The Midnight Club new national favourite

    Willie Mullins has followed the same route as Hedgehunter with The Midnight Club who won the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

    The Grade Two contest has been a fine John Smith’s Grand National trial over the years, with The Midnight Club’s former stable companion taking this prize on the way Aintree glory in 2005.

    Sent off the 11-10 favourite after finishing second in the Thyestes Chase, The Midnight Club moved easily for Paul Townend and was challenging heading to the final fence.

    Oscar Time looked a threat but failed to pick up as might have been expected and The Midnight Club stayed on well to hold off 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 horse, who will also travel to Aintree for the National.

    He said: “He’s Aintree-bound and we’re very happy – he jumped super.

    “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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