Pick A Winner At Boylessports Irish Grand National – A Preview

Boylesports Irish Grand National – Fairyhouse Monday 21st April 2014


The Irish Grand National is the most valuable steeplechase in the NH calendar, staged at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday and can lay claim to being one of the biggest and most prestigious prizes in Irish racing. The race is run over the now extended distance of 3 mile 5 furlongs, incorporating 23 fences and comprising a field of 30 runners. Throughout the years several winners of the Irish Grand National have went on to win Aintree Grand National, but never in the same year writes Cormac McCaveradn_screen

The first ever winner of the race was Sir Robert Peel, who for completing this magnificent feat, was rewarded with the princely sum of 167 Sovereigns. This has been engulfed by the prize money of €250,000 being offered up by Boylesports, sponsors of this year’s race.

The biggest success story in the rich history of the Irish Grand National is without doubt Tom Dreaper,  who has not only won the race a record 10 times as a trainer,  but amazingly  has trained a different winner each time! One of these was to include the magnificent Arkle, who was etched into racing folklore by claiming victory of this race, all the while carrying 2 ½ stone more than his nearest rival.

How fitting a tribute that this weekend is the unveiling of a statue to honour the greatest steeplechaser of all, Arkle and Jockey Pat Taaffe. This will take place on April 19th 2014 at 2.30pm at the site in the centre of Ashbourne, Co. Meath. The organisers are delighted that Pat Taaffe’s family, representatives from the Duchess’s charity, the Dreaper family, Arkle’s groom Johnny Lumley, his work rider Paddy Woods, Alison Baker whose mother bred Arkle and who broke him and a host of other associates will be there on the day.

My idea of the winner falls in the direction of the recent Cheltenham hero, Tammys Hill who is trained by Liam Lennon and riden by Brian O’Connell. His 3 ½ length victory over 3m 2 1/2f carrying a larger weight should stand him in good stead as he seems to enjoy the larger field, which is needed for the hustle and bustle of today’s trip. My only concern is the effect of the exertions of his festival success on his race readiness. Another horse I feel has a good chance is Letter of Credit – who has failed to finish outside of the top 3 in his last 6 starts and is nicely rated at 13lb better off than top weighted Cantlow. The concern here is the step up in trip but the first time hood could help keep the focus for the 9yr old.

The obvious dangers worth a consideration are Gordon Elliott’s Casuse of Causes, Willie Mullins best chance falls to the Paul Townend mount Touch The Eden. I believe the relatively young Mullagahone River for Noel Meade and Paul Carberry could be the outside chance of the race.

 Ladbrokes Irish Grand National S´chase (Grade A) of €250000.00 5-y-o plus.


Race Result Fairyhouse Monday 1st April 2013

Going – Chase: Yielding to Soft Hurdle/Bumper: Yielding. Breezy and cold

Jackpot Not Won.Pool €13,101.00 carried forward to Fairyhouse on Tue, 2nd Apr. Placepot Pool – €46,033.47 Winning Units – 59.49 Dividend – €580.20. Daily Double Not Won.Pool €208.00 carried forward to Fairyhouse on Tue, 2nd Apr. Pick Six Not Won.Pool €10,503.04 carried forward to Fairyhouse on Tue, 2nd Apr. Tote Aggregate – €440999.00.

3m. 5f. Hcap Chase 1st – €141000.00, 2nd – €50000.00, 3rd – €25000.00, 4th – €10000.00, 5th – €7500.00, 6th – €5000.00 , 7th – €2500.00, 8th – €2500.00, 9th – €2500.00, 10th – €2500.0028 Ran An extended handicap steeplechase for five yrs old and upwards. Penalties – Winner of a steeplechase or steeplechases after calculation of the handicap shall carry any penalty or penalties which may be allotted by the Handicapper.

