Double Shuffle

J P McManus to field seven runners in Grand National

Owner J P McManus is set to field seven runners in the Randox Grand National – with connections still to finalise a jockey for only Anibale Fly.

Trained by Tony Martin, whoever is chosen for Anibale Fly could be in for some thrill at Aintree on Saturday, given he has finished fourth and fifth in the race in the past – as well as being placed twice in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

All other jockeys have been finalised, though, with McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry filling in the gaps.

“Mark Walsh will ride Any Second Now, Richie McLernon rides Kimberlite Candy, Derek O’Connor probably rides Ok Corral because he’s won on him a couple of times,” said Berry.

“Rachael (Blackmore) rides Minella Times for Henry (de Bromhead). The Long Mile runs, and Luke Dempsey will ride him. Tom Bellamy is on Canelo for Alan King.

“We haven’t sorted one out for Anibale Fly yet. He hasn’t shown much of late, but Tony is very happy with him, and hopefully he’s going there in good form.”

Double Shuffle set for second National crack

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 and extreme distance in 2017.

It proved too much in the end, 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, with a fine record which includes finishing second in the 2017 King George VI Chase – and his Cotswolds trainer is looking forward to giving him another chance as an 11-year-old on Saturday.

“He’s ready to go,” said George.

“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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