The Grand National Festival will take place from April 12-14
The world’s richest Jump race, worth £1million, is the only handicap of the year where Smith has absolute discretion to deviate from the normal handicap ratings when determining the weights.
Smith has framed the weights for the Randox Health Grand National every year since 1999. This year is the handicapper’s 20th and final year in the role.
He said: “It is a task that has got easier in some respects and harder in others. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time – it has been both a privilege and a pleasure to frame the weights for the great race.
“We had a record 88 per cent of horses rated 135+ entered last year but have broken that record again this year with 90 per cent of this year’s entries falling into that category.
“The percentage is double what it was in 2003, when only 45 per cent of entries were rated 135+.”
The Last Samuri doesn’t need to have a prep race
The Last Samuri is ninth in the weights’ list with 11st 4lb and a 20/1 chance with Betway, official betting partner of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
He finished second behind Rule The World in the 2016 running of the world’s greatest chase and came home 16th of the 19 finishers last year.
“The Last Samuri’s weight is what we were expecting given his rating,” said Kim Bailey, who won the National with Mr Frisk in 1990.
“If the weights stay as they are and don’t rise, I think he would have more of a chance.
Trainer Kim Bailey’s The Last Samuri is joint third favourite for the Grand National
“We have got several options, but there are no firm plans as we will have to see what the weather does first.
“The Last Samuri doesn’t need to have a prep race, but the plan is for him to have a run within the next month if we can fit one in.”
The ante-post favourite, Blaklion, is due to run in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock this Saturday.
Betway odds: 10/1 Blaklion, 14/1 Total Recall, 20/1 Definitly Red, Gold Present, Minella Rocco, The Last Samuri, 25/1 Cause Of Causes, Edwulf, 28/1 Vicente, 33/1 Others.