The Irish Grand National with The Eagle Eye
The Irish Grand National is a true stayers marathon and is usually won by an improving young stayer. Some of the previous winners have gone on to win the Aintree Equivalent but not in the same season. Previous double winners include BOBBY JO, RHYME AND REASON and NUMBERSIXVALVERDE so there have been some classy winners in the past. I have listed who I think could be major players this year although there are 40 runners declared at this stage – there is huge value to be had in the field that’s for sure.
VENITIEN DE MAI (RATING 137)
Looks a real contender from the top stable of Jim Dreaper. Even though he is still a novice he looks to be improving rapidly after running 3rd behind Noble Endeavour (who was well fancied at Cheltenham) in a Down Royal beginners chase and then stepped up on that by winning a beginners chase at the same venue. Last time out won the Leinster National at Naas beating Goonyella by 6 so must be a major player even with a 10lb rise to his name.
MALA BEACH (RATING 150)
Was a really good hurdler 2 years ago winning the Galmoy Hurdle and carried on his improvement when going chasing last season winning at Punchestown and running a good 4th to Don Poli at Leopardstown. This season he has been 2nd twice once at Ascot and at Gowran Park and he fell last time out. He missed Cheltenham to wait for this race and his trainer Gordon Elliott is an expert at preparing horses for the big races so don’t be surprised to see him in the mix.
MCKINLEY (RATING 139)
Had some good form as a hurdler last season winning a grade 1 event at Naas and finishing 5th to Nichols Canyon. He has gone chasing this season winning a Fairyhouse Beginners Chase and last time out was running a decent race at Cheltenham before falling at the 10th in a novice chase. If he has recovered from that should he have a good chance here with his trainer having a good record with novice chasers.
ANOTHER HERO (RATING 136)
Had fair form as a hurdler finishing 2nd a handicap at Cheltenham last season and this season was sent chasing winning 2 beginners chases at Ascot and Ludlow very well. His trainer Jonjo O’Neill has a great record with novices in this race having won twice with Butlers Cabin and Shutthefrontdoor for JP McManus so must fancy his horse here off a reasonable mark. JP would love to win this race in his home country.
THUNDERANDROSES (RATING 145)
Winner of this race last season has been very lightly raced this season running in a mixture of hurdles and chases but he has obviously been aimed at this race all season. Last time he was a fair 5th to Boston Bob in a class 1 chase but it should have put him spot on for this as he purposely missed to Cheltenham to wait for this race. In my view he must have an outstanding each way chance with his proven form over this course and Distance.
At the current odds available Venetien De Mai is generally 8/1 favourite but this race is won by horses of various prices going by past results and Thunderandroses could run a big race again here (20/1 ) and looks to have each way possibilities but ANOTHER HERO is the bet for me at 14/1 .