On Bank Holiday Monday, the Boylesports Irish Grand National takes place at Fairyhouse (5:00pm), with a cracking contest expected over the 3m 5f trip. Our top tipster Daryl Carter breaks down the race with a fantastic runner by runner guide and concludes with his big picks for the race. Check them out below along a cracking Bet £10 - Get £20 in Free Bets with the race sponsors, Boylesports.
Irish Grand National – Runner by Runner Guide (5:00pm Monday, Fairyhouse)
The class act in the field with an official rating of 153 he has failed to finish outside of the top two in his four chase starts and finished runner-up to Festival Novice Chase (RSA) winner Monkfish on two occasions. The 2020 Albert Bartlett runner-up over hurdles has already achieved a glittering CV and is a worthy favourite for this contest although he will be navigating new waters with this 3m5f trip. He will attempt to become the first horse to carry more than 11st4 to victory in the last 10 years but has shaped as though stamina is his forte and the first time tongue-tie cheek-pieces combination looks a positive for the progressive eight-year-old. Big chance
Has been campaigned over 2m-2m5f over fences this season and although he has run over 3m on one occasion he shaped as though he was a non-stayer over hurdles when 14 lengths behind today’s favourite Latest Exhibition in the Albert Bartlett on soft ground. His best performances have come on good to yielding ground at Leopardstown and Thurles over 2m4f and 2m6f so today’s drying conditions are a big positive. He still needs to prove he can be fully effective at 3m+ but his handicap mark of 139 looks lenient on the balance of his form but seeing out this trip has to be taken on trust.
The shortest price of the Willie Mullins quartet and the eight-year-old mare has failed to finish outside the first three on her trio of visits to this Fairyhouse venue. She has some solid form in Mares Chase events from 2019 but her best performances have come on the back of a break so the 66 days off the track is a positive. She was an excellent second in one of the Irish Grand National Trial’s at Punchestown in February on heavy ground and her proven stamina will hold her in good stead for this contest, however, a handicap mark of 146 looks high. Each-way chance.
Run Wild Fred
A hot favourite for the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival before a late withdrawal and only has 4 lengths to find with today’s favourite Latest Exhibition on their meeting at Punchestown over 2m61/2f in October for which he is now 13lbs better off. He has been cleverly campaigned this term taking in Beginners’ Chases on two of his last three starts before an excellent effort off 4lbs lower in the Grade A Theyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in which he finished a staying-on second to Coko Beach for which he is now 8lbs better off. Despite the drying conditions, the ground should pose an issue and he is a very interesting runner on the balance of his form. Big Player
The Big Dog
Peter Fahey trained winner of the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on February 14th battled on gamely at the finish to hold off 10yo Screaming Colours in that contest and received a 9lb rise. He is unexposed as a stayer and looked to relish the 3m4f trip on that occasion but this new handicap marks asks another question and he must reverse form with Run Wild Fred from their meeting in a Beginners Chase in December on 5lbs worse terms. This is undoubtedly his trip though and the drying ground won hurt his chances. Big shout.
Mrs Denise Forster may have played a blinder by booking the excellent Amateur Jockey Jordon Gainford to claim 7llbs off the back of the 150 rated Coko Beach. A winner of a Grade 2 on his latest outing reversing form comprehensively with Espanito Bello from their meeting prior and he is now 2/2 in the blinkers and a winner of both of his completed starts over 3m. Third on his only start at this venue over 2m5f in January he must enter calculations with very few negatives.
Very lightly raced and better than the bare result at Naas on his penultimate start when second to Eklat De Rire before an excellent third at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase over 3m6f. He looks sure to progress and is now fitted with first-time cheek-pieces and Adrian Heskin making the journey over for the ride is a big positive. The drying ground will be a question he has to answer and this is a quick turn around from his race at Cheltenham just 20 days ago so despite his form lines suggesting he is worthy of his rating this is a big ask.
A winner by 13 lengths at this venue over 3m5f before a disappointing third at Cheltenham’s International meeting in December and now returns from a break off a handicap mark of 152. She clearly handles this track well with two chase wins from two starts this season but this handicap mark may prove beyond her.
Wasn’t disgraced when he chased home the horse he had previously demolished by 18 lengths in Coko Beach at Navan but was convincingly outstayed at the death by that one on his first attempt at 3m over fences. Looks a non-stayer.
Off You Go
A talented horse on his day but jumping can be a cause for concern and he is yet to go beyond 2m5f for all he outstayed his rivals at Leopardstown off an 8lb lower handicap mark to record his third success at that venue. Risky
Home By The Sea
Has quickly made up into a useful horse over 2m4f-2m6f over fences this season and stayed on strongly at Naas to win going away by 10 lengths over 2m4f. That performance earned him a 10lbs rise in the weights to a handicap mark of 149 but while he continues to go the right way others have achieved more to warrant their marks.
