Racing

Sherwood dreaming of Many glories with Clouds

Jockey Leighton Aspell celebrates on board Many Clouds after victory in the 2015 Crabbie's Grand National Chase

OLIVER Sherwood is “living the dream” ahead of Many Clouds’ bid for immortality in the Crabbie’s Grand National.

The nine-year-old will carry top weight in the Aintree spectacular as he bids to become the first dual winner since the one and only Red Rum in the 1970s.

Sherwood could not be happier with his stable star’s preparation, which was rounded off with a spring-heeled victory at Kelso last month, but admits it would be beyond his wildest dreams if Many Clouds makes history.

Speaking while walking the course yesterday morning, the trainer said: “I’m feeling very relaxed, chilled and happy with my horse.

“All we can hope for now is some luck in running and what will be will be.

“As I’ve said before, Kelso was the first time I think he’s been 100 per cent fit, so it’s been pretty much automatic gear for him since then. We’ve just kept him mentally straight.

“He’s had a couple of pieces of work to keep him ticking over. I personally think he is coming right at the right time.

“He looks and feels the exact same horse as 12 months ago. I don’t feel he has improved and he certainly hasn’t decreased in any way.

“He doesn’t have to have improved to be bang there, having only gone up a pound.

“If it happens it happens and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. The main thing we want is for the horse to come back in one piece.

“The talking is very nearly done and at the moment, we’re still living the dream.”

Leighton Aspell is also bidding for National history by becoming the first jockey to win three consecutive renewals, having also landed the 2014 running aboard Pineau De Re.

Sherwood said: “It would be a marvellous achievement for Leighton as it’s never been done.

“His confidence is sky high at the minute and he is very confident in the horse, too, which always helps – especially in a National.”

A few tasty bets under discussion ahead of the Grand National

He only went under by a neck but it should have been the other way round. 

While one of the quieter members of the weighing room, Aspell, who retired in 2007 only to later reverse his decision, has a steely determination to succeed.

Having gone through the race, he has identified the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Holywell as one of his biggest threats.

He said: “You are always going to look for dangers and find some.

“Silviniaco Conti brings some quality to the race but there must be a big question mark about whether he will get the trip.

“A few times he has looked a bit tripless going beyond three miles. Four-and-a-quarter miles will really test his stamina.

“There are several lines of form where Many Clouds and Holywell cross.

“Holywell’s run at Cheltenham was very good and his fourth in last year’s Gold Cup would put him bang there in this year’s National.”

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