Meadow top of the tree as BoyleSports Irish Grand National weights unveiled

The weights for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National have been unveiled today, with connections of the 64 entries now having a clearer picture of their prospects with 13 days remaining until the starter gets them under way for the 152nd running of the Fairyhouse feature on Easter Monday April 1.

Tuesday, 19 March 2024
Meadow top of the tree as BoyleSports Irish Grand National weights unveiled

Peter Roe (and Munch) Willie Mullins, Sharon McHugh and I am Maximus winner of the 2023 BoyleSports Irish Grand National

"We’re looking ahead to another brilliant renewal of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National. The race has once again attracted a cracking number of high-quality entries and the market has now taken shape following the release of the weights. We can’t wait to see who will triumph come Easter Monday.”
Ash Tree Meadow is at the summit of the ratings on a mark of 159 and the Alymer Stud-owned eight-year-old is set to carry 11-12 if he makes his bid for the lion’s share of the €500,000 prize money on offer.

A Galway Plate winner last August under the guidance of seven-pound claimer Danny Gilligan, Ash Tree Meadow has since added a pair of Grade 2 prizes to his CV.

He is one of 19 entries for trainer Gordon Elliott, who tasted victory in 2018 with General Principle.
Included in the Cullentra House team is last year’s runner-up Gevrey, who went on to win the JT McNamara Munster National with Ricky Doyle, himself cemented in BoyleSports Irish Grand National lore as a result of his pillar-to-post triumph on 150/1 shot Freewheelin Dylan in 2021.
Gevrey has been pulled up on all three outings since but is still rated 9lb higher than 12 months ago, on a mark of 143, which would see him carry 10-10 if his stablemate takes his chance.

Three of last week’s Cheltenham Festival winners are included in the line-up, and remarkably the talented trio are all owned by JP McManus, who took the spoils for the fourth time when Paul Townend gave the Willie Mullins-trained I Am Maximus a gladiatorial ride worthy of his partner’s name to claim a dramatic victory over Gevrey in the dying strides.
Unsurprisingly, Corbetts Cross (11-10), Inothewayurthinkin (11-9) and Limerick Lace (11-7) are all towards the top of the weights.

The former was a facile victor of the National Hunt Chase. Trained by Emmet Mullins, the seven-year-old son of Gamut is already a two-time winner at Fairyhouse and was a very unlucky faller at the track in February, before going on to score at Prestbury Park by 17 lengths.
Inothewayurthinkin and Limerick Lace may well have created history last week as the only full siblings to be successful at the same Cheltenham Festival. The Noreen McManus homebreds were both saddled by another Meath trainer, Gavin Cromwell, to score in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup and the Grade 2 Mares’ Chase respectively.

Cromwell has yet to win the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and his six entrants include recent Leinster National victor, Hartur D’arc, who has a weight of 10-4.

Monkfish is another notable entrant and with a rating of 156, has been given a weight of 11-9.
A Grade 1 winner as a novice hurdler and chaser, the Susannah Ricci-owned ten-year-old was pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but that was his first run over the larger obstacles since April 2021.
Trained by Willie Mullins, Monkfish has two triumphs and two runner-up finishes in four outings at Fairyhouse, the most recent appearance coming on Boylesports Irish Grand National day 2023, when he failed by just a half-length to reel in stablemate Asterion Forlonge in the Grade 2 Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle.

Monkfish is one of 14 possible representatives for the champion trainer, who has won the race twice. Stattler is the highest rated on 158, meaning he could carry 11-11, while Saturday’s Midlands National runner-up, Mr Incredible has been handed 11-4.

The aforementioned Freewheelin Dylan was the first of two consecutive winners of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National for trainer Dermot McLoughlin, with Lord Lariat following up in the 150th running of the Easter Festival showpiece. McLoughlin, whose late father Liam also won the contest as a jockey, will bid to add to his tremendous recent record with Digby, though with a rating of 128 (9-9), he will need a number of horses to be withdrawn to make the cut.

Yet another local conditioner that has saddled the winner of this notorious test of stamina and jumping is Tom Gibney. Triumphant in 2012 with Lion Na Bearnai, Gibney could saddle Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s Intense Raffles, whose sole visits to the track since making the switch from France have yielded two victories at Fairyhouse in January and February. He is sure to pique the interest of punters off a mark of 140, which gives him a weight at this point of 10-7.

Another of intrigue is last year’s Kerry National hero Desertmore House (10-11). The nine-year-old is prepped by Martin Brassil, who bagged the top prize in 2005 courtesy of subsequent Aintree victor, Numbersixvalverde and confirmed his well-being with a third-place finish over hurdles at Naas last month.

Sam Brown is the sole potential cross-channel protagonist. The winner of seven races under Rules, the most recent of which came in a veterans’ chase at Warwick last January, the 12-year-old ran a cracker when beaten just three lengths in fifth behind fellow Anthony Honeyball charge, Forward Plan in a competitive Grade 3 handicap at Kempton in February. He gets in off a rating of 147 and a weight of 11 stone, which might prove attractive to connections given it represents a reduction of 4lb on his British mark.

Others that catch the eye include the Ted Walsh-trained Any Second Now (10-7), twice placed in the Aintree Grand National and a former winner of the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse, Sam Curling’s 2023 Cheltenham winner Angels Dawn (10-10), who finished sixth in last year’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National, and Karl Thornton’s course specialist, four-time Fairyhouse winner Where’s Frankie (9-4).
The BoyleSports Irish Grand National is the centrepiece of Fairyhouse’s three-day Easter Festival, which takes place from Saturday March 30 to Monday April 1 and has €1.24 million in prize money up for grabs.

Peter Roe, General Manager at Fairyhouse Racecourse, said: “We are delighted with the quality of entries and that combined with three of them scoring at last week’s Cheltenham festival shows the standing of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National. Ticket sales are going really well for the three-days, especially Easter Monday and we are on track for a great festival and another renewal of the iconic BoyleSports Irish Grand National.”

Sharon McHugh, Head of PR & Sponsorship, BoyleSports, said: “Fresh off the back of a fantastic Cheltenham festival, we’re looking ahead to another brilliant renewal of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National. The race has once again attracted a cracking number of high-quality entries and the market has now taken shape following the release of the weights. We can’t wait to see who will triumph come Easter Monday.” 

Full list of Entries 

Current Boylesports betting on Boylesports Irish Grand National

8          Perceval Legallois/Corbetts Cross/ Nick Rockett
10        Inothewayurthinkin/ Intense Raffles
12        Limerick Lace/ Mr Incredible
14        Good Time Jonny/  Desertmore House/Embassy Gardens/ Hartur D'arc / Yeah Man
16        Amirite/  Angels Dawn/  Adamantly Chosen/ Velvet Elvis
20        Monkfish/ Daily Present/ Chemical Energy/ The Goffer /We'llhavewan/ Where It All Began        Favori De Champdou / Foxy Jacks

Full List of  Boylesports betting on Boylesports Irish Grand National can be found at boylesports.com

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