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  • 17:15 Crabbie's Grand National Chase 4m 2f 74y

  • (Grade 3 Handicap) £1,000,000 added 7yo+ 39 ran
  • Winner £561,300 2nd £211,100 3rd £105,500 4th £52,700
  • Going: Soft (Heavy in places)
  • Surface: Turf
  • Winning time: 9m 29.50s
  • Off time: 17:17:30

Trainers' quotes ahead of the Crabbie's Grand National

Last Updated: 08/04/16 4:06pm

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The Last Samuri, a 'serious runner with a very good chance'

The Last Samuri, a 'serious runner with a very good chance'

View from connections ahead of the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree on Saturday.

Oliver Sherwood is "living the dream" ahead of Many Clouds' bid for immortality in the Crabbie's Grand National.

The nine-year-old will carry top weight in the Aintree spectacular as he bids to become the first dual winner since the one and only Red Rum in the 1970s.

Sherwood could not be happier with his stable star's preparation, which was rounded off with a spring-heeled victory at Kelso last month, but admits it would be beyond his wildest dreams if Many Clouds makes history.

Speaking while walking the course on Friday morning, the trainer told Press Association Sport: "I'm feeling very relaxed, chilled and happy with my horse.

"All we can hope for now is some luck in running and what will be will be.

"As I've said before, Kelso was the first time I think he's been 100 per cent fit, so it's been pretty much automatic gear for him since then. We've just kept him mentally straight.

"He's had a couple of pieces of work to keep him ticking over. I personally think he is coming right at the right time.

"He looks and feels the exact same horse as 12 months ago. I don't feel he has improved and he certainly hasn't decreased in any way.

"He doesn't have to have improved to be bang there, having only gone up a pound. If it happens it happens and if it doesn't it doesn't. The main thing we want is for the horse to come back in one piece.

"The talking is very nearly done and at the moment, we're still living the dream."

Leighton Aspell is also bidding for National history by becoming the first jockey to win three consecutive renewals, having also landed the 2014 running aboard Pineau De Re.

Sherwood said: "It would be a marvellous achievement for Leighton as it's never been done.

"His confidence is sky high at the minute and he is very confident in the horse, too, which always helps - especially in a National."

While one of the quieter members of the weighing room, Aspell, who retired in 2007 only to later reverse his decision, has a steely determination to succeed.

Having gone through the race, he has identified the Jonjo O'Neill-trained Holywell as one of his biggest threats.

He said: "You are always going to look for dangers and find some. Silviniaco Conti brings some quality to the race but there must be a big question mark about whether he will get the trip.

"A few times he has looked a bit tripless going beyond three miles. Four and quarter miles will really test his stamina.

"There are several lines of form where Many Clouds and Holywell cross.

"Holywell's run at Cheltenham was very good and his fourth in last year's Gold Cup would put him bang there in this year's National."

Kim Bailey feels The Last Samuri has what it takes to bridge a 26-year gap by giving him a second taste of National glory.

It was back in 1990 that Bailey saddled Mr Frisk, who galloped round the National course in record time to win the greatest race of them all.

That was Bailey's third attempt at the National and since then he has tried many times, but fourth with Docklands Express in 1992 is the closest he has been.

This year, he heads to Merseyside with high hopes.

"I would say The Last Samuri is probably my best chance since Mr Frisk of winning it again. I'm very happy with him," said the Gloucestershire trainer.

"Newcastle was very much a learning curve. We went to Kempton knowing an awful lot more and knowing the track was going to be too tight for him, but we had to go there for the ground and he had to win that race to qualify for the National.

"The improvement from there until Doncaster was good and he was very impressive.

"The handicapper has been a huge fan of the horse for a long time and has almost overdone it, I think, as a 12lb rise is a huge amount.

"He jumps very well and he does stay. We'll hunt him round the first circuit and go from there.

"There is a lot of luck involved, but he is a very serious runner with a very good chance."

Paul Nicholls, who struck with Neptune Collonges in 2012, has a six-strong team, headed by dual King George hero Silviniaco Conti.

"I have always thought that Silviniaco Conti would be a National prospect and he is very much in the mould of Neptune Collonges, maybe a little more classy," said the Ditcheat handler.

