Irish Grand National Guide

1. Tout Est Permis

Trainer - Noel Meade

Jockey - Sean Flanagan

Tout Est Permis will carry top weight of 11st 7lb for the Irish National, and comes here having skipped his potential meeting in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The six-year-old still has plenty of inexperience, but has really risen through the ranks this term since switching back to fences.

Three out of three this term including a Grade Two latest, but must handle the rapid step-up in trip.

2. Dounikos

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Keith Donoghue

Dounikos is the first to come off the Gordon Elliott party bus arriving at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, and will be a likely contender off the basis of his convincing victory in the National Trial at Punchestown back in February.

However, he was pulled up in the Aintree showpiece three weeks ago two fences before the finish, so the drop back to 3m5f should look to suit him, but he failed to finish in this twelve months due to the same reason.

Had an excuse with the heavy going, and the conditions appear to be the same as that victory over this trip two months ago.

3. Jury Duty

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Robbie Power

Jury Duty was one of the big market movers in Liverpool two weeks go in the Aintree National, but unseated this rider on the second circuit.

Shame to not see what the outcome would have been, as he was going for a rare hat-trick - which began in the States with victory in the American National Stakes albeit over hurdles.

Stamina proven, and starred at Down Royal in March. Has to enter calculations if standing up.

4. Pairofbrowneyes

T - Willie Mullins

J - Paul Townend

Pairofbrowneyes was a notable absentee hours just before the Grand National in England, and was another with serious claims for the Irish raiders.

The ten-year-old won the Leinster National at Naas clear of stablemates Isleofhopendreams and Bellow Mome, and will come here much fresher than others.

That could play to his advantage, but a spot a rain would certainly add to his chances.

5. Total Recall

T - Willie Mullins

J - Patrick Mullins

Somewhat quieter campaign than that of twelve months ago, which began with victory at Newbury in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

He went onto compete over stamina testing trips at Aintree and at Punchestown in prestigious events, but was pulled-up in both, which saw trainer Willie Mullins pull him back to race over shorter for this season.

The now-veteran was only six lengths down on Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo on New Years Day at Tramore, which does makes for nice reading.

6. Shattered Love

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Davy Russell

Grand National winning rider Davy Russell has opted to ride the only mare in the field - Shattered Love, who last finished ninth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup over a month ago now.

In what was a hard race on the legs of any participant, the eight-year-old did not fulfil her entry at Aintree, so there is a degree of freshness in her physique now.

However, she has been well out of contention in her two efforts over three miles this season, and clearly prefers a smaller distance that has two miles in the name, of which she has finished second in a Grade One and Two since November.

7. A Toi Phil

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Rachael Blackmore

Average season compelled with a good fifth in the Pertemps Final last month at Cheltenham, and made his first start over three-miles in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, where he managed to complete the course.

Came home twelfth having never made a figure of himself, and looks to have another difficult task on his hand with plenty of others proven and preferred.

Was pulled up on last start here in January of 2017, in a Grade A Handicap Chase over just two miles.

8. Acapella Bourgeios

T - Willie Mullins

J - Jonathan Burke

Former RSA Novices Chase sixth Acapella Bourgeois has never really managed to scale the heights that was expected by his new trainer, but after running well for a long way in his return at Cheltenham in the Martin Pipe, he won a nice race last time out at Clonmel - beating dual Festival winner and stablemate Yorkhill.

This a much hotter affair; now reaching the peak of his career, so more will be expected of him.

9. Any Second Now

T - Ted Walsh

J - Mark Walsh

Leading player after his victory in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival over 3m2f under top Amateur Derek O'Connor.

Has been knocking at the door for a little while now, after a string of closely placed efforts - including his second here at this track in a beginners chase back in December.

Finally got his head in front over the larger obstacles, and looks primed for this.

Big player.

10. Monbeg Notorious

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Conor Brassil

Big price for Monbeg Notorious, who improved rapidly last term as a staying chaser, only for unexplained blips in recent months.

