JP McManus swoops for Cheltenham star and 'horse of a lifetime' The Shunter
The Shunter, one of the horses of the season, has been snapped up by leading owner JP McManus on the eve of his Grade 1 debut in the SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase (1.45) at Aintree on Thursday.
Winner of the Greatwood Hurdle earlier this season, The Shunter has since secured a £100,000 bonus when following up his Morebattle Hurdle triumph at Kelso by landing the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival.
Confirming that McManus had swooped for the Emmet Mullins-trained eight-year-old, the owner's racing manager Frank Berry said: "There are a few things to be ironed out but the deal is done and hopefully he will run in our colours tomorrow. He will stay in training with Emmet after tomorrow."
Mullins, a nephew of Ireland's reigning champion trainer Willie, is widely regarded as one of the shrewdest operators in the game and described the prospects of training for McManus as a huge boost for his burgeoning yard.
He said: "It's a huge boost for the yard to have the faith of JP McManus entrusted in us. It's exciting times going forward hopefully."
The Shunter was sourced privately last year by Paul Byrne, a close friend of Mullins, and together the pair have turned around the fortunes of the horse.
On the decision to sell The Shunter, Byrne simply said: "He was a horse of a lifetime for me and we will be cheering him on tomorrow."
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