Many Clouds: aiming to join Red Rum as a back-to-back National winner
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
MANY CLOUDS all but put the finishing touches to his preparation for the Crabbie’s Grand National when schooling under jockey Leighton Aspell on Wednesday morning and trainer Oliver Sherwood could not be happier with the big-race favourite.
Successful in the world’s most famous chase 12 months ago, Many Clouds will become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to capture back-to-back Nationals if he triumphs at Aintree on Saturday.
The nine-year-old, who won for the first time since the National at Kelso last month, jumped nine fences on the Lambourn schooling grounds alongside stablemates Beforeall and Rouge Et Blanc.
He is the general 8-1 market leader for the National from 10-1 shot The Last Samuri and Silviniaco Conti, a 12-1 chance.
“It’s to keep his eye in,” said Sherwood. “We didn’t school over the National fences last year hence why we’re not this year.
“He’ll have an easy day tomorrow and either go up on Friday or Saturday depending on my other runners.
“He’s come right at the right time and as I’ve said Kelso was the first time he’s been 100 per cent fit this season.”
‘He’s very well’
There are not many negatives for Many Clouds, who runs in the colours of National enthusiast Trevor Hemmings.
“It’s more the other 39 horses than him,” added Sherwood. “The fences still need jumping, but I’m very happy with where we are and it’s very exciting and I’m enjoying the ride.
“It’s when you haven’t got a runner in the race you want one. He’s fresh and very well.”
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