The Irish Grand National 2018 is scheduled for Monday 2nd April at Fairyhouse, otherwise known as Easter Monday. Historically it is always on this day irrespective of when Easter falls in the year. This year, the Fairyhouse event will take place before the Aintree Grand National so we may see quite a few runners with dual entries as connections decide where exactly they will send their charges.

The 2018 Irish Grand National had 84 entries with last year’s winner, Our Duke, now the top weight on 11-10. He went off as the 9/2 favourite last year but the additional weight and the chances of a repeat performance are a lot tougher so he is now a general 14/1.

Folsom Blue from Gordon Elliott’s yard is the current ante-post favourite with Betfair at odds of 12/1 and that’s largely due to the fact that he won the Irish Grand National Trial at Punchestown on February 11th. Both races are run over roughly the same distance but in the Irish National, Folsom Blue will carry 11lbs less giving him a massive advantage. He also ran in the 2016 renewal and finished in fourth spot.

Our Duke bucked the trends last year because statistically 14 of the last 15 winners carried 10-13 or less in weight, while 12 of the last 15 successful horses were Irish-bred and returned a double-figure price in the betting. In fact, we’ve seen just two winning favourites in the last 15 renewals and other than Our Duke in 2017, the last horse to win with more than 11-0 on it’s back was Commanche Court in 2000 and he carried 11-4.

Other key trends to make a note of are that 14/15 winners had raced within the last 8 weeks of the Irish Grand National and 14/15 had won over at least 3m previously.

And although we made the point that the majority carried 10-13 or less, 12/15 actually carried 10-8 or less so look for the horses further down the pecking order but with relatively longer odds as 12/15 winners came from outside the top 3 in the betting.

It’s tricky at the moment to really analyse the potential runners because only 28 will actually line-up on the day so there’s still plenty of time, especially with the Cheltenham Festival up first, for runners to be withdrawn or confirmed. It will be Wednesday 28th March before the final horses are declared at the last forfeit stage.