Jonbon's only defeat so far came in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, when he was second to his Nicky Henderson-trained stablemate Constitution Hill.
The JP McManus-owned gelding - a full-brother to Douvan - went from Cheltenham to pick up Grade One honours at Aintree, where Paul Nicholls' Monmiral finished runner-up to Epatante in the Aintree Hurdle having been a Grade One juvenile winner at the National meeting himself last year. Although likely to be sent off favourite, the main objective for Henderson's chasing newcomer appears to be a clear round of jumping. "It's looking a good race, but Nicky and the team are very happy with him and it's a lovely place to get him started," said Frank Berry, McManus' racing manager. "It will be nice to get him started with the ground being as it has been and we're hoping for a clear round. It's all about getting started, getting round and having a good round of jumping and whatever happens after that is a bonus." Adding further spice to the two-mile contest is the presence of Dan Skelton's West Cork, a classy hurdler in his own right who was second to Stage Star here over two and a half miles on his fencing bow.
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