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Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Midnight Club wins Grand National trial in Ireland

Horse racing

The Midnight Club has been installed as Grand National favourite after victory in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

The 11-10 favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, beat Arbor Supreme (20-1) and Oscar Time (9-2) in the prestigious trial for the Aintree showpiece.

The 10-year-old Midnight Club, trained by Willie Mullins, was second on his seasonal debut in last month's Theyestes Chase.

Mullins's Hedgehunter won the Bobbyjo Chase en-route to 2005 National glory.

The strong-travelling Oscar Time looked a huge threat but failed to pick up as expected and The Midnight Club saw it out well to hold off his own stable companion Arbor Supreme by a length.

Mullins said: "I'm happy with both horses. The Midnight Club came on nicely from his Thyestes run and it is nice to see Arbor Supreme come back into a bit of form.

"The Midnight Club probably showed normal improvement from his first run of the season and we're now happy that we're on track with both horses for the Grand National. They are unlikely to run again before that."

Oscar Time's trainer Martin Lynch was not too disappointed with the performance of his charge, who will also travel to Aintree for the National.

"He's Aintree-bound and we're very happy - he jumped super," he said.

"That was the first time Sam (Waley-Cohen) rode him in public over fences.

"There's still a bit of fine-tuning to be done. He's not the biggest and it was important that Sam got a feel of the scope the horse has to jump.

"We'll see how he comes out of this but I'd imagine he'll head straight to Aintree. That's always been the plan."

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see also
Nicholls craves National winner
17 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
McCoy winner tops Aintree weights
22 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Nicholls enters 10 for National
02 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
McCoy ends wait for National win
11 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing

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