Trainer Tony Martin has confirmed that Anibale Fly will feature in his fourth Grand National next month as he aims to become the first 12-year-old to win the National Hunt showpiece in 18 years.
The son of Assessor hasn’t won since December 2017 but has placed in two Gold Cup’s and two Grand National’s in that time, last seen finishing eighth at Gowran Park earlier this month over a less-than-ideal trip.
That pipe-opener was favoured as opposed to another tilt at the blue ribbon event at Cheltenham, and his handler belives that will stand him in good stead despite age beginning to catch up with him.
“I know he’s getting on a bit, and you wish you could roll back the years, but we’re happy enough with him and it’s all systems go for Aintree, at the minute anyway”, Martin told the Racing Post.
“He’s not the horse he was but I thought he ran a lovely race over hurdles at Fairyhouse recently and we’ve been aiming him at the race all season.
“He was fourth one year and fifth in it another year, but he went there both times having run in the Gold Cup and it just came too quick for him.
“He used to have hard races in the Gold Cup because he would be flat out for the last mile and it used to take it out of him. He ideally needed an extra fortnight to get over it.
“Last year he went there fresher but he completely missed the first fence and it was goodnight after that. It was game over, so he was never in the race. He seems to be in very good form and I couldn’t be any happier with him.”
Anibale Fly is a general 50-1 shot to land the National in April.
He’s currently 32nd in the weights at this stage, carrying 10st 10lbs should the current field of 40 be declared.
In 2019, he was off a mark of 165 and gave weight all-around when finishing fifth.