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Neil Mulholland has ruled out running Midnight Chase in this year’s Grand National following his sterling effort in Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The nine-year-old was no match for new king Long Run, or old warriors Kauto Star and Denman, but plugged on well at the death to claim fifth.

Mulholland is thrilled with how his charge has taken those exertions and Aintree’s Bowl (April 7), rather than the National, will be his next assignment.

“He’s come out of the race very well indeed – he’s perfect,” the trainer said.

“We were very happy with his performance. Fair play to all the other trainers as there were doubts hanging over a few of the horses, but barring Imperial Commander all of them have run up to their marks.

“Obviously the race was run in a record time and our lad was only beaten 19 lengths, so he’s run a very good race.

“We definitely don’t have any regrets about running. I thought he was going to be tailed off at one stage and I was about to bury my head, but then he’s stayed on really well at the finish.

“I would say he’ll go to Aintree next, but he won’t be running in the National. He’s only a second season chaser and we’ll probably leave that for next year.

“The Bowl will be his race. I’m not sure if Long Run will be there or not, but we’re going to be bumping into those horses a lot now anyway.

“Our fellow is really a top handicapper and we’ve had a really good run with him. He doesn’t owe anybody anything and hopefully he can pick up prizemoney in the top races and maybe win a nice one somewhere down the line.”

PA gm

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