Tiger Roll romped home to victory in the 2018 Grand National giving Gordon Elliott his second win in the famous race. The runner will have another crack at the whip in this year’s renewal of the steeplechase as he looks to successfully defend his crown, however he is just one of a large Irish contingent aimed at the Aintree spectacular with 47 of the initial 112 horses entered for the race being trained in the Republic of Ireland. Elliott himself is responsible for no less than 22 of these entries while Willie Mullins is aiming to field as many as nine runners.
These two Irish trainers are always going to dominate the field, however there are a few other Irish handlers who will attempt to grab glory in the world’s most valuable jumps race. Indeed the highest weighted Irish entry is Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly who finished in fourth position last time around. The nine-year-old put in a spirited display in 2018, this made even more impressive by the fact that he had run a career-best at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in his previous outing.
Jessica Harrington will be represented by Magic Of Light who won at Ascot last month and who will be aiming to be the first mare to finish first past the post in the Grand National. Another Irish representative is Pat Kelly’s Mall Dini who finished runner-up in the Cheltenham Kim Muir Handicap Chase.
Two of the last three Grand National winners have been based in Ireland but there will be a strong challenge from these shores in the 2019 renewal with Bristol De Mai being given top weight, the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner saddled with 11st 10lb thanks to his rating of 168 and likely to be susceptible to those rivals carrying a lesser load.
All-in-all, the stamina-testing steeplechase is shaping up to be a real cracker and as always, there’s plenty of excitement and drama certain to come our way on April 6th.