Grand National 2018 Fact Files
Randox Heath Grand National

Pleasant Company

Pleasant Company (IRE) 10-10-10
 
Breeding: b g Presenting - Katie Flame (Alderbrook)
Breeder: Susan Bredin
Born: April 15, 2008
Owner: Malcolm Denmark
Trainer: Willie Mullins IRE 
Form: 134/43/3413P/1419-0P
 
Pleasant Company
© Caroline Norris
Pleasant Company
 
*Lightly-raced 10-year-old, having made just 16 starts under rules including nine chase appearances. Miinnehoma (1994) was the last Grand National winner to have less than 10 chase starts beforehand (nine). 
 
*Pulled up three out in the valuable Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park on January 25 behind Monbeg Notorious, having finished fourth in the race in 2017.
 
*14th of the 28 runners on his seasonal debut after eight months off over an extended three miles in the valuable Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas won by fellow Randox Health Grand National entry Anibale Fly.
 
*Finished ninth in the 2017 Randox Health Grand National, having stumbled badly at the 25th fence. Was well-backed into 11/1 and ridden by Ruby Walsh. Rated 1lb lower for 2018 following two disappointing performances in Ireland this season.
 
*Enjoyed an excellent 2016/2017 season, highlighted by a half-length success over Thunder And Roses in G3 Bobbyjo Chase (3m 1f) on heavy ground at Fairyhouse. 
 
*Has never fallen or unseated his rider. Failed to complete twice - pulled up on both occasions.
 
Jump race record: Starts 16; Wins 4; 2nd -; 3rd 4. Win & Place Prize Money: £76,808
 
Malcolm C Denmark
 
Malcolm Charles Denmark, born in July, 1955, set up the London-based Mediaforce Group in 1984 - the company was the first to put advertising leaflets in the middle of newspapers. The business, of which Denmark is chairman and chief executive, grew to dominate that market and has distributed up to six billion leaflets a year, but also has lots of other strands, owning a media portfolio of advertising agencies, digital representation and newspaper publishing networks. The latter has 13 regional newspapers in Ireland, including the Limerick Leader, the Donegal Democrat, the Kilkenny People and the Leinster Leader, which were bought from 2013 onwards by his Iconic Newspapers subsidiary and have a weekly readership of nearly 400,000. The Mediaforce Group has offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin, Birmingham, Gateshead, Liverpool and Enfield. Racing interests: He started owning racehorses in 1996 when his father became ill, deciding to have a couple of horses with Mark Pitman, who himself was just starting out with a licence. Financed Pitman's purchase of Weathercock House from the trainer's mother Jenny in 1999, and subsequently employed Carl Llewellyn (2006-2009) and Warren Greatrex (2009-2012) as salaried trainers at the Lambourn yard. Pitman returned to oversee a few horses for Denmark at the yard at the end of 2015, while Flat trainer and former champion jockey Richard Hughes is the current principal incumbent. Denmark until last year had the majority of his horses in training with Tony Martin and Willie Mullins in Ireland. The Irish horses are now just with Mullns, with Gloucestershire-based Fergal O'Brien becoming the main trainer numerically late in 2017, while Pitman and James Fanshawe on the Flat look after the owner's other UK-based horses in training. His best horses have included Monsignor, who provided the owner with his two Cheltenham Festival wins in the 1999 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and the 2000 SunAlliance Hurdle, plus the 2009 bet365 Gold Cup victor Hennessy. Denmark's latest G1 success came courtesy of the Mullins-trained Next Destination who landed the Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle in January, 2018, before finishing third to Samcro in the 2018 G1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March..
 
Previous Randox Health Grand National Record: 2017 Pleasant Company (9th)
 
Willie Mullins IRE (Bagenalstown, County Carlow)
 
Born: September 15, 1956 Background: A six-time champion amateur rider in Ireland, his successes in the saddle included the 1983 Fox Hunters' Chase at Aintree on Atha Cliath (among the also-rans were Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse, and former Aintree Racecourse chairman Lord Daresbury). As a jockey in the Randox Health 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 partnered three winners at the Cheltenham Festival. 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 dazzling star was Dawn Run, winner of the 1984 Champion Hurdle and 1986 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Training Achievements: Assisted his father and Jim Bolger before taking out a training licence in 1988. He has been Ireland's champion Jump trainer 11 times. He has won most of the major prizes in Britain and Ireland, and several in France as well. He became in 2018 the winning-most trainer ever at the Cheltenham Festival, with 61 successes to his credit, including Champion Hurdles with Annie Power, Faugheen and Hurricane Fly, and an extraordinary nine in the Champion Bumper, starting with Wither Or Which (which he also rode) in 1996. He has been leading trainer at The Festival for five of the last eight years (including a record eight winners in 2015) and enjoyed seven successes at this year's meeting. Mullins' star performer in the early part of the century was Florida Pearl, who was placed in two Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the 1998 RSA Chase, the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 Irish Gold Cups in Ireland as well as the 2001 King George VI Chase and the 2002 Betway Bowl at Aintree. The brilliant Hurricane Fly won the Unibet Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013 and Mullins' other Cheltenham Festival winners include the amazing Quevega who created history by becoming the only horse to win the same race in six consecutive years (the OLBG Mares' Hurdle). Some of Mullins' current stable stars include 2018 Racing Post Arkle Chase winner Footpad, Un De Sceaux, 2018 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle victor Penhill, Melon, Min, Douvan and Laurina. Mullins has around 180 horses at his Closutton yard near Bagenalstown in Co Carlow. He is being challenged this season by Gordon Elliott for the Irish Jump trainers' title, having defeated Elliott in last year's championship by less than €200,000 on the final day of the season. His first Grand National runner as a trainer, Micko's Dream, fell at the first in 2000. Mullins, a former chairman of the Irish Trainers' Federation, also suffered disappointment in 2004 when Hedgehunter departed at the final fence in the Randox Health Grand National when looking assured of a place. The following year Hedgehunter won the Grand National, coming home 14 lengths clear of Royal Auclair, and finished second in 2006. 
 
Randox Health 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), Livingstonebramble (UR 6th), Homer Wells (PU 22nd), Bothar Na (PU 29th); 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 28th); 2012 The Midnight Club (11th), Quiscover Fontaine (FELL 17th), On His Own (FELL 22nd); 2013 Quiscover Fontaine (16th), Quel Esprit (PU 24th), On His Own (FELL 25th); 2014 Vesper Bell (13th), Prince De Beauchene (16th); 2015 Ballycasey (BD 8th); 2016 On His Own (FELL 15th), Sir Des Champs (FELL 15th), Boston Bob (PU 22nd), Ballycasey (UR 29th); 2017 Pleasant Company (9th)