Aintree Grand National Festival News: Jonbon at peak for Top Novices' says Henderson

Jonbon doesn't have the distraction of stablemate Constitution Hill in the Betway Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree on Friday, April 8 and can thrive with the attention says trainer Nicky Henderson.

Jonbon can show what a special talent he is in the Betway Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree on Friday, April 8 says trainer Nicky Henderson.

Without the superlative distraction of stablemate Constitution Hill, the JP McManus gelding can take the opportunity for Grade 1 glory at Aintree.

JP McManus' Jonbon only had his unbeaten streak ended by fellow Henderson inmate Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, finishing second.

But this is Jonbon's time to shine and jockey Aidan Coleman is hoping to build on Thursday's success on Epatante in the green and gold silks.

Coleman said: "He ran really well at Cheltenham, we were delighted with that. Constitution Hill looks pretty special, doesn't he? So we were delighted. He was unbeaten and he beat the rest in the race fair and square.

"He had a very good season leading up to that, we're hoping for a good run in another competitive race on Friday.

"It looks a very difficult contest in its own right, but Jonbon has had a great season and we're hoping he can put up another good show again.

"It's what he's done all year."

Appraising Jonbon's chances, Henderson told Unibet: "He would get two and a half comfortably in our opinion, but he has the speed for two miles. He beat the rest of the field fair and square in the Supreme. You'd hope with no Constitution Hill, Jonbon would be the one to beat. The better the ground, the better he will be."

Henderson also saddles Cheltenham County Hurdle runner-up First Street, and added: "First Street ran a great race at Cheltenham to finish second in the County Hurdle, considering the winner (State Man) looked like a graded horse wrapped up in handicap clothes. We had no chance of beating that, but he still ran very well."

The main danger to Jonbon seems the unexposed Willie Mullins' runner El Fabiolo, who has only had one run for the Irish trainer.

An easy winner at Tramore the five-year-old was due to run at the Dublin Racing Festival but swerved the appointment in favour of Aintree.

"He was very impressive in Tramore and then unfortunately got a knock on his way to the races for the Dublin Racing Festival and missed a bit of time," said Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father.

"We decided Cheltenham was probably going to come a bit too soon so he takes his chance here.

"It's a big step up all right, but he ran over hurdles in Auteuil and I think he'll take it in his stride."

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