Hughes aims three at Bobbyjo
Dessie Hughes has longer-term objectives in mind for all his three runners in the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday as he looks for his third win in the race in four years.
The County Kildare trainer intends to saddle Black Apalachi, Rare Bob and Magnanimity in the Grade Two contest, with the first two heading for the John Smith's Grand National and the other in the Ryanair Chase and the Betfred Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Black Apalachi is expected to benefit greatly from the outing as he has been sidelined since finishing second in the National in 2010.
Hughes told At The Races: "Black Apalachi will need the run, of course, because he hasn't had a run yet this year. He's in good form. He's just ready for the run and will probably run over hurdles after that before he goes to Liverpool.
"He's been a good warrior round there before and ran a tremendous race in the National two years ago to finish second to Don't Push It."
Hughes feels Rare Bob could be the right type of horse for the Grand National judged on his first run over the unique fences earlier in the season.
He continued: "We were delighted when he ran in Liverpool in early December and he jumped impeccably. The ground was very heavy that day and he got very tired over the last two fences, but up to that he looked a dream of a ride for Paddy Brennan. We think he'll make a National horse."
Hughes is giving Magnanimity a chance to redeem himself after trailing home in last place in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown earlier this month, when let down by his jumping.
"I was happy with his first run in the Lexus and then he ran in the Hennessy and made two mistakes. The mistake at the fourth-last ruled him out of the race. I'd have to write that race off," Hughes went on.
"I'm happy the horse is as good as he was and he should be even better than he was last year. He's in good form and we need to run him. It's not ideal to be running him in the Bobbyjo. It's a bit close to Cheltenham, but we have to see more of him. We're still looking at Cheltenham and maybe the Irish National."