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Grand National 2019: Which Irish-Trained Horses are Fancied?

Grand National 2019: Which Irish-Trained Horses are Fancied?

Two of the last three winners of the Grand National – the world-famous endurance steeplechase at Aintree Racecourse – were trained in Ireland.

In the last 20 years, horses from the Emerald Isle have had a 40% success rate of crossing the Irish Sea and coming back with first prize, so it’s well worth looking among them for the purposes of betting. Which Irish-trained horses are fancied for Grand National glory in 2019, with the big race on Saturday, April 6?

Last year’s One-Two Set to Go Again

Each of the first four horses home at Aintree last year came from Ireland. Just a head separated Tiger Roll from Pleasant Company in a thrilling finish to the extended four-and-a-quarter mile slog.

Both could line up in the Grand National again. Pleasant Company is the older horse – now 11 – but is 2lb better off at the weights than nine-year-old Tiger Roll, who is heading to the Cheltenham Festival first to defend his Cross Country Chase crown.

It’s a big ask for both horses to repeat their runs from 12 months ago. Pleasant Company’s trainer Willie Mullins has other horses he’s aiming at the 2019 Grand National, but so does Tiger Roll’s trainer Gordon Elliott.

No horse since Red Rum has won back-to-back runnings of this Aintree spectacular, yet Tiger Roll is the 12/1 betting favourite and the one to beat. Pleasant Company is almost three times the price of his rival at 33/1, which makes for a large difference in relation to the revised handicapping terms they meet on.

Gigginstown Could Have Multiple Runners

Tiger Roll is far from being the sole representative from his stable with a big Grand National chance. Major Irish owners Gigginstown House Stud have a number of other racehorses at Elliott’s yard in County Meath that are targeting the race, too.

General Principle is not certain to get in at Aintree as only a maximum of the first 40 horses in the weights can race, but he won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse last Easter and is 25/1 to follow up in this. He has also improved with every outing this season and could peak just in time for the big one.

Meanwhile, Dounikos finished ahead of General Principle in Ireland’s official Grand National Trial at Punchestown Racecourse. He’s a younger horse with more scope for improvement, yet he’s a bigger price at 33/1 than his stable companion.

Neither horse has tackled the unique spruce-covered fences at Aintree before, however. Many of these are bigger than regulation obstacles that horses under Rules race over, so you can rely on tipping experts like myracing to highlight horses who do have Grand National course experience in their racing tips.

Cheltenham Eye-catchers Anibale Fly and Rathvinden also prominent

Another important aspect to consider besides Aintree form is finding thoroughbreds that get the trip. Anibale Fly placed in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National last season, and trainer Tony Martin has brought him along nicely for another try this year.

The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old is high in the Grand National weights, but that is because he completed the course in fourth carrying a similar burden. Anibale Fly has raced twice since Aintree, with both runs over distances that are far too short for him, and he’s clearly being readied for another attempt. British and Irish bookies alike are wary of him at a best price of 25/1.

Another horse that did well at Cheltenham was the four-mile National Hunt Novices’ Chase winner Rathvinden. Also trained by Mullins, he scored on his return to action in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse. That victory after 305 days off the track is one bookmakers were clearly impressed by.

They reacted swiftly, cutting Rathvinden into a top price of 16/1 for the Grand National. Only Tiger Roll is shorter in the betting, but victory in another of Ireland’s key trials for the race will do that. While Rathvinden lacks stable companion Pleasant Company’s experience of the Aintree fences, he will not be found wanting when it comes to stamina.

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