Should they have the privilege of leading their horse into the winners’ enclosure after the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 6, few fans of National Hunt racing will surely begrudge owners Andrea & Graham Wylie their success, having invested so much into the sport over the last decade or more.
That particular prospect is far from unlikely as, at the time of writing, the Wylies have two entries still engaged in the Aintree marathon – the 8/1 ante-post favourite On His Own, and the 12/1 joint second-favourite with most Grand National racing tips pundits, Prince de Beauchene. They are in an envious position of having two outstanding candidates for the near £1 million four-and-a-half mile contest.
On His Own has been trained specifically for the Grand National since coming down at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit of last year’s race when a close third and seemingly still full of running.
He has had a perfect preparation for this year’s contest in winning his only outing, springing a 10/1 surprise in the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February and appears to have plenty going for him in the big race, including an attractive racing weight of 11 stone.
Trained by Irish champion, Willie Mullins, currently in the midst of a record-breaking season – On His Own may well also have the added bonus of the outstanding Ruby Walsh in the saddle.
Walsh will have to choose between the ante-post favourite and his stable companion, Prince de Beauchene – the second Wylie race representative – a useful handicapper when trained like On His Own by the now disqualified Howard Johnson.
He too has run well on both outings so far this term, most recently finishing second to Roi Du Mee in the Grade 2 At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, a contest often seen as a serious guide in finding potential Aintree winners, much like the Betfair smartplays.