"He won very well the last time at Ascot and is a laid-back and relaxed horse.

"I'm not one bit worried about the trip. He's always been a stayer and we've always wanted to make plenty of use of him.

"He's been given a chance by the handicapper. It's a National and you need a lot of luck, but you've got to be excited about his chance and he is our main hope.

"Unioniste wasn't quite right last year and lost his confidence jumping. We've got that back, he won well at Kelso and ran well behind Many Clouds the other day.

"If he could be anywhere near them jumping the third-last, he'll definitely gallop all the way to the line. He's definitely got a chance.

"Wonderful Charm loves good ground and there was no point wasting our time running him during the winter.

"We haven't been able to give him a prep but he goes well fresh. He is a horse who could run very well.

"Just A Par, who won the bet365 race at Sandown last season, stays well and, as long as the ground is not too bad and he gets jumping, he is not without a chance.

"Rocky Creek has been disappointing. He seems to run his best race first time up.

"If he was back to his very best, he'd have a chance, but there is a big question mark in my mind."

Black Thunder is Nicholls' sixth hopeful, and will be ridden by top amateur Sam Waley-Cohen after being sold at the sales to a syndicate that includes the jockey's father, Robert.

Tom George is delighted with Saint Are as last year's runner-up aims to go one better.

"The horse is in as good a form as we could have him and is right where we want him to be," said the Slad trainer.

"We're looking forward to it. We just hope everything goes well on the day, he gets some luck in running and then we'll see what happens.

"I haven't thought about what it would be like to win it. I know what it's like to be second and it's a bit of a lonely place to be."

Jonjo O'Neill has two live contenders in Holywell and last year's fifth Shutthefrontdoor, who was the final National ride for Sir Anthony McCoy.

"Holywell is in great form and he ran a lovely race at Cheltenham," said the Jackdaws Castle handler.

"He is a little monkey, though, and you need to keep that in the back of your mind.

"This time of year, he seems to be better in himself, but I wouldn't back him until he has jumped the third fence - he will love it or hate it.

"He has come back from the Cheltenham race very well. We are looking forward to it.

"Shutthefrontdoor ran a blinder really last year to finish fifth and if I had a young jockey on him he might have run better, the one we had was getting a bit old!

"His disappointing run last time was explained by abscesses in both front feet, which was very strange, but he is fine now.

"He nearly got the trip last year and he prefers good ground, too."

Representing the all-conquering Willie Mullins team are On His Own (Patrick Mullins), Sir Des Champs (Ruby Walsh), Boston Bob (Paul Townend) and Ballycasey (Katie Walsh).

The trainer said: "On His Own seems fine - he ran well enough at Cheltenham after not firing over the first mile there.

"I'm hoping he will be a lot more home when he comes to Liverpool over this trip.

"Sir Des Champs is in good form. We skipped Cheltenham with the view to going to Liverpool.

"He has a lovely mark and if he can come back anywhere near his previous form, he should have a great chance.

"Ballycasey will like the ground at Liverpool and is in off a really nice weight."

Lucy Wadham is looking forward to having a runner with Le Reve.

"I think he just went a bit too soon at Kempton. He just got a rush of blood to the head when he went three lengths clear turning in," said the Newmarket trainer.

"They went absolutely mad up front that day but he jumped brilliantly and I am very happy with the race as a prep run. He has come out of the race well and has had a nice break.

"He is on a career-high mark and is going to have to improve a bit again and hopefully the fences and trip will help him do that."

Evan Williams produced State Of Play and Cappa Bleu to be placed several times and goes to war with the enigmatic Buywise.

"I wouldn't be confident at all whether he will stay or whether he will jump, but we will take our chance," said the Llancarfan trainer.

"He has won on all types of ground, so that does not really concern me - I have plenty of other things to worry about with Buywise."

Philip Hobbs is hoping either Kruzhlinin or Onenightinvienna can fulfil his dream of winning the National for a first time after having had two second-placed finishes.

"Hopefully we will get there one day. I would rather win the National than the Cheltenham Gold Cup," said the Minehead handler.

