Two weeks on from his impressive victory in the Grade 2 At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, Willie Mullins’ Prince de Beauchene remains a solid favourite for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree next month at a best priced 10/1, writes Elliot Slater.
The nine-year-old put up an impressive performance to score by six-lengths from Aintree specialist Black Apalachi in a race that is viewed as a key trial for ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’, travelling powerfully throughout the three-mile contest under Paul Townend before coming clear from the second last to comfortably justify his market position as 11/10 favourite. Those following the Grand National 2012 Betting will have been impressed.
His first win in Ireland came after a three month break that followed his debut for Mullins at Navan in November, where the former Howard Johnson-trained gelding ran a rock solid race to finish fifth of the 25 runners in the Troytown Chase. Owned by multi-millionaire Graham Wylie, Prince de Beauchene is one of a number of horses that the North East-based businessman sent to Mullins following the disqualification of Johnson, the trainer who had been pivotal in bring Wylie into the sport a decade earlier and who trained all his big-race winners including tripe World Hurdle winner Inglis Drever, and the high-class pair of Tidal Bay and Arcalis.
Irish champion trainer Mullins and British champion trainer Paul Nicholls now have charge of the Wylie horses between them, and Prince de Beauchene certainly seems to have taken a step forward and thrived in his new surroundings judging by the manner of his Fairyhouse success which prompted bookmakers to slash his horse race betting odds for the Grand National from a pre-race 20/1, with some now going as low as just 7/1 about the nine-year-old triumphing in the Liverpool marathon on April 14.