John Smith's Grand National - 14th April 2012 

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Mullins Relies on Three for Grand National Success

Champion Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins was responsible for three of the scratchings at the five-day stage for Saturday’s John Smith’s Grand National ,but is still left with three possible contenders for the race he won seven years ago with the gallant Hedgehunter, writes Elliot Slater.

On His Own
© Caroline Norris

On His Own

There was absolutely no surprise to see the former ante-post favourite Prince de Beauchene removed from the list having been declared a non-runner as a result of sustaining an injury some time ago, and Quel Esprit, last seen winning in Grade 1 company in Ireland was another who had been flagged up as a doubtful starter after failing to please connections since disappointing in his final gallop before his intended outing in last month’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Apt Approach’s defection however was more of an eyebrow raiser, the gelded son of Bob Back having been considered a likely runner despite never having raced beyond 21 furlongs in the past, a factor that must surely have been a significant influence on the eventual decision not to run. This season’s Grade 2 Kinloch Brae Chase winner had been available at a wide range of odds of between 25/1 to 66/1 with some firms.

Mullins now relies on On His Own (Aintree betting: 14/1), the mount of the tremendously popular Ruby Walsh, a jockey who has won the race twice before aboard his father Ted’s Papillon in 2000, and for Mullins on board Hedgehunter in 2005. The Midnight Club (Grand national tips: 33/1), sent off favourite for last year’s Grand National where he ran creditably to come home sixth although without ever threatening to get into the shake-up, and Quiscover Fontaine (50/1), a horse who on the balance of his form appears to have something to find to be in there at the business end of the contest, are the other two Mullins representatives.


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