Horses To Follow » On His Own

On His Own

If there is a horse to take out of this year’s Grand National for next year’s race then it is On His Own. He seemed to meet just about every bit of trouble on the first circuit but was still travelling powerfully right in behind the leaders when he came down at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit.

Graham Wylie’s horse jumped off prominently as the starter released the tapes but then seemed to shy as he went under the raised tapes and through the start, which left him in the rear division on the run to the first fence. He took a knock from Synchronised at the second, and was then badly impeded in the melee at the fifth, the fence before Becher’s, as State Of Play fell and his jockey brought down Rare Bob, who in turn brought down Chicago Grey. On His Own had to swerve out to the middle of the track to avoid the stricken horses. He did well to avoid the fall of Alfa Beat at the Foinavon fence before meeting trouble again at the Canal Turn as not only was he short of room between horses towards the outside, but he had to step over the stricken Black Apalachi who had come down in front of him.

He was well back through the field at that point, he only had a few behind him, but he had made good ground to be much closer as they jumped the Chair, he got closer still over the Water Jump, and he was right up with the leaders by the time they reached the first fence on the second circuit.

He had moved through into third shortly after they bypassed the fence before Becher’s and was cruising, just about to move up to join Planet Of Sound and Shakalakaboomboom, when a loose horse came up his inside, just cut across him a little and forced him to check his stride, which meant that he met Becher’s Brook all wrong, he had to put in a short stride, he got in too close, landed too steeply and came down. He had stood off many of his fences up to that point, he would probably have been preparing to stand off Becher’s again (he had jumped it really well on the first circuit) and he just couldn’t organise himself in time to put in an extra stride over the steepest fence on the course.

Becher’s second time around is still a long way from home, but On His Own was still going so strongly that it did look as if he would have gone very close. The worry before the race was that he was at his best going right-handed, but he jumped very straight here. He is only eight, he will be nine next year, the ideal age for a Grand National horse, and he is rated 148, which would be a really good mark for next year’s Grand National if Willie Mullins decided to protect his handicap mark between now and next February when the weights are published. Recent winners West Tip, Red Marauder and Hedgehunter have all returned to Aintree having fallen in the race the previous year, so it is not necessarily a negative that On His Own failed to get around, especially given that he had jumped well up to the point of his departure.

He had won the Thyestes Chase at Gowran on his run this season before Saturday off a mark of 125, it is unlikely that connections saw him as a Grand National horse for this season before that, and they can now go about training him specifically for next year’s race should they wish. He should have the perfect blend of experience and potential. That is exactly what Mullins did with Hedgehunter, who fell at the last fence in the 2004 Grand National as an eight-year-old, having won the Thyestes Chase in good fashion on his run before Aintree too. Interestingly, the Thyestes Chase – which was also responsible for 2006 Grand National winner Numbersixvalverde – has a good record of throwing up future big race winners, but they are normally big race winners the following season rather than that same season.

14th April 2012