Thursday 13 December 2018

Harrington plots D'Air duel for Supasundae at Aintree

The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair Threeandfourpence (left) and Seahenge in Meydan after a morning gallop ahead of tomorrow’s Dubai World Cup fixture. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair Threeandfourpence (left) and Seahenge in Meydan after a morning gallop ahead of tomorrow’s Dubai World Cup fixture. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

A duel between Supasundae and Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air could be on the cards at Aintree next month with trainer Jessica Harrington outlining an ambitious plan for her star hurdler.

Harrington is keen to take on Nicky Henderson's back-to-back champion at the Liverpool meeting and reports Supasundae, which was just touched off by Penhill when a gallant second in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, to be in fine fettle ahead of an audacious bid.

"Supasundae will go to Aintree and will be entered in the Aintree Hurdle and the Stayers' Hurdle," Harrington told "He'll also go to Punchestown and will be entered in the three-mile and the Champion Hurdle.


"The ground will be the deciding factor at Aintree. I'd love to run him over two-and-a-half and take on Buveur D'Air as I think he has a bit of class and can quicken up. I'm delighted with him. He's a horse who has gone from a handicapper to a genuine Grade One horse."

Plans are also afoot for Our Duke, which disappointed when pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this month, and last year's Irish Grand National winner looks set to take in her local track of Punchestown before being put away for the season.

"He was never going, from the moment he jumped off," the Moone handler said of his blue riband flop.

"Whether it was the ground or he doesn't travel, I don't know. He's gone through that ground before but nothing as sticky as that.

"It seemed to be as soon as he jumped the first fence. Everybody said he made a lot of mistakes. He never made a mistake but he jumped very carefully, which you can't do in a Gold Cup. He just didn't feel like his feet were quite safe underneath him. He is well able to go a good gallop. He may go to Punchestown."

Elsewhere, both Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins are bidding for a first BoyleSports Irish Grand National on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse with the €270,000 first prize likely to prove crucial in their Irish trainers' championship battle.

One trainer keen to spoil the party, however, is Pat Kelly. The Galway handler saddles Mall Dini, fresh from his second in the Kim Muir at the Festival, with Mark Walsh set to take the plum ride.

Mall Dini is well fancied to take the €500,000 event racing off a 143 rating, which is 7lb lower than his revised mark after his Festival performance.

Meanwhile, Tony Martin's Anibale Fly will lead JP McManus' assault on the Aintree Grand National after his sterling effort when third to Native River in the Gold Cup. Jonjo O'Neill's Minella Rocco, John Kiely's Carlingford Lough and Anthony Honeyball's Regal Encore are also set to represent McManus but last year's runner-up Cause Of Causes has been ruled out.

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