I Am Maximus is clear or Vaniller
I Am Maximus is clear or Vaniller

Bobbyjo Chase report and replay: I Am Maximus National favourite

I Am Maximus leapt to the head of the market for the Randox Grand National with Sky Bet after running away with the Tote.ie Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

The race has been a good pointer towards Aintree over the years and also attracted Vanillier, who was favourite for the April showpiece going into it.

He still is but was no match for the winner, Willie Mullins' charge was always cantering in third before taking over going to the second last.

Jody McGarvey never had to ask the even-money favourite a question as he sauntered 14 lengths clear of his rival with Minella Crooner a further 11 away in third.

Sky Bet go 10/1 from 25/1 about I Am Maximus for Aintree with Paddy Power and Betfair 12/1. Vanillier is 10/1 with all three.

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The winning trainer told Racing TV: "He's a funny horse but he has huge ability and the older he gets the more he matures and that ability is coming out. I thought that was a huge performance to give that sort of weight to a horse like Vanillier. What he did from the second last time was fantastic. He's a Gold Cup horse in the making I think.

"That was a huge improvement. If I came up here today and he'd finished second to Vanillier I'd have been quite pleased going home. So to do what he did was a big jump in class."

"I'd imagine he'll go straight to Aintree now. We tend to run a horse in the Bobbyo and then go to the National. Timing wise it suits. That will be his calling next year but I'll have a chat with JP (McManus) and Frank (Berry) and see if they think the same as me and we'll prepare him as a Gold Cup hore next year."

Mullins is pleased with how his National team are shaping up.

"If Meetingofthewaters and Mr Incredible get things right they look great at the bottom end while up at the top we have Capodanno and I Am Maximus. The ones in the middle it might be a different story but if those four ran their races I'd hope they'd be there at the second last anyway," he added.

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Vanillier firmly on track for Aintree

Sean Flanagan was not too disappointed with Vanillier’s effort in second, with the gelding having finished a half-length second in the race last year to Kemboy before going on to the National itself.

Vanillier will have a reduced 8lb advantage over I Am Maximus at Aintree and his rider is eager for the big day.

He said: “I’m very happy and I think he’s run better in the race this year than he did last year. There were a lot higher quality horses in the race this year.

“He’s probably got going a bit early in the race, but I wanted to get a proper race into him as I didn’t think they were going to go quick. Without forcing him I was trying to force the tempo of the race. I think he’s ran well. I’m looking forward to Aintree.”

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