JONJO O’Neill had a wretched record as a jockey in the Grand National. He never completed the course and the Canal Turn second time round was the furthest he got. Jonjo was particularly unlucky in 1979 when Alverton, who had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup a few weeks earlier, fell fatally at Becher’s Brook when travelling like the winner. But, as a trainer, Jonjo has already won the big one with Don’t Push It in 2010. That gave AP McCoy his one and only Grand National success. This year Jonjo has another horse who he thinks could do the business over the big Aintree fences.
More Of That ran a decent race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when staying on to be sixth to Sizing John. In the absence of stablemate Minella Rocco, who was runner-up in the Gold Cup, More Of That will carry the main hopes of JP McManus at Aintree.
Jonjo said: “All roads lead to Aintree for More Of That. He is in good old form. He has come out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup fine. I was pleased with his performance in the Gold Cup but not delighted.
“He just seems to have lost a bit of toe and I always find that is the right time to come to the Grand National with a horse. The horse is relaxing a bit better and he is jumping well, a good economical jumper. He did nothing wrong at Cheltenham, although the Grand National trip is an unknown. I cannot see why he won’t get the trip but you never know until you try it.
“More Of That kept plugging on at Cheltenham and wasn’t killed when his chance had gone, so he has come out of the race nicely. He is an intelligent horse and a horse I love. With his problems, he has not been as good as I hoped he would be. But he is a class horse to come to the National with.”
Geraghty in fitness fight
More Of That will be ridden by Barry Geraghty if the jockey can recover from the injury that kept him out of the Cheltenham Festival.
He said: “I’ll have a scan in the next week and I should get a better idea after that. Aintree is the target and it’s definitely coming along. We’ll see what the specialist says and go from there.”
With 79 horses left in at the latest scratchings stage, there is still plenty to go at for punters planning a Grand National Bet and Phil Smith, the Head of Handicapping at the British Horseracing Authority, outlined the horses officially “well in” since the weights were announced on February 14. Definitly Red would be 10lb higher if the handicapper could reassess, while Saphir Du Rheu and Cause Of Causes are 5lb well in. Just A Par 4lb, Pendra 3lb and More Of That 2lb.