Published: 09:57 22/03/2012
The BHA’s head handicapper says Cheltenham winner Sunnyhillboy is leniently treated and ‘well in’ at the weights in the Grand National at Aintree on April 14.
Phil Smith has re-assessed the handicap marks following the Cheltenham Festival and his victory in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap means Sunnyhillboy is set to rise in the weights. The change in the nine-year-old’s rating won’t affect his Grand National weight and he goes to Aintree un-penalised for the win.
"Sunnyhillboy was the widest margin handicap winner at Cheltenham and has gone up 10lb so technically he is well in by that amount and the runner-up in his race, Becauseicouldntsee has gone up 5lb so they would have a different rating now if I reframed the race," said Smith.
Trainer Johnjo O’Neill won the Grand National in 2010 with Don’t Push It and has three entries in this year’s renewal, Gold Cup winner Synchronised, Sunnyhillboy and Arbor Supreme. Sunnyhillboy is a winner over three-miles and two-furlongs and has been placed over a three-furlongs longer trip at Fairyhouse, so should stay the Grand National distance. Ladbrokes give new customers up to a £50 free bet after their first bet, the online bookie bets 16/1 for Sunnyhillboy to win the Grand National.
O’Neill is confident his horse will see out the four-miles at Aintree in the Grand National and said: "Sunnyhillboy is in good form. He stayed well at Cheltenham the other day and I think he'll probably get the trip. He's a contender hopefully.”