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On His Own leads Irish raiding party for Grand National

Imperial Commander heads a list of 49 horses left in Saturday's Aintree Grand National. His trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has won the race twice with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002), has also left in Major Malarkey and Viking Blond.

The big guns at the head of the market have all stood their ground, headed by ante-post favourite On His Own. Willie Mullins is also represented by Quel Esprit and Quiscover Fontaine as the champion Irish trainer looks to add to his success with Hedgehunter in 2005.

The second, third and fourth home 12 months ago, Sunnyhillboy, Seabass and Cappa Bleu, are set to renew rivalry, while other horses with proven Aintree form are 2011 runner-up Oscar Time, 2010 fourth Big Fella Thanks and triple Topham winner Always Waining.

Colbert Station, Teaforthree, Join Together and Chicago Grey are among the other fancied horses remaining in the line-up, while Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has shares in both What A Friend and Harry The Viking, which are both trained by Paul Nicholls.

The eight horses to come out were Prince De Beauchene, Bob Lingo, Tofino Bay, Lion Na Bearnai, Bostons Angel, Beshabar, Wyck Hill and Magnanimity. Lion Na Bearnai has picked up an infection that has been affecting Thomas Gibney's string.

Irish Independent