Friday 30 September 2016

Goonyella comes up just short

Published 18/04/2015 | 19:01

Goonyella
Goonyella

Jim Dreaper's challenger Goonyella put in a stirring late charge to finish second in the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

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It was a close call at the end of the prestigious marathon contest, but 25-1 chance Wayward Prince rolled back the years to hold on after l eading at the third-last fence.

Hilary Parrott's 11-year-old dug deep for jockey Robbie Dunne to hang on for glory as Johnny Burke, who had been hard at work for a long way on the Midlands National hero, got a sustained run out of the out-and-out stayer to finish just three-quarters of a length in arrears.

Wayward Prince was almost retired by connections earlier in the season but earned a reprieve with victory at Doncaster in February, and also ran well when third on his only subsequent start at Ascot.

Dreaper was delighted with Goonyella's performance on ground that would have been quick enough for him, and he is hoping his excellent run will help him earn a place in the Crabbie's Grand National next year after missing out the last twice.

"He showed again he's got great stamina. His lack of pace is just shown up a bit more on that ground, but that was very good," said the County Meath handler.

"The plan is to try to get him into Aintree to beat the ballot. He's missed out two years in a row and maybe he can do it next year."

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