Irish Grand National Tips

Irish Grand National Tips 3m5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

Last week’s selection Don Cossack did us proud in the Gold Cup. In total contrast to his run in the King George, where he never seemed comfortable on the track, he travelled like a dream, and despite the fall of Cue Card at the third last, to this observer the result was never in doubt. He is clearly one of the best winners since Best Mate completed his three timer in 2004, and in the hands of master trainer Elliott, must have every prospect of bringing off the double next March. With winners rated lower than 143 and carrying weights less than 11st in all recent renewals of the Irish Grand National it is unlikely that Easter Monday’s showpiece will feature any future Gold Cup winners but who knows!

As well as the weight factor being of serious significance, winning form over at least three miles has been a prerequisite, as has proven ability to perform going right handed. Seven and eight year olds have the best record although plenty of older animals, including the great Desert Orchid (won as a 11yo carrying 12st) have prevailed. Novice status is no bar to success with eighteen winning since 1974.

Gordon Elliott’s 8yo Mala Beach is set to carry 10st12lbs, has won a Grade2 three mile hurdle, and has won three times going right handed so has to enter calculations. In his most recent race, a Grade2 chase here at Fairyhouse (3m1f soft Feb 20 ) racing off a mark of 148, he was travelling like the winner when tipping up at the second last. A month earlier he had had a hard race when going down by 1 3/4L to My Murphy off a mark of 142 on desperate ground in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran park and now meets the winner on 1lb better terms. With only seven chases under his belt and likely to be suited on breeding by the step up in trip he looks one for the short list.

Noel Meade runs a full sister to Mala Beach, the 6yo mare Bonny Kate. Since unseating in a 2 1/2m chase at Down Royal last October she has put in three impressive front running performances winning at Fairyhouse, Punchestown, and Limerick and emphatically proved her stamina credentials for this in that Punchestown event over 3m4f on soft to heavy ground. She raced there off a mark of 125 and has more to do off a mark of 137 on Monday. However she is clearly progressive and the new mark gives her a nice racing weight of 9st13lbs.

Historically the Dreaper clan had an amazing record in this, with father Tom winning nine times and son Jim (pictured above) collecting on four occasions. Alas, the last time a Dreaper animal won, was Brown Lad’s victory in 1978, but are the good times about to roll again with the highly promising 7yo, Venitien De Mai? This recruit came from the Point to Point   Field with an unblemished record and has now won the last two of his four races over the larger obstacles. He looked a bit special last time when comfortably disposing of stable mate and Aintree contender, Goonyella in the Leinster National (3m hvy) earlier this month off a mark of 127. Taking it up early on he travelled and jumped well forging clear from the last for a facile victory. This is a horse going places and with 9st13lbs in the plate on Monday looks well handicapped.

Jonjo O’Neill has won this twice in recent years with Shutthefrontdoor, and Butlers Cabin and fields a likely type again this year, the 7yo Another Hero. A winner of five of his seven races over hurdles he is two from two over fences and is already rated higher in this discipline. He won a 3m Ascot chase (gd-sft) in November off a mark of 125 and followed up at Ludlow off 131 in Febuary. Definitely one to keep in mind, particularly if the ground dries out.

Tony Martins 9yo Heathfield won over 3m6f at Punchestown last May off a mark of 120, and seemed to be in the process of putting two subsequent poor performances behind him, when racing with much more enthusiasm, until after the second last at Leopardstown in January, off a mark of133, over an inadequate 2m5f. Back up in trip and racing off the same mark on Monday any Market moves from this uber shrewd stable should be noted.

Selection : Venitien de Mai

E.W.   :  Another Hero

Racing Betting Tips Irish Grand National 3m 5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

Irish Grand National 3m5f Fairyhouse Easter Monday

Willie Mullins, (who has never won the race, although his father Paddy was three times successful), tries with his National Hunt Chase 4th Perfect Gentleman,and looks to have a serious chance.

