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Foxrock National target likely to be determined by ground conditions

Ground conditions could hold the key as to which Grand National, the English or the Irish, will be the target for Foxrock in the spring.

With Easter falling quite late this year, the Randox Health Grand National is run first, on April 8 at Aintree, with the BoyleSports Irish Grand National on Easter Monday (April 17) at Fairyhouse.

Foxrock, who needs ease in the ground, was allotted 10st 12lb in the Liverpool spectacular when the weights were announced on Tuesday evening.

"He has an entry in the English National and the Irish National and we'll just keep our options open," said owner Barry Connell.

"The handicapper has given him, I think, 4lb more than he has here (in Ireland).

"It's really just an entry we've made at this stage.

"His main point this year is hunter chasing and we'll probably let him take his chance in either the English or the Irish National. We're just keeping an open mind on that.

"He could run in Aintree. Easter is a bit later this year so it would depend on what the ground is like. He's better with a cut in the ground and we'll see.

"He's going to have one more run in a hunter chase in Gowran Park in a fortnight's time."

Foxrock is quoted in the ante-post betting, as low as 6-1 in places, for the Cross County Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but Connell revealed the horse will not take his chance. It could be a different story in 2018, however.

"I see he's still in the betting for the cross-country race in Cheltenham. He's had one run over the banks in Punchestown, but he won't be going for that," he said.

"He'll run in either the English or Irish National and that would be his last run of the year.

"We'll go back hunter chasing with him. If he doesn't win either of those races, he's eligible to go back and he'd be qualified for Cheltenham and Aintree next year."

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