No delusions for Longley over chance of inclusion for National

Trainer Sue Smith.
Trainer Sue Smith.
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STAYING STEEPLECHASER Delusionofgrandeur will line up in the Randox Health Grand National – if he makes the 40-runner cut.

The Sue Smith-trained horse was third at Haydock on Saturday in a valuable three-mile chase despite being burdened with top weight.

However, the chaser needs nine horses higher in the Aintree handicap to be withdrawn by Thursday week to make the line-up.

It will be a close call to see if the horse joins stablemate I Just Know, who is guaranteed a run in this year’s National.

Delusionofgrandeur is owned by McGoldrick Racing, a six-strong syndicate set up by Leeds-based Richard Longley, who enjoyed so much success with his Cheltenham Festival-winning horse Mister McGoldrick.

Though there are question marks about the horse’s ability to stay four-and-a-quarter miles, Longley told The Yorkshire Post that their intention is to run in the National if sufficient horses are pulled out.

He said he was happy with Delusionofgrandeur’s prep race at Haydock, even more so considering that Danny Cook’s mount had top weight and would be running off a more favourable mark in the National.

Bingley-based Smith, who saddled Auroras Encore to victory five years ago, could also be represented by Vintage Clouds.

Fourth in the Welsh National, and third at last month’s Cheltenham Festival, he’s 52nd in the handicap as veteran owner Trevor Hemmings seeks a fourth National win.