Owner Philip Reynolds is better known for his Gold Cup fancy Presenting Percy. But he also owns Mall Dini, who is also a leading Aintree Grand National hope.
The nine-year-old, who has been allotted 10st 4lb in the handicap, is no stranger to success on this side of the Irish Sea. The Pat Kelly-trained gelding took the Listed Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016. And last season, was the half-length runner-up in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at the same meeting.
Mall Dini has made two appearances so far in the 2018/19 campaign. He finished a staying-on sixth when last seen in the valuable Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong at Gowran Park at the end of January.
His profile is similar to 2016 Grand National winner Rule The World, in that he has earned a rating of 148 despite not winning on any of his 13 chase starts.
Reynolds revealed recently: “We are thinking about what we should do with Mall Dini.
“The Randox Health Grand National has come under consideration and is something we are thinking about now the weights have been released.
“He seems to have a very nice weight for the race. He needs four horses to come out and would run off 10st 4lb. We are tempted to sit the Cheltenham Festival out and go straight to the Grand National.
“Missing Cheltenham is something we are thinking about, but alternatively, he could take in both a handicap at Cheltenham and then the Grand National.
“We need to have more discussions, but the Grand National is definitely of interest.
“Mall Dini was a horse me and Pat (Kelly) bought for old time’s sake. He rang me two years after a meeting at a racecourse to tell me he had sourced Mall Dini. He is named after probably the most famous AC Milan footballer of all time (Paolo Maldini).”
Philips Reynolds is a businessman and the son of a former Taoiseach, the late Albert Reynolds.
Chip Off The Old Block
Trainer Joseph O’Brien may have young shoulders but he has already bagged the Melbourne Cup and the Irish Derby in his very short training career.
His biggest Jump racing success was provided by Edwulf, who won the 2018 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
The J.P McManus-owned Edwulf (11st 1lb) has not troubled the judge since that Leopardstown success and his latest two starts have seen him come home eighth in the Savills Chase and third in the Red Mills Chase over two and a half miles at Gowran Park.
O’Brien said: “The Grand National could be a possibility for Edwulf.
“We have been slightly disappointed with him this term. He ran OK at Gowran Park last weekend when he jumped well, but just got tired in the closing stages.
“He is not entered in any races at the Cheltenham Festival, so I’m not too sure where he goes next, but we will keep our options open.
“The English National will come into consideration. He has a nice weight for the race and we will discuss it. The Irish National could also be something we consider.”
O’Brien has yet to saddle a runner in the Grand National. His famous father Aidan had one runner back in the 1990’s, saddling Life Of A Lord to come home seventh to Rough Quest in 1996.
*Mall Dini is a best priced 25/1 chance with Bet365, while Edwulf is a 66/1 poke with the same bookmaker.