See also » Liberty Counsel takes National at 50/1

1st Liberty Counsel (IRE) 9-5 (Neale/Murtagh Partnership) (8:00.4) Rated 128(+10 after this run) Leading Counsel (USA) – My Free Mantel Vii(*unregistered) Breeder – Winston HonnerSP 50/1 Mrs D A LoveB R Dalton(5)   Tote Win €103.70 Place €17.60
tracked leaders, 8th 5 out, good headway to lead after 3 out, ridden early straight and strongly pressed last, kept on gamely under pressure run-in
14th Mar, 13 Cheltenham 13th Hcp Chs Rated 132 27th Apr, 13 Punchestown 6th Hcp Chs Rated 138
2nd 0.5L Away We Go (IRE) 10-2 (O’Gorman Partnership) (8:00.5) (Tongue Strap) Rated 134(+7 after this run) Stowaway (GB) – Margurites Pet (IRE)(Roselier (FR)) Breeder – Pat CashinSP 25/1 W P MullinsP Townend   Place €6.60
settled in mid-division, 12th halfway, smooth headway to go 2nd entering straight, challenged approaching last, ridden and no impression on winner run-in, kept on one pace
23rd Feb, 13 Fairyhouse 1st Hcp Hdl Rated 113 27th Apr, 13 Sandown 3rd Hcp Chs Rated 134
3rd 2.5L Home Farm (IRE) 10-5 (C Jones) (8:01.1) Rated 137(+5 after this run) Presenting (GB) – Tynelucy (IRE)(Good Thyne (USA)) Breeder – Cathal Ennis(Morning price: 14/1 12/1 11/1 10/1 8/1) SP 10/1 A L T MooreD J Casey   Place €2.80
mid-division, 11th halfway, short of room after 3 out and went 6th entering straight, soon ridden and went 3rd last, kept on same pace run-in
23rd Feb, 13 Fairyhouse 1st Nov Chs 9th Nov, 13 Naas 3rd Chs Rated 142
4th 3.75L Sweeney Tunes (GB) 10-9 (Incl 1lbs overweight) (Gigginstown House Stud) (8:01.9) Rated 140(+4 after this run) Karinga Bay – Nan (GB)(Buckley) Breeder – Mickley Stud(Morning price: 10/1) SP 12/1 Paul NolanD N Russell   Place €4.20
tracked leaders, 6th 5 out, 3rd entering straight and soon ridden, dropped to 4th last and no impression run-in
24th Feb, 13 Naas 1st Nov Chs Rated 137 26th Apr, 13 Punchestown p.u. Hcp Chs Rated 144
5th 8L Panther Claw (IRE) 9-12 (Gigginstown House Stud) (8:03.7) Rated 130 Old Vic – Rose Of Inchiquin (IRE)(Roselier (FR)) Breeder – Sean HarnedySP 9/1 Paul NolanMs K Walsh
prominent and led from 14th, blundered 3 out and soon headed, no extra from 2 out
18th Mar, 13 Navan 1st Hcp Chs Rated 123 26th Apr, 13 Punchestown 6th Hcp Chs Rated 130
6th 2.25L Muirhead (IRE) 10-5 (Mrs P Sloan) (8:04.3) Rated 137(-1 after this run) Flemensfirth (USA) – Silaoce (FR)(Nikos) Breeder – Mrs Catherine RyanSP 33/1 Noel MeadeD J Condon
rear of mid-division, never a factor, 12th 2 out, kept on same pace without troubling leaders
28th Feb, 13 Thurles 4th Chs Rated 138 27th Apr, 13 Sandown 4th Hcp Chs Rated 138
7th 4.75L Magnanimity (IRE) 10-8 (Gigginstown House Stud) (8:05.4) (Blinkers) Rated 140(-1 after this run) Winged Love (IRE) – Mossy Mistress (IRE)(Le Moss) Breeder – Thomas FoySP 14/1 D T HughesB J Cooper
tracked leaders, 7th halfway, ridden approaching straight and no impression in 8th 2 out, kept on one pace
7th Feb, 13 Clonmel 2nd Chs Rated 140 27th Apr, 13 Punchestown p.u. Hcp Chs Rated 139
8th 4.5L He’llberemembered (IRE) 10-0 (Mrs Mary Lett) (8:06.5) Rated 137(-1 after this run) Blue Ocean (USA) – Remember Rob (IRE)(Deep Society) Breeder – Mary LettSP 33/1 P G FaheyS E Butler(5)
rear of mid-division, mistake 10th, some headway after halfway, ridden in 7th when mistake 2 out, no impression and kept on one pace
9th Mar, 13 Gowran Park 6th Hcp Chs Rated 137 30th Aug, 13 Killarney 3rd Hcp Hdl Rated 132
9th 0.75L Jacksonslady (IRE) 10-5 (J P Dempsey) (8:06.7) Rated 137 Jackson’s Drift (USA) – Leinster Lady (IRE)(Lord Chancellor (USA)) Breeder – Tom Lawlor(Morning price: 14/1) SP 14/1 J P DempseyB J Geraghty
mid-division, 13th halfway, ridden in 11th early straight, kept on one pace
15th Mar, 13 Dundalk 4th Flat Mdn Rated 68 7th May, 13 Navan 2nd Flat Hcp Rated 67
10th 9.5L Competitive Edge (IRE) 10-5 (John P McManus) (8:08.9) Rated 137 Presenting (GB) – Sanghasta (IRE)(Un Desperado (FR)) Breeder – Mrs Martina MartinSP 12/1 Conor O’DwyerA P McCoy
towards rear, never a factor, ridden in 10th 2 out, no impression and kept on one pace
9th Mar, 13 Gowran Park 1st Hcp Chs Rated 123 26th Apr, 13 Punchestown p.u. Hcp Chs Rated 137
11th 5.5L Rapidolyte De Ladalka (FR) 9-10 (Mrs P M Shirley-Beavan) (Cheekpiece) Rated 128 Network (GER) – Emeraude Du Moulin (FR)(Djarvis (FR))SP 22/1 S Shirley-BeavanBarry Keniry
slowly away and in rear, 15th halfway, no threat from 3 out, kept on one pace
19th Oct, 13 Kelso 5th Hcp Chs Rated 127
12th 0.75L Cootamundra (IRE) 10-5 (Turbine Syndicate) Rated 137(-1 after this run) Broken Hearted – Sigginstown(Kambalda) Breeder – Suzanne MoranSP 25/1 J A BerryR M Moran
rear of mid-division, some headway after halfway and 11th 5 out, 8th entering straight but no extra from 2 out
3rd Mar, 13 Leopardstown 3rd Nov Chs Rated 137 26th Apr, 13 Punchestown 8th Hcp Chs Rated 136
13th 0.5L Quietly Fancied (IRE) 9-10 (Redgap Partnership) (Cheekpiece) Rated 128 Presenting (GB) – Glens Music (IRE)(Orchestra) Breeder – Mrs Fiona McStaySP 20/1 Oliver McKiernanR C Colgan
prominent, 2nd halfway, 3rd 5 out, ridden approaching 3 out and no extra early straight
10th Mar, 13 Naas 9th Hcp Hdl Rated 128

