Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Mulholland weighing up a route to National

Neil Mulholland is banking on I'moncloudnine catching the eye of the handicapper with a sterling performance in his next race.

The Devon trainer would like to run the eight-year-old in the John Smith's Grand National, but feels I'moncloudnine needs to go up several pounds to make that a reality.

The horse, currently rated 133, unseated his rider at the Canal Turn on his first attempt over the unique fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree in November.

However, he showed he is a force to be reckoned with in major staying handicap chases when third to Synchronised in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow last month.

I'moncloudnine has a choice of two engagements for his next start — the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase at Wincanton on Saturday or the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster seven days later.

“He ran a cracker at Chepstow and hopefully he'll be a bit better on better ground,” said Mulholland.

“He's entered at Wincanton on Saturday in a 0-135 handicap chase and he's entered in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster on the 29th. If we can just get him up 4lb or 5lb he might get in the Grand National.

“I shall have a look at both races. The race at Wincanton would be a little less competitive and it's over a bit further which could possibly be an easier race to get him up 3lb or 4lb.

“If he were second or third in that the handicapper might put him up a bit for running a big race while it might be a bit harder in the Sky Bet Chase. We'll see what happens.”

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