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Ross O’Sullivan: Aintree Grand National Festival preview

04 Apr | BY Ross O’Sullivan | MIN READ TIME |
Ross O’Sullivan: Aintree Grand National Festival preview

The Betway ambassador assesses the chances of his runner in Friday's Topham Chase, and previews Saturday's Grand National.

Call It Magic

We’re really looking forward to running Call It Magic {ODDS:401295056:12/1} in the Topham Chase (16:05) on Friday.

He really took to the National fences in the Becher Chase at the end of last year and the way he grew in confidence throughout the race really bodes well.

The further he went, the more he enjoyed it. Ever since then this race has been the plan.

I really couldn’t have been much happier with his prep, we haven’t had any hiccups.

He ran pretty well at Fairyhouse the last day where Ruby Walsh rode him, but with his slight tendency to jump left, the track was never really going to suit.

He was beaten by a horse that’s well-fancied for the Irish National, and the third was fancied to run well at Cheltenham, so it was a good run and should have put him spot on for this.

The horse is in great form and schooled well yesterday, so fingers crossed he puts it all together on the track.

It’s always been quite hard to know his ideal trip, but it looked as if the 3m2f of the Becher stretched him a little bit, so we’re hoping the step back down to 2m5f will suit him perfectly.

Ruby got off him the last day and said he had plenty of pace, which is really important for a race like the Topham because they go a really good clip and you don’t want to get outpaced early and be playing catch-up.

We’re really happy to have Mark Enright back on him again.

He got on really well him in the Becher and as soon as we knew Ruby wasn’t available, we were straight on the phone to book Mark to ride.

We’ll look to ride him pretty handy and hopefully Mark can get him jumping with his usual zest. 

You obviously need plenty of luck in running, but we’re very happy with the horse and it would be dream come true if he were to win.

Grand National

The Grand National is obviously the race the meeting revolves around. I remember Miinnehoma and Richard Dunwoody winning it in 1994.

That’s my first real memory of the race. What’s so fantastic about it is that it produces memorable events each and every time. I expect this year will be no different.

Tiger Roll {ODDS:401299187:9/2} was so impressive at Cheltenham and Navan.

He’s the one they’ve got to beat, but he’s carrying a fair amount of weight and, being such a small horse, I just couldn’t tip him at the price he is now.

I know horses like Many Clouds have run well in the race on multiple occasions, but it’s so hard to win it again.

I think Rathvinden {ODDS:401299217:10/1} should go well for Ruby. He’s proven over the trip and he was very impressive at Fairyhouse the last day.

He fits the profile of a National horse.

The Irish look to have a pretty strong hand in the race, with Gordon Elliott having so many runners and Willie having a number of fancied runners too.

It wasn’t that long ago when it was a rarity for the Irish to have a National runner, but with the strength in depth that the big yards have now, it’s no surprise to see them dominating as much as they do.

It really is an incredible race. We got a real thrill with Baie Des Illes last year and for any trainer it’s amazing to have a runner in it.

When you meet someone outside of racing and they ask you what do you do, they will always ask whether you have won the National.

It’s the race everyone associates with racing, which is why it’s so special.

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Ross O’Sullivan

Ross O’Sullivan

Emerging Kildare-based trainer and one of Betway’s stable of racing ambassadors.

Ross O’Sullivan

Ross O’Sullivan

Emerging Kildare-based trainer and one of Betway’s stable of racing ambassadors.