Non-runners Whodoyouthink (declared in error), Questions Answered (bruised foot) 2012 Lion Na Bearnai 10 10-5 A P Thornton (3) 33/1 (Thomas Gibney) 2011 Organisedconfusion 6 9-13 Ms N Carberry 12/1 (A L T Moore) 2010 Bluesea Cracker 8 10-4 Andrew J McNamara 25/1 (J Motherway) 2009 Niche Market 8 10-5 Harry Skelton (3) 33/1 (R H Buckler) 2008 Hear The Echo 7 10-0 P W Flood 33/1 (M F Morris)

The Irish Grand National is a National Hunt chase in Ireland which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run at Fairyhouse over a distance of about 3 miles and 5 furlongs (5,834 metres), and during its running there are twenty-four fences to be jumped. It is a handicap race, and it is scheduled to take place each year on Easter Monday.

It is the Irish equivalent of the Grand National, and it is held during Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival meeting.

Course History.

The event was established in 1870, and the inaugural running was won by a horse called Sir Robert Peel. The race took place at its present venue, and the winner’s prize money was 167 sovereigns. In the early part of its history it was often won by horses trained at the Curragh, and there were ten such winners by 1882. The Easter Monday fixture regularly attracted racegoers from Dublin, and it became known as the Dubs’ Day Out.[1]

Several winners of the Irish Grand National have also won its English counterpart at Aintree, but none in the same year. The first to complete the double was Ascetic’s Silver, the winner of the latter version in 1906. The feat has been achieved more recently by Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde. The most successful horse in the event’s history is Brown Lad, a three-time winner in the 1970s.

Since 1991, the distance of the race has been 3 miles and 5 furlongs; previously it had been 3 miles and 4 furlongs.

The Irish Grand National was sponsored by Irish Distillers under various titles for many years up to 2010. Ladbrokes took over the sponsorship in 2011.

In 2014, Boylesports took over the reins as Irish Grand National sponsor and Barry Geraghty was appointed the first ever ambassador for the race.


Most successful horse (3 wins):

Brown Lad – 1975, 1976, 1978

Leading jockey (6 wins):

Pat Taaffe – Royal Approach (1954), Umm (1955), Zonda (1959), Fortria (1961), Arkle (1964), Flyingbolt (1966)

Leading trainer (10 wins):

Tom Dreaper – Prince Regent (1942), Shagreen (1949), Royal Approach (1954), Olympia (1960), Fortria (1961), Kerforo (1962), Last Link (1963), Arkle (1964), Splash (1965), Flyingbolt (1966)

A Unique Racing Record – Only Owner to complete the Derby and Grand National Double

William Brophy, Herbertstown House, Two-Mile-House, Naas, Co. Kildare. Farmer, Breeder and Owner

In 1880 William Brophy completed a unique double by owning the winner of both the Irish Derby with King of the Bees and the Irish Grand National with Controller. Also uniquely both winners were out of the same Dam Winged Bee.