Many Clouds pleases Sherwood

Many Clouds pleased Oliver Sherwood in a racecourse gallop at Newbury ahead of a return to Aintree next month.

Triolo D'Alene (front) leads Many Clouds (red cap)

The 2014 Grand National hero is set to return to Merseyside for a Listed chase in which he finished second to Don Poli on his seasonal reappearance last season.

The nine-year-old's season ended in disappointment as he was tailed off in defence of his Grand National crown which led to connections operating on his wind.

"He's had a little wind operation after the National this year, it was a cauterization of the soft palate. He never made a noise at home, it was just in the National on that rain-softened ground on the Canal Turn," Sherwood revealed.

All roads lead to Aintree for Many Clouds who won the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2013 and Sherwood already has a plan mapped out for the season.

"You've got to have some insurance policies with the weather. He'll have some entries in Ireland but we'll probably go back to the Cotswold Chase and we'll probably go back to the Borders in his run before the National but we'll work backwards from Aintree."

First port of call will be Merseyside next month and Sherwood was happy with his horse following the two mile gallop.

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"It was more of a confidence thing for him to canter around. We won't really know whether it [the wind operation] has worked until we get him on the course in a proper race, getting him off the bridle.

"I just wanted him to have an away day. I'm very happy with him, very happy with his fitness and where he is. It's not so much the fitness side, it's just getting the cobwebs off him. He's a bit more forward than I thought he was."

Sherwood is also hoping to have the talented but fragile Puffin Bally back on track but admits it's not easy finding races for the eight-year-old who has won four of his six starts over fences.

"Puffin Billy is fine, he did two canters this morning," he said at a press conference for the Hennessy Gold Cup meeting.

"He's a very difficult horse to place. His last run he beat The Last Samuri up at Ayr on Scottish National Day and The Last Samuri has done well. He's very fragile Billy and he's rated 150, where do you go?

"He misses all the intermediate chases because he's in his third season. He might come and have a spin [racecourse gallop] around here before possibly taking a look at the staying hurdle division."

Closer to hand, Sherwood has high hopes for The Organist who now races in the colours of JP McManus.

The mare was a Listed winner over hurdles for the stable and owners Million In Mind Partnership over hurdles last season and Sherwood is hoping that she will also be able to make her mark over fences.

"The Organist makes her chase debut at Huntingdon on Saturday," he revealed.

"Leighton's [Aspell] going to be riding. She jumps well at home, proof of the pudding is out on the battlefield now."

Read More at Sporting Life

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