Wednesday 26 October 2016

Mulholland hopes Druids is able weave his magic again

Druid's Nephew ridden by Barry Geraghty wins at Chelteham 10/3/15
Druid's Nephew ridden by Barry Geraghty wins at Chelteham 10/3/15

Neil Mulholland insists he is keeping on top of his nerves as The Druids Nephew attempts to pull off a double last achieved in 1991 when he runs in the Crabbie's Grand National tomorrow.

Seagram, trained by David Barons and ridden by Nigel Hawke, was the last horse to win the three-mile handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival and follow up in the National in the same season.

One setback for Mulholland is the fact Barry Geraghty misses the ride on The Druids Nephew with a broken leg, but Cork jockey Aidan Coleman (pictured) was soon snapped up. Mulholland remains hopeful the eight-year-old can make the dream a reality.

"I've got no real nerves, I can't do anything else now and I know he's going there in great form," said the Wiltshire handler. "It's down to him and Aidan now, and then we need a big slice of luck.

"Aidan came in for a sit on him again (on Thursday morning). He didn't school him, it was more a case of getting to know him a bit better.

"He's in the form of his life and I'm really looking forward to it."

Alvarado finished fourth last year after having been a long way behind early on the second circuit, but he has only had one run at Doncaster since then. That has always been the plan, though, with trainer Fergal O'Brien in bullish mood. He said: "We were delighted with his run last year and decided to aim at the National again. The one thing Paul (Moloney, jockey) did say was that he was very free early on and he wished he'd had a run over hurdles to take the gas out of him.

"Hopefully we've got it right this year. One or two people said if he'd been closer sooner he might have been closer to winning, but I totally disagree with that - I don't think he'd have got home if he'd been closer.

"He stayed on past tired horses who had been up in the van. He's loving life - a proper spring horse - but we'll need a lot of luck. We had a bit of luck last year as he could have been brought down two or three times."


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