There have been suggestions that the number of Irish-based horses attending the 2019 Grand National will be restricted in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, however Irish trainers have responded to that threat by entering a record number of runners in the world’s greatest steeplechase.
As things stand, 112 horses have been entered for the showpiece event at this year’s Grand National meeting at Aintree with a record 47 coming from Irish-based trainers. The 2018 renewal of the race – which saw Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll romp home to victory – attracted 40 entries from the Republic of Ireland, this being the previous highest number from the Emerald Isle.
The Grand National is watched by millions around the world and it is certainly a thrilling spectacle with 40 runners battling it out for supremacy over 30 fences in a four mile, two furlong and 74 yard rollercoaster of emotions. The prize fund is a cool £1million, making this the world’s most valuable jump race and a crowd of over 70,000 will cram every nook and cranny at Aintree Racecourse on April 6th 2019, everyone hopeful of getting a winning return on their bets.
Last year’s winner – Tiger Roll – is one of the ante-post favourites to do something which no horse apart from Red Rum has done, namely win the race more than once. Can he do it? The bookies certainly think so and Meath-based trainer Gordon Elliott will certainly fancy its chances, as he will his other runners which total no less than 22. This contingent includes Bless The Wings which finished third in last year’s renewal, Irish national winner General Principle and Alpha Des Obeaux.
Owner of Tiger Roll – Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary – has won the race twice with his other victory coming with Rule The World in the 2016 renewal. He will be seeking his third win in 2019 and given that he has entered fourteen horses, he has a decent chance.
Thus far, the most successful UK-based trainer at the Grand National has been Nigel Twiston-Davies, the Gloucestershire-based trainer winning the race on two occasions, victories coming from Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree four years later. Twiston-Davies has nine entries for this year’s renewal, headed by Go Conquer who gave a decent account of himself at Doncaster’s Sky Bet Chase earlier this month.
Clearly the number of horses entering the 2019 Grand National will be whittled down to 40, however there is certain to be a healthy contingent of Irish-trained horses taking part in the famous steeplechase!