Wyck Hill will now be running in the green and gold silks of JP McManusPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
McManus buys National contender Wyck Hill
LEADING John Smith's Grand National contender Wyck Hill has been bought by JP McManus.
The lightly raced nine-year-old, who is generally 20-1 for the Aintree showpiece, was last seen at Ascot in December when dishing out a four-length beating to Katenko who has since scored at Sandown and Cheltenham.
It was a performance that caught the eye of McManus who teams up with trainer David Bridgwater for the first time.
Formerly owned by the SAB Partnership, Wyck Hill is 50-1 with the sponsor for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus, told the Racing Post on Wednesday: "I can confirm that JP has bought Wyck Hill and he's certainly a nice horse to add to the team.
"He goes for the Racing Plus Chase on Saturday and we'll learn a lot more about him from that. He's a nice prospect and, touch wood, he seems to be a sound jumper which is obviously a big positive."
Bridgwater believes Saturday's race at Kempton is D-day for Wyck Hill as regards his Gold Cup aspirations and feels something "spectacular" has to happen for him to warrant a place in the line-up.
Bridgwater said: "It's fantastic to have an owner like Mr McManus come into the yard. We've now got the owner of last year's Gold Cup winner [Synchronised] and the second [The Giant Bolster] in our yard which is just fantastic.
"Wyck Hill is a horse I've loved from day one. He jumps so well and stays all day long. He's entered in the Gold Cup and the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase so we have options and I think he will have to do something spectacular on Saturday if he is to be considered a genuine Gold Cup contender.
"He is in great form though and I couldn't be happier with him."