Many Clouds limbers up for Grand National tilt with impressive win at Kelso
Many Clouds showed his wellbeing ahead of his bid to land the Crabbie's Grand National for the second successive year with an impressive victory in the totepoolliveinfo.com Premier Chase at Kelso.
Winning for the first time since Aintree last April, Many Clouds hardly gave his supporters an anxious moment as he did everything right in his final prep run.
Trevor Hemmings' nine-year-old jumped superbly in the hands of Leighton Aspell and went on at the seventh fence after shadowing Carrigdhoun in the early stages.
Sausalito Sunrise tried to put in a challenge but he could not cope with Oliver Sherwood's charge when Aspell kicked on.
Many Clouds (11-10 favourite) soon put the race to bed and strode clear to score by 10 lengths.
Unioniste, who also holds a National entry, stayed on well from last place to finish second. Carrigdhoun was three-quarters of a length away in third.
Many Clouds was cut to 8-1 clear favourite for the National from 12-1 with Paddy Power and to 7-1 from 12s with Betfair while Betfred went 9-1 from 12s.
Paddy Power said: "Many Clouds must have a great chance of a repeat in the National off just 5lb higher and while that was his first win since Aintree last year, we're running scared as that was hugely impressive and he seems to have definitely improved again this season."
Sherwood said: "I'm chuffed to bits. It was just what the doctor ordered.
"He won't do a lot for 10 days and then we'll just build him up. He was pretty fit today."
Ladbrokes make Many Clouds 10-1 clear market leader having been 12-1 joint-favourite.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "Many Clouds could hardly have been any more impressive. His jumping was sensational and he is sure to head to Aintree with more backers than ever before."