Irish Grand National

Focus on the favourite

Latest Exhibition (6/1)

Latest Exhibition was one of last season's leading novice hurdlers and was only narrowly denied by Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival. Monkfish has confirmed his superiority over fences this season, but Latest Exhibition was by no means disgraced when runner-up to that top-class rival in Grade 1 company the last twice. He is burdened with top weight here on his first start in handicap company but a mark of 153 couldn't be described as harsh based on what he has achieved behind Monkfish, while his performances over three miles suggest he should see out this longer trip. This looks like a strong renewal of the Irish Grand National, however, and features a number of lightly raced types who promise not only to stay the trip but to improve for it. With that in mind, odds of 6/1 don't make great appeal, for all Latest Exhibition should give a good account.

An outsider to consider

Jerrysback (40/1)

Jerrysback hasn't stood much racing in recent seasons, hasn't always looked straightforward and was pulled up when last seen at Ascot, so it's not surprising that he is a big price in a race of this quality. However, he fundamentally appeals as being a well-handicapped horse with a bigger effort in his locker, so he should not be overlooked, for all there are obvious risks attached. You only have to look at Jerrysback's penultimate start in January to find an effort that makes him of interest in a staying chase. Jerrysback finished third at Ascot on his reappearance over two miles and five furlongs, and he impressed with how well he stayed on, doing much the best of those held up in the early stages. There is a question about whether he wants a trip this far, but he is fully effective over a testing three miles, so it wouldn't be a shock were he to go well.

A stat to note

Three of the last five winners were novices

The Irish Grand National is always a hugely competitive affair and represents a stiff test of stamina that may seem daunting for inexperienced horses, but novices have a good recent record in the race. An injection of prize money has led to a better quality of novice being aimed at the race, and there are plenty of promising types this year looking to follow in the footsteps of Thunder And Roses, Our Duke and Burrows Saint. One novice with an appealing profile is Run Wild Fred, who hit the line powerfully when runner-up to fellow novice – and stablemate – Coko Beach in the Thyestes Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong at Gowran Park in January. He should appreciate this further step up in trip and extra emphasis on stamina, so has strong claims.

Irish Grand National Tip

Denise Foster – who has taken over the licence at Cullentra House Stables during Gordon Elliott's suspension – has plenty of good chances, but preference is for Run Wild Fred, the mount of Jack Kennedy. He promises to be well suited by this test of stamina and can turn the Thyestes form around with stablemate Coko Beach. Escaria Ten was an excellent third in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last month and is another solid contender for the yard, while Agusta Gold is an interesting runner on her first start for Willie Mullins. At a bigger price, the quirky-but-talented Jerrysback isn't one to rule out.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 170 Run Wild Fred
  • 169 Off You Go
  • 168 Fitzhenry
  • 168 Latest Exhibition
  • 168 Robin de Carlow
  • 167p Escaria Ten

 

Irish Grand National Runners

  • Latest Exhibition 
  • Court Maid 
  • Coko Beach 
  • Mortal 
  • Home By The Lee 
  • Off You Go 
  • Salsaretta 
  • Espanito Bello 
  • Agusta Gold
  • Snugsborough Benny
  • The Big Dog
  • Moyhenna
  • Scoir Mear
  • Enjoy D'allen
  • Discordantly
  • Dragon D'estruval
  • Jerrysback
  • Run Wild Fred
  • Sempo
  • Ten Ten 
  • Robin De Carlow 
  • Atlantic Shore
  • Brace Yourself
  • Fitzhenry
  • Freewheelin Dylan
  • Eurobot
  • Top Moon
  • Opposites Attract