Our Favourite Irish Grand Nationals!

Whilst Fairyhouse’s Irish National lacks the originality and spectacle of the Aintree original, it is still a fine prelude to the much anticipated stamina-sapping horse race.

With historically fewer fallers than the Grand National, the Irish National is usually more competitive than its Merseyside relation. It is also a useful trial for potential winners of Aintree’s signature Grade Three steeplechase. Indeed this season’s Aintree favourite Shutthefrontdoor scooped the Irish crown last year.

Here we take a look at a couple of the best renewals of recent times. Have you got different Fairyhouse favourites? Why not let us know?

AP McCoy and Butler’s Cabin – Irish National 2007

AP McCoy is set to ride this year’s market leader Cantlow in what will be his last Irish National (6th April) though he has won the race before. In 2007, he scooped the prize for Jonjo O’Neill on Butler’s Cabin in what was arguably the most engaging renewal of recent times.

The O’Neill charge was just one of a number of that year’s Cheltenham Festival entrants to line up with the likes of Gold Cup fifth Cane Brake, Festival Trophy second and third Juveigneur and Distant Thunder and Kim Muir winner Cloudy Lane all heading over to Fairyhouse.

It was Church Island and Dix Villez who were to put their foot on the accelerator and carve out the early running with the former making a better fist of making all. The eventual winner lurked on the premises with just seven furlongs to run.

Butler’s Cabin would get his head in front over the third-last, this the point at which the first faller of the race would be counted, Cheeky Lady falling fatally and bringing down A New Story, Cloudy Lane and a floundering Dix Villez.

Church Island regained his lead in what would be a nail-biting finish though Butler’s Cabin would take the last in front and manage to hold off second placed Nine De Sivola by a length.

Nina Carberry and Organisedconfusion – Irish National 2011

Nina Carberry became only the second female jockey to ride a horse to Irish National victory after leading home the field on her uncle Arthur Moore’s Organisedconfusion. The nose-banded Moore mount finished five clear of Western Charmer with Sunnyhillboy (the 6/1 favourite and unlucky runner-up in the following year’s Grand National) completing in third.

Future Gold Cup winner Synchronised who had taken both the previous season’s Midlands National and the 2011 Welsh National, went off top weight in what was a good quality field. This horse and Sunnyhillboy were just two of JP McManus’ six representatives.

The early stages of the race saw Deal Done, placed in the Cheltenham Festival’s Kim Muir, forge out – at its biggest – a 10 to 15 length lead. Ridden by Roger Loughran, the then seven-year-old would retain the advantage until the 13th, regaining the lead into the straight.

About half the field had chances in pursuit though Deal Done still looked strong as late as the second-last. Carberry always had Organisedconfusion on the premises and took the penultimate in third before emerging from the pack to see the last in front, a loose horse seeing him fight on and lay down a healthy winning distance.    

Will you be having a flutter on this year’s race? Click on this link to check out our Irish Grand National tips!

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