Early fancies go forward for Easter Monday's BoyleSports Irish Grand National

Wednesday, 27 March 2024
Early fancies go forward for Easter Monday's BoyleSports Irish Grand National

Early fancies Nick Rockett, Intense Raffles, Desertmore House, Yeah Man and Hartur D’arc top the 26 acceptors for the €500,000 BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse next Monday.
Nick Rockett, the longtime ante-post favourite for the race, is one of three horses in the mix to give Willie Mullins a back-to-back win following last year’s success for I Am Maximus. The seven-year-old could be joined in the Easter Festival highlight by his stable companions We’llhavewan and Minella Cocooner.  
A BoyleSports Irish Grand National winner with Lion Na Bearnai in 2012, Tom Gibney is set to run Intense Raffles which is fast becoming a Fairyhouse specialist as he’s unbeaten on two visits to the course.
Martin Brassil, successful himself with Numbersixvalverde in 2005, is responsible for Desertmore House, winner of the Kerry National at Listowel in September of last year, while Gavin Cromwell boasts two leading fancies with both Yeah Man, a winner at Haydock on his last start, and the recent Naas winner Hartur D’arc, set to line out.
While Gordon Elliott still boasts the greatest number of entries, none of his nine horses feature at the head of the sponsor’s betting. Favori De Champdou and Where It All Began are perhaps the two that give Elliott his best chance of winning the BoyleSports Irish Grand National for the second time after General Principle’s victory in 2018.
Henry de Bromhead looks set to rely on Senior Chief while Ted Walsh has the far more experienced Any Second Now, already placed second and third in recent renewals of the Aintree Grand National and a former winner of the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse.
The Tony Martin-trained Good Time Jonny and Karl Thornton’s Where’s Frankie, a four-time Fairyhouse winner, are certainly interesting contenders along with Dermot McLoughlin’s Digby. McLoughlin was the first trainer in almost 50 years to win consecutive renewals of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National when successful with 150/1 chance Freewheelin Dylan and Lord Lariat, a 40/1 shot, in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
The Harry Derham-trained Givemefive, owned by golfers Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka, features among the 12 entries for the Grade 2 O’Driscoll’s Irish Whiskey Juvenile Hurdle while nine horses, including Olly Murphy’s veteran Brewin'upastorm and the Willie Mullins-trained Asterion Forlonge have been entered for the Grade 2 Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle.
There are eight horses entered for the Grade 2 McInerney Properties Fairyhouse Chase with Ash Tree Meadow, trained by Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins’ Saint Sam and Appreciate It, and the Pat Foley-trained Rebel Gold among them.
Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse, said: “We are gearing up to an exciting weekend at Fairyhouse culminating with the Boylesports Irish Grand National at 5pm on Easter Monday. The weather forecast is improving all the time and a number of UK-trained entries certainly add another competitive dimension to the action. Hospitality is sold out for the weekend and ticket sales are very strong, we are looking forward to another great three days of racing.”
Click here to see the entries for Easter Monday’s card at Fairyhouse

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