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Gigginstown dominate Grand National Trial as Dounikos leads home 1-2-3

Gigginstown dominated the Grand National Trial at Punchestown as the Gordon Elliott-trained Dounikos led home a 1-2-3 for the owners.

Dounikos, ridden by Davy Russell, jumped the last in third but overhauled Wishmoor and General Principle to win by four and a quarter lengths.

It was a wonderfully patient ride by Russell, who let Jack Kennedy come around him and go away on stablemate General Principle. It had looked a race-winning move, but Russell, in the blue cap, reeled him in on the run-in to win going away at odds of 12-1.

Andrew Ring may well be left wondering what might have been for the Joseph O'Brien-trained Wishmoor, who kicked clear going down the back only for a loose horse to interfere and bring him back to the pack.

The pair soldiered on gamely and were passed by the two Elliott runners, but given the way he rallied to reclaim second the 20-1 shot may well have proved difficult to reel in with an unimpeded trip.

Elliott said: "Dounikos ran okay for a long way in the Paddy Power at Christmas but just didn't perform in the Thyestes, where he fell. He was a decent novice and for a big horse he handles that good ground well.

"We'll look at the Aintree National and Irish National."

On last year's Irish Grand National winner General Principle, Elliott added: "He ran a good race and the Aintree National might be the race for him this year."

Dounikos was cut across the board for the Randox Health-sponsored Aintree spectacular, with his price ranging from 25-1 to 40-1. Having won off an official rating of 147 in Ireland, the handicapper will have the opportunity to reassess him before the announcement of Grand National weights on Tuesday.

General Principle, available at 33-1 for Aintree, is officially rated 142 in Ireland, which was the cut-off rating last year with the final three runners sneaking into the field off that mark. A slight rise would ease concerns for connections.

The JP McManus-owned Fitzhenry claimed fourth to win the 'without Gigginstown' market.

Gigginstown had six of the 16-strong field, with their topweight Don Poli a non-runner.

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