Cheltenham Festival may be a distance memory with all eyes firmly on the Grand National, but trainer Willie Mullins could be set for an unprecedented double. If he completes the feat of landing the Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season, he will become the first trainer to do so since Fred Rimell achieved it in 1976 (with Royal Frolic winning the Gold Cup and Rag Trade winning the National). It is in fact very rare that anyone associated with horseracing wins both meetings – the last jockey to do was Jim Culloty in 2002. Paul Townend who rode Mullins’ Al Boum Photo to victory last month will be looking to ride in the National, but it is unsure at the moment who he will ride. Think that Mullins can make it a Gold Cup and Grand National double? We will go through his best chances later on, but in the meantime, bet on Grand National on Betfair.

Gold Cup

It was a long time coming for one of the most successful trainers currently on the circuit, but after finishing runner-up six times, Mullins tasted victory in the Gold Cup last month. The winner Al Boum Photo was by no means a front-runner in the lead-up to the race, at odds of 12/1.

It wasn’t looking good for Mullins with three of his four hopefuls out before the second circuit – Kemboy (8/1) landed awkwardly at the first fence, unseating his rider; Bellshill (9/1) pulled up after the eighth after a number of mistakes; and Invitation Only (33/1) who was near the front fell at the tenth fence and was fatally injured. However, for Al Boum Photo the win was in sight before the final turn. Having come from fourth at the 15th fence to taking the lead at the penultimate fence, the seven-year-old gelding had the stamina to hold off the challenge from Anibale Fly and Bristol De Mai who finished second and third respectively.

After the race, Mullins said: “To have three of the four runners out before the second lap. But every time I looked at Paul his body language told me he was very happy and the horse was relaxed and galloping along at his own speed and I think the fourth or fifth he just came up and flew it”.

“I sort of resigned myself really to never winning the Gold Cup”.

Grand National

Mullins last won the Grand National in 2005 with Hedgehunter and as one of the best representatives at the meeting, he will be fairly hopeful of his chances of success this year. The favourite with the bookies may be Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll who won the National last year, but let’s take a look at three of Mullins’ horses we think can challenge.

Rathvinden – At 11/1 is a reasonable shout and will certainly be a lot fresher than some of the other favourites, as Mullins purposely bypassed Cheltenham Festival to save his 11-year-old for the National. Rathvinden has only raced once this season, but won the Bobbyjo chase at Fairyhouse by three-and-a-half lengths. He’s also won six of his last 11 steeplechases.

Pleasant Company – With plenty of experience at Aintree, Pleasant Company came closest in last year’s National, when he lost by a head in a photo finish to winner Tiger Roll. The previous year, he came ninth so it’s fair to say he has a realistic chance in 2019. Another horse that didn’t race at Cheltenham, the 11-year-old isn’t in the best of form this season.

Up For Review – Despite his age, Up For Review hasn’t got Aintree experience and stamina may prove an issue for the 10-year-old, as three miles and one furlong is his furthest distance to date. However, he cannot be overlooked as one of Mullins’ outside hopes and is currently priced at 33/1. He recently raced at Cheltenham, coming eighth in the Ultima Handicap Chase.