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Grand goal for Goonyella is a crack at Aintree

Goonyella, first reserve in last season's Crabbie's Grand National, has the Aintree marathon as his long-term objective in 2015.

Goonyella was seventh in the Irish Grand National on his final outing of the last campaign and trainer Jim Dreaper is hoping the seven-year-old can make the cut for the English version next time round.

The County Meath handler was pleased with the seven-year-old's first run of the campaign when half-a-length second to Plinth after the only other runner Mireya fell in a two and three-quarter mile hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday.

"It was a good run. He was a bit flattered by getting so close to the winner at the end, but it was fine," said Dreaper.

"I've nothing definite for him next yet. He won't go for the Troytown and I'm afraid I won't have a runner in that race this year as my other entry Los Amigos is not going for it either.

"We'd like to have him for the English National if he can get in. He just missed out by one last time and needs to improve a bit or be a little higher in the ratings to have any chance."

1Sandra Hughes, daughter of the late Dessie Hughes, will have her first runners this afternoon when she runs three at Fairyhouse. Dessie Hughes was laid to rest yesterday after losing his brave battle with illness and his daughter will send out the first three runners from Osborne Lodge since his death over the weekend. Blue Bicycle, Wrath Of Titans and Bold Conquest are the three declared runners.


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