‘So far so good’ for Synchronised

Synchronised will complete his John Smith’s Grand National preparations with a pipeopener today ahead of the Aintree spectacular on Saturday.

Providing he comes through the exercise at Jonjo O’Neill’s stables with no hiccups, the Cheltenham Gold Cup hero will head a team of at least four for owner JP McManus.

“He’ll do his final bit of work in the morning and we’ll see how he is, but it’s so far so good,” said his racing manager Frank Berry.

“He’s not doing a lot in the morning, just a little, and if all is well he will go there.

“Sunnyhillboy is well. He came out of Cheltenham fine and is in good form. With a bit of luck he should go well round there as long as he takes to the place.

“We should have four runners (Quiscover Fontaine and Arbor Supreme are the others) and we have one (Smoking Aces) waiting to get in.”

McManus, O’Neill and jockey Tony McCoy tasted National glory with Don’t Push It two years ago and he was third to Ballabriggs 12 months ago.

But no Gold Cup winner has gone to triumph at Aintree the same year since the mighty Golden Miller in 1934. Ballabriggs will attempt back-to-back victories in the world’s greatest steeplechase, a feat last achieved by his trainer Donald McCain’s father Ginger in 1974 through the legendary Red Rum.

“Everything’s fine with him and Donald’s happy with him,” said owner Trevor Hemmings’ racing manager Michael Meagher.

“It would be amazing if he could do it again.

“It’s a big ask, but he has got a chance.”

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