He has hit form at the right time with two good runner-up efforts the last twice at Leopardstown over 2m before an excellent second at Thurles over 2m6f (without tongue-tie). He stuck to the task well and closed on his rival right to the line to give confidence that this trip on a sounder surface would be within range and with the tongue-tie going back on today he could have plenty more to offer over this staying trip. Dark horse
Goes well fresh but in his place by Court Maid when beaten 13 lengths in receipt of 5lbs over 3m5f here at Fairyhouse when last seen in November and looks to have a very stiff task to come out on top in this contest.
She has been behind both Agusta Gold and The Big Dog this season but caught the eye over 3m4f behind the latter on her penultimate start when things didn’t go her way. Her jumping let her down subsequently at Cheltenham but she could put in a bold showing at a big price although is up against it for win purposes against more talented rivals.
Travelled strongly in the Leinster National Handicap Chase off a handicap mark of 135 and finished a good second to Scoir Mear. Has a 4lb higher mark to contend with and can jump out to the left so needs to find improvement to land this contest.
Will appreciate the return to a sounder surface and this right handed track and should be well suited by this stamina sapping test after staying on one paced at Cheltenham in the Ultima Handicap to finish sixth of sixteen. This is a big ask just 20 days later from that assignment but it would be no surprise to see him put in a bold showing at a price returned to the scene of his sole hurdle win. Dark horse
Robin De Carlow
The sounder surface and the step up in trip are both likely to suit the well-handicapped Willie Mullins runner and she holds excellent form claims after taking the scalp of a subsequent Arkle and Champion Chase winner when last seen in 2019. Rachel Blackmore is an eye-catching booking to suggest the eight-year-old is fit and ready to go after a 547-day absence and stamina should be no issue on this drying ground with a 6 length easy victory at Killarney on her only start over 3m. Big player
An 11yo with proven stamina who has been better than ever this season when fitted with the cheek-pieces but he has been well beaten on all four visits to this venue and is opposed off a career-high handicap mark.
A career-best last time when second to Stormy Judge in the first time visor at Navan and a course winner earlier this year in January but may prefer more testing ground than he is likely to get here.
A winner of 2/20 starts over fences and has been a model of consistency in his 27 race career. Behind Scoir Mear and Ten Ten at Naas last time out over 3m on heavy ground but was unsuited by the way the race developed being held up at the rear of the field and stayed on in eye-catching fashion in the closing stages. He has plenty of big field experience but maybe a hostage to fortune and his jumping will need to be slicker than ever. Dark horse
Very lightly raced and form figures of 0122414 over fences and 12 over 3m but pulled up on his latest start last month at Navan behind Stormy Judge and is untried on ground quicker than soft. Has questions to answer.
Rich Richi owned 10yo who has failed to deliver on his earlier promise and has pulled up and unseated in two of his three starts this term but would hold claims on his second to Gold Cup winner Minella Indo at Navan. The return to a sounder surface is a positive but it's hard to make a solid case for him and he may be up against it.
A handicap mark of 135 on the balance of his form this season looks well within reach but he was disappointing last time at Wexford in first time cheek-pieces when readily out-paced in the closing stages by Defi Bleu. The headgear is retained today but he may need a deeper surface to bee seen to best effect and his jumping would be a cause for concern in this big field event.
Rich Richi owned and lacked the pace to get involved returned to the better ground over 2m4f at Cheltenham in the Mares Chase but has the back form to be of interest in this race. Her defeat at odds-on here behind Agusta Gold in January was too bad to be true and she got no further than the first at Punchestown prior to that but her earlier wins over 2m6f both on right-handed tracks and her victory over Agusta Gold over 2m4 on yielding ground in 2019 suggests she could be overpriced if taking to this new trip. Dark horse
Disappointing since his victory at Ludlow for Nicky Henderson including in a Point to Point when beaten 6 lengths by the 109 rated Macs Legend and is readily opposed despite joining powerful connections.
Has been disappointing in his last 6 starts but they have all come on soft or heavy ground and the return to a sounder surface is a positive for the once Novice Grade 1 runner-up. He can also boast a course win over 2m5f back in 2018 and a revival wouldn’t be a surprise but stamina is no sure thing here.
The 11yo likes it here and was a good fourth behind Burrows Saint in this race last year off the same handicap mark but it would be very disappointing if there wasn’t something able to progress past him.
A big price but a prominent runner and continues to defy the handicapper when given good ground and a 3m trip recording form figures of F121757321 over fences and his last victory came in the Midlands National Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan off a 196 day break. The tongue-tie cheek-piece combination goes on for the first time and he arrives here on the back of a 173 day break and shouldn’t be written off.
BIG RACE VERDICT
So many arrive here with valid claims and I am happy to take a stab at a few at larger prices, Robin De Carlow has the negative of a 500-odd day break but looks extremely well handicapped and was on a steep upward curve when we last saw her and positives can be taken from the booking of Rachel Blackmore.
The other two I will opt for will be Salsaretta and Fitzhenry but it’s THE BIG DOG who will carry the main bulk of my cash and is the offering. He won with a bit in hand at Punchestown in the trial race for this and looks to have all the attributes required to win a National type race and given his unexposed profile he has the potential to rate a good deal higher yet.
THE BIG DOG
Robin De Carlow
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