Goonyella is one of the leading Irish hopes for the 2016 Grand National, which takes place at Aintree on April 9, and having finished second in last year's Scottish Grand National at Ayr, then this Jim Dreaper-trained stayer will be aiming to go one better in the Merseyside equivalent, and is a prominent figure in the betting.
- 6th March 2016 - Naas - Leinster National - 3m - 2nd
- 27th January 2016 - Thurles - Thurles Handicap Hurdle - 2m, 6f - 4th
- 5th December 2015 - Aintree - Becher Chase - 3m, 1f - 9th
- 1st November 2015 - Cork - Paddy Power Novice Hurdle - 3m - 3rd
Jim Dreaper's Goonyella ended last season with a superb second place finish in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr, and now this nine-year-old Irish-trained gelding will aim to build on that performance and go one better in the Aintree showpiece, which takes centre stage on April 9, and he is an intriguing contender.
He kicked off this season with a third place finish over hurdles, before he returned to the larger obstacles, but a ninth place over the National fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree may have disappointed connections, as they embarked on what they hoped would be a terrific prep for the National itself.
Fourth over hurdles on his next start, the nine-year-old produced his best run of the season when coming second in the Leinster National at Naas, and if he can improve on that display in a race that will suit his stamina-laden qualtities then he could well be a prominent figure for most of the contest off a relatively low weight.
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VERDICT: A proven stayer, Goonyella may just lack the class needed in a Grand National, and while he will head to Aintree on the back of a fine second in the Leinster National, he may just find this company a little too hot, as he aims to land the prize for Ireland.