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Elliott eyes Aintree for Dounikos as Gigginstown dominates Grand National Trial

Dounikos (near side) stayed on well to win the Grand National Trial at Punchestown
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Gordon Elliott has had good reason to enjoy Grand Nationals of all descriptions, and the Fairyhouse and Aintree versions were very much on his mind after he landed the BoyleSports Grand National Trial for the second consecutive year.

Dounikos and Davy Russell landed the long distance event by four and a quarter lengths for Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud, with the same owner's Wishmoor, trained by Joseph O'Brien, second, and General Principle, who won last year's Irish National for Elliott, coming third.

And Elliott, who shot to fame winning the Grand National with Silver Birch in 2007 and took last year's renewal with Tiger Roll, revealed immediately after the race that the winner could join his Aintree party depending on the weight he is allotted on Tuesday.

Dounikos (blue cap) jumps the last in a race dominated by Gigginstown

"Dounikos might go to Aintree or Fairyhouse, we'll see the Aintree weights this week," he said. "I made a lot of entries and I could end up running 12 or 15 in the race."

One of those could be General Principle, and Elliott added: "He ran a good race today and Aintree might be the job for him this year."

Dounikos has been cut to 33-1 generally (from 50) for the Randox Health Grand National and 25-1 for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National.

Elliott added: "His recent form wasn't up to much – he fell in the Thyestes last time – but he was a decent novice and the good ground today seemed to suit him."

Connections pose with Dounikos after his triumph

Andrew Ring may well be left wondering what might have been for Wishmoor, who kicked clear going down the back only for a loose horse to interfere and bring him back to the pack.

The pair soldiered on gamely and were passed by the two Elliott runners, but the way the 20-1 shot rallied to reclaim second suggests he may have proven difficult to reel in with an unimpeded trip.

The JP McManus-owned Fitzhenry claimed fourth to win the 'without Gigginstown' market ahead of Solomn Grundy and favourite Some Neck.


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His recent form wasn't up to much but he was a decent novice and the good ground today seemed to suit him
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