PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) FACTFILE
b g French Glory – Chipie D’Angron (FR) (Grand Tesor (FR))
10-11-07 Form: 13311/321/271/U5351/51-12 Owner: Andrea & Graham Wylie
Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE Breeder: Raymond Bellanger
I’m grateful to Racenews for supplying factfiles for every runner in the John Smith’s Grand National. I reformat these and publish as I get them, with the first batch coming out 2 weeks before the big race on April 6th. By the eve of the National all factfiles will be published here. You can find others by clicking on the factfiles tag at the foot of this post
Prince De Beauchene
Prince De Beauchene, born on March 23, 2003, is out of Raymond Bellanger’s Chipie D’Angron and is a half-brother to 2007 Welsh Grand National winner Miko De Beauchene and this season’s Classic Chase scorer Rigadin De Beauchene. His racing career started in France and he won on two of his three starts in AQPS Flat races before a comfortable victory on his second chase start at Pau in December, 2007.
After finishing third in a chase at Auteuil in May, 2008, he was bought for 200,000 euros at Arqana’s Vente d’Ete in July by Bobby O’Ryan on behalf of Andrea and Graham Wylie and sent to trainer Howard Johnson. Prince De Beauchene made an encouraging debut for connections when second in an introductory hurdle at Kelso in November, 2008, and got off the mark two months later in a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle at Ayr. He didn’t run again that season and, after finishing second in an extended three-mile handicap chase at Carlisle on his reappearance, he disappointed in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in February, 2010.
After a short break, he got back to winning ways in valuable two and a half mile handicap chase at Haydock in April. The 2010/2011 started poorly, as Prince De Beauchene unseated his rider in a graduation chase at Carlisle in November before failing to make an impact in handicap chases at Newbury and Chepstow. The lightly-raced horse showed promise when a close fifth in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury in March and duly built on that the following month with a gusty victory in the Listed John Smith’s Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong of the Mildmay course at Aintree’s John Smith’s Grand National meeting.
Howard Johnson was banned from racing for four years in August, 2011, and as a result, Prince De Beauchene was one of seven horses owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie sent to Irish champion jump trainer Willie Mullins. He was favourite for the hugely competitive Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan in November, 2011, and ran a respectable race to finish fifth. Despite this slight reverse, he was stepped up to Grade Two company in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse on February 25, 2012, and rewarded favourite backers with an easy six-length success.
That display propelled him to the head of the ante-post markets for the 2012 John Smith’s Grand National but he was ruled out of the showpiece two weeks before with a stress fracture of the ilium (hip area). The 10-year-old returned this season with an impressive three-length victory in a two mile, three furlong hurdle contest at Limerick on December 27, 2012. He completed his preparation for this year’s John Smith’s Grand National with second behind the classy Roi Du Mee in the Bobbyjo Chase on February 23.
Race Record: Starts: 20; Wins: 8; 2nd: 3; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £144,156
Andrea & Graham Wylie
Multi-millionaire Graham Wylie, 53, made his money in the computer software industry. After graduating from Newcastle University in 1980 with a degree in computer science and statistics, he founded Sage in 1981 with David Goldman, Phil Lever and Paul Muller, selling accountancy software. The company grew through acquisition, floated on the stock exchange in 1989 and continued to get bigger. After stepping down as managing director of Sage in May, 2003, Wylie sold a number of his shares and gained over £120 million.
Wylie is the son of Scottish parents – his father was a coalminer from Stirling and his mother a seamstress from Hawick, where Wylie was born in 1959. A huge Newcastle United fan, he married his second wife Andrea Stone at Slaley Hall, Northumberland in May, 2003 – the event was described as the “north-east’s wedding of the decade,” and was attended by over 250 guests, including Alan Shearer and Sir Bobby Robson. Pop superstar Ronan Keating performed at the couple’s wedding (for a reputed £175,000), singing When You Say Nothing At All, from the 1999 film Notting Hill, which the couple saw on their first date. The first horse the pair owned – a flashy grey picked out at Howard Johnson’s County Durham stable – was Lord Transcend, named after Andrea’s hair and beauty salon in Hexham.
Lord Transcend won at 33/1 on his debut at Newcastle in March, 2002, and went on to prove himself a high-class horse over hurdles and fences, winning six times in all, before a leg injury sustained at Haydock in January, 2006, cut short his racing career. Having caught the ‘racing bug’ through the success of Lord Transcend, Graham and Andrea Wylie invested millions of pounds and built up a large string in training with Howard Johnson. At Doncaster’s 2003 May Sale, Graham Wylie set a then record for a jump horse when paying 340,000 guineas for Royal Rosa, which was a wedding present for his wife.
