Baie Des Iles bids for Irish National ticket in Bobbyjo spin
Ross O'Sullivan is hoping Baie Des Iles can book her ticket for the Irish Grand National when she runs in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
The five-year-old relishes soft ground and a true stamina test, something she is guaranteed this weekend.
She has made good strides this season, winning at Punchestown and finishing second to Bonny Kate in a Grand National Trial, and O'Sullivan hopes she will be tough to beat from the bottom of the weights.
"She's well in, she's got 10st 3lb and is getting a stone and more off the others. Conditions will suit her, three-mile-one on soft ground," he said.
"It's three weeks since her last race and we're hoping the Irish National is her main aim, which is five weeks away, so it will be a lovely prep run for her.
"I'm just hoping for a nice prep run for her, she seems to be in good form.
"With Ruby (Walsh) riding for Willie (Mullins), obviously, and Andrew Lynch over at Ascot to ride Flemenstar, Robbie Power takes the ride on her."
Walsh had the choice of three Mullins runners in the Graham Wylie-owned duo of Boston Bob and On His Own as well as Turban, but plumped for the former Grade One winner Boston Bob.
"We've three in it. On His Own, Boston Bob and Turban," Walsh told At The Races.
"Turban has to run to try to qualify for the English National, Boston Bob was very disappointing in the Thyestes but has been a bit better at home since.
"On His Own ran a fortnight ago at Leopardstown. It's a competitive race, Ross O'Sullivan's mare Baie Des Iles gets in down at the bottom and Mala Beach ran a blinder in the Thyestes but has a bit more weight this time. It's a competitive race all the same.
"I'd say Boston Bob could have been given a bit of a chance by the handicapper in the National off 151, if he can bounce back to anything like his best."
Last year's Irish National winner Thunder And Roses is running, but he has shown little to date this season.
Sandra Hughes reports him in better health now, though, and expects a return to Fairyhouse to suit.
"He's in very good form. He went to Aintree and was pulled up early and then we missed Christmas with him and went to the Thyestes.
"I think he just blew up in the Thyestes, he got very tired.
"He's ready now and he'll put up a good performance. He loves Fairyhouse.
"Everyone thinks he's a real soft ground horse, but he likes that more dead ground rather than that really heavy, winter ground, as he is by Presenting.
"He has to go through it and he is a lot fitter than he was for the Thyestes, so that should help."
Gordon Elliott's Thyestes runner-up Mala Beach and the veteran Vics Canvas complete the field.