Jockey Ruby Walsh is set to ride Pleasant Company for Willie Mullins in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree next week on Saturday, April 8.
Willie Mullins has five entries for this year’s renewal but Walsh is set to side with the Bobbyjo Chase winner owned by Malcolm Denmark, owner of Iconic Newspapers, the company operating the Offaly Express and ten other regional newspapers around Ireland.
Mullins also has Alechi Inois guaranteed a run in the race, while Sambremont, Polidam and The Crafty Butcher all seem unlikely to make the field of 40.
Walsh, who has won the National before on-board Papillon (2000) for his father, and Hedgehunter in 2005, said, “I’d imagine I’ll ride Pleasant Company," when speaking to At The Races this morning.
“Alechi looks to have an awful lot of weight (11st 7lb). It’s probably a summer mark he has more than a winter mark.
“The others of ours from 55 downwards, will they get in? It’s touch and go.”
Pleasant Company holds legitimate claims in the Aintree showpiece, and his current price of around 20/1 is sure to be trimmed once punters latch onto the Ruby Walsh effect.
The nine-year-old has an ideal preparation for the Grand National when landing the Bobbyjo chase at Fairyhouse in February. The horse bounded clear of nearest challenger and former Irish Grand National winner, Thunder and Roses, in heavy conditions. A former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Lord Windermere was also well behind that day.
Pleasant Company carries 10st 11lbs and skipped Cheltenham to set up a bid for this race. Others prominent in the betting are The Last Sumari, Vieux Lion Rouge, Definitly Red, Blaklion and one of Gordon Elliott's Cheltenham heroes, Cause Of Causes.
The race goes off at 5.15pm at Aintree on Saturday, April 8.
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