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Friday 15 December 2017

Run at National beckons for Albertas

A tilt at the John Smith's Grand National could feature on Albertas Run's agenda after his impressive victory in the Ryanair Chase.

William Hill go 33/1 about his chances for Aintree after what was the gelding's second Cheltenham Festival success, following the 2008 RSA Chase.

Rider Tony McCoy had been kicked on the head when falling from Jered in the opening race, and was sporting a large plaster on his chin, but he was right on the top of his game here.

The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Albertas Run (14/1) has struggled for consistency throughout his career but is never better than on drying ground and his abundance of stamina proved superior.

McCoy made sure his mount was not caught out for toe by forcing him into the lead at the fourth last after disputing the early pace-setting duties with Deep Purple.

Poquelin, the 11/4 favourite, emerged with a fighting chance and jockey Ruby Walsh showed no mercy to Davy Condon as he tried to sneak J'y Vole up the inside rail turning for home.

There was a brief coming-together, resulting in a four-day careless riding ban for Condon and, although Poquelin regained momentum, Albertas Run had still more to offer and ended up four and a half lengths clear.

"I'm all right -- I've just got a few stitches and I got a good kick in the back of my head," said McCoy. "I wasn't dead and I didn't think I had broken anything. If you can get up and feel like you can give something a good ride, then you can carry on.

"Myself and Jonjo kind of asked (owner) Trevor Hemmings if we could run him in the Ryanair instead of the Gold Cup as we thought he had a good chance and Trevor, being the man he is, was all on for it."

O'Neill added: "He'll go to Aintree and run in something, but that will be up to Trevor.

"He'd have won a King George if it hadn't been for Kauto Star, and then he'd have been a real hero."

Poquelin's owner Andy Stewart reflected: "Disappointment? No, not at all. It's horseracing, you come second, beaten by an RSA winner, and he didn't just beat us, he won it very convincingly."

J'y Vole (28/1) was beaten a nose in the battle for second.

Ger O'Brien, head of her syndicate of owners, said: "She jumped super and at the stage where Ruby went into a boxing match with Davy, we were definitely travelling well and up for second."

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