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Randox Grand National: Daryl Jacob upbeat on Bristol De Mai's chances

Wed 7 Apr 2021

Click here for our essential Grand National runner-by-runner guide

Jockey Daryl Jacob is eyeing a second success in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday as he issued a positive update on Bristol De Mai ahead of the £1 million contest.

Jacob famously landed the 2012 running by a nose aboard Neptune Collonges and teams up with another classy grey this time, with Bristol De Mai rated a 25/1 chance with Betway for Aintree glory behind 4-1 market leader Cloth Cap.

"He's a class horse" - Daryl Jacob speaks to Niall Hannity at Ludlow last week on his chances of further Grand National glory, this time aboard Bristol De Mai

The 10-year-old won his third Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and ran with credit when second to Native River in the Cotswold Chase at Sandown in February. Despite having to carry top-weight at Aintree, Jacob is hopeful of a bold performance.

“Bristol De Mai is in very good form," he said. "He schooled very nicely for me last week and has worked very nicely at home recently.

“Everyone seems very happy with him. Obviously it is a big task carrying top-weight over an extended four miles, but he has been a wonderful servant to us and he is one of the class horses in the race.

“Bristol De Mai has been a lovely jumper since he came over France. He schooled nicely over Aintree-type fences last week and I was very happy with what I saw.

“Hopefully we have a clear round and he won’t be too far away. Neptune Collonges fitted the same sort of bill in that he was a classy horse bringing top form to the table, having finished in the placings in a Gold Cup. He may have even won more Grade Ones if he was not in the Denman and Kauto Star era.

 Bristol de Mai after yet more Betfair Chase glory for Jacob, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede (Photo: Focusonracing)
Bristol de Mai after yet more Betfair Chase glory for Jacob, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede (Photo: Focusonracing)

“Bristol De Mai is exactly the same in that he has boasts top-class form into the race. He gets three miles on a flat track around Haydock very well. Obviously, you’re never sure until you run over it, but hopefully he can stay the trip. I believe he will and I will ride him as if he will stay the trip.

“You never know until you go to the well, but I would be hopeful he’ll stay with a flat track sure to play to his strengths. I don’t think quicker ground will be a problem. If it is good to soft, good in places, I would be very happy.

“If it was four miles in heavy ground running off top-weight, I think that would be a massive ask. Bristol De Mai goes in nice ground and I don’t think an extended four miles on testing ground would be a plus for him.

“Every horse is a rival in the Grand National. You have to beat every horse in the race. We’ve seen the likes of Mon Mome and Auroras Encore win the race at big prices in the past and just look at earlier this week with a 150/1 winner of the Irish Grand National. Any horse can win it, so Cloth Cap is one of 39 other dangers. It’s going to be a very tough race."

Jacob is set to adorn the same double-green silks of owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede aboard Fusil Raffles in Thursday's Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase.

The six-year-old was an excellent second for trainer Nicky Henderson behind stablemate Chantry House in the Marsh Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and Jacob feels conditions will suit.

“I was very proud of Fusil Raffles’ second at Cheltenham last month”, said Jacob. He ran his heart out, jumped super, travelled super and Chantry House is a very smart horse.

“Our lad ran right up to his best form and Fusil Raffles likes decent ground, so we’re hopeful of a good run at Aintree.”

Double Shuffle ready for second attempt in Grand National

Double Shuffle is set to have a second crack at the Randox Grand National – four years after his unsuccessful first appearance.

The Tom George-trained chaser was only a seven-year-old when facing the famous Aintree fences over the extreme distance four years ago.

That test ultimately proved too much, and Double Shuffle was eventually pulled up before the second-last in the race won by One For Arthur.

He is a much more seasoned campaigner these days and the 145-rated chaser boasts a fine record, which includes his runner-up placing in the 2017 King George VI Chase.

Click here for our essential Grand National runner-by-runner guide

George is looking forward to giving him another chance as an 11-year-old on Saturday and said: “He’s ready to go.

“He’s had a nice preparation and he’s in good form. Johnny Burke rides.

“He ran in the National four years ago but he was a bit immature.

“He didn’t see the trip out, but he’s a lot more grown up since then and is more mature. He should be fine now.”

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