Racing Round-up: Goonyella set for more National glory at Aintree

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While much of the racing world struggled to get over a pretty hefty Cheltenham hangover, for some, it was a mere step closer to those famous birch fences at Aintree.

The Midlands Grand National may not posses the same kudos of its Merseyside equivalent, but it can throw up some decent winners – subsequent Gold Cup victor Synchronised took the prize in 2010.

Jim Dreaper will be dreaming of anywhere near that sort of success with this year’s winner Goonyella.

In the colours of Alan and Ann Potts, the eight-year-old stayed on strongest in arduous conditions to take the contest by 9l having been well backed into 6/1.

He may have to reverse the Irish Grand National form with current Aintree favourite Shutthefrontdoor (8/1) after trailing home six places behind him at Fairyhouse.

However, at a price of 25/1 (from 40/1) he could well offer the better value.

We discussed Saturday’s action, as well as a brief look towards next year’s festival in our Racing Round-Up podcast.

The action at Uttoxeter was thrilling stuff, but that could be nothing compared to next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup if all the principles make it there in good health.

While we kept faith with the novice Coneygree in the big one, many doubted the Bradstock’s charge, and boy did he prove them wrong.

With a divine front-running performance, the eight-year-old galloped many of the field into submission from some way out.

Whether delivering in a big leap, or putting himself right to get over an obstacle when in tight, this horse looks to have plenty of quality in the jumping department.

This year’s renewal may well have looked special with two previous winners, Irish and UK Hennessy victors, a horse that had triumphed at the last two Festivals, and one trained by the maestro of the week, Willie Mullins, but next year could be even better.

Should the Mullins pair of Vautour and Don Poli line up in 12 months time, Coneygree could have a battle on his hooves to retain the title.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.