McCain favouring Aintree option for Musselburgh victors

Donald McCain could skip Cheltenham in preference for Aintree with Musselburgh winners Fiveandtwenty and Bareback Jack.

The duo have both won three times since joining McCain and took their form to a new level at the weekend.

Juvenile hurdler Fiveandtwenty, with Mark Johnston on the Flat, won a Listed event by four lengths and Grade One company now beckons on Merseyside.

“It was a good weekend, very positive,” said McCain.

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“We were a little disappointed the last time she won, but to be fair to her, she’s now been up there three times and stayed overnight each time, the second time there wasn’t much of a gap.

“She’d had more time this time and was obviously the better for it.

“At the moment it’s all systems go for Aintree.”

Bareback Jack beat a quality opponent in Dan Skelton’s Third Time Lucki, who eventually faded into fourth after the two were locked in battle all the way up the straight in the Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

“I suppose people can say the favourite made a mistake at the last, but we weren’t clever at it and I think we had his measure going to it,” said McCain.

“He was a bit careful two out and he lacks a bit of racing experience.

“We’re really positive about him because he can only improve for better ground, I think, and by the end of two days at Musselburgh it was a bit of a mess.

“He’s a very neat jumper. He’s not got the physique of a chaser at the moment, but the way he jumps suggests to me he’ll be a two to two-and-a-half-mile chaser.

“Tim (Leslie, owner) and myself are big fans of Aintree. He’s in at Cheltenham, but this year I don’t think we’d be in a rush to take him there. Aintree should suit him, so there’s a strong possibility he might end up there.

“We might look to take him somewhere before then, but it’s not easy at the minute. The Premier Hurdle (at Kelso) is an option, but the ground is likely to be slow so we’ll see.”

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