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2020 Gold Cup runner-up Santini set for first Grand National appearance

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Santini set for first Grand National appearance

Santini’s excellent stamina seems tailor made for the Aintree Grand National and the ever-popular stayer has been aimed at the famous marathon on Saturday, 9th April.

Handler Polly Gundry is thrilled at the prospect of having a runner in the world-famous steeplechase and following the runner’s eighth-placed finish at the Gold Cup, she described it as an “out-of-body experience”.

The 2020 Gold Cup runner-up switched from Nicky Henderson to Gundry and her small yard in Devon ahead of the current season in a bid to rekindle it’s fire. On his third outing in the Gold Cup earlier this month, the ten-year-old was prominent throughout until he lost his position four from home and was well adrift at the finish. Nevertheless he came out of that contest in decent form and looks set to contest the Aintree National fences for the very first time in a little over two week’s time.

Gundry said: “He’s come out of the Gold Cup really well and is quite fresh at home.

“The plan is to do a good bit of schooling and jumping over different things with him as we want to run in the National, and he doesn’t like surprises.

“Horses having their first run over the National fences don’t have the best record but not many people have got my background where they’ll school horses over cross-country fences like I will. Hopefully, we’ll iron out that element of surprise and he’ll take to it. He’ll be really well prepared and he wants a longer trip these days, so it should suit him well.

“We’re looking forward to it. It will be my first entry at the Aintree festival and he was my first entry at the Cheltenham Festival too. It’ll be a bit of an out-of-body experience.”

At the time of writing, Santini is a general 50/1 shot to win the 2022 Randox Grand National.