First run in 1870 over a distance of 3m4f, the trip was increased to 3m5f in1991. Historically it had been something of a Dreaper family benefit, with the legendary Tom (trained Arkle) winning nine renewals, including with the great horse in 1964. Tom actually won the race on an unprecedented seven consecutive times between 1961 and 1966, and son Jim continued the good work with four victories, that included a hat trick between 1974 and 1976. Alas, the last time the winner was led up by a Dreaper was back in 1978, when Brown Lad won with an impost of 12st2lbs on his back.

Perhaps this unhappy state of affairs can be rectified this year by Jim’s live contender, Los Amigos. Weight has been most important, with only three winners carrying more than 11st, to victory, since the immortal Desert Orchid won with 12st on his back in 1990. Unusually for such a competitive race, relatively inexperienced animals have thrived, with none of the last ten winners having had more than a dozen runs over the larger obstacles. Indeed, counting the 6yo Garoupe in 1970, nineteen novices, including last years winner Shutthefrontdoor, have hit the back of the net. So what of this years renewal?

Willie Mullins, ( who has never won the race, although his father Paddy was three times successful ), tries with his National Hunt Chase 4th Perfect Gentleman,and looks to have a serious chance. Jumping soundly in the four mile test at Cheltenham, he took it up at the 16th, and only faded into fourth place, when not quite seeing out the trip. He enjoys a 6lbs turn around with the National Hunt Chase winner Cause of Causes, so this lightly raced 10yo, with less than 11st on his back, must have serious prospects of correcting a serious gap in the Mullins C.V.

The previously mentioned Los Amigos is Definitley one to consider. On only his third outing over fences, in last years Thystes Chase, he ran a fine race to finish runner up to the subsequent shd Gold Cup second On his Own, off a mark of 126. He then ran the useful Gallant Oscar ( rec 11lbs) to 3 1/4L when finishing 3rd at Naas (3m sft March 2014). We didn’t see him again until his reappearance at Fairyhouse at the end of January, where he proved his wellbeing, beating the 134 rated Lion Na Bearni (2m5 1/2F sft-hvy). Bred to be a stayer, Jim Dreapers Overbury gelding looks well treated off a mark of 138, and is one for the short list.

Another Lightly raced animal to be interested in is the Ted Walsh trained Champagne James. A very well backed favourite for the 3m2f Kim Muir at the Festival, he wasn’t the recipient of one of Katie Walsh’s best rides. Always behind when held up out the back, he was never in a position to challenge, but did run on through beaten horses to finish 7th. Perhaps the faster ground at Cheltenham was against him, as he does seem well suited by plenty of give, well demonstrated by his run at Naas in Febuary (2m4f sft-hvy), when despite losing a shoe, he was a closing second to Empire of Dirt,(rec 6lbs) who was rated 125. His style of racing strongly suggests that staying is his game, and given easy conditions at the weekend, he is one to consider.

Lucy Wadham’s 7yo La Reve, has won three of his twelve starts over fences, and off Monday’s Mark of 147 is likely to carry more than 11st, but still makes some appeal. He does love racing right handed, and has won five, and been placed four times, from his twelve clockwise starts, so Saturday’s track should be ideal. A reproduction of his run at Sandown at the end of January (3m1/2f sft) where he won very easily from that good yardstick Theatrical Star, would put him firmly in the mix.

Michael Hourigan’s 7yo The Job Is Right is another who may be well suited by Monday’s test. He finished third in The National Hunt Chase (5L ahead of Perfect Gentleman), where he led at the last ( normally the 2nd last) and was only run out of it in the last 100yds, finishing 3rd, (1 1/2L and 5L) behind Cause of Causes, and Broadway Buffalo. Reservations for Monday would be his very hard race at Cheltenham, and his less than fluent jumping.

Selection: Perfect Gentleman.

E.W. : Los Amigos.