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Friday 18 April 2014

Irish Grand National Preview

The Irish Grand National, run over 3 miles 5 furlongs at Fairyhouse, has thrown up winners 50/1, 33/1 (four times), 25/1 and 20/1 in the last 10 years, so looks ideal for some long odds speculation on the part of your correspondent. This year’s renewal, due off at 5.00 p.m. on Monday, April 21, has attracted a maximum field of 30 runners, two-thirds of whom are available at odds of 20/1 or longer in the ante post betting, so we’ve highlighted two or three that could go well at generous odds.

Rich Revival is a horse that we’ve had an eye on for a while, but Elizabeth Doyle’s 10-year-old was pulled up on his next three starts after winning the Leinster National, over 3 miles, at Naas last March. The Welsh National was mooted as a possible target for the Turtle Island gelding at the start of the season, so connections clearly have no concerns about his stamina and, although he’d prefer softer ground, he still looks decent value at 33/1, in a place, in the ante post lists. He showed his first form for over a year when third, beaten 5¼ lengths, behind Allez Vic in a handicap hurdle at Navan last month and, although he his chase mark remains 17lb higher than his hurdles mark, he’s only 2lb higher in the weights than when last winning over fences.

Lion Na Bearnai won the Irish Grand National, off 5lb lower mark, two years ago and took advantage of some respite from the handicapper when winning a small rated chase, over 2 miles 5½ furlongs, at Fairyhouse in February. The New Frontier gelding was beaten 50 lengths when fourth of seven behind On His Own in the Grade 2 Bobby Jo Chase back at Fairyhouse three weeks later and a slipping saddle finally put paid to his chances in the Grand National earlier this month but, from a handicapping point-of-view, still looks feasibly weighted for a prominent showing. He’s unlikely to be improving as he enters the twilight of his career, but it would be dangerous to rule him out, especially at 33/1 in the ante post lists.

Once again this week, the bookmakers aren’t giving much away in terms of value, with the outsider of 30 only available at a paltry 50/1 and, even then, only in one place. Nevertheless, another one who looks fair value, notwithstanding the fact that he, too, would appreciate a drop of rain, is Folsom Blues. Conor O’Dwyer’s 7-year-old won on his one and only attempt beyond 3 miles, over 3 miles 4 furlongs at Punchestown in February, and has run creditably in defeat over shorter distances since. He remains 8lb higher in the weights than at Punchestown, but is unexposed over marathon distances and can hopefully relieve our friends the enemy of a bundle at the 25/1 generally available.

The Irish Grand National is the sort of race where you could make ten selections and still not have one in the first half a dozen but, for better for worse, our three against the field this week are:

Folsom Blues (25/1 generally)
Rich Revival (33/1 with Paddy Power)
Lion De Bearnai (33/1 with Paddy Power).

Good luck!


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