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Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Sunday, 27 March 2011 15:43 UK

Ruby Walsh picks The Midnight Club for Grand National

All the Grand National entries

JOHN SMITH'S GRAND NATIONAL Aintree, Saturday 9 April
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Radio 5 live and online


Ruby Walsh
Walsh will be aiming for a third Grand National success

Ruby Walsh will ride the fancied Willie Mullins-trained gelding The Midnight Club in the Grand National on 9 April.

The Irish jockey, who won the Aintree showpiece on Papillon in 2000 and Hedgehunter in 2005, has opted for the 10-year-old ahead of other possibles.

Chief among them had been the Paul Nicholls-trained Niche Market, which will now be ridden by Harry Skelton.

Mullins said: "It's good news. The Midnight Club worked twice during the week and is in good form."

The County Carlow trainer, who was the most successful trainer at this month's Cheltenham Festival, added: "We're very pleased with him."

The Midnight Club landed odds of 11-10 to win his most recent start, a three-mile chase at Fairyhouse in February, featuring nine runners. He will carry 10st 13lb in the Grand National and is the current favourite.

Mullins, successful six years ago with Hedgehunter, still has something of a headache for the National as two of his regular riders, Paul Townend and Emmet Mullins, are currently injured, with the former certain to be out.

That means he has to work out plans for his other runners in the four-and-a-half-mile steeplechase, including Dooneys Gate, Scotsirish, Ballytrim, Arbor Supreme and Our Monty.

Nicholls use Twitter to announce Skelton's booking on the former Bob Buckler-trained Niche Market, which won the Irish National in 2009 but pulled up at the 27th fence at Aintree last year.

"Niche Market is in great order," added the Somerset-based trainer.

Skelton enjoyed his biggest success yet when steering Niche Market to glory at Fairyhouse, and kept the ride at Aintree 12 months ago.

Nicholls had previously declared Daryl Jacob would ride one of his other Grand National hopes, What A Friend, which is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson.



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see also
Field declared for Grand National
07 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing
Ferguson's Friend set for Aintree
22 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Silver By Nature bids for Aintree
07 Mar 11 |  Horse Racing
Nicholls enters 10 for National
02 Feb 11 |  Horse Racing
Denman ruled out of National run
29 Nov 10 |  Horse Racing
McCoy ends wait for National win
11 Apr 10 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing


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