Nina primed for latest National tilt
Published 31/03/2011 | 05:00
Nina Carberry will attempt to improve her already useful record around Aintree when she is reunited with Character Building in the English Grand National a week on Saturday.
Carberry, whose brother Paul will ride Backstage in the race, finished seventh on the John Quinn-trained grey last year, having also completed in ninth on Forest Gunner, her first National ride, in 2006.
"I was very pleased with his Doncaster run last time,' said Quinn. "He has had a much better preparation this year. He has run five times and run three good races. He disappointed when I had a tongue tie on him, which he didn't enjoy, and the other time the ground was heavy."
It is exactly 50 years since the last grey, Nicklaus Silver, won the National. "He looked like he'd be fourth or fifth going to the final fence last year and didn't quite get home, but I think that was down to his preparation," added Quinn.
Nicky Henderson fully intends to run Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Long Run at Aintree next week -- provided ground conditions are in his favour.
The six-year-old produced a superb performance to get the better of Denman and Kauto Star in the Prestbury Park blue riband, and connections are keen to see him sign off his campaign in the totesport Bowl on this day week. But Henderson will not risk his charge if he feels conditions are unsuitably fast and he has also confirmed if he does not go to Aintree, he will be heading back to Robert Waley-Cohen's stud for his summer break.
"The only thing I can say is that if you see him, it will be at Aintree," Henderson said.
"Immediately after the Gold Cup, there was a mention of going to France, but he's definitely not going to do that. It is either Aintree or bed. The horse is in the process of being prepared for Aintree, but obviously we'll keep a very close eye on the weather."
"Courses are very good at watering now and we'll have to see, but I like to see natural irrigation rather than watering.
"I think it makes a big difference sometimes. I can't promise he'll be at Aintree, but it is probable." (© Daily Telegraph, London)