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  • Joseph O’Brien Reveals Aintree Plans As Banbridge Looks To Bounce Back From Cheltenham Dip

Joseph O’Brien reveals Aintree plans as Banbridge looks to bounce back from Cheltenham dip

Banbridge is set to lead a select Joseph O’Brien team to Aintree next week, with Triumph Hurdle fourth Nurburgring also among the Owning Hill handler’s raiding party.

O’Brien may be lacking in numbers in Liverpool but will undoubtedly saddle some quality, with star chaser Banbridge attempting to atone for a disappointing showing at the Cheltenham Festival.

Conditions ultimately proved too soft for the good ground-loving eight-year-old in the Ryanair Chase at Prestbury Park, but he has some high-class chasing form to his name.

Owned by Ronnie Bartlett, Banbridge was a Grade One winner on Merseyside 12 months ago in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase and is as short as 7-2 with bet365 for the My Pension Expert Melling Chase over the same course and distance on Friday, April 12.

However, he will also be given the option of stepping up in trip to three miles for the previous day’s Aintree Bowl – a race where he could meet the likes of John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s King George hero Hewick.

“Banbridge will have a couple of entries there, as well as a couple of the juveniles, Nurburgring and Intellotto,” said O’Brien, with conditions in the north west set to have a significant bearing on where Banbridge lines up.

“Banbridge has options for both races and of course it will be discussed with Ronnie as we get closer to the time – and we will see what the ground is like. We haven’t made a decision on that yet.

“It was a bit soft for him at Cheltenham and we took a chance running, but when you don’t win, you learn something.”

Meanwhile, Nurburgring will be given the chance to build on his encouraging Triumph Hurdle display when he lines up in the Grade One Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle on the opening day of the three-day Grand National meeting.

“Nurburgring ran a very good race in the Triumph,” continued O’Brien. “Hopefully a similar performance would see him in the mix for a place and maybe give them a fright for a bit more.”

He will be joined on the teamsheet by the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned Intellotto, who was underwhelming in Grade One company at the Dublin Racing Festival but bounced back to his best with a comfortable victory at Limerick last month.

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