Friday 23 March 2018

JP poised to add a real 'Cracker' to his Aintree National team

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Last year's Irish Grand National winner Bluesea Cracker could be sporting the colours of JP McManus when she lines out in the Aintree equivalent tomorrow week.

A year ago, Don't Push It provided McManus, his retained rider Tony McCoy and trainer Jonjo O'Neill with a first success in the £950,000 showpiece over the big fences.

Don't Push It is one of five McManus-owned horses already engaged in next week's four-and-a-half-miler, but the Limerick man's hand could be further strengthened if a deal is finalised for the James Motherway-trained mare.

Cloyne-based Motherway saddled Bluesea Cracker to beat Oscar Time at Fairyhouse in 2010.

His nine-year-old has failed to win in three outings this term, but connections have been upbeat about her work in recent weeks, and she would be quietly fancied to show up well at Aintree off a featherweight 10st 4lb, especially if the ground came up soft.

While Motherway could not be contacted last night, it is understood that negotiations for the sale of Bluesea Cracker are at an advanced stage.

His charge will attempt to become the first mare to win the Aintree National since Nickel Coin in 1951, and is a top-priced 33/1 to be the first Irish-based winner since Silver Birch in 2007.

Bluesea Cracker is owned by the Note The Link Syndicate, which numbers the mare's breeder Sean Murphy -- as well as various individuals from the construction industry -- among its seven-strong membership.

Should the transaction go ahead, Motherway, in keeping with McManus' custom, is expected to continue to train the horse.

Likewise, Andrew McNamara, who steered Bluesea Cracker to glory at Fairyhouse, would most likely keep the ride at Aintree, with McCoy having already pledged his allegiance to Don't Push It.

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