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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Moscow targets King George
By Frank Keogh
BBC Sport at Aintree

Moscow Flyer was set an ambitious new objective after gaining consolation for his shock Cheltenham defeat with victory at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

The Irish raider scored in the Martell Cognac Melling Chase just 16 days after falling when hot favourite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Moscow Flyer clears the last fence in the Melling Chase

He was back to his best, defeating Isio by six lengths, with Native Upmanship denied a record third straight win in the race as he finished third.

And trainer Jessica Harrington said Moscow Flyer could be aimed at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day next season.

The Aintree victory was his first win over further than two miles over fences, but he coped well with the demands of the two mile, four furlong trip.

He now heads for the Punchestown Festival in Ireland later in April, and the three-mile King George is a long-term target.

"As long as he settles and gets into a rhythm, he's got a chance of staying the trip," said Harrington.

Moscow Flyer has now won all of the 14 chases he has completed.

Jockey Barry Geraghty was pleased to see the horse make amends for his Cheltenham blunder, and likened him to the footballer Roy Keane.

"He's a serious, serious horse - just sheer class," said Geraghty.

"He makes mistakes because he's got the bottle - like Roy Keane, who's got the bottle to make a tackle and get stuck in.

"It doesn't always work out for the horse, it doesn't always work out for Roy Keane, too."

Meanwhile, Cassia Heights could be aimed at the 2005 Grand National after springing a 33-1 shock in the Topham Chase over the big Aintree fences.

Trainer Steve Brookshaw knows what is required in the National, having won the rescheduled 1997 race with Lord Gyllene.

And David Drew, owner of Cassia Heights, said: "The Grand National next year obviously comes into our thoughts now."




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31 Mar 04  |  Horse Racing



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