Thorney horse is ready to star at the Grand National meeting

Thorney-based trainer Pam Sly is relishing the opportunity to saddle stable star Eileendover at the Grand National meeting at Aintree tomorrow (Thursday).
Eileendover with Paul O'Brien on board at Market Rasen. Photo: Getty Images.Eileendover with Paul O'Brien on board at Market Rasen. Photo: Getty Images.
Eileendover with Paul O'Brien on board at Market Rasen. Photo: Getty Images.

The four-year-old is unbeaten in three starts and is odds on favourite at 4/5 for the Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at 5.15pm.

A daughter of Canford Cliffs, Eileendover created a striking impression on debut when scoring by 29 lengths at Huntingdon in November. She backed up that win with an effortless success under a penalty at Wetherby in December, before plundering a Listed race at Market Rasen on heavy ground in January.

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Sly, who owns, bred and trains Eileendover, and will drive her to Aintree herself, decided to bypass the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and is hopeful that decision will be vindicated today.

Sly said: “Eileendover is in great form and we’re very excited about running at Aintree. We definitely made the right decision by not running her at Cheltenham and I’ve been pleased with her at home.

“Aintree will really play to her strengths. It is a flat track and the drying ground is a real positive.

“Eileendover did really well to win at Market Rasen on heavy ground as I wasn’t sure she would be suited by it.

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“A return to better ground is a plus. Clearly her turn of foot is a major asset and hopefully she’ll be able to demonstrate that again.”

Sly famously captured the 1000 Guineas in 2006 with superstar filly Speciosa who was also a winner of the Rockfel and Nell Gwyn. Eileendover is related to the classic winners.

Sly remains slightly taken aback by the level of progression shown by her stable star.

“It’s a remarkable story really,” added Sly. “She never really showed us anything at home and the plan was to start her off on the Flat.

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“However, due to Covid and other factors, we just ran out of time to run her. Instead, we gave things a go in a bumper to educate her and I was shocked by how she won. I left the racecourse thinking the others in the race must be rubbish!

“Going into that race, Eileendover had shown little. She would do her work at home and always finish on the bridle, but we hadn’t really tested her.

“From that race at Huntingdon, she has kept progressing and she was very good at Market Rasen last time out.

“Shhe is in the same form now as she was going into that race, so we’re excited and really looking forward to it.”

Sly has also entered seven year-old Fransham for a conditional jockeys hurdle at Aintree on Friday (5.15pm), but participation is not yet confirmed.

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