Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh could already enjoy a fruitful Cheltenham Festival together with Hurricane Fly and Quevega and they now have the favourite in the Grand National odds with Prince De Beauchene at 10/1.
Mullins has been very shrewd with the horse since taking him off the hands of Howard Johnson at the end of last season, running him only once to protect his handicap mark.
This means that Prince De Beauchene was allocated just 10st6lb in the Grand National weights, a more than winnable mark over the Aintree fences.
Mullins then took the chance to give the horse another run out before Aintree, comfortably beating Black Apalachi off level weights at Fairyhouse.
This result was a further boost for Prince De Beauchene’s Grand National chances as Black Apalachi has been allocated 11lb more than him at Aintree, which shows the monumental task he faces.
Mullins and Walsh have already won the Grand National together in 2005 through Hedgehunter and it is hard to criticise the chances of Prince De Beauchene.
He is a course winner at Aintree when landing the John Smith’s Handicap Chase in April on his last run for Johnson, while stamina should prove little problem as he has triumphed over 3m before on heavy ground.
Meanwhile, although the horse has won on soft ground, Mullins believes he will be even better on a firmer surface, given the size of his feet.
The only potential drawback for Prince De Beauchene is that he still needs three horses to withdraw from the Grand National to ensure his participation, but with Mullins already having seven entered that are guaranteed a run, he is likely to be happy to pull some out.
Prince De Beauchene’s victory was in the BobbyJo Chase at Fairyhouse and this was also the race won by Hedgehunter en route to Aintree for the Grand National.