16 runners have been declared for the Cork Grand National on Sunday. Read on for our horse-by-horse race preview and our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: The Willie Mullins-trained novice New Kid In Town scored over 2m4f here last month and has significant potential to make progress over today’s much longer trip, but a much better value option is TOM HORN. Noel Meade’s 10yo is readily excused last month’s defeat on heavy ground at Roscommon and will be much better suited by the conditions here. Two starts ago he ran an excellent race in the Midlands Grand National at Kilbeggan and he remains well handicapped on form he showed before a long absence. Gordon Elliott holds a good hand and the most interesting of his three runners is arguably Captain Von Trappe, who gave a decent account at the Punchestown festival in April and is unexposed over marathon trips. Bearly Legal and A Decent Excuse are among several others that deserve consideration.
1 Rogue Angel – Collected two big prices last season, more recently in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse (3m5f, yielding to soft) in March; should be fine on today’s quicker ground and subsequent defeat at the Punchestown festival shouldn’t be viewed too harshly, but he was soundly beaten in the Munster National after a break last month and remains on a tough handicap mark.
2 Thunder And Roses – Won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse (3m5f, soft) in April 2015 but failed to hit the target last season; didn’t run badly when fifth at the Punchestown festival (3m6f, good to yielding) on latest outing in April but goes without usual headgear today and might still be a shade too high in the weights.
3 Wrath Of Titans – Produced new career-best performance to win the Kerry National at Listowel (3m, heavy) by 5l in September; not quite in the same form when sixth in the Munster National at Limerick (3m, yielding) last month but certainly looks worth another crack at a marathon trip and enters calculations.
4 Akorakor – Made good start to chasing career this season, winning twice over 2m4f in novice company at Kilbeggan; still held a narrow advantage before unseating rider at the final fence in the Midlands National there (3m1f, good to firm) in July; latest run was disappointing but he remains one to be interested in now upped to a new trip.
5 Federici – Pulled up in the Munster National at Limerick (3m, yielding) last month but got back on track with respectable third (albeit never dangerous) in a Punchestown Grade 3 (3m1f, good) just four days later; proved he’s suited by 3m4f on good ground when winning the Ulster National at Downpatrick in March and could have a say here.
6 Captain Von Trappe – Pulled up behind Rogue Angel in the Irish Grand National in March but was always on the back foot after an early jumping error that day and his subsequent fifth at the Punchestown festival (3m1f, yielding) was a decent effort; made encouraging reappearance in a small-field event last month and could have untapped potential over this sort of trip.
7 Raz De Maree – Thorough stayer who won this race off a 1lb higher mark in 2012; yet to add to that success and not very consistent but hasn’t had a huge amount of racing and made pleasing return from break when second to As De Pique at Gowran (3m1f, yielding) last month; impossible to rule out.
8 Bearly Legal – Ran well for a long way when fifth to Rogue Angel in the Irish Grand National (3m5f, yielding to soft) in March and shaped as though he’d benefit from a stiffer stamina test when third in an Aintree veterans’ chase (3m1f, good) last month; gets that here and has a decent each-way shout.
9 As De Pique – Progressive 11yo who overcame a rather sketchy round of jumping to win from off the pace in first-time cheekpieces at Gowran (3m1f, yielding) last month; it might be wise to treat that form with a degree of caution but further improvement certainly not out of the question over today’s longer trip.
10 New Kid In Town – 2-5 over fences after making all in 2m4f novice event here last month; faces much tougher assignment in this handicap but could easily have much more to offer and, given he’s out of a half-sister to an Irish Grand National winner, there’s a decent chance today’s trip will suit; represents top Irish stable and commands respect.
11 A Decent Excuse – Remarkably versatile trip-wise and, after finishing second twice over hurdles this autumn (3m/2m6f), ran well when third in a chase here (2m1f, yielding) on latest outing; not handicapped out of things and no surprise of he gives another good account.
12 Tom Horn – Well handicapped on old form and ran a big race when third in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan (yielding to soft) in July, his second run since a long absence; pulled up on heavy ground after a short break last month but will be much better suited by today’s conditions and has the blinkers back on now; could be the answer.
13 Forever Gold – Has a modest 1-14 strike-rate over fences but ended last season with an excellent second at the Punchestown festival (3m6f, good to yielding) in April and probably needed the run when down the field over hurdles last month; current mark demands a new career-best effort but he’s not out of this.
14 Undressed – Opened account over fences at eighth attempt, in beginners’ event at Limerick (2m6f, yielding) last month; might build on that performance but needed a determined ride that day and faces a much tougher assignment here; others make more appeal.
15 Thomond – Didn’t run badly when sixth at Galway (2m6f, yielding) on Monday, his third start since a long absence, but is effectively 2lb higher from out of the weights here and others have much more obvious claims.
16 Courtncatcher – 0-11 over fences and latest hurdle win was gained back in August 2014; ran quite well when placed at Punchestown (2m6f, good) last month but is not the force of old and it’s hard to make a case for him winning this from 7lb out of the handicap.
myracing Forecast Prices: 7/2 New Kid In Town, 7/1 Forever Gold, 8/1 Wrath Of Titans, 10/1 As De Pique, Tom Horn, 12/1 Akorakor, Federici, Captain Von Trappe, Raz De Maree, Bearly Legal, A Decent Excuse, 16/1 Undressed, 20/1 Rogue Angel, Thunder And Roses, 25/1 Thomond, 33/1 Courtncatcher