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On His Own aiming to follow Hedgehunter's National route


Ruby Walsh speaking with trainer Willie Mullins

Ruby Walsh speaking with trainer Willie Mullins


Ruby Walsh speaking with trainer Willie Mullins

WILLIE MULLINS' On His Own gets the nod to emulate the stable's 2005 Aintree Grand National hero Hedgehunter by completing his preparations for the famous Liverpool race with a successful raid on the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse this afternoon.

The 10-year-old dual Thyestes Chase victor has crashed out of the last two editions of the National, but he is just a top-priced 25/1 to make it third time lucky on April 5.

If he manages to prevail in what is a cracking renewal of this three-mile Grade Two, those odds will surely plunge.

Gordon Elliott's Grade One-winning Mount Benbulben is undoubtedly the horse to beat following his admirable fourth behind Silviniaco Conti in the King George VI Chase.

However, Danny Mullins' partner is an erratic fencer not easily trusted, and it could be that last year's winner Roi Du Mee might prove a more potent threat for Elliott under Bryan Cooper.

Tom Gibney's memorable 2012 Irish Grand National victor Lion Na Bearnai is another that couldn't be discounted under Davy Russell after his rejuvenated display here earlier in the month.

Still, On His Own receives weight from all six of his rivals bar Make A Track, which he meets off levels, despite being rated 6lb superior. It's hard to argue that On His Own's 11lb hike for that commanding Thyestes triumph last month isn't entirely justified.

If it is, then the weight structure here is tilted considerably in his favour, so he is fancied to secure Walsh a belated first triumph in the race since its 2003 inception.

The all-conquering Mullins-Walsh axis is represented by the runaway Punchestown scorer Adriana Des Mottes in the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle, another fantastic Grade Two event.

Walsh has overlooked the handsome dual winner Abbyssial and French import All Pepper – also a two-time hurdle winner – for the precocious filly, so that is surely significant.

Blue Hell is another dual Gallic winner which finished second to All Pepper when last seen in the autumn that debuts for Tony Mullins and Barry Connell now. He is one of a raft of the 12 runners with live chances, but slight preference is for the Aidan O'Brien-trained Plinth.

Despite jumping moderately in a Grade One at Leopardstown a fortnight ago, the JP McManus-owned son of Montjeu still kept on well to be third behind Guitar Pete.

In the circumstances, it was a decent turn, so Plinth is fancied to do better here if he brushes up his technique for Robbie Power.

Connell may see his ubiquitous yellow and blue colours carried to success aboard Valmy Baie in the two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle.

Having been placed in three hurdles in France, the Elliott-trained five-year-old had Kylestyle and Blow The Doors Off behind when third to Valseur Lido at Cork in November, form that stands out in the context of a debut mark of 116 for 10st 5lb here.

In the hunters' chase, the progressive James is tipped to thwart his Leopardstown conquerors Tammy's Hill and Warne, while the day's nap vote goes to Beluckyagain for the Mullins and Walsh combination in the mares' maiden hurdle.

A bumper winner at Thurles last month, the daughter of Old Vic ran into a decent sort in Twentytwo's Taken here last time, and this is a pretty poor affair.

Irish Independent