Goonyella looks to be peaking at right time for Jim Dreaper

In his first start over fences he came up six lengths short but the signs are encouraging

Jamie Flynn on Goonyella. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Jamie Flynn on Goonyella. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Venitien De Mai led home a Jim Dreaper 1-2 in Sunday’s Leinster National at Naas but it was the performance of the runner up, Goonyella, which encouraged hopes the Co Dublin trainer could strike in the most famous National of all in Aintree next month.

Winner of last season’s Midlands National, and runner-up in the Scottish National, Goonyella is a 20-1 shot in some ante-post lists for the Aintree National after an encouraging return to fences.

He came up six lengths short of his stable companion but Dreaper said: “It was a great run. I couldn’t see Gonnyella beating the other fella at that weight difference so it’s very satisfying. If a wet week can be arranged at Aintree I’ll be very grateful!”

Jonathan Burke made his return to action from injury on Goonyella who stayed on up the straight behind his pace-setting stable companion in the E50,000 weekend highlight.

“I’m delighted with that and he really stepped up,” Burke said.

It was Gonnyella’s first start over fences since he finished out of the money in the Becher Chase over the famous National fences at Aintree in December. He missed out on a run in last year’s Aintree National after failing to get promoted from the reserves.

Before Liverpool, Venitien De Mai will have the Irish Grand National as his own target over Easter. The former prolific point to point winner disappointed over hurdles but Dreaper said: “Maybe he’s just needed time.”

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