Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Go Conquer may be the answer to Paul and Clare Rooney’s quest for Grand National glory. With The Last Samuri already having had a few cracks at jumps racing’s biggest prize Go Conquer may be able to go one step further and actually win it for them.
The eight year old is fresh off the back of a fantastic Ascot win under jockey Aidan Coleman and is certainly in the right hands for an Aintree bid with Jonjo O’Neill, who saddled Don’t Push It to victory with AP McCoy in 2010.
O’Neill said: “He loves jumping and is a grand horse. He was going smashing in the Topham, but who can tell you if you’ve got a National horse?
“Our options are open, but he’s in the BetVictor or we could come back here in December for a race, depending on ground. A sounder surface is better for him, but not too fast.”
Ante-post odds on him winning the 2018 Grand National are already available at 50/1 with both Paddy Power and Betfair but as the season progresses, if he can maintain his good form, those odds will drop like a stone and there’s a pretty good chance he could go off as one of the favourites.
Alongside Jonjo O’Neill will also be Jason Maguire, Grand National winning jockey in 2011 on Ballabriggs for Donald McCain, but who now acts as racing Manager to the Rooney’s. A formidable team that will no doubt tactically approach the rest of the season with a view to heading to Aintree in April.
Maguire, impressed with Go Conquer’s success said of his Ascot performance: “He was good and he stayed well. He didn’t really see out the distance last season, but Jonjo’s tweaked a few things and he won well at Fontwell.
“He went up to 142 and today was a test to see if he was a genuine horse off that mark, because he might be a Grand National horse.
“I thought Aidan gave him a very clever ride from the front; he was able to dictate and slow it up as he wanted and use his jumping. It was a good bit of riding. The National would be his target.”
As the jockey that most frequently partners Go Conquer, the prospect of another Grand National shot for Aidan Coleman will no doubt be something to smile about.
He said: “He’s a great jumper.
“We really fancied him for the Topham last season and he got brought down more or less – I don’t know how he stood up, but it was race over.
“Since then he’s won at Fontwell and won today, and it’s his jumping that’s key. He jumps so well and is always saving energy.”