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Hughes plots route back to Aintree

Dessie Hughes' two John Smith's Grand National stalwarts, Vic Venturi and Black Apalachi, are going their separate ways ahead of another crack at the Aintree spectacular.

Both are past winners of the Becher Chase over the famous fences, with Black Apalachi finishing second to Don't Push It in the big race itself last April when Vic Venturi unseated his rider at the 20th.

Vic Venturi is ready to make his seasonal debut with the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown the favoured starting point, weather permitting. Black Apalachi, on the other hand, is likely to begin his campaign in a three-mile handicap hurdle at Leopardstown next month.

"Black Apalachi will start off in January at Leopardstown in a three-mile hurdle. Then he'll go for the Bobbyjo and then the Grand National," said the County Kildare handler.

"That's the programme for the moment unless I sort something else out for him in the meantime. There aren't too many races for him. It's a similar programme to last year. We'll try to do the same thing. He got to Aintree fit enough.

"Vic Venturi is ready to go and will run in the Lexus hopefully. Siegemaster also holds an entry in there but he's more likely to go for the Paddy Power Handicap Chase even though he's got top weight."

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