Beauchene can cement record day for Mullins
Published 23/02/2013 | 04:00
Champion trainer Willie Mullins should secure the two winners that he needs to break Aidan O'Brien's record of 155 winners in a jumps season at Fairyhouse today.
The Closutton handler's remarkable season continues to grow in intrigue, with Prince De Beauchene the latest of his leading Grand National contenders to go on trial for Aintree in a fantastic edition of the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase.
Seabass, third in last year's National, is reunited with Katie Walsh for the first time since then in the €40,000 Grade Two, as Gigginstown Stud-owned Aintree entries Quito De La Roque and Roi Du Mee reoppose following their one-two in last month's Kinloch Brae Chase.
Martin Lynch's 2011 Aintree runner-up Oscar Time is also on duty in the seven-runner affair, as is Tom Mullins' Galway Plate hero Bob Lingo, which can qualify for the National by finishing in the first four. Dessie Hughes' Rare Bob is also entered for the April 6 showpiece, so this is a National trial in the truest possible sense.
On official figures, Colm Murphy's rejuvenated top-weight Quito De La Roque still has a few pounds in hand over each of his rivals. He should be thoroughly at home over this three-mile-one-furlong journey, but Prince De Beauchene is nonetheless fancied to overcome the theoretical weight disadvantage to record back-to-back wins.
He hacked up in a marginally less classy edition in 2012, and looked on excellent terms with himself when obliging over hurdles on his only start since, at Limerick after Christmas.
While only time will tell if he is up to humping 11st 3lb to victory in Liverpool come April, he should take this along the way under Paul Townend.
Chances are Mullins will have already broken O'Brien's 17-year-old record earlier on the card.
Dogora should see him equal it when he faces a fairly straightforward assignment in the Grade Two Winning Fair Hurdle, with Glens Melody and Tasitiocht both live contenders in the ITBA Fillies' Scheme Novice Hurdle that follows.
It's hard to see any of the remaining six starters upstaging Mullins' duo. Townend's mount Glens Melody, so impressive in Listed company at Leopardstown last time, is possibly the one that will carve a name for itself in the history books now.
In between, Prunella Dobbs' Our Girl Salley should exploit a reasonable mark on her switch back from chasing under Davy Russell in the handicap hurdle, with My Murphy napped for Liam Burke and Andrew Lynch in the beginners' chase.
A staying-on third over two miles and a furlong behind Rupert Lamb at Leopardstown, the smart Presenting gelding will relish the half-mile step up in trip here.