Boylesports Irish Grand National
Grade A Handicap, 17:00
Fairyhouse 17:00
€500,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus,
3m 5f, Class 1   
Monday 1st April 2024

1 Intense Raffles 13/2
2 Any Second Now 14/1
3 Minella Cocooner 20/1
4 Frontal Assault 25/1
20 ran NR: Royal Thief
Distances: 1½l, 2½l, 4l Time: 8m 39.80s

Intense Raffles, continuing his love affair with Fairyhouse, held off the fast-finishing Any Second Now in a thrilling renewal

Twelve years after winning the race with Lion Na Bearnai, Thomas Gibney struck gold again, thanks to the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned French import.

Intense Raffles has excelled at Fairyhouse in two starts since his transfer from the continent. Despite the currently-injured Daryl Jacob’s absence, J J Slevin stepped in to register his second victory in the Easter Monday showpiece.

The gutsy grey demonstrated star quality with a brilliant round of jumping. Always traveling powerfully, Intense Raffles eased effortlessly to the head of proceedings.

Slevin timed his move perfectly, securing a narrow advantage after the second-to-last fence, and gamely held on to win as other contenders closed in.

“He’s a fantastic horse and it’s easy to train good horses like that,” said Gibney.

“Last February was the first time I spoke to them (Munir and Souede) and fair play to the boys.


“It’s very easy for the big owners to go to the big yards, so for them to pick out a small stable like us and give us a horse, kudos to them. That takes a bit of doing and it’s great to repay them.

“When he won here the last time we were just getting to know him and it’s just fallen into place. I could make out like I’m a genius but I’m not really, it’s just the way it worked out – it worked out well.

“I had huge confidence in the horse. People were asking me if I was nervous and hand on my heart I wasn’t because we had huge confidence in him. He’s the best I’ve had.

“He’s just a good horse, when you ride a good horse you just get a feeling that this horse is so much better than the others. That’s the feeling I get on him nearly every day I ride him.

“He’s only six so who knows where he’ll go. It was a dream to win it in 2012, it was so different to today as there was so much expectation today and pressure.”

He added: “I want to say thanks to the staff, it’s a small outfit with my family, my daughters, my wife and a small local team. They are brilliant and it’s great for them, they need it as much as I need it.

“I’m getting hugs and kisses, it feels like a wedding! I’m a Meath man and to win it twice is surreal.

“The two lads (Munir and Souede) are on planes, they were hoping to watch it so I hope they did see it.”


Boylesports Irish Grand National Chase
(Extended Handicap) (Grade A)
€500,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 3m 5f, Class 1
20 ran

Going: Heavy

1    Intense Raffles 6 11-4 Thomas Gibney J J Slevin 13/2
Any Second Now 12 11-4 T M Walsh Mark Walsh 14/1
3 Minella Cocooner 8 11-12 W P Mullins Danny Mullins 20/1
4 Frontal Assault 9 10-13 Gordon Elliott Carl Millar 25/1
10 History Of Fashion 10 10-0 P A Fahy Richard Condon 50/1
8 We'llhavewan 9 10-1 W P Mullins Kieran Callaghan 13/2
4 Nick Rockett 7 11-10 W P Mullins Paul Townend 4/1F
Where It All Began 8 10-13 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 16/1
25 Yeah Man 7 11-4 Gavin Cromwell Keith Donoghue 8/1
81 Hartur D'Arc 7 11-1 Gavin Cromwell Sean Flanagan 20/1
FELL Favori De Champdou 9 11-9 Gordon Elliott Danny Gilligan 14/1
PU Diol Ker 10 11-3 Gordon Elliott Kieren Buckley 80/1
PU Dunboyne 9 11-1 Gordon Elliott Sam Ewing 40/1
PU Good Time Jonny 9 10-10 A J Martin Phillip Enright 10/1
PU Street Value 9 10-8 J P Flavin Darragh O'Keeffe 33/1
PU Where's Frankie 8 10-1 Karl Thornton Donagh Meyler 16/1
PU Cool Survivor 7 10-12 Gordon Elliott Jordan Gainford 50/1
PU Senior Chief 7 11-5 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 10/1
PU Daily Present 7 10-5 Paul Nolan Sean O'Keeffe 16/1
UR Churchstonewarrior 9 11-11 Jonathan Sweeney Michael O'Sullivan 50/1
NR 18 Royal Thief 10 10-3 Gordon Elliott NON RUNNER