Prince to have Aintree prep
Willie Mullins is set to give his Grand National favourite, Prince De Beauchene, an Aintree warm-up at Fairyhouse on Saturday and could also boost his JCB Triumph Hurdle team on the same card.
The champion trainer has three of the seven entries remaining in the Grade Two Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at the Co Meath track after yesterday’s forfeit stage.
The unbeaten Dogora and Fatcatinthehat are both 25/1 shots for the big four-year-old championship at the festival already but Mullins could also have a dark horse for the race.
Kalmann, an Auteuil hurdle race winner in November, and a €220,000 purchase at the Arqana Sales in the same month, remains in Saturday’s race and is also in the Triumph despite not having raced outside of France yet.
All three Mullins horses are owned by the American banker Rich Ricci.
Prince De Beauchene won last year’s €40,000 Attheraces Bobbyjo Chase before being ruled out of the National itself after a setback. He is one of three Mullins entries in the recognised Aintree trial on Saturday although another one of the trio, On His Own, is declared for Navan today. Prince De Beauchene is as low as 8/1 favourite in some ante-post lists for the National.
A dozen entries remain in total in the three-mile heat, including Oscar Time and Seabass, both placed in the National in the last two years, as well as the Galway Plate hero Bob Lingo.
Noel Meade confirmed yesterday his Grade Three winning novice Road To Riches will tackle the Albert Bartlett rather than the Neptune at Cheltenham.
“The plan with him is to head straight to Cheltenham,” said Meade. “We decided he could go straight there without another run and it will be the three-miler.”
Meade also revealed recent JP McManus purchase Owen Mc was unlikely to head for the Cheltenham bumper. “We’ve got no specific plan for Owen Mc but I don’t think he’ll go to Cheltenham. There’s a possibility he may go to Punchestown,” he said.