Sherwood happy with Many Clouds
The view from connections ahead of the Betfred Lotto '£100K Cash Giveaway' Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
Many Clouds runing behind Don Poli in the race last year
Oliver Sherwood reports Many Clouds to be ready to return to action in the Betfred Lotto '£100K Cash Giveaway' Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
The Lambourn trainer has had this three-mile-one-furlong contest in mind for some time as the starting point for the 2015 Grand National hero, as he builds up for another crack at the world's greatest steeplechase in April.
The Trevor Hemmings-owned nine-year-old was second in this race 12 months ago behind Don Poli, but had the benefit of a previous outing having finished sixth to Cue Card in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Although Many Clouds has not run since finishing 16th to Rule The World in his attempt to retain his National crown, he had a racecourse gallop at Newbury recently.
"This has always been the plan. I'm very happy with him," said Sherwood.
"It's been public knowledge he had a little wind operation, the cauterisation of his soft palate.
"He had an away day at Newbury about 10 days before the Hennessy and had a gallop round there.
"I haven't missed a day with him, but the proof of the pudding is now on the racecourse. Obviously he's bit older, but everything has gone right.
"He's in good form at home. I'm just looking forward to getting him on the track and having a look at him.
"I think any course lights him up when he gets there. This was always the plan from when he came back in off grass, as long as everything went right."
Minella Rocco defeated last weekend's Hennessy winner Native River in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and made a pleasing seasonal reappearance back at Prestbury Park three weeks ago.
The six-year-old is reported to be all the better for his effort when third to Viconte Du Noyer and connections are expecting a good show from Jonjo O'Neill's charge.
"He had a nice run at Cheltenham and came home well. He came out of the race fine," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.
"It's a competitive little race, but he's in good form and we're hoping for a good run."
Irish Cavalier, who won the Charlie Hall Chase on his seasonal debut, is on a retrieval mission for trainer Rebecca Curtis after being pulled up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Le Mercurey, trained by Paul Nicholls, shaped well on his return when third to Sub Lieutenant in the Grade Two Titanic Belfast Chase at Down Royal.
Nicky Henderson saddles likely outsider Cocktails Of Dawn, who has not run since being pulled up on this course in May, but who should appreciate the decent ground at Sandown.