"You need a horse who is bold and brave but also sensible, and Onenightinvienna is a thorough stayer.

"He has only had three runs over fences, which is unusual, but he is an improving novice.

"Kruzhlinin was very impressive at Kempton in January and would have been placed at Cheltenham but made a few mistakes at the end of the race."

The National is also missing from Nicky Henderson's CV and he tries to put that right with Triolo D'Alene and Hadrian's Approach.

"They are the best shots I have taken to the race for a long time," he said. "

We've had seconds and thirds, even going back as far as Zongalero in 1979 and 1980, but we're going in with two with a chance tomorrow.

"Triolo D'Alene likes it around here, he has won a Topham, and he's a classy horse who has also won a Hennessy. Good ground is essential for him so I am really hoping the rain doesn't arrive tonight. Hadrian's Approach is another good horse, he's won a bet365 Chase, and this has been the plan for both horses for a long time.

"We come here with hope but this is probably the best National for a very long time, probably ever, with so many good horses in there."

David Pipe pins his hopes on Ballynagour and Soll.

"They probably wouldn't mind the ground whatever it is," said the Nicholashayne handler.

"Soll's got a great track record, but he's just got a little lazy in his old age. It was great to see Ballynagour finish his race last time after he lost his way a bit. If he got the trip, you just never know."

Rebecca Curtis can see stablemates O'Faolains Boy and The Romford Pele performing with credit.

"O'Faolains Boy came back from the Gold Cup in really good form, actually. I think he's in as good a form as we've ever had him," said the Newport handler.

"He should come on for the run at Cheltenham as it was only the second time he's completed over fences this season.

"He ran well for a long way. He and Smad Place did quite a lot in front and just got tired, but Noel (Fehily) looked after our horse up the hill.

"He's nice and fresh at the moment and we're looking forward to running him.

"The Romford Pele will definitely get the trip and he seems in good form. He wouldn't be quite as accurate jumping-wise as O'Faolains Boy, but he has a touch of class."

Charlie Longsdon believes Pendra has that essential touch of quality, despite being an outsider.

"He's a nice horse and has a bit of class," said the Chipping Norton handler.

"He won a nice race at Ascot and was unlucky back there when he made a mistake at the last. I thought he'd be a 33-1 shot, not a 50-1 shot."

Pat Fahy is convinced he has the right horse for the job in Morning Assembly.

"Morning Assembly was quiet in himself after Cheltenham, so we gave him a few days' break, but he's back in good form now," said the County Carlow handler.

"The National has always been his main target, we've always had the race in mind for him. We just need that bit of luck as I think I have the horse for the job."

Henry de Bromhead will be disappointed if Home Farm does not put up a good show.

"Home Farm is in really good form. He is a high-class horse and I am expecting a really good run," said the County Waterford handler.

Jim Dreaper is looking for very soft ground to help Goonyella, winner of last year's Midlands Grand National.

"He stays well. He won at Uttoxeter last year and was second in Scotland on ground that was too quick," said Dreaper.

"He needs the ground heavy to slow the others down. I would like to think he'll have a clear round. He's a very safe jumper so far. He's more of an old-type National horse.

"If he's still in touch going out the second time, then I would say he has a real chance."

Enda Bolger has his fingers crossed Gilgamboa will find Aintree to his liking.

"I'm looking forward to running him and we'll see how he takes to the place," he said.

"You never really know how they'll adapt when they go there for the first time."

Ucello Conti will try to upstage his half-brother Silviniaco Conti. Formerly trained in France, he is now with Gordon Elliott in Ireland.

Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "He stayed on well in the Thyestes on soft ground.

"He's prepared well and purposely hasn't run between then and now because Gordon felt that was the best way to train the horse.

"If it was on the soft side that would be important for the horse, but if it goes heavy it will become like a five-mile race and that would be a bit too long.

"He does run a bit freely so he needs to be switched off on the first circuit. The first circuit is important. You need to get into a rhythm and switched off."

Dermot McLoughlin will be praying for that essential slice of good fortune for Vics Canvas.

"He's in real good order. You just need a bit of luck in a National," said the County Meath trainer.

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