Cause Of Causes ruled out for the season and misses Aintree National

Apple’s Jade could clash with Buveur D’Air in Aintree Hurdle

JP McManus’s stalwart Cause Of Causes has been ruled out of the upcoming Randox Aintree Grand National.

The triple-Cheltenham Festival winner finished a gallant runner-up to One For Arthur in last year’s National and had been one of the leading fancies to go one better in next month’s Liverpool spectacular.

However, Cause Of Causes was pulled up in the Cross-Country event at Cheltenham 10 days ago and won’t be able to return to action this season.

"The intention was to go to Liverpool but he won't be going. He got jarred up (at Cheltenham). He's not too bad but he won't be right for this season," said McManus's racing manager, Frank Berry, on Monday.

Cause Of Causes won the Cross-Country event at Cheltenham in 2017 and prior to that had also won the Kim Muir (2016) and the National Hunt Chase (2015) at the festival.

Berry also confirmed the dual-Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air is on course to defend his Aintree Hurdle crown and he could be set for a mouth-watering clash with the top mare, Apple’s Jade.

Gigginstown’s prolific Grade One star put up the most visually impressive performance of her career at Liverpool in 2016 when landing the Anniversary Hurdle by 41 lengths in a stunning performance.

Apple’s Jade was recently beaten into third behind Benie Des Dieux when trying to defend her OLBG Mares Hurdle crown at Cheltenham, a performance that left connections perplexed.

“It was Benie Des Dieux’s day but we hope she (Apple’s Jade) was just in season. She just hung and lugged. She was very quiet in herself afterwards which is very unlike her. She’s usually very buzzy.

“There’s a possibility she’ll go to Aintree and Punchestown. There’s also a question of her always being beaten first time after a break so I don’t know: I do know she’s better off busy,” said the Gigginstown spokesman, Eddie O’Leary.

The unbeaten Samcro will bring his season to an end at Punchestown and O’Leary indicated he is likely to run in the two and a half mile novice option.

“He’s in them all (novice races) but I would imagine it will be the two and a half. Or maybe he’ll go for the three mile, depending on the ground,” he said.

Samcro’s trainer Gordon Elliott also said no decision on whether the horse will go over fences next season or remain over hurdles.

“It’s still up in the air. We’re still toying with the idea of training him for the Champion Hurdle next year. But nothing is set in concrete,” he reported.