/ Racing

Queen Mother victor to step up in trip at Aintree

Updated: Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 10:30

Finian's Rainbow pulls clear of Sizing Europe to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase
Finian's Rainbow pulls clear of Sizing Europe to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase

Finian's Rainbow steps up to two and a half miles for the first time over fences on Friday as he bids to follow up Queen Mother Champion Chase success in the John Smith's Melling Chase at Aintree. 

The nine-year-old won over that trip in his novice hurdle days back in 2010 but has been kept at around two miles since graduating to the bigger obstacles. 

Nicky Henderson's charge landed the ultimate two-mile prize last month in a dramatic finish from Sizing Europe

He now bids to become the first horse since Moscow Flyer in 2005 to double up in this race in the same season.

His rider Barry Geraghty reports the Michael Buckley-owned gelding to be in great form and expects him to appreciate the longer trip.

"He's come to himself since the Victor Chandler. We were a bit disappointed on the day, he travelled brilliantly and looked the winner but on the day he wasn't just seeing out the race the way he should," he said.

"At Cheltenham he travelled brilliantly and came up the hill well. There was a lot of talk about the last fence being in or out, but if you ask me if there were two more fences to be jumped it would have been the same result. He was full of running and finishing his race well.

"Two-four should suit him and he really seems to have come to himself.

"He was keen last year as a novice and didn't give himself a chance to get home. He did too much in the Arkle, I felt he'd have won that if he'd settled better.

"He's settling better and should be seeing out his races - he did at Cheltenham but he didn't for whatever reason at Ascot (in January). 

Albertas Run took this race two years ago and was second behind Master Minded 12 months ago.

Jonjo O'Neill's 11-year-old usually comes good at this time of year and was runner-up in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

"He's in good nick but I hope we don't get too much rain," said owner Trevor Hemmings' racing manager Michael Meagher.

Forpadydeplasterer chased home Albertas Run here two years ago and was sixth in the Ryanair last month.

He is the sole Irish-trained representative in this race with connections deciding against running him in the Topham over the National fences.