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'Fly' lined up for National bid

Trainer Tony Martin. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Trainer Tony Martin. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Cheltenham Gold Cup third Anibale Fly has been given the green light to take his chance in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday week.

Tony Martin's charge produced a career-best performance to pick up minor honours in the blue riband behind Native River and Might Bite, and is officially 9lb well-in at the weights for the world's most famous steeplechase.

Connections considered the Irish Grand National or waiting for the Punchestown Gold Cup, but Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, has confirmed him an intended runner on Merseyside.

"At the moment, as long as everything goes well over the weekend and Tony is happy with him, the plan is for him to go there (Grand National)," Berry said.

Anibale Fly is set to lead a four-strong McManus-owned contingent into battle, as he seeks his second victory in the race after Don't Push It's memorable triumph under Tony McCoy in 2010.

Berry added: "There's Minella Rocco and, all being well, Carlingford Lough and Regal Encore will run, too. They're all in good form at the moment and the four of them will run if they get through the weekend and next week."

Anibale Fly is a general 12/1 shot for the Grand National, with Minella Rocco also prominent in the market at a best-priced 16/1. Regal Encore and Carlingford Lough can be backed at 33/1 and 66/1 respectively.

Paul Nicholls' As De Mee, which was available at 50/1, has been ruled out of Aintree due to a leg injury.

Irish Independent

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