Last season’s Grand National runner-up, Sunnyhillboy, is likely to run in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival next month before looking to go one better at Aintree in April.
Many will remember just how impressive the ten-year-old was in the Grand National last year and he was denied victory by Paul Nicholls’ Neptune Collonges in the closest finish the race has ever seen.
All focus and planning seems to be geared towards Aintree for the Jonjo O’Neill-trained horse and even though the Gold Cup is a prestigious event, it would only be considered as a warm-up for the biggest prize that horse racing has to offer.
O’Neill’s charge has only ran twice this season and he came fifth at Haydock, but then pulled-up at Warwick in January.
His representatives seemed to feel as though he might have been a bit fatigued at the Grand National in the closing stages last year, so that is why Sunnyhillboy hasn’t featured a great deal this term.
The trainer confirmed that the most likely warm-up race for his charge is the Gold Cup as he said: “I’ve got him in the Pertemps, but there will be 28 runners there and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.
“I’m not sure where we’ll go, but the plan is really Aintree.
“He could well run at Cheltenham and there would be fewer runners in the Gold Cup so it might be an option.”
In terms of Grand National betting, Sunnyhillboy does look to be decent value to go one better than last year in horse racing’s showpiece event as he is at 20/1.
Of course, once the entries are confirmed, bookies such as BetVictor might start shortening the odds on the ten-year-old, so now could be the time where you get value for money.
With the Cheltenham Festival just round the corner and then the Grand National following in April, it is certainly an exciting time of the year for all horse racing fans.
If Sunnyhillboy does run in the Gold Cup, he will add more quality to an already classy field.