Chicago Grey: has been pleasing connections in Grand National prepPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Chicago camp bullish before National bid
OWNER John Earls said on Tuesday that John Smith's Grand National fancy Chicago Grey will be 'bang there' if his nine-year-old avoids jumping errors on the first circuit.
Chicago Grey is trained by Gordon Elliott - who won the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007 - and can be backed at 12-1 with Paddy Power and he reportedly pleased connections in a schooling session over National-style fences last Friday.
Earls said: "I wouldn't like it too softbut he has run well in soft ground before. He's had a nice preparation and I know Gordon [Elliott] is excited by how well he is."
Chicago Grey won last year's National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, which was his 12th start of the season. Earls added: "This year Aintree will come as his seventh race. I'm not a bit afraid about the trip and I've no doubt he'll jump the fences. If he gets around the first circuit he'll be bang there."
Barry Geraghty is hopeful that Shakalakaboomboom can provide trainer Nicky Hendersonwith his first victory in the 4m4f contest.
Geraghty, who won the race in 2003 aboard Monty's Pass, said 20-1 chance Shakalakaboomboom has the right attributes for the race and has a 'big shout'.
"He's handled slower ground before," said Geraghty. "He jumps well, he jumped well in the Topham -he just needed further really.
"He's been progressing throughout the season and I think he's got a big shout."
The going on the National course was changed back to soft, good to soft in places having beencalled soft earlier on Tuesday, with possible showers forecast on Wednesday.
Clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch, speaking on Tuesday afternoon, said: "I’m delighted with the track and it looks in great condition.
"We had 15 millimetres of rain on Monday and last night but we’ve had a nice drying day and the rain has been taken up by the ground.
"We expect it to remain unsettled with showers tomorrow, however we don’t have a band of rain coming in, just sporadic showers that could pop up anywhere."