Grand National hopeful The Midnight Club was disappointing in his preparation run at Clonmel on Thursday in what was his third run of this campaign.
The Willie Mullins-trained runner could only finish third in the five horse field on heavy ground over 2m4f. The race was won by 6/1 shot Leanne who finished less than a length ahead of Trafford Lad in a tussle up to the line at the Irish track.
Mullins also ran former RSA Chase winner Cooldine in the contest, but he could do no better than fourth, however, he still likely to join The Midnight Club at Aintree for the Grand National in April. Fans of online horse racing betting need to remember this.
The Midnight Club went off 15/2 favourite for the famous steeplechase last year and finished a respectable sixth place on the debut run over the big obstacles. Jockey Ruby Walsh gave the 11-year old’s chances a real boost in the race when he opted to ride Mullins’ runner over a number of different options.
The 2011 winner Ballabriggs will also return to try and defend his title this year, but will be looking to do what no horse has done since Red Rum in 1974 and win back-to-back races in the Grand National. It would be a fitting achievement though, if Donald McCain could manage to train Ballabriggs to another victory in April, as it was his late father Ginger who was the last trainer to do so with Red Rum.
Ginger and Red Rum later became synonymous with the Grand National with the latter buried at the finish line at Aintree for the 4m4f contest.