Synch still in National field
Synchronised remains a possible for the John Smith‘s Grand National following his brave victory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup last week.
The nine-year-old, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, was among 59 horses left in the Aintree spectacular on April 14 at the latest scratchings stage and is 8-1 favourite with Betfred to become the first horse since Golden Miller in 1934 to win the two biggest chasing prizes in the same season.
Frank Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus, said: “He’s been left in, but we’ll wait until nearer the time before we make any decisions. He was tired for a day or two after Cheltenham, which you would expect as it was a marvellous performance. But Jonjo is pleased with him now.”
The same owner and trainer won the National with Don’t Push It in 2010 and could have another leading hope in Sunnyhillboy, who was also a winner at Cheltenham last week, in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
“He’s also come out of the race good. He’s in the National and the Irish National and he’ll probably run in one of those. Nothing is set in stone yet,” Berry added.
Synchronised heads the weights on 11st 10lb, with last year’s winner Ballabriggs on 11st 9lb.
Betfred make Prince De Beauchene the 9-1 second favourite and he is one of six left in from Willie Mullins’ stable and one of 23 Irish-trained entries still in the race. On His Own, winner of the Thyestes Chase for owners Graham and Andrea Wylie, and Gold Cup ninth The Midnight Club are among Mullins’ other entries.
Other Irish-trained contenders include the progressive Seabass, trained like the 2000 winner Papillon by Ted Walsh, and the 2011 Irish Grand National hero Organisedconfusion, the likely mount of Nina Carberry.
The Gold Cup form is also represented by fourth-placed Burton Port, the seventh Midnight Chase and Weird Al, who was pulled up. Malton trainer Malcolm Jefferson saddled a double at Cheltenham and he paraded his National hope According To Pete at Aintree on Tuesday morning.
Other leading contenders include Junior and West End Rocker, who has not run since winning the Becher Chase over the National fences in December. Philip Hobbs has withdrawn Fair Along but intends to run Planet Of Sound, while others taken out include Massini’s Maguire, Hold On Julio, Niche Market, Stewarts House and Backstage.
Written by Mar 21st, 2012.on