Ruby Walsh joins The Midnight Club in Grand National
Ruby Walsh, seeking his third win in the race, has chosen The Midnight Club from various possible mounts in the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on April 9.
Grand plan: Ruby Walsh will ride The Midnight Club in NationalBY CHARLES ROWLEY
The Midnight Club has been among the favourites since winning his rehearsal at Fairyhouse last month.
Trainer Willie Mullins is especially relieved by Walsh's decision as Paul Townend, his regular understudy, is injured.
Mullins said: “I think that's what is happening and it's good news.
“The Midnight Club is in good form. He worked twice during the week and we're very pleased with him.
“Everything I have that is in the race at the moment is going, if they get in.”
Paul Nicholls promptly booked Harry Skelton to ride Niche Market. Skelton rode the horse when he won the 2009 Irish National for his former trainer Bob Buckler.
Nicholls also revealed that both Kauto Star and Denman will run again this spring, following their fine efforts in defeat behind Long Run in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Kauto Star will go to the Punchestown Festival, while Denman will run at Aintree.
“Kauto Star had a hard race and ran an absolute blinder really,” Nicholls said.
“It certainly put all those who said he should be retired right, and he's fresh and well.
“Denman ran a mighty race, too. He has only had two runs this season and we'd just like to see some rain before Aintree.”
With just hours to go before turf Flat racing makes its return, punters have plenty to whet their appetites with two all-weather meetings tomorrow.
Southwell has the pick of the action with the Membership of Southwell Golf Club Handicap featuring plenty of previous winners.
La Estrella is seeking a fifth win on the bounce while Exemplary is another dual winner — but preference is for Mush Mir who will be bidding for a four-timer. Jim Boyle's charge has jumped from a mark of 65 to his current perch of 88 after a string of victories at Southwell.