Monbeg Genius to test National claims at Kelso

Jonjo O’Neill has pencilled in a trip to Kelso for leading Randox Grand National contender Monbeg Genius.

The British Horseracing Authority confirmed on Friday the gelding would be permitted to run as he will not be affected by a restraint order placed on the assets of owners Baroness Michelle Mone and her husband Doug Barrowman.

Monbeg Genius, who carries the Barrowman Racing silks, was last seen finishing third in the Coral Gold Cup back in December, with a setback scuppering any plans for a run subsequently.

However, O’Neill reports his charge to be nearing a return, with the bet365 Premier Chase at Kelso on March 2 – plus a possible Cheltenham Festival stop – under consideration en route to Aintree in April.

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“He was always going to run as far as I was concerned and no one told me or him!” said O’Neill.

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has his eyes fixed on Aintree with Monbeg Genius
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has his eyes fixed on Aintree with Monbeg Genius (John Walton/PA)

“He might go to Kelso for the Listed chase and then hopefully he will go for the National – that’s the plan.

“He might go back to the Ultima, but we will see how we get on at Kelso first. That would probably be a bit too close together, but we will see.

“He seems fine in himself at the minute anyway and we will take each race as it comes.

“We will go to Kelso and then take it from there. He’s in good form, jumps well and is a good stayer.”

Monbeg Genius is as low as 14-1 joint-favourite for the Grand National on April 13.

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