John Smith's Grand National - 6th April 2013 

grand national 2013 /


Could Ireland Be On Track for First Grand National Winner Since 2007? 24/01/13

The last five winners of the Grand National have been trained by British based trainers but what chance of that run coming to an end in 2013? Well, a look at the current betting for the big race tells us there is every chance of Ireland fighting back this year with a number of live contenders set to head to Aintree from the Emerald Isle on the first weekend of April. As you would expect, it is Willie Mullins who looks like the trainer to follow from Ireland with the Champion Trainer looking in a great position to try and win the race for the second time.

Prince De Beauchene
© Caroline Norris

Prince De Beauchene

Mullins currently has two of the market leaders for the National at his Closutton based stable in the form of On His Own and Prince De Beauchene who are both owned by Graham Wylie. The pair look ideal National types and the bookmakers agree at this stage with most struggling to split the pair just a few months before the big race with 16/1 available about either runner.

We saw Prince De Beauchene win a hurdle race over 2m3f at Limerick over Christmas which only served to show us his versatility and class over such a short distance bearing in mind he is being prepared for the Aintree Marathon. Punters will also remember that Prince De Beauchene won the Bobbyjo Chase last February over 3m1f on soft ground only to pick up an injury when holding ante-post favouritism for the 2012 Grand National.

On His Own meanwhile has not been seen on a track since he ran in the Grand National last season with a return to Aintree the only thing on the trainers mind. Paul Townend took the ride on the horse in the National last season and he seemed to be travelling well when falling at Bechers the second time round which should do little to put off punters this season. The horse will be all the better for that experience from 12 months ago and based on the fact he hasn’t been seen since, we can expect him to be given a fair mark by the handicapper when the weights are announced in February.

© Caroline Norris

The other trianer from across the Irish Sea with a live contender or two on his hands is Ted Walsh. The father of Ruby will once again be sending Seabass to the Grand National after the horse ran a stormer last year to finish third under a superb ride from daughter Katie Walsh. Seabass is another one who will be better for the experience which saw him jump and stay the trip brilliantly to finish third and many still believe that Katie Walsh (if she keeps the ride) could be the first ever female jockey to win the Grand National. Seabass is another horse who we haven’t seen since the Grand National with connections likely to get one run into the horse, after the weights have been announced and the 10 year old currently rates a best price 10/1 chance.

Whilst on the subject of Ted Walsh, he has another Aintree prospect that should not be ignored in the form of Colbert Station who is as short as 18/1 for the National with Paddy Power but as big as 33/1 elsewhere. The JP McManus owned horse landed a big gamble at Leopardstown over Christmas with Walsh quick to say afterwards that the National could well be the plan for the horse. Add to that the possibility that AP McCoy might take ride and we might have a genuine National horse that has slipped under the radar so far and could still be open to improvement over fences.

Ireland went through a period when they dominated the Grand National in the mid 2000s when Hedgehunter, Numbersixvalverde and Silver Birch won the race in successive years. Ever since though, it has been the British trainers who have succeeded in the race but as we approach this year’s renewal, the feeling is that the run of British domination on Merseyside could be about to come to an end. Ted Walsh and Willie Mullins both know what it takes to train a National winner and it appears that both have their sights set on winning the race for the second time and ending the barren run for the Irish on the 6th April.

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