After recording a hat-trick in Ireland, he was sent off an 8/1 shot for the Irish National last year, but was always well behind and not enjoying the conditions despite rallying to finish in the top ten.

Career best second in the Grade One Champion Novice at Punchestown last April, but well below par this term and his jumping let him down at Aintree latest.

11. Minella Rocco

T - Jonjo O'Neill

J - Derek O'Connor

Pulled up on last two starts in the National and in the Ultima at Cheltenham, and his second in the Gold Cup now seems a distant memory.

A spell of mistakes and incompletions have been replaced by down the field attempts, and something has clearly been wrong for a while, even when switching back to hurdles in lower company at Exeter.

Looks tough.

12. Snugsborough Benny

T - Liam P Cusack

J - Denis O'Regan

Nine-year-old threw his name into the hat after his emphatic victory here back in February over just shy of three, and looks open to improvement over a further distant.

Made amends for his late unseat at Leopardstown in the Paddy Power Chase back in December, and was a Galway festival winner last August.


13. Burrows Saint

T - Willie Mullins

J - Ruby Walsh

Burrows Saint really is one to keep an eye on in the market, as he braves the hat-trick bid in this highly competitive National field.

Successful on just his second and third start over fences, Ruby Walsh sports the infamous colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci - who have had a season to forget, but you can never rule them out.

A french recruit, with perhaps a big future ahead of him and what a place to make a name for yourself.

14. General Principle

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Donagh Meyler

Course and distance winner from this very contest twelve months ago, when snatching the prize from Isleofhopendreams on the line.

As for this year however, he has been littered with errors in his last couple of outings in Britain - fell at Aintree/pulled up at Cheltenham, but back on home soil where he last finished third at Punchestown over this trip.


15. Auvergnat

T - Enda Bolger

J - A B O'Connor

Pulled up at Cheltenham in the Cross Country, and has been waited with ever since for this.

Won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas impressively, and handles these National-type races.

On that sort of form and ground, he certainly holds a card to play here.

16. Isleofhopendreams

T - Willie Mullins

J - Danny Mullins

A long run of seconds or pull-ups continued at Naas in the Leinster National, when Pairofbrowneyes was the only one too good for this valuable twelve-year-old.

He finished second in the BoyleSports Handicap Chase at the Punchestown meeting last April, matching his runners-up positions in this - the Irish National twelve months ago, along with the trial back in County Kildare.

At 20/1 at the time of writing, he has got to be of interest if running his race.

17. Blow By Blow

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Jody McGarvey

A winner at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018, this eight-year-old chestnut gelding - who is also a son of the great Robin Des Champs, faces a unique task once again.

Victorious in the Martin Pipe last season, his switchover to fences got off to the best start with a win at Galway.

Don't think connections had this sort of test in mind immediately after that - this decision looks more forced, and it has not worked out after being pulled up the last twice - most recently in the English National.

18. Valseur Lido

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Hugh Morgan

Ran with great credit behind Tiger Roll last season and again two weeks ago when completing the course in the Grand National on Merseyside.

Hasn't raced over near this distance let-alone the four-miles he sustained in Liverpool, but worth another go for a few seeking an outside chance.

Will need a bit of luck on his side, but frankly this looks a bit much.

19. Woods Well

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Bryan Cooper

A first 'National' named-test for the eight-year-old Woods Well, who finished fifth in the Topham at Aintree a couple of weeks ago behind Cadmium.

Jumped well but was badly hampered on a couple of occasions by fallers and spillers around and stayed on well for pressure under Jack Kennedy.

Cooper now gets the ride, looking to follow up this horse's impressive victory at Leopardstown in early March, where the jockey lost his irons after the last.

20. C'est Jersey

T - Willie Mullins

J - Katie O'Farrell

Just four career starts over fences - two of those this season since switching back from timber, where he ended last year with a fine 33/1 second in the Ballymore Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown.

He has finished third twice this season over the larger fences - most recently at Gowran Park well behind Duc Des Genievres, who has since shown his class by winning a Grade One at the Cheltenham Festival.

Steps up to a new trip, and could be of each-way interest.

