Cantlow on track for Irish National

Paul Webber is ready to let Cantlow carry what could be top-weight in the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday.

Cantlow on track for Irish National

A winner over two and a half miles at Newbury earlier in the season before filling the runner-up spot in the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup at Cheltenham, Cantlow fell when well fancied for a fiercely-competitive Festival handicap last month.

He was unable to get competitive back over hurdles at Aintree’s Grand National meeting, but Webber is hopeful he can get back on track next week.

Webber said: “The plan was to speak to Frank (Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus) on Thursday or Friday, but as it stands, we’re making plans to run him.

“I’m not sure who will ride him. That will be Frank’s department and we will see how things stand nearer the time.

“The horse is absolutely fine. Unfortunately he missed the break at Aintree and never really got to into it, but we’ve been happy with him since.

“I don’t think the trip is a major concern.

“I’m not sure how much rain they’re going to get, but better ground would certainly be helpful, rather than very soft ground.”

Cantlow is third in the weights following the latest entry stage, but there is every chance he could end up top of the pile with Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair Don Cossack and Bog Warrior holding alternative engagements.

While Webber is hoping for drying conditions at Fairyhouse, Jim Dreaper would be happy to see some rainfall in the coming days for his duo Los Amigos and Goonyella.

Dreaper told the Irish Examiner: “My pair’s chances increase if the ground turns up soft, and I’m expecting them to encounter perfect ground.

“I’m not certain if Los Amigos stays three miles and five furlongs. There’s an assumption that horses who stay three miles will get anything beyond that trip, but I’m not so sure.

“He won over hurdles before Christmas then finished second in the Thyestes to On His Own before finishing third to Gallant Oscar at Naas.

“Goonyella travelled to Aintree (for the Grand National) a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get in and that could have been a blessing from God.

“If he had run there, or had managed to go any distance around, then he wouldn’t be running this Monday.

“In last year’s Fairyhouse National we thought he was well handicapped but his saddle slipped quite early so that was that. But I’m certain Goonyella has the winning of a Grand National in him.

“Seven-year-olds have a terrible record in the race, and that’s not a fantastic statistic to be faced with, but he’s in terrific form here at home so we’re heading to Fairyhouse to have a go.

“Goonyella and Los Amigos are two improving horses and two genuine stayers. They’re heading to Fairyhouse fit and healthy, and definitely have their chances.”

A total of 55 horses remain in contention for the prestigious three-mile-five-furlong contest.

Leading ante-post fancies Causes Of Causes, the Arthur Moore-trained Home Farm and Liam Lennon’s Foxhunter Chase hero Tammys Hill are all in the field.

Other possible runners include Jim Culloty’s Kim Muir winner Spring Heeled, Jonjo O’Neill’s Shutthefrontdoor, Robert Tyner’s Daring Article and Tony Martin’s Gallant Oscar.

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