Grand National support for Anibale Fly with Gold Cup third in 'good shape'
Anibale Fly was the horse for money in the Grand National market on Wednesday, when trainer Tony Martin reported the Cheltenham Gold Cup third in tip-top shape for the world's most famous race on Saturday week.
The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old, who chased home Native River and Might Bite at Cheltenham, was cut to 11-1 joint-favourite (from 12) by Betfair Sportsbook for the Randox Health-backed showpiece, while BoyleSports, Paddy Power and BetBright also trimmed his odds, in to 11-1 or 12-1 (from 12 or 14).
Betfair Sportsbook spokesman Barry Orr said: "Anibale Fly has been attracting really lively support since we went non-runner no bet on the National and he is now joint favourite with Total Recall.
"Punters seem to be latching on to the fact he appears to be well handicapped following his cracking run in the Gold Cup and will most likely be the mount of Barry Geraghty."
For BoyleSports, spokeswoman Aoife Heffron said: “Anibale Fly has begun to close in on Aintree Grand National favourite Total Recall after support came in on Wednesday causing him shorten to 12-1 from 14-1.
“Having skipped the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, Anibale Fly is expected to be in top form and, as punters begin to mark their cards for Aintree, the eight-year-old’s third place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out is at the forefront of their minds.”
Martin reported: “Anibale Fly has come out of the Gold Cup in good shape. We were very pleased with his run and he finished off the race well.
"We've been freshening him up with Aintree in mind and the plan is to run him in the National. We're happy with the way things are with him now. I'm not sure yet who'll be riding him.”
Geraghty, who rode Anibale Fly at Cheltenham, said: "JP [McManus] has a few others in the National and it will probably be early next week before I know what I'll ride."
McManus's other market principal is Minella Rocco, a 16-1 chance, who was due to have been ridden by Mark Walsh in the Gold Cup, in which he was scratched because of unsuitable ground.
Willie Mullins confirmed Total Recall, who fell three out when closing on the leading group in the Gold Cup, on course for the National.
He said: “The National has long been the plan for Total Recall. He was none the worse for his fall at Cheltenham and seems in good form."
Mullins, who won the race with Hedgehunter in 2005, added: “We’ll probably have three runners, with Pleasant Company and Childrens List joining Total Recall.
“Bellshill is still in the race but I can’t see him running. He had a tough race in the Irish Grand National on Monday and we’re planning to keep him for the Punchestown festival.”
Raz De Maree, who became the oldest winner of the Welsh Grand National this season, will attempt to make it third time lucky at Aintree. The 13-year-old, who was hampered and unseated his rider at Becher's on the first circuit a year ago, was confirmed a runner by trainer Gavin Cromwell.
"He's in great form and we're hoping the ground will be on the slow side," he said on Wednesday. "Robbie Power rides.
"We haven't run him since his Chepstow win as we decided against running him in the Midlands National as he'd have had top weight. We decided to keep him fresh with Aintree in mind."
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