Racing: Shotgun's National plan takes shape

By William Hayler
Thursday 27 February 2003 01:00

Paul Nicholls hinted yesterday that Shotgun Willy is a strong stable fancy for the Grand National. The Somerset trainer confirmed that the horse will run at Haydock on Saturday as part of his Aintree preparation.

Shotgun Willy is an 8-1 chance for the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup. "Shotgun Willy is in good order and it has always been the plan to start him off in this race," Nicholls said. "He's fit enough to do himself justice but obviously we have left something in the tank for Aintree.

"He got jarred up at Wetherby last season and then slightly jarred up again at Ayr so we have taken our time with him. But I think he is the type of horse who will do well in the National." Shotgun Willy is 20-1 for Aintree.

Southern Star hardened as favourite for Saturday's Haydock contest. He was cut to 5-1 by bookmakers Blue Square after being confirmed for the race by his trainer, Henrietta Knight.

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