On His Own Gowran Park 26.01.2012

On His Own: not seen on the course since falling in last year's National

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

On His Own challenging for National favouritism

ON HIS OWN was on Monday vying for favouritism for the John Smith's Grand National with stablemate Prince De Beauchene having been cut for the world's most famous race.

Trained by Willie Mullins for Andrea and Graham Wylie, who also own Prince De Beauchene, On His Own was a faller at Becher's Brook when prominent on the second circuit in last year's National and has not run since.

Prince De Beauchene is due to have his next start in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse next month while no comeback date has been set for On His Own.

However, Mullins is planning to have the 2012 Thyestes Chase winner as part of his team as Ireland's champion trainer attempts to win the National for a second time.

He said: "On His Own's back in training and working away. We haven't made any plan for his first run of the season just yet, but he will be entered for the National and, hopefully, will be on our team for the race. He was going well up with the leaders in the race last year when he fell at Becher's on the second circuit last year."

Willie Mullins top trainer Cheltenham - 18.3.11

Willie Mullins: chasing a second success in the Grand National

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) 

On His Own was shortened in the betting for the National on Monday with Coral making him their clear 14-1 favourite (from 20) with William Hill went 16-1 (from 20) making him joint favourite with Prince De Beauchene.

Coral spokesman David Stevens said: "On His Own has not been seen in public since his fall in last year's National, but the money we have seen for him today suggests an imminent reappearance and a return trip to Liverpool are both on the cards."

The third contender at the head of the Grand National market is Coral Welsh National runner up Teaforthree, who is a general 20-1 for Aintree glory.

His trainer Rebecca Curtis said on Monday: "He was a little tired yesterday following the Welsh National, but he seems fresh and well this morning. It was a really good run, but it probably didn't help us that the fences were omitted; he's such a good jumper."

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.