Willie Mullins has eight entries for Aintree National
Martin Brassil looks to Double Seven
Willie Mullins: Was successful with Hedgehunter in 2005 . Fairyhouse Racing, Fairyhouse Racecourse, Co. Meath 19/1/2014Trainer Willie Mullins at Fairyhouse todayMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
A total of 115 entries, the highest since 2009, have been attracted to the first £1 million Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on April 5th.
Willie Mullins, successful with Hedgehunter in 2005, has eight possibles including the Graham Wylie-owned trio of On His Own, Prince De Beauchene and Boston Bob.
The other members of the Co Carlow handler’s team are Leopardstown Paddy Power Chase winner Rockyaboya, Up The Beat, Vesper Bell, last season’s Irish Grand National runner-up Away We Go and Quel Esprit.
Fellow Irish trainer Martin Brassil, who struck with Numbersixvalverde in 2006, could be represented in this year’s showpiece by Double Seven, who was last seen completing a five-timer at Wexford in October. The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old recorded a two-length verdict over Spring Heeled in the Munster National over three miles at Limerick earlier the same month.
Brassil said: “Double Seven has got a rating now that means he will be running in either a Crabbie’s Grand National or an Irish Grand National come the spring. It’s an obvious entry to make for a horse rated 146.
“He had a break for about six weeks after Wexford and is back in training now getting ready for a spring campaign. I think the good ground and fine weather we had over the summer helped him.
“The Grand National is probably not as much as a jumping test now as it was when Numbersixvalverde won, but Double Seven is a grand jumper. He has won over two miles, two and a half miles and three miles, always finishing strongly. He will give himself every chance of staying, but it’s about getting around and keeping out of trouble.
“He is in the four-miler at Cheltenham, but I don’t know where he will run next. A bit of good ground might tempt me to run him before Aintree.”