2 miles, but last year's third- and fourth-place finishers, Amberleigh House and Gunner Welburn, are both capable of a mild upset.