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CLOTH CAP: Jonjo O’Neill “very happy” with his leading Aintree fancy, best priced at 33-1

Trainer positive as Cloth Cap prepares for Grand National redemption in 2022

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Cloth Cap ridden by Tom Scudamore clears the last to win The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury Racecourse.

Cloth Cap will reappear in the Grand National this Saturday with trainer Jonjo O’Neill confident on his chances of giving a better performance than when pulling up twelve months ago.

The 10-year-old was the talk of the town when backed into favourtism for the Merseyside feature last April, but an apparent wind issue meant he was quickly taken out of the race at the business end.

But he has returned with creditable runs this year to date, last finishing third in the Grimthorpe and he is now 1lb lower than when supposedly a stone well in for the contest in 2021.

WATCH: CLOTH CAP ROUTED HIS RIVALS AT KELSO BEFORE GOING ONTO TO FALTER IN THE NATIONAL LAST YEAR [CREDIT: RACING TV]

And the Jackdaws Castle handler, who landed the National in 2010, provided a positive update for ante-post supporters earlier this week.

“I’m very happy with him and he’s not done too much wrong this season”, O’Neill told the Racing Post.

“He ran well early in the season, flared up an old injury at Ascot and ran well last time at Doncaster. Tom [Scudamore] was delighted with him at Lambourn on Thursday and he’s looking forward to riding him.

Cloth Cap ridden by Tom Scudamore clears the last to win The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury Racecourse.
Cloth Cap has won five of his 24 career starts

“His wind cut out in the race last year – we got that sorted straight away and I don’t see him any different to last season when he went off favourite.

“I’m very happy with his preparation and really positive about him. He has to have good ground – it would catch him out if it’s on the softer side.”

The Gloucestershire chief also stated that former Cross Country victor Easysland, who has been hugely disappointing since switching to the yard, will test his mettle over the National fences this weekend.

Easysland ridden by jockey Jonathan Plouganou on their way to winning the Glenfarclas Chase during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Easysland has pulled up in three starts since joining Jonjo O’Neill

“He also had a pop over the National fences at Lambourn and I’m happy with him. He’d had problems before he joined us and I thought the Cross Country Chase had sparked him back into life as he was going great, but he just went out like a light. I can’t put my finger on it and nothing has come to light since. 

“There’s nowhere else to go with him and he’s in great form so we might as well have a go – stranger things have happened.”

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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