Hourigan: step up in trip no problem for Tornado

MICHAEL Hourigan is confident the step up in trip will not trouble Dancing Tornado in the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday.

The County Limerick handler has had plenty of good stayers pass through his hands down the years, notably 2004 Aintree Grand National hero Amberleigh House, who won the race for Ginger McCain.

Dancing Tornado has never won beyond two and a half miles and tackles over a mile further in the Easter feature.

But Hourigan does not see that as a problem for his recent Naas scorer.

He said: “Dancing Tornado will get his ground, but I suppose the worry would be that the weights have gone up a bit.

“He looked to have a nice racing weight on 10st 9lb but he’ll be on nearer 11st now, which wouldn’t be ideal.

“He was good over hurdles the last day in Naas and we just felt he needed to be back over the smaller ones for a spin.

“He’s never been this far, but Amberleigh House did a lot of his running over two and a half miles when he was with me and he obviously went on to win the National for Ginger McCain.

“Hi Cloy was another horse of mine that was best over two and a half or even two miles, but he ran well in a National as well.

“Dancing Tornado is old enough to take his chance and he does jump well, so hopefully he’ll be all right.

“We haven’t got a jockey finalised yet but hopefully we’ll know in the next 48 hours.”

Dancing Tornado is unlikely to be Hourigan’s only Irish Grand National contender, with recent Cheltenham Festival winner A New Story and last year’s runner-up Church Island in line for the valuable prize.

“A New Story seems to have come out of Cheltenham in good form and he’ll take his chance, all being well,” the trainer continued.

“It was a great day at Cheltenham, especially for young Adrian (Heskin) who rode him.

“The ground will be a good bit softer than it was that day but that won’t bother him as he’ll go on anything and he’s a good jumper.

“Church Island could be a slight doubt if the ground is very heavy, but we’ll see.

“I would be quite keen to let him go to Sandown for the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at the end of the season as he ran well to finish fourth in it last year.”

The Irish National weights have gone up because Jim Dreaper has taken out top-weight Notre Pere, whose trainer Jim Dreaper is still set to be represented with Telenor.

“Telenor is an intended runner and it looks like he’ll get his ground,” said Dreaper. “He hasn’t got that much experience and he’s still a novice, but hopefully that won’t be a problem.”

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