Aintree Grand National Festival News: Funambule Sivola aiming to make hay in the Marsh

Venetia Williams has a lively outsider in Funambule Sivola in the Marsh Chase on Friday, April 8. He will be aiming to build on a solid second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

All eyes with be on favourite Fakir D'oudairies in the Marsh Chase but Venetia Williams has a solid outsider in Funambule Sivola who finished second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

That second came at odds of 40/1 when the seven-year-old chased home Energumene in the Cheltenham Grade 1.

Funambule Sivola's odds will not be so fat this time around at Aintree but Elli Morgan, who handles the My Racing Manager Friends syndicate who owns the horse, is bouyant about his chances.

"I was absolutely thrilled with him at Cheltenham and what a little horse he is," she said.

"It almost felt a like a win at Cheltenham. Just before the race I'd said to Venetia that as long as he ran a good race, even if he came back seventh, if he came back safe I'd be happy and she agreed, saying it was incredible he was even in it.

"Then Shishkin was pulled up, a few fences later Chacun Pour Soi lost his jockey and coming to the last I thought we'd be at least third yet he battled on for second.

"He's clearly still progressing, each of his last three runs have been better than the last and he's still only seven, he was the youngest runner in the Queen Mother so we've hopefully a lot of years left with him.

"Some of the press coverage was a little disappointing as it was all about 'what if Shishkin was there' but you can't have everything."

Morgan isn't put off by Funambule Sivola stepping up in trip, far from it in fact.

"When he ran at Cheltenham on New Year's Day there was a lot of talk that he didn't stay the trip, but that was a different test to this and at Huntingdon before that I thought he stayed on and he wasn't 100 per cent fit for his first run due to a little setback," she said.

"We know he's run well at Aintree, I'd expect him to get the trip there so it just depends on everybody else.

"We weren't expecting him to be in graded races this season to be honest, we did think he would be eventually, but maybe next season. He has given us so much this year we can't be greedy.

"We've obviously got Fakir D'oudairies to beat and we keep meeting these star horses - it would be nice to not have them in it one day - but in a way it's nice they are as you find out how good you are.

"As long as he comes back safe, that's the main thing, we've still got next year to look forward to. He's already exceeded our expectations this season."

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