JP McManus lands 136/1 accumulator ahead of Grand National at Aintree

JP McManus enjoyed a Grade One treble across Thursday and Friday at Aintree ahead of the Grand National.

The famous owner saw his colours carried to victory by Epatante (2/1) in the Betway Aintree Hurdle on Thursday before Jonbon (evens) and Fakir D’oudairies (10/11) won the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle and the Marsh Chase respectively on Friday.

Those wins were followed up by L’impertinent (11/1), who won the Tim Kelly (C & G) Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe on Friday evening.

Speaking after Fakir D’oudairies’ win, trainer Joseph O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with that. Mark [Walsh] gave him a great ride and he’s been a great servant to us that horse over a number of years. Hopefully he’ll be around another few years yet.

“I have to see the race again, but it’s as good a performance as he’s put up I’d say.

“I think there’s no doubt it was a deeper race this year and I was surprised he was as short a price as he was, to be honest.

“We’ll see about Punchestown. He doesn’t owe us anything this year, so we’ll take him home and discuss it with JP (McManus) and Frank (Berry). I wouldn’t be much either way at the moment.”

Fakir D'Oudairies and jockey Mark Walsh after winning the Marsh Chase
Fakir D’Oudairies and jockey Mark Walsh after winning the Marsh Chase

He added: “It’s great to come here and have a winner. It’s a special week and we’re lucky to have good support and nice horses.”

McManus runs a total of five horses in the Grand National on Saturday, with defending champion Minella Times, Any Second Now, School Boy Hours, Anibale Fly and Enjoy D’allen all set to run in his green and gold colours.

Rachael Blackmore will once again partner Minella Times after she became the first female to win the race 12 months ago.

On his chances, the BetVictor ambassador said: “Minella Times was just exceptional last year. I got a great feel from him in the race. He jumped from fence to fence, and for me, it was very enjoyable. I’ll never forget crossing the line, so we’re out to try and repeat that.

“He’s carrying more weight this time, and although his form hasn’t been great this year, Henry found a couple of things amiss after his last run and has straightened them out.

“Since then, he’s been a lot better at home. Laura, who rides him out every day, is really happy, so it seems as if he is back to his old self.

“So, I’m really looking forward to it. This race is so full of history, and it would be great to add to that again.”

Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National on Minella Times

Any Second Now finished third in the race last year and looks to have another solid chance this time around for trainer Ted Walsh.

His daughter-in-law and former jockey Nina Carberry, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes, said: “Any Second Now has a massive chance again this year.

“He has done very little wrong, he has won the Bobbyjo Chase, and he is running that distance again.

“He was completely hampered last year. I know he has a lot more weight which isn’t ideal but he is coming here with a brilliant run behind him and he has a massive chance.

“I think we deserve to be favourite, the weight might be putting people off a little bit but we know he acts around here and you need a horse who can jump at Aintree. He is a worthy favourite and one of Ireland’s leading contenders.

“Minella Times will probably show his best form all season here, and we know Snow Leopardess jumps around here as well.

“However, I think our biggest threat is Delta Work. He is another with a super bit of work under his belt coming here and I think he has the class. Everyone was saying he should have been in the Gold Cup. He may not have won it but he would’ve ran well and that’s the sort of class horse he is.

“If we can’t win it, I would love to see Ciaran Murphy win it with Enjoy D’Allen. It would be a lovely story for a small yard. He is in the race at the right weight and comes into the race in good form and has had a nice prep.”

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