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Irish Grand National 2018 Preview

Irish Grand National 2018 Preview

Probably the hardest thing to believe in Irish National Hunt Racing is that neither Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins has trained a winner of the Irish Grand National. However, with 12 of the 30 intended runners in the Irish Grand National trained by Elliott and another four trained by Willie Mullins, deciding whether to be against the two giants of Irish Jumps Racing will be the biggest decision that many punters make on Easter Monday.

There are lots of other statistics to consider though, and many of these have proved significant in trying to pinpoint the Irish Grand National winner in recent years.

Irish Grand National Statistics to Consider:
11-4 is the biggest weight any winner of the Irish Grand National has carried to victory this century.
14 of the last 18 Irish Grand National winners have carried 10-8 or less
Irish Grand National winners this century have been aged between 6 and 10
The highest rated Irish Grand National winner this century was rated 154
The lowest-rated Irish Grand National winner this century was rated 128
Only 1 of the last 10 winners was rated higher than 142
The shortest-priced winner this century was 9/2
The Longest-priced winner this century was 50/1

Irish Grand National Runners

Outlander
Ran poorly, as normal, at this year’s Cheltenham Festival but high-class on his day and has two wins and two places from four runs at Fairyhouse. Blinkered first-time and 7lb claimer on board but hard to see him defying top-weight.

Bellshill
Looked to be on a winnable mark in the Grand National, so it’s surprising that Willie Mullins runs him here off his revised higher mark. Hard to see him winning off 158 and Paul Townend has chosen another Mullins runner.

Monbeg Notorious
Won his last three races but a mark of 152 looks high in the context of that form. However, Gordon Elliott’s stable jockey Jack Kennedy rides and he promises to stay this extend 29-furlongs trip.

Dounikos
Davy Russell takes the reigns for the first time but it’s asking a lot of him to bounce back after being pulled up behind the Davy Russell ridden Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Did beat Monbeg Notorious off level-weights earlier in the season and gets 1lb off him here.

Lord Scoundrel
6lb lower than when finishing in mid-field at odds of 33/1 last year and similar fate probably awaits.

Snow Falcon
Feasibly weighted on 9lb lower-mark than the pick of his hurdles form but never looked the strongest of stayers.

Pairofbrowneyes
Experienced horse who seemed to improve on his first run for Willie Mullins. This another step-up in grade and trip but is the choice of Paul Townend in the absence of Willie Mullins’ number one jockey Ruby Walsh.

Kemboy
Willie Mullins runner who was respectable fourth in the JLT Chase, looking to have a hard race in the process. Big step up in trip.

Moulin A Vent
Kept quite a low-profile but went into the notebook for this when beating Monbeg Notorious over 3-miles here off level-weights.

Mall Dini
Fourth off a similar mark over course and distance earlier this season but this is the first time he’s had a chance in a big-handicap off a light-weight. Would have preferred his chances if he hadn’t had a hard race at the Cheltenham Festival but interesting.

Folsom Blue
First of the horses rated 142 or less but older than ideal as an 11-year-old. He’s also 9lb higher than when winning last time.

Tell Us More
Always highly-regarded but this massive step up in trip is unlikely to suit.

Isleofhopeanddreams
Another 11-year-old who was beaten by Folsom Blue last time.

Jetstream Jack
Once beat Anibale Fly in a bumper here but his form this season has not suggested he’s good enough to win an Irish Grand National. Chances hinge on trip bringing about marked improvement.

The Paparazzi Kid
Raced 20 times for Willie Mullins without trying this trip and returns from 351 days off for his first run for Gordon Elliott. He’s also 11 and doesn’t look an obvious winner.

Thunder And Roses
Won the 2015 renewal off 136 and was fourth last year off 141. 3lb claimer brings his mark down to 137 this time and must have an each-way chance for what will have been his big-target all season.

Call It Magic
Pulled up on only try at this trip and last run again suggested that stamina may not be his forte.

General Principle
Finished fifth in last year’s renewal but, despite five winless runs since, the handicapper has only dropped him 1lb. Place possibilities again but others preferred.

Arkwrisht
Finished fourth over a similar distance earlier this season and, whilst he’s vulnerable to classier rivals, he could make the frame.

Bless The Wings
Second in the last two renewals but hard to see him improving at the age of 13. He also took a crashing fall at the Cheltenham Festival.

Sutton Manor
Big-price when falling behind Pairofbrowneyes last time but has finished second or third on all four course starts. Small chance if trip beings about improvement.

Westerner Point
On more than one occasion this season he has suggested he could improve for a stamina test and his course form of one win and two seconds suggests this is the right race to test that theory out in.

Kilcarry Bridge
Only hit the frame once in five runs at Fairyhouse and hard to see him winning this at the age of 11.

Oscar Knight
Ran a cracker over hurdles behind the well-handicapped Total Recall last time over hurdles and that looked a wise move by connections who were presumably eager to protect his handicap mark for a second go at this prestigious race after he fell when a 12/1 chance last year.

Squouateur
His runs at Christmas and at the Cheltenham Festival mark him down as having a serious chance here if the latter race hasn’t left its mark. He’s also 2 from 3 at the course.

Champagne Harmony
Finished well behind Westerner Point and Bellshill this season and probably need first-time blinkers to make a big difference to him.

Killaro Boy
Hurdles and Chase winner here at Fairyhouse but handicapper raised him 14lb for his chase win and he doesn’t look classy enough. First time at this sort of trip though.

Woods Well
Won twice at Fairyhouse, however he’s yet to feature in handicaps off similar marks.

Fine Theatre
7lb claimer gives him a feather-weight and he ran okay when fourth behind Pairofbrowneyes earlier this season.

Forever Gold
11-year-old who has won just 1 of his 13 starts at the track

Irish Grand National Summary

Outlander, Bellshill and Monbeg Notorious catch the eye at the top of the weights but none look as classy as last year’s winner Our Duke, and Elliott and Mullins may have to wait at least another year before winning their first Irish Grand National. Therefore, it may pay to follow the previous 9-year-trend of backing horses rated 142 or less. Oscar Knight looks like he’s been plotted at the race all season and he just shades the vote from the course winners Squouateur, Western Point, and Thunder And Roses.

Irish Grand National Tips
Oscar Knight
Squouateur
Western Point
Thunder And Roses

Owen SmithOwen Smith

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