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GRAND ANNUAL OPTION: 33-1 shot and previous Cheltenham hero For Pleasure could sway Arkle route for Festival handicap

Former Cheltenham winner For Pleasure may head for the Grand Annual over the Arkle at the Festival



2F7PRY2 Harry Bannister riding For Pleasure, wearing a black armband in honour of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the Betway Top Novices' Hurdle during Ladies Day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool. Picture date: Friday April 9, 2021.

Supreme third For Pleasure “ought to run” in the Grand National at the Cheltenham Festival later this month, trainer Alex Hales believes.

The Edgcote representative was last seen finishing last of the four runners at the Kingmaker at Warwick last month, having fell at Doncaster on his previous start prior to that.

He will remain in contention for the first chase of the week, but his handler says his route will not be decided until closer to the off.

Edwardstone Cheltenham
Edwardstone is the current antepost favourite for the Arkle

Hales told At The Races: “My owner is very keen to go to Cheltenham. I just said we cannot go to Cheltenham on the back of a fall, so we rushed him back a little bit for the Kingmaker.

“I was well aware we would finish where we finished, it was just a case of getting a clear run into him and I thought he ran very flat, which he can do – he puts so much into his races that two weeks between runs was not long.


“The plan was to freshen him up then make a decision.

“I think he really ought to run in the Grand Annual if he is to run, but the owner wants to keep him in the Arkle, so we will keep him in at the confirmation stage and see where we are.

“Some years there can only be six or seven in the Arkle. So I can kind of see his point. It is worth keeping him in. I would imagine it will be a late decision.”

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.