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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Prince on trial in BobbyjoHeadlines
Prince De Beauchene

Leading John Smith's Grand National contenders Prince De Beauchene and Seabass clash in the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.

The Willie Mullins-trained Prince De Beauchene was a hugely impressive winner of one of Ireland's biggest National trials 12 months ago, but an injury suffered during the race ruled him out of a trip to Aintree.

However, he appeared as good as ever when winning on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles at Limerick in December.

Mullins told At The Races: "He won last year and came into the winner's enclosure 100%, but by the time he got back up to the veterinary unit he was lame and he just got lamer and lamer. He pulled some type of ligament or something and I hope he can get through that this year.

"He had a nice run over hurdles down in Limerick and was fine afterwards, so let's get the Bobbyjo out of the way and then look to Aintree. The way he did it at Limerick did surprise me a bit, but he had been working well at home.

"He's got plenty of weight (in the National), but he's a huge horse and built to carry it. Taking last year into account, I'm happy if I get him there. I don't want any last-minute problems. He's one to look forward to with his style of jumping and the size and scope that he has."

Among his rivals is Ted Walsh's Seabass, who ran a superb race under the trainer's daughter Katie when third in last year's Grand National. He ran well over hurdles at Fairyhouse on his return earlier this month and aims to enhance his own Aintree claims.

After a slightly disappointing start to the campaign, Colm Murphy's dual Grade One-winning chaser Quito De La Roque looked more like his old self when beating Roi Du Mee comfortably at Thurles a month ago.

Murphy said: "We were delighted with his performance the last day and hopefully if he can reproduce that, he'll run a big race. He's got to give a bit of weight away, but hopefully he's up to it and this race will tell us a lot about where we're going.

"He's in the Gold Cup and the National and there is also the three-mile race at Aintree and Punchestown later on, so we'll see how we go."

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