On His Own in glory chase
Published 22/02/2014 | 01:30
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.
The 10-year-old dual Thyestes Chase victor has crashed out of the last two editions of the National, but he is a top-priced 25-1 to make it third time lucky on April 5.
If he manages to prevail in 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 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 shouldn'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, 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.
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. 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 kept on well to be third behind Guitar Pete.
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 Mullins and Walsh.