Geraghty to choose More Of That for National bid
Barry Geraghty is to pick More Of That over Cause Of Causes in Saturday's Grand National at Aintree.
JP McManus' retained rider, who returned last weekend after a spell injured, has the choice of two of the main fancies in the race, both of which were in action at Cheltenham. More Of That finished sixth in the Gold Cup; Cause Of Causes won the cross-country contest under Jamie Codd.
"Barry is set to ride More Of That, with Jamie ready to ride Cause Of Causes, though Barry is obviously waiting until the end to see if anything should change," Frank Berry, McManus' racing manager, told the Irish Independent.
The Jonjo O'Neill-trained More Of That is as big as 16/1, with Cause Of Causes available at 14/1. "If it were not the National you'd be fancying both of them," Berry added.
Gordon Elliott, trainer of Cause Of Causes, said that he expected Geraghty to ride More Of That but his horse "has come out of Cheltenham very well".
Elliott's farrier, Gavin Cromwell, will have his first National runner in the form of Raz De Maree, which will be ridden by Ger Fox. Raz De Maree finished second to subsequent Gold Cup third Native River in the Welsh National earlier this season.
"He jumped the National fences lately at the Curragh. They really lit him up and he loved it," Cromwell said.
"He's only a handy horse but jumps really well. He schooled with two big horses yet he was the pony coming up behind them and winging past them.
"The drying week is not going to help. He lacks a gear but if he can have any reasonable posse, not too far back, he'll do his best work at the finish."
Empire Of Dirt is the Irish hope among a field of seven declared for tomorrow's Betway Bowl, which includes Cue Card. Empire Of Dirt's trainer Elliott said: "The trip will definitely suit a lot better than the Ryanair trip.
"I felt he ran a good race then considering he was flat out going to the first fence. It's not the strongest race."
Also tomorrow, Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air will face just five rivals when he bids to follow up in the Betway Aintree Hurdle.
He again meets stablemate and fellow McManus runner My Tent Or Yours. The New One, Old Guard, Rashaan and Identity Thief are also set to line up.
Supreme Novice Hurdle winner Labaik will be aimed at Punchestown after he was withdrawn from tomorrow's Goffs UK Aintree Sale.
Meanwhile, McManus' second jockey, Mark Walsh, hopes to return for the Irish National meeting over Easter. He fractured his left leg at Cheltenham.
"Mark has to see Mr Paddy Kenny again next Tuesday for a review. He should be OK for Fairyhouse," said Irish Turf Club senior medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick.
Minding is the star among 12 entries for the Dr Vincent O'Brien Centenary Alleged Stakes at Naas on Sunday.