On His Own may be Grand National favourite, but that doesn’t guarantee him the steering services of Ruby Walsh in this year’s version of the world’s most famous race. Indeed, Walsh, the envy of his weighing room colleagues, has the choice of four of the top six horses in the betting; a dilemma for both him and the members of the Ruby fan club that want to back his expected mount ante-post.
The horses he can choose from are On His Own, Prince De Beauchene, Seabass and Join Together. The first two, trained by Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins and owned by Graham Wylie, both ran decent trials recently. On His Own was the winner of a hurdle race at Navan on his seasonal debut, whilst Prince De Beauchene was runner up at Fairyhouse in the BobbyJo Chase. However, their respective starting prices for those races were 10/1 and 8/11, so it’s easy to see which one ran above expectations.
Seabass, trained by Ruby’s father Ted, was third in the BobbyJo Chase and occupied the same position in last year’s Grand National when ridden by Ruby’s sister Katie. But, he’ll have to carry a lot more weight this time around and surely Ruby won’t jock his sister off.
Paul Nicholls’ Join Together ran at Doncaster recently where he was stopped in his tracks by a falling horse. But, despite the longest price of Ruby’s choices, he did show he liked the course when runner-up in last year’s Becher Chase.
Whilst Ruby’s choice is a tricky one, On His Own is lower in the weights than the other three. He is also likely to have another prep-race on 10 March; one which should he win, as expected, is likely to see him confirmed as Ruby’s ride and harden further as Grand National Odds favourite.