He enjoyed a superb Cheltenham Festival in 2005, taking the Ladbrokes World Hurdle with Inglis Drever, the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Arcalis and the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle with No Refuge. In 2007, Inglis Drever reclaimed his Ladbrokes World Hurdle title and in 2008 became the first horse to win the race for a third time. Inglis Drever’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle triumph was the highlight of a fantastic 2008 Cheltenham Festival for the Wylies as Tidal Bay also won the Racing Post Arkle Chase. Howard Johnson was banned from racing for four years in August, 2011, and as a result, the Wylies reduced their 60-strong string in half and sent 12 to British jump champion Paul Nicholls and seven to Irish jump champion Willie Mullins. The partnership with both trainers has flourished, with Nicholls sending out Tidal Bay to win a number of big prizes including this season’s Grade One Lexus Chase, while Mullins has saddled Boston Bob and Back In Focus to win Grade One novice chases since the turn of the year.
The latter also formed part of a double for Mullins and the Wylies at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with Back In Focus winning the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase and Briar Hill storming home to land the Weatherbys Champion Bumper. Graham Wylie founded a new company, Technology Services Group (TSG), in 2003. He owns Close House Country Club and golf course and Gosforth Shopping Centre, and was awarded a CBE for his services to industry in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list. Graham’s contribution to the North East region has been acknowledged by the award of honorary doctorates by both the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumbrian University, and the freedom of the city of Newcastle. The Sunday Times Rich List in 2012 estimated he is worth £180 million.
The Wylies live close to Hexham in Northumberland and Andrea, 40, has also excelled at showing dogs (www.transcendshowdogs.com), another interest they share, winning the best of breed prize at Crufts this year with her Maltese dog Hi-Lite Come Dance With Me. The couple’s twin daughters Kiera and Zahra were born in December, 2009. Kiera was born with a defective heart, which has led the Wylies to fund raise for the heart unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital among other charitable endeavours. On His Own ran last year at Aintree in the colours of Semore Kurdi after the north-east businessman purchased a one-day lease of the horse in a charity auction in May, 2011.
Graham Wylie had originally intended to lease Prince De Beauchene, also trained by Willie Mullins but an injury to his leading hope stopped that intention. Wylie offered the prize to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where his daughter Kiera underwent three major and successful operations.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2007 Bewleys Berry (Fell 22nd); 2008 Bewleys Berry (5th), Backbeat (Fell 2nd); 2010 Royal Rosa (UR 14th); 2011 Tidal Bay (UR 10th); 2012 On His Own (leased for the day & Fell 22nd)
Willie Mullins IRE (Bagenalstown, County Carlow)
Born on September 15, 1956, Willie Mullins was six-time amateur champion rider in Ireland and his major successes in the saddle included the 1983 John Smith’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath when the also-rans were partnered by the likes of Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, and Aintree chairman Lord Daresbury. He took out a training licence in 1988 and is now the country’s pre-eminent jump handler. As a jockey in the John Smith’s Grand National, his rides included The Ladys Master, who ran out in 1983, and Hazy Dawn, who fell at the sixth the following year.
He hails from one of Ireland’s most famous racing families, being a son of the late Paddy Mullins, the outstanding all-round trainer whose most famous star was Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Willie Mullins rode and trained Wither Or Which to win the 1996 Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the Cheltenham Festival race in which he has enjoyed eight winners as a trainer (also Florida Pearl 1997, Alexander Banquet 1998, Joe Cullen 2000, Missed That 2005, Cousin Vinny 2008, Champagne Fever 2012 and Briar Hill 2013). Mullins’ best chaser to date has been Florida Pearl, who was placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the 1998 RSA Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cups in Ireland as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 Betfred Bowl at Aintree.
He trains the brilliant Hurricane Fly who has won the Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013. He has saddled 29 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, more than any other Irish handler in history. Mullins has over 150 horses at his Closutton yard near Bagenalstown in Co Carlow and his first John Smith’s Grand National runner as a trainer, Micko’s Dream, fell at the first in 2000. The loquacious Mullins, a former chairman of the Irish Trainers’ Federation, also suffered heartache in 2004 when Hedgehunter departed at the final fence in the John Smith’s Grand National when looking assured of a place.
He overcame bad luck in the race the following year when Hedgehunter came home 14 lengths clear of Royal Auclair. He has been champion Irish jump trainer for the past five seasons and is on course for a sixth title in 2012/2013 after surpassing Aidan O’Brien’s total of 155 winners in a season with a double at Fairyhouse on February 23.
John Smith’s Grand National Record: 2000 Micko’s Dream (Fell 1st); 2002 Alexander Banquet (UR 6th); 2004 Alexander Banquet (Fell 18th), Hedgehunter (Fell 30th); 2005 HEDGEHUNTER (WON); 2006 Hedgehunter (2nd); 2007 Hedgehunter (9th), Homer Wells (PU bef 22nd), Bothar Na (PU bef 29th), Livingstonebramble (UR 6th); 2008 Snowy Morning (3rd), Hedgehunter (13th); 2009 Snowy Morning (9th), Irish Invader (11th); 2010 Snowy Morning (6th), Arbor Supreme (UR 15th); 2011 The Midnight Club (6th), Dooney’s Gate (Fell 6th), Arbor Supreme (Fell 28 th); 2012 The Midnight Club (11th), Quiscover Fontaine (Fell 17th), On His Own (Fell 22nd)