Grand National: Snow Leopardess set for Aintree bid as Death Duty wins Punchestown Trial

Grand National clues were dropped on either side of the Irish Sea on Sunday.

Snow Leopardess

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Paddy Power traders trimmed Snow Leopardess‘ odds for the Grand National after scoring in the Listed Mares’ Chase at Exeter on Sunday.

A winner on debut over Aintree’s iconic fences in December’s Becher Chase, Charlie Longsdon’s charge claimed her third victory on the spin with a convincing 12l success.

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A mare has not won the Grand National since 1951 but, as far as Longsdon’s concerned, it’s all systems go for the world’s greatest steeplechase in April.

“The handicapper advised us to roll the dice one more time as we were borderline getting into the Grand National but you potentially risk all doing that,” he said. “She has done it nicely today and ground it out. She only got going down the home straight and I don’t think she enjoyed being stuck behind loads of horses. She won a bumper going right-handed around Gowran Park but it is her first run since going that way.

“She showed a bit of class but she has had a hard race. We thought this was the perfect race for her. She was meant to win the race and she did win the race.

“I was more nervous about this race as she was expected to win. There is always an element of lottery over the Grand National fences.

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“That might be it until Aintree now. We thought about giving her a run in a veterans’ qualifier at Newbury in three weeks’ time but that looks like it will come too soon. It was hard ground hard conditions today but she won.”

Meanwhile, Death Duty scored for the first time since December 2017 in Punchestown’s Grand National Trial to set up a potential bid for Aintree glory.

Trainer Gordon Elliott, who has saddled the Grand National winner on three occasions, said: “We have Cheltenham and Aintree and he’ll go to one or the other. He’ll be in the Kim Muir and the Ultima at Cheltenham and in the English National too.”

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A total of 107 entries have been lodged for the Grand National 2022 and the weights are due to be released on Tuesday, February 15.

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