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Jacob keeps Friend

Daryl Jacob is eager to renew his association with Gold Cup fourth What A Friend in next month's John Smith's Grand National at Aintree.

The eight-year-old, part-owned by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, ran the race of his life to pick up minor honours in Friday's blue riband, finishing behind Long Run, as well as stablemates Denman and Kauto Star.

Trainer Paul Nicholls confirmed on Monday that What A Friend was an intended runner in the Aintree spectacular on April 9 and that Jacob would keep the ride, and the jockey believes the gelding could be the ideal type for the race.

"I'm delighted to keep the ride and I thought he ran a cracking race in the Gold Cup," Jacob said. "He stayed on really well, jumped really well and I got a great ride off him. He stands out as a real Grand National-type horse.

"These opportunities don't come round very often and when they do, you've got to grab it with both hands.

"I'm very thankful to Paul and of course Sir Alex for keeping me on top of the horse.

"The horse seemed very fresh and very well when I pulled him up the other day and when he came back into the winner's enclosure he felt like he'd won it! I'm hoping he hasn't taken that much out of himself. He should be OK."

What A Friend is among 74 remaining entries for the John Smith's Grand National, which are headed by last year's winner Don't Push It.