Moffatt hoping 140 will be enough

Jimmy Moffatt reports Highland Lodge to be on track to make his next appearance in the Randox Health Grand National.

Highland Lodge knows his way around the Aintree fences.

The intention is to send the 11-year-old straight to the Aintree marathon on April 8, for which he is a 33/1 chance with Sky Bet, without a prep run.

The former Emma Lavelle-trained gelding was denied back-to-back wins in the Becher Chase over the famous fences last month when going down by a short head to Vieux Lion Rouge.

Moffatt said: "Highland Lodge is fine. The plan after the Becher was to give him a couple of months of easy work, then build him back up for the Grand National.

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"I've been in racing long enough to take defeats like the Becher on the chin. We have been on the good end of a few photo-finishes so we were due one the other way.

"We have no issue not giving him a prep run, as we don't really want to race him through the bad ground. Some horses need to run all the time and some are better fresh and he is the latter.

"We made the mistake of giving him a gallop three or four weeks before running him at Ayr in the Scottish National. It was an incredible piece of work, but he was not quite as enthusiastic at Ayr. It was all wrong for him in retrospect, but I have learnt a lot more about him.

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"Last year he only just missed out on getting in the race, but he is now rated 140 and hopefully with a pull in the weights he should have enough to get in.

"There is no such thing as a guarantee, though, so we'll just have to sit on it and weight for them (the weights) to come out on February 14."

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