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Grand National favourite On His Own primed for battle

Trainer Willie Mullins is unconcerned John Smith's Grand National favourite On His Own has not run over fences since falling in the race a year ago.

The nine-year-old has been prominent in ante-post lists for the Aintree highlight since tipping up when still travelling strongly in the race 12 months ago.

When he did eventually return to action, in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February, On His Own ran out a surprising, but hugely impressive winner.

Dual National-winning jockey Ruby Walsh missed the ride a year ago after suffering injury earlier in the day, but is due to be on board this time.

Mullins said: "He seems to have arrived at the track in good order and I don't think the drying ground will be any harm to him.

"He had a setback earlier in the season and because of that we haven't been able to get three or four runs into him.

"There was nothing suitable for him after his first run back over hurdles, but he's here now and in good shape, so I'm happy enough with that."

The Irish champion trainer, who trained Hedgehunter to win the National in 2005, has two other interesting contenders in Quel Esprit and Quiscover Fontaine.

Quel Esprit won last year's Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown and was last of four in the same race this year - his only start of the current campaign.

"These are the sort of races you train for and I'd love to train the winner again," said Mullins.

"Quel Esprit is a Grade One winner and I think he'll handle the trip.

"He's probably prefer softer ground, ideally, but the trip should bring his stamina into play.

"He's had a few blips in Grade One races over fences, but his jumping is generally good."

Quiscover Fontaine made it as far as the 17th fence in last year's National.

Mullins said: "He was jumping well until he parted company with David (Casey) last year.

"Pedigree wise, he should have no trouble with the trip, even though he has never won beyond two and a half miles.

"He has run well in an Irish Grand National before and he has a lovely racing weight (10st 7lb)."

Online Editors