21. Out Sam

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Brian Hayes

Pulled up at Downpatrick over this distance almost a month ago, when finishing the race lame having been sent off the 3/1 favourite.

Smart form down the years and very heavily raced for a variety of trainers - now applying his trade in Ireland, and will look to better last year's third at this meeting in a three-mile chase.

That was on heavy ground, and his best form has been shown on a surface with a bit of cut in it.

22. Gun Digger

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Jack Kennedy

Fell went last seen in a casualty-central National Hunt Chase over the four-miles at the Cheltenham Festival.

Traditionally has gaps in his races - prior to that he finished fourth in a good Grade Three at Punchestown in January which produced impressive Close Brothers winner A Plus Tard.

Likeable character, just needs to be a bit slicker through the air.

23. Whisperinthebreeze

T - Mrs John Harrington

J - Paddy Kennedy

Messers Kennedy and Harrington teamed up in these colours with Magic Of Light a fortnight ago, who produced a game spirited display to finish next best to Tiger Roll.

It was an almighty performance from the mare over the new maximum trip on what was Harrington's first ever participant in the world's greatest steeplechase.

Whisperinthebreeze is another interesting one, who aside from falling at Cheltenham last time out, has finished first or second in all bar one of his last five attempts.

24. Roaring Bull

T - Gordon Elliott

J - L P Dempsey

Fair sixth in the Close Bros at the Cheltenham Festival, and finish a decent third in a Grade Three on first start over three miles.

Was staying on well in the closing stages prompting connections to go further, but would be a bit of an upset to see him take this, although place claims are not ruled out.


25. Forever Gold

T - Edward Cawley

J - Adam Short

Switching back to hurdles has not really merited any sort of return to form in his last three starts.

His price is probably reflected on his close third in this race last season, but would be a bit of a shock if he could repeat that feat.

Been completely out of sorts since then, and even the couple of appearances before then - not really the consistency type you want to follow.

26. Bellow Mome

T - Willie Mullins

J - David Mullins

Useful third behind Pairofbrowneyes and Isleofhopendreams in the 1-2-3 finish for Willie Mullins in the Naas Leinster National in March.

No win since November 2016 would be the concern, and this distance is at the opposite end of the spectrum to that.

Stablemates preferred, letalone the rest of the field, but improvement surely has to come at some stage.

27. Kimberlite Candy

T - Tom Lacey

J - Richie McLernon

Kimberlite Candy finished double figure lengths down on Crosspark in the Eider Chase and will definitely relish the reduction in trip.

He finished a good second over three at Sandown back in Febuary - however including that placed finish, all his best efforts have come on rain softened ground and worse.

HIs last two victories came on a heavy surface, and good ground could not be further away from what he wants - it would not be a surprise if connections pulled him out, and leaving him in would raise a few eyebrows.

28. Measureofmydreams

T - Gordon Elliott

J - Mark Enright

Measureofmydreams completes the field for Gordon Elliott's battalion, and was really disappointing when viciously backed for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last month.

Jamie Codd could never get him involved, which would have followed up his career return run here at Fairyhouse when third in February.

Was off the track almost two years, where he had previously unseated in the National behind One For Arthur.

This trip looks favourable, and a big run expected from a featherweight.

29. Shady Operator

T - Joseph O'Brien

J - J J Slevin

Joseph O'Brien's runners sit second bottom and bottom of the weights themselves, and Shady Operator can improve on his restricted run in the Close Bros last month.

Badly hampered most of the way round, Mark Walsh could never get a clear view of proceedings which haltered any of his progress.

He was fourth to the ill-fated Ballyward at Naas over three miles, and won the time before at Punchestown on the final day of last year. Can play a big part in the finish here.

30. Arkwrisht

T - Joseph O'Briem

J - Andrew Ring

It will certainly be more of a job for Arkwrisht, who has failed to finish in three of his last four appearances, including last time out at Cheltenham in the Kim Muir.

Was sixth in this race last year, and returned with a third placed finished in the Poplar Square Chase behind Saint Calvados this season.

That is as best as it has got, so maybe one to discount early on.