BERKSHIRE'S Nicky Henderson will be hoping that Shakalakaboomboom can end his 34-year hoodoo in Saturday's John Smith's Grand National at Aintree, writes James Yellen.

The master of Seven Barrows, currently locked in a battle with Paul Nicholls for the trainers' title, came closest to winning the world's most famous steeple chase with Zongalero in 1979, who finished second to Rubstic.

"He's had a nice preparation," Henderson said of 20-1 chance Shakalakaboomboom. "It's always been the plan and consequently he didn't go to Cheltenham for the Festival.

"I think 10st 12lb is an area horses can win from and he's in good form, he's our intended runner and is all ready to go." The Lambourn handler continued: "He jumped beautifully in the Topham over the National fences last year (seventh behind Always Waining), it was just that two-miles-six was a bit short for him.

"He went on to Punchestown where he won the Pat Taaffe Chase, then he ran at Cheltenham over three miles and a bit first time out this season and his stamina helped him a lot."