The Irish Grand National (Monday 17 April, 5.00pm) is a 3-mile 5-fulong handicap run at Fairyhouse, and a field of up to 30-runners have to negotiate 24-fences.
With a first-prize of €270,000, it is a race that many trainers target, and the last 10-years have thrown-up some remarkable trends – that may make you want to concentrate your betting strategy on the bottom 11-runners.
Winners have been rated between 128 and 142, with 8 winners rated between 130 and 137
Winners carried between 9-10 and 10-13
Winners were aged between 6 and 10, with four 8-year-olds and three 7-year-olds successful
Only 2 of the last 10 winners had won their previous run
Winners had run 18 to 88 days previously
SPs ranged from 8/1 to 50/1, with 6 winners returned 20/1 or bigger
Gigginstown Stud owned 3 of the last 10 winners, and JP McManus 2
Horses Rated 142 Or Lower
8-year-old who is already rated a good deal higher over fences than he was over hurdles, but has consistently put-up decent performances in the top novice chases this season. Looked a proper stayer when third in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and has the services of Ruby Walsh here. Also carries less than 11-0 for the first-time in his career.
Ran some creditable races in defeat in big Irish Handicaps this season, but pulled-up in the English Grand National only a week ago.
Last year’s winner is another who was pulled-up in last week’s Grand National, but is on a very decent mark if he can turn-up in the same form as last year.
Arbre De Vie
Unseated rider in the National Hunt Chase, but was sent-off much shorter in the market that day than stablemate Haymount. Also, got much closer to Acaplella Bourgeois on his penultimate start than Haymount had earlier in the season. A light campaign also sees him rated 9lb below his last hurdles mark and, as a course winner over hurdles, could be well-treated.
Not as good as he was over hurdles, and the percentage-call is probably to avoid a regressive 11-year-old, but he’s never had the chance to carry a low-weight in a handicap.
Won two relatively soft novice chases on his last two starts and, though the mount of Brian Cooper for the brilliant Gordon Elliott, some similar-weighted horses look to have better form.
Consistent type who posted three consecutive third-place finishes in big handicaps earlier in the season. No surprise should she go well, but vulnerable to the unexposed types lurking around her.
12-year-old former Grade-1 winning chaser, who could outrun his odds with a light-weight. However, been in decline for a while, and big-field possibly against him.
Just pipped Bonny Kate for second in a Grand National Trial earlier in the season, but looks the stable’s third-string on jockey bookings.
Bless The Wings
12-year-old who looks as good as ever judging-off his second to Cause Of Causes at the Cheltenham Festival, and only 2lb higher than when second in this race last year. No reason he won’t go well again, but is another who is vulnerable to less exposed types.
Looks sure to get in as first-reserve, but this steady improver doesn’t look particularly well-handicapped on the balance of his form.
2017 Irish Grand National Summary
I wouldn’t put anyone off an each-way bet on Bless The Wings, but the two horses who look more typical winners of this race are the Willie Mullins trained pair Haymount and Arbre De Vie. Haymount is the choice of Ruby Walsh, however Arbre De Vie could be the one that is better-handicapped, and looks the value-bet.