Irish Grand National
With the Easter eggs out of the way, Easter Monday brings a further treat for racing fans with the staying spectacular of the Irish Grand National. Here we take a look at the best odds and offers surrounding this thrilling event, and provide out betting tips for the race.
Now classified as a Grade A handicap under the Irish system, this 3m 5f contest was first run way back in 1870. Featuring twenty four fences in all, and open to chasers aged five and older, the contest now offers €500,000 in total prize money.
Irish Grand National Tips 2019
The run of Grand Nationals continues this weekend with the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse. As tradition dictates, the 3 mile 5 furlong race takes place on Easter Monday and a full complement of 30 horses will make up the field for a race which never easy to predict but provides a handsome prize for any punters who back the right horse.
Going Concerns to Cause Many Leading Contenders to Skip Fairyhouse
The bookies have been offering odds on Aintree hero Tiger Roll for the Irish Grand National but the only appearance he’ll make at Fairyhouse is in a special parade so make sure not to back him.
Whilst Tiger Roll’s ceremonial appearance is confirmed, the appearance of many other leading stayers is less clear as connections grow increasingly wary about the ground at Fairyhouse. It’s been fairly dry and mild in the local area leaving the ground officially yielding and the prospect of it getting firmer before Monday.
From a betting perspective it’s important to focus on horses who have proven ability over long trips on good ground. The likely increased pace of the race should also hand an advantage to the best jumpers.
Can Mullins Break Another Duck?
Willie Mullins has done most things as a trainer but has yet to win the Irish Grand National. He broke his duck in the Cheltenham Gold Cup thanks to Al Boum Photo and is confident that the strong string he’s taking to Fairyhouse can do likewise in this one. Pairofbrowneyes is rated Mullins’ best chance by the bookies but will need the run of his life with 11st 5lb on his back.
A more tempting Mullins option is Bellow Mome at 20/1 with Coral. The eight-year-old returned at Gowan in January after missing a year and a half and was understandably not at his best. The run helped though as he was much better when finishing behind only Pairofbrowneyes and Isleofhopendreams last time out at Naas.
The nature of his performance over 3 miles suggested that much better days are just around the corner and that the Mullins team have done a very good job with him at home. He should have little trouble with the firmer ground at Fairyhouse and is carrying just 10st which makes his price very tempting.
Oscar Knight Gets the Each Way Nod
Favourites have a very poor record in the Irish Grand National. Several longer odds horses have won and claimed a place in recent years so most punters will have a few each way bets. In that regard, the 25/1 that BetVictor are quoting on Oscar Knight’s chances catch the eye.
Thomas Mullins has been happy to race his 10-year-old on ground that’s yielding or even firmer this season whilst he has experience of this race even though he’s failed to finish twice. He’ll need a bit of luck to get into the race but he’ll be carrying very low weight if he does run so Oscar Knight can use his experience to secure a decent each way payout.
Irish Grand National Previous Winners
- 2018 – General Principle – jockey James Slevin, trainer Gordon Elliott
- 2017 – Our Duke – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Jessica Harrington
- 2016 – Rogue Angel – jockey Ger Fox, trainer Mouse Morris
- 2015 – Thunder And Roses – jockey Katie Walsh, trainer Sandra Hughes
- 2014 – Shutthefrontdoor – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2013 – Liberty Counsel – jockey Ben Dalton, trainer Dot Love
- 2012 – Lion Na Bearnai – jockey Andrew Thornton, trainer Thomas Gibney
- 2011 – Organisedconfusion – jockey Nina Carberry, trainer Arthur Moore
- 2010 – Bluesea Cracker – jockey Andrew McNamara, trainer James Motherway
- 2009 – Niche Market – jockey Harry Skelton, trainer Bob Buckler
- 2008 – Hear The Echo – jockey Paddy Flood, trainer Mouse Morris
- 2007 – Butler’s Cabin – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
Irish Grand National History
One of the most historic events of the Irish racing year, this marathon staying contest was brought into existence in 1870 in order to provide an Irish equivalent of Aintree’s famous event, the Grand National itself. Whilst it doesn’t provide quite the test as that of its English counterpart, being run over 3f shorter and featuring more forgiving fences, it has nevertheless proved a hugely popular event in its own right and acts as an annual Easter highlight for racing fans on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The inaugural edition of this was taken by Sir Robert Peel, whilst Scots Grey became the first dual winner when coming home in front for the second time in 1875. Other early dual winners include The Gift (1883 and 1884) and Little Hack II (1909 and 1913). The 1876 hero meanwhile was certainly named for success here, having been given the moniker, Grand National.
Given the proximity of the English and Irish Nationals, it has so far proved an impossible task for a horse to win both races in the same season. There are a number who have achieved the famous double throughout their careers though, including Rhyme ‘n’ Reason, Numbersixvalverde and Bobbyjo.
The roll of honour here features two of the most popular chasers of all time in the form of the supremely talented Arkle (1964) and the irrepressible grey, Desert Orchid (1990). With four victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and five in the King George VI Chase between them, it is not for nothing that this duo regularly feature prominently in any list of the greatest ever racehorses.
Jim Dreaper’s Brown Lad will forever have a special place in the history of this contest. Winning here in 1975, 1976 and 1978, he was the first – and so far only – three time champion.
Brown Lad achieved the third of his hat trick of wins at the grand old age of twelve. Impressive, but not quite enough to mark him out as the oldest winner here. That honour belongs to Overshadow, who came home in front at thirteen years of age in 1953.
Jim Dreaper won this event four times in all, but that pales in comparison to his father Tom Dreaper. A remarkable run of success between the years of 1942 and 1966 saw the County Meath handler take this contest ten times in all. It may be some time before that particular record is beaten.
Arkle’s jockey, Pat Taaffe had Tom Dreaper to thank for four of his wins in this race. Having also posted wins for Matt Geraghty and Mr G Wells, his total of six wins gives him the lead amongst the riders.