As a fan of horse racing, my love of the sport isn’t simply limited to the Aintree Grand National, which is why I hype up the Irish, Welsh, and Scottish equivalents as much as I can.

They may not command the same level of worldwide attention, but they are no less worthy when it comes to stellar racing and throwing up a few surprises when it comes to the winners.

This year, 2024, saw the Irish Grand National take place at Fairyhouse on April 1st, Easter Monday, its fixed date – though ironically, one that moves around depending on when Easter actually falls on the calendar.

Usually, the race takes place after Aintree, so there’s always a lot of speculation about which path the dual entries will take. Not so much this year as just 20 runners took to the starting tape, down seven on last year when I Am Maximus romped home for trainer Willie Mullins.

With the rain never-ending, the going was, unsurprisingly, deemed ‘heavy’, and that showed as the 3m5f course, with its 24 fences proved too much for the vast majority of the field.

But before we get to where they all finished and how you might have faired if you bet on the race with the likes of Gamblorium UK, let’s take a look at how the race panned out.

How Did The Favourites Fair?

Nick Rockett was the leading contender going into the 2024 Irish Grand National with incredibly short odds of around 4/1. While he is undoubtedly a terrific chaser, the odds seemed more to reflect the fact that he is a Mullins horse with Paul Townend on board.

Anybody who follows the race will know that while Mullins may dominate the majority of racing in Ireland (and Cheltenham), this race is not his forte, having only won it twice.

Nick Rockett was also near top weight, and while he had form on heavy ground, the distance proved too much, and connections had to settle for 7th place.

Intense Raffles, from trainer Thomas Gibney, was second in the betting markets and, despite only being 6 years old, was well fancied (and tipped by me!).

Gibney has form in this race, having saddled Lion De Bearnai to victory in 2012. And, despite the overwhelming majority of entries coming from the bigger yards, smaller trainers tend to do very well in this race.

Such was the case this year as Intense Raffles maintained his position behind the leader for most of the race, going in front when jumping the third last fence.

Rallying on, he managed to fend off a late challenge from Any Second Now in what was a battle between the youngest and the oldest horses in the race this year.

Recap Of Finishing Order

Horse Jockey Trainer Position
Intense Raffles J J Slevin Thomas Gibney 1st – 13/2
Any Second Now Mark Walsh Ted Walsh 2nd – 14/1
Minella Cocooner Danny Mullins Willie Mullins 3rd – 20/1
Frontal Assault Carl Millar Gordon Elliott 4th – 25/1
History Of Fashion Richard Condon P A Fahy 5th – 50/1
We’llhavewan Kieran Callaghan Willie Mullins 6th – 13/2
Nick Rockett Paul Townend Willie Mullins 7th- 4/1f
Where It All Began Jack Kennedy Gordon Elliott 8th – 16/1
Yeah Man Keith Donoghue Gavin Cromwell 9th – 8/1
Hartur D’arc Sean Flanagan Gavin Cromwell 10th – 20/1
Favori De Champdou Danny Gilligan Gordon Elliott Fell – 14/1
Diol Ker Kieren Buckley Gordon Elliott Pulled Up – 80/1
Dunboyne Sam Ewing Gordon Elliott Pulled Up – 40/1
Good Time Jonny Philip Enright AJ Martin Pulled Up – 10/1
Street Value Darragh O’Keeffe JP Flavin Pulled Up – 33/1
Where’s Frankie Donagh Meyler Karl Thornton Pulled Up – 16/1
Cool Survivor Jordan Gainford Gordon