The cancelled BoyleSports Irish Grand National should not be rescheduled according to jockey Robbie Power, who believes the Fairyhouse feature event, which is always held on Easter Monday, belongs to one day.
Horse Racing Ireland revealed its intention to include the most valuable jump race in the country when restructuring an enhanced National hunt programme in the autumn last week.
However, that aspiration has not met with universal approval due to the potential for similar races to be compromised as a result.
Power, who landed a big gamble when riding Our Duke to a 14-length victory in the race in 2017, said “The BoyleSports Irish Grand National belongs to one day and one day only, and that is Easter Monday.
“After Horse Racing Ireland’s announcement to have it rescheduled this winter, I don’t see where it would fit in the calendar between October and December.”
Instead, the leading Irish rider, who has been at the event every year since watching Desert Orchid land the 1990 renewal, would prefer the Irish Grand National to be cancelled this year and return with a bang in April 2021.
He added: “There are many other major handicap chases on the cards and other major racing festivals between October and December.
“Obviously, it was very disappointing last week to hear of the cancellation of the 150th BoyleSports Irish Grand National, and also the Punchestown Festival.”
“I hope that Fairyhouse, as a racecourse, HRI and BoyleSports, as sponsors of the race, will all get their heads together and make the 2021 running a memorable one.”
Kennedy recovering well from leg injury
Elsewhere, you would think that the lack of racing couldn’t have come at a better time for leading Irish jumps jockey Jack Kennedy, who fractured his right femur in a fall from Dallas Des Pictons, which occurred half an hour after winning the Irish Gold Cup on Delta Work at Leopardstown in February.
But Kennedy has been struggling more than most with the lack of racing and is finding the days ‘very boring’ as he recovers on crutches.
Kennedy said: “You might think that I’d be happy with no racing on because I cannot ride, but I actually hate it. I love going racing and I love watching it too. I find the days very boring with no racing to watch. I cannot wait until it starts back again.”
The painful injury unsurprisingly ended Kennedy’s season, but the 20-year-old rider expects to be back in the saddle for the Galway Festival in June.
He added: “The recovery is going well and I would hope to be back riding out in the next month to six weeks. I’d definitely hope to be back in time for Galway.
“The process is a little bit slower than the last time I broke my femur as the fracture was higher up last time. Where it happened this time cannot take as much weight. I’m still on crutches at the moment but I’m putting as much weight on it as I can and it’s getting better all the time.”