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'It's fantastic for a small yard like us' - JP McManus buys leading Aintree hope

JP McManus has made a high-class addition to his already powerful Aintree squad by snapping up leading Randox Grand National contender Enjoy D'Allen before this season's £1 million spectacular.

Delighted trainer Ciaran Murphy described the move as a significant boost to his Mullingar yard in what is just his second season with a licence, having previously spent more than 25 years at Charlestown Stud assisting Irish Grand National-winning handler Dot Love.

Weights for the world's most famous race were revealed last week and Enjoy D'Allen, previously owned by the Railway View Stud Partnership, has seen his odds shorten to 14-1 favourite with some firms since being allocated 10st 5lb.

Should last season's Irish Grand National third go two places better at Aintree on April 9, McManus would become the joint-most successful owner in Grand National history on three wins, already landing the prize with Don't Push It (2010) and Minella Times (2021).

Murphy, 45, told the Racing Post: "He really impressed us with his third in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and JP has come on board and purchased him with a view to going to Aintree. It's a fantastic boost for a small yard like us to have the support of someone like that.

"We made a plan some time ago to target the Grand National and have stuck to it regimentally ever since. We've been training him for one day. Everyone here in the yard is behind him and doing everything we can to get him there in one piece."

Murphy added: "He was off the bridle for a long way when we went back for a handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he really battled and showed us just how tough he is.

"In the last third of the Grand National, all going well, he'll hopefully be able to keep galloping. He has bags of stamina but was still well able to lie up with the pace early in the Irish Grand National last year. His form in big handicap chases at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown looks solid."

Prior to Gigginstown House Stud scaling back their racing interests in 2019, Murphy and Love played a major role in pre-training some of the major operation's brightest stars, including Grand National winners Tiger Roll and Rule The World.

Murphy, a former amateur rider, is eager to make the most of his experience with those Aintree heroes now that he is preparing for his own date with destiny.

"We have experience dealing with some of those Aintree horses and have tried to learn as much as we could down through the years from that," he said.

"We have one in our own hands this time and hopefully we can do him justice. This horse coming along in my second season with a licence is a bit of a dream come true."

Murphy added: "I think it's fair to say that we've been trying to progress in the last six months, to remould what we have gradually in terms of increasing quality. We're extremely keen to develop a nice team to go to war with and have room for 70 horses."

McManus is now responsible for 12 entries in the historic contest, including last year's first and third Minella Times and Any Second Now, as well as Chantry House, Easysland and School Boy Hours.

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