Mullins sees Newbury hero Total Recall as natural National candidate
Willie Mullins sees Saturday's Ladbroke Trophy winner Total Recall as a better prospect for the Randox Health Grand National than the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Speaking to At The Races at Fairyhouse on Sunday after the eight-year-old had made it two from two for the stable by beating Whisper off a mark of 147 the previous afternoon he said: "I think he needs to improve 10lb to be a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, but he could be a Grand National horse.
"That's the route I would be going. We'll see what the handicapper thinks. He might finish fourth, fifth or sixth in a Gold Cup but he seems to me to be more of a staying chaser than a Gold Cup horse."
Total Recall won the Munster National on his debut for the stable from a mark of only 129, but Mullins anticipates the handicapper raising him to somewhere in the 158 to 160 region.
It remains to be seen if the handicapper goes quite that high, but if he were to do so, Whisper would have to be rated in the low 170s, upsides Bristol De Mai (173 from 160), well ahead of his stablemate Might Bite (165), and also in front of this year's Gold Cup winner Sizing John (169) and last year's King George winner Thistlecrack (170).
Mullins won the Grand National in 2005 with Hedgehunter, who was second the following year, but he has had only one runner placed in the race since, the 2008 third Snowy Morning, and had only one runner this year, ninth-placed Pleasant Company.
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