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18 Mar 2014

On His Own a big doubt for Grand National

The Willie Mullins-trained On His Own, so narrowly denied victory in a thrilling renewal of the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup, is unlikely to take his chance in the £1 million Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree on April 5, writes Elliot Slater.

The 10-year-old was generally installed as the new favourite for “the world’s greatest steeplechase” after failing by just a short-head to get the better of Lord Windermere in a heart-stopping finish to the Gold Cup on March 14, a result that connections considered appealing after On His Own suffered some interference at the hands of the winner close home.

Owners Andrea and Graham Wylie have however decided against an appeal, and having proved himself in the hottest Grade 1 chase of the year the target appears to be the Punchestown Gold Cup rather than a return to Aintree and the Grand National, a race in which the gelded son of Presenting has twice before been a leading fancy only to fall on both occasions when appearing to be in with a chance of reaching the frame.

Connections had paid £27,500 to supplement On His Own for the Gold Cup just a week before the big race having taken the view that he had improved significantly since his last outing when slamming Mount Benbulben by twelve lengths in the Grade 2 Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse in February. Their confidence and the judgement of trainer Willie Mullins was well and truly justified as the eight-time winner overcame a flat spot entering the final mile to power home up the Cheltenham hill under David Casey, who came in as a last-minute replacement for regular pilot Ruby Walsh who suffered a broken arm in a fall earlier in the day.

Having been a 10/1 market leader for the Grand National, On His Own has now been removed from most lists leaving last year’s third Teaforthree as the new 10/1 favourite.