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Grand National - Racing: Martin happy with Aintree hopes

Tony Martin believes that missing the Cheltenham Festival once more will only enhance Anibale Fly’s chances of success in the Randox Grand National at Aintree next month.

The trainer, who turned 60 earlier this month, has yet to saddle a winner in the world’s most famous jumps race and he is hoping Anibale Fly, 66/1 and making his fourth appearance on Merseyside, can provide him with a landmark victory.

Anibale Fly has plenty of pedigree

Anibale Fly was runner-up to Al Boum Photo in the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup, having been third to Native River the year before, and he will bid to become the first 12-year-old to win the race since Amberleigh House in 2004.

In his first two appearances in the Grand National, the JP McManus-owned veteran finished fourth and fifth respectively, in a race won on both occasions by Tiger Roll.

Last year, however, Anibale Fly had a 42-day break between the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse and the National, but was pulled up after an early mistake.

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Russell expecting tricky defence

Unlike his first two tries in the Aintree marathon, he will not head there after a gruelling Gold Cup run and his trainer thinks that will stand him in good stead.

"I know he's getting on a bit and you wish you could roll back the years, but we're happy enough with him and it's all systems go for Aintree, at the minute anyway,” said Martin.

Age a major factor for Martin

"He's not the horse he was, but I thought he ran a lovely race over hurdles at Fairyhouse recently and we've been aiming him at the race all season."

Martin added: "He used to have hard races in the Gold Cup because he would be flat out for the last mile and it used to take it out of him. He ideally needed an extra fortnight to get over it."

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