Michael Scudamore praises Zara Phillips for her work on Monbeg Dude ahead of 2014 Grand National

The Crabbie's Grand National meeting is staged from April 4-6. Pic: Jockey Club Racecourses

The Crabbie’s Grand National meeting is staged from April 4-6. Pic: Jockey Club Racecourses

By Simon Jackson

Trainer Michael Scudamore has praised British Equestrian team member Zara Phillips for her input in the preparation of leading Crabbie’s Grand National fancy Monbeg Dude.

Monbeg Dude, a 16-1 shot for the feature race at Aintree on April 5, is part-owned by Phillips’ husband Mike Tindall, along with fellow rugby internationals James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson, in partnership with Scudamore.

The nine-year-old gelding landed the Welsh Grand National last year under Paul Carberry who rides him at Aintree, but despite his stable star’s big race success, Scudamore has endeavoured to improve his jumping.

“A lot has come together with the horse and Zara’s input has been huge,” said Scudamore who is saddling is first Grand National runner. “Her work has just made him a little more aware where his feet are over the obstacles. That’s what eventing horses is all about, they have a completely different way of looking at it.

“Accuracy and speed are more the National Hunt thing while eventers look at how it is done.”

“Paul’s going to ride and we’re very happy to have him,” Scudamore continued. “Someone with Paul’s skill, experience and class is not bad to have on board.”

“It’s great to have a runner in the race and to win would be very special. We’re trying to do what we can and get him there in the best possible state. The rest is in the lap of the gods.

“I think this is one of the best Nationals ever and it’s a hugely competitive race. But he deserves to take his chance and there are 39 others and 30 fences to get in the way.

“He goes there with a major chance on form, he stays, I hope his jumping is not a problem and he goes on any ground so he ticks a lot of the boxes.”

Tindall added: “After the Welsh National, Zara said he was not quite respecting his fences and was lazy with his jumping.

“So she started doing some pole work with him and getting him sharp on his feet. The progression is there to see, now he bounces over his fences. He travels a lot better now and is conserving his energy and speed.

“He goes to Gatcombe most Mondays to do it, in the outdoor arena. He was there a couple of days ago and will go on Monday ahead of Aintree.”

Crabbie’s Grand National – Betfred bet: 10 Teaforthree, 14 Long Run, 16 Monbeg Dude, Tidal Bay, 20 Pineau De Re, Prince De Beauchene, Rocky Creek, Sunnyhillboy, Triolo d’Alene, 25 Balthazar King, Burton Port, Colbert Station, Godsmejudge, 33 Alfie Sherrin, Alvarado, Big Shu, Chance Du Roy, Double Seven, Hawkes Point, Lion Na Bearnai, Mr Moonshine, Same Difference, Shakalakaboomboom, The Package, The Rainbow Hunter, Wyck Hill,  40 Across The Bay, Battle Group, Katenko, Mountainous, Night In Milan, Our Father, Raz De Maree, Rose Of The Moon, Soll, Standing Ovation, There’s No Panic, Vintage Star, 50 Baile Anrai, Bog Warrior, Buckers Bridge, Court By Surprise, Goonyella, Last Time d’Albain, Quito De La Roque, Roi Du Mee, Tranquil Sea, Twirling Magnet, Vesper Bell, Victrix Gale, Walkon, Wayward Prince, 66 Any Currency, Golan Way, Gullible Gordon, Hunt Ball, Kruzhlinin, Lost Glory, Minella For Value, One In A Milan, Out Now, Quinz, Quiscover Fontaine, Saint Are, Storm Survivor, Swing Bill, Tour Des Champs, 100 Merlin’s Wish, Sir Du Bearn, Solix, 200 Sergeant Pink.

¼ 1-2-3-4. NON-RUNNER NO-BET

Read Horse Talk with Simon Jackson each day at London24 for the latest horse racing news.

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