Irish Raiders to Look Out For in the 2011 Grand National
For years, Irish trained horses have always been considered serious contenders in the Aintree Grand National and this year’s renewal looks set to be no different with seven of the top 17 in the betting.
The Midnight Club
With two runs under his belt over 3 miles, this ten year old comes to Aintree with virtually every trends box ticked and his win on heavy ground last time out at Fairyhouse when he took the valuable Grand National trial, the Grade two Bobbyjo Chase bears testimony to his class as well as his ability to stay and jump well. He’s on a good race weight of 10-13, he is in the right age bracket, and he is from the best stable in Ireland and in Ruby Walsh will have the best jockey around riding him and is sure maintain his status as favourite come 4:15 on Saturday 9th April.
Trained by Martin Lynch, this ten year old also fills many of the criteria usually associated with winning the Grand National, however, he was beaten five lengths last time out in the Bobbyjo Chase by The Midnight Club but he does have a 4lb pull in the weights. The biggest disadvantage is that he’s not won in his last five races dating back to December 2009.
This nine year old is trained by Gordon Elliott who won this race in 2007 with Silver Birch and will be making his second attempt to win after pulling up last year. Elliott has campaigned him in Point to Point races in Ireland this season where he has won two from two, both over three miles and is sure to come to Aintree very fit. Whether he has the class to win what looks like the competitive Grand National in years is open to doubt, but Elliott is a canny trainer and knows what it takes and the horse has certainly been backed.
The apparent second string from the Willie Mullins stable this nine year old finished second last time out a length behind stablemate The Midnight Club in the Bobbyjo Chase but has a big pull in the weights for Aintree. Not always the most reliable and unseated his rider in the race 12 months ago but cannot be ruled out.
Winner of the valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last time out in December, this eight year old is not without a chance to provide trainer, Dermot Weld, his first ever Grand National winner. A reliable jumper, good stayer and off a weight that just about conforms to the trends, this former winner of the Galway Handicap is expected to run a big race for a trainer that would not be sending him to Aintree without good reason.
Certainly would have the class to win the race having won the Grade One Punchestown Gold Cup in 2009 and the Welsh National in 2008. However, after reaching a rating of 167, the highest in Ireland a couple of years ago, this ten year old appeared to lose his appetite for racing and has steadily slipped down the handicap but if things fall right, he’d be a major danger but would need the ground to be soft.
The first time Noel Glynn has sent a runner to Aintree and one that has been attracting plenty of column inches in recent weeks. He was a promising Novice over in Ireland last season and after just two runs in handicap company (second behind Majestic Concorde last time out), this eight year old could have plenty more to offer and is a very interesting dark horse.
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