Cries of ‘come on Eileendover’ will have to wait for Aintree

Thorney-based trainer Pam Sly’s exciting filly Eileendover will miss next week’s Cheltenham National Hunt Festival in favour of a run at April’s Aintree Grand National meeting.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 2:00 pm
Eileendover with Paul O'Brien on board at Market Rasen. Photo: Getty Images.

Eileendover a granddaughterdaughter of Sly’s 2006 1,000 Guineas heroine Speciosa, is rated one of the best ‘bumper’ horses in training.

A ‘bumper’ is a flat race (no hurdles) run under National Hunt rules and Eileendover has won all three of her races this season to make her one of the favourites for all the big end-of-season races.

But Sly won’t race her in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham next Wednesday (March 17), preferring to hold her back for the Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree on April 8.

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The Cheltenham race has a £31k first prize compared to the £25k on offer at Aintree, but money is not the motivation for Sly.

Sly said: “I know I should probably go for the Grade One at Cheltenham, but I just think it’s too early. I wouldn’t have her fit enough for that.

“She had a month’s holiday after her win at Market Rasen which is a long time.”

Eileendover has won her three races this season at Huntingdon, Wetherby and Market Rasen by a combined total of 61.5 lengths for total prize money winnings of £16.5k

Paul O’Brien, who has ridden her in two of those wins, is expected to be in the saddle at Aintree.

After winning on her at Market Rasen O’Brien said: “She just motors through the ground. She just travels so easily. I’m sure she can step up again.”

Eileendover’s odds for the Cheltenham Bumper were halved to 10/1 after that Market Rasen success.

She could be a shorter price on the flatter Aintree track.

Sly has trained seven National Hunt winners this season and has picked up over £54,000 in prize money.