Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Elliott hoping for Grey day

Gordon Elliott says Chicago Grey, pictured, is a 'better horse than last year'

Gordon Elliott is convinced he has a major contender for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree today in Chicago Grey.

The 10-year-old, who beat Tuesday's big-race Fairyhouse winner Foildubh in convincing style over an inadequate trip at Navan last time, will be attempting to follow up the stable's success in the world's greatest steeplechase with Silver Birch in 2007.

Chicago Grey was unluckily brought down in the early stages last year, but his trainer's horses are in cracking form and he will have stablemate Tarquinius for company this time.

Elliott said: "Paul Carberry rode him in his last bit of work and our horses are flying. He's about 10lb better off than last year and I think he's a better horse than last year. He's had a wind operation.

"I don't care what the ground is, once he gets over the first five or six fences I'll be delighted."

Another member of a strong Irish team is Paul Nolan's dual Grade One winner Joncol.

Nolan said: "We're delving into the unknown asking him to race over the National trip. We know he's a class horse, but he's had numerous problems. He seems in good health now, but in his last couple of races his jumping hasn't been brilliant.

"I'm hoping Aintree will light him up and that he'll run a respectable race and give his owners a great day out."

Kim Bailey won the National with Mr Frisk in 1990 and this year saddles outsider The Rainbow Hunter.

He said: "He is in there with a nice weight, which is a big help. He ran very well at Ascot last time as the ground was very tacky that day and he didn't really like it. He's going to get better ground, which will suit him better. Provided he jumps the fences, he'll stay. He goes there with as much chance as anything else."

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