Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has never won an Irish Grand National but with a whopping 13 of his runners declared from the 30 entries for the 2018 renewal, he’s definitely playing a numbers game to finally win one.
I’ll save you the trouble of googling that percentage and tell you that it’s a staggering 43% of the runners who will make the starting line-up, nine of which are owned by Gigginstown House – that’s Michael O’Leary of Ryanair to you and me. Gigginstown also won in 2008 with Hear The Echo, the 2015 race with Thunder and Roses and the 2016 event with Rogue Angel,
Last year Our Duke took the honours but Gigginstown could still console themselves with the fact their runners finished in 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th place with six more getting pulled up so clearly the race is a big favourite of the owners! This year Gigginstown horses will represent a third of the field as they also have runners with Mouse Morris and JP O’Brien.
Top weight for the race will be Outlander who will run off 11-10 and is a general 33/1 to win the race and will be wearing blinkers for the first time in order to boost his chances.
Gordon Elliott Runners For The 2018 Irish Grand National:
No.1 Outlander – 33/1
No.3 Monbeg Notorious – 10/1
No.4 Dounikos – 16/1
No.5 Lord Scoundrel – 50/1
No.11 Folsom Blue – 10/1
No.12 Tell Us More – 100/1
No.14 Jetstream Jack – 50/1
No.15 The Paparrazi Kid – 50/1
No.18 General Principal – 33/1
No.20 Bless The Wings – 25/1
No.21 Sutton Manor – 28/1
No.25 Squouateur – 14/1
No.28 Woods Well – 66/1
Champion jockey-elect Davy Russell rides Dounikos for Elliott and Gigginstown as he bids for a first win in the race with Brian Hughes, Robbie Power, Denis O’Regan, Barry Geraghty, Jack Kennedy and Jody McGarvey among the other jockey’s who will also line-up for Elliott.
But he will have competition from his biggest rival, Willie Mullins, who also has yet to win an Irish Grand National. He runs four with David Mullins pairing up with Bellshill, on whom he won the Bobbyjo Chase over the course last month, while Paul Townend again partners Leinster National winner Pairofbrowneyes.
Bellshill and Pairofbrowneyes are 7-1 co-favourites along with another of Mullins team, Isleofhopendreams on 10-1 (from 16). The novice Kemboy, the mount of Bryan Cooper, completes the Mullins quartet on odds of 25/1
Boylesports are sponsoring the race for the fifth year and in that time prize money has increased substantially from €270K in total to €500K making it a very attractive prospect for owners and trainers alike.
Another item to note about tomorrow’s Irish Grand National is that there will be two female jockeys lining up. Lisa O’Neill is on Thunder And Roses and Rachael Blackmore (3rd last year on Abolitionist) is on Arkwrisht.