On His Own pricks his eyes as he hurdles stylishly at Navan on MondayPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Own lays down National marker with Boyne win
Report: Navan, Tuesday
Ladbrokes Boyne Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m5f, 5yo+
ON HIS OWN made a winning comeback from nearly a year off and furthered his John Smith's Grand National claims as his stablemate, and favourite, Thousand Stars produced a tame effort to finish at the rear.
The nine-year-old was cut to favouritism for the Aintree contest on April 6 and is now 8-1 (from 11) with BetVictor and 8-1 (from 10) with Betfred. Ladbrokes are the only firm to not have On His Own favourite or joint-favourite with his Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Prince De Beauchene preferred.
Absent since falling in last year's Grand National, On His Own had already been near the head of the betting for this year's race following the publication of the weights last week and produced a classy performance in stamina-sapping ground to defeat Si C'Etait Vrai and Un Beau Matin.
Thousand Stars was hot favourite to score but rarely threatened to get competitive, emptying out quickly and comprehensively when asked by jockey Ruby Walsh to challenge at the top of the home straight.
On His Own, however, had always been travelling comfortably for rider Paul Towned, who nudged his mount up to lead the field as they turned out of the back straight.
It quickly became a three-horse race with On His Own challenged by the Gigginstown-owned pair Si C'Etait Vrai and Un Beau Matin.
But with stamina the key thing on the heavy Navan ground, On His Own kept up his gallop to assert near to land victory.
Mullins said: "That's On His Own's novice season gone! It's nice to win a nice prize with him though. I think he'll have another run before Aintree over fences. That's what I had planned coming up here anyway.
"If I can't find a suitable chase for him we'll run again over hurdles. I didn't really think he was that well or that good over hurdles.
"We were actually going to go novice hurdling with him this season but we missed the first half of the season and hadn't time to exploit it. Ruby said after half a mile the he knew Thousand Stars wasn't going. He just hated the sticky ground."