Given the depth and strength of staying chasers from the Republic of Ireland, there remains a possibility that there may be more Irish runners taking part in the 2019 Grand National than there are from the UK, the first time in living memory that this situation has occurred.
This is a massive turnaround from the years between 1975 and 1999 when Ireland couldn’t win the famous steeplechase for toffee and sometimes could hardly fill a horse box with Grand National runners. Nevertheless the 2018 renewal saw 15 Irish runners compete in a field of 38 with five of these finishing in the first six. This time around Gordon Elliott alone will be hopeful of fielding at least ten – including massive favourite Tiger Roll – while Willie Mullins announced earlier this week that his intentions are to enter Livelovelaugh, Up For Review, Pairofbrowneyes, Rathvinden and Pleasant Company.
Irish trainers expected to be represented include Pat Kelly (Mall Dini), Henry de Bromhead (Valseur Lido and Sub Lieutenant), Tony Martin (Anibale Fly) and Jessica Harrington who will look to succeed with her first ever Grand National runner in the form of Sandymount Duke, owned by Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood.
Jockey Robbie Power will be aiming to ride Gordon Elliott-trained Jury Duty in the big race although he hasn’t been in action since the Cheltenham festival and needs to get the all-clear on a vertebrae injury.
Power rode Elliott’s Silver Birch to victory in the 2007 race and he triumphed in the American National on Jury Duty in October 2018.