Tim Vaughan still hopeful Eva's Oskar will sneak into Grand National

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The nine-year-old has enjoyed a solid campaign in staying handicaps this term, showing plenty of guts to win at Cheltenham in December and making a bold bid from the front at Gosforth Park on Saturday until the burden of top weight began to tell in the closing stages, eventually coming home fourth. Vaughan reports Eva's Oskar to have bounced out of his trip to the north east and his next appearance will be on April 15 at Aintree, with the Freebooter Handicap Chase that precedes the big race itself set to provide a back-up option. But the Cowbridge handler is hoping for some good fortune which will allow his Shirocco gelding, who is outside the top 50 in the handicap for the National, to sneak into the main event off bottom-weight. "He's absolutely A1, he has come out of the race nicely and we were thrilled with both him and the run," said Vaughan. "We're hoping now to go straight to the Grand National and pray that we get in.

"I don't know if we will get in and only time will tell, but what we will do is enter him in the three-mile-one chase there on the same day, so if he doesn't get in the National we have covered off both angles. The main plan though is the National and we're excited. "I always thought he wanted softer ground, but in reality he seems to have improved a lot for good ground this year and that will help him see out the trip. He can travel at a bit of speed, he'll stay and he'll be off bottom-weight. "I'm excited, I'm really excited to have a runner in the race and one that will go there all singing and dancing. Now we just have to hope that we get in."

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