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Grand National - Racing: Protektorat protects perfect record

Protektorat will bid to maintain his perfect record at Aintree and claim a second Grade 1 success in the Betway Bowl on the opening day of the Grand National meeting.

The Dan Skelton-trained seven-year-old - who is owned by John Hales, Ged Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson - has enjoyed a stellar season, finishing as runner-up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, before winning the Many Clouds Chase in brilliant style on Merseyside in December.

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Protektorat (7/2) then finished a respectable third behind A Plus Tard in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on his last start and will bid to win once again on the opening day of the three-day fixture, having won the Manifesto Novices' Chase last year.

Quality field challenges Protektorat

He is set to face off against eight rivals, who include last year's impressive winner Clan Des Obeaux and 2019 hero Kemboy, who is one of two Irish-trained runners in the field alongside Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated.

Ryanair Chase third Eldorado Allen, Royale Pagaille and popular grey Bristol De Mai also feature among the field of nine, but Hales is confident his star will prove best of all.

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Hales said: "We were delighted with him as he proved he's a Gold Cup horse and although it's only been three weeks, Dan assures me that unless he's not 110 per cent, he'll run.

"He's extremely well and Dan's quite confident in his well-being. We're looking forward to it."

He added: "He couldn't have beaten the winner at Cheltenham, but he could have got second if he hadn't clouted the last fence. That's history now though and we're looking forward to watching him run on Thursday."

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