Tony Martin believes luck will be a crucial factor in determining how Anibale Fly performs in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.
Third behind Native River and Might Bite in last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old is officially 9lb well-in for the world’s most famous steeplechase and disputes favouritism with several bookmakers.
Martin told At The Races: “We think he’s fresh and well and I think he’s come out of Cheltenham good. All being well, we’ll send him on Thursday. Fingers crossed he’ll run a good one and get a bit of luck.
“No matter what you have in hand, you just hope he avoids bad luck and if he gets his own little bit of luck, he could run a really good race.”
Anibale Fly is third in the weights with 11st 7lb on his back, but Martin is unconcerned by the burden. He added: “He’s a big, strong horse and he carried more weight in Leopardstown when he won at Christmas [Paddy Power Chase].
“Weight shouldn’t be a problem. It’s all about luck. If he gets good luck and avoids bad luck, that’s what we need.”
Meanwhile, on the first day of the Grand National meeting today, Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae is again out to demonstrate his versatility when he goes back down in trip for the Betway Aintree Hurdle.
Effective between two and three miles, the eight-year-old has performed with credit all winter. Arguably his finest hour came in the Irish Champion Hurdle over two miles at Leopardstown in February when he floored Faugheen.
He then ran a tremendous race in defeat on his latest start when only beaten two lengths by Penhill in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Harrington said: “He’s over there and I’m happy with him. He came out of Cheltenham very well. I’m hoping there’s not too much rain. I’m pleased with him and I hope he runs a big race.”
My Tent Or Yours missed out on another attempt at the Champion Hurdle, in which he has finished second three times, after being ruled out on the morning of the race on veterinary advice.
The sprightly 11-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson, has filled the runner-up spot in this race for the last two years and returns to Aintree a fresh horse. He has had only one race this term, beating The New One in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December.
He is his owner JP McManus’ big hope this year after last year’s winner Buveur D’Air was scratched after a poor scope – though Henderson has a second string in L’Ami Serge.
“He’s in great form. Nicky is very happy with him. We hope the ground is not too soft and hopefully he’ll run well,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.
“Everything is fine with him again after Cheltenham. We couldn’t be happier with him.”
The New One runs in this race for a fifth time, having occupied the first three places and having had a fall in his previous attempts. The ten-year-old, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, has to bounce back from a rare unplaced effort in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but connections report the 2014 winner of this contest in good form.
“He has come out of his run at Cheltenham and we’re pleased with him,” said Twiston-Davies’ assistant Carl Llewellyn.
“Things didn’t work out at Cheltenham, but returning to this trip will suit and if the ground is not gluey, he should have a good chance.
“If he is able to get through the ground, then conditions should suit him. He’s been a great horse for the yard and hopefully he can run another big race.”
Evan Williams feels Clyne deserves a chance at some good prize-money after he got off the mark for the season at Uttoxeter last month.
The Llancarfan trainer said: “He’s in between being a Graded horse and being a very decent handicapper.
“It’s great prize-money so we thought we’d give it a go.”