Willie Mullins' On His Own is the new favourite for the John Smith’s Grand National after his surprise win in this afternoon’s Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan.
The gelding enhanced his Grand National prospects when making a winning return at 10/1.
While his odds-on stablemate Thousand Stars trailed home last of the six runners, the Graham Wylie-owned nine-year-old could not have done any more on his first race since last April's Aintree showpiece.
Si C'Etait Vrai made a bold attempt to make all, but he could not match On His Own's challenge under Paul Townend from the last two flights.
However, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned chaser plugged on gamely to hold Un Beau Matin, in the same colours, for second place.
Boylesports reacted to the result by making On His Own their 8/1 favourite for the Grand National, cutting him from 10/1.
"I've been trying to find a suitable hurdle race for him. He was a novice (over hurdles) before today but he's won a nice prize over hurdles now," said Willie Mullins afterwards.
"Coming here today the plan was to give him another run over fences before the National but after winning today we might review that and he could have another run over hurdles."
Mullins blamed the ground for the poor showing from Thousand Stars.
"Ruby said he just couldn't handle the ground. He came back in with muck halfway up his knees and just seemed to sink into it.
"He's unlikely to run at Cheltenham as the Aintree Hurdle is the one race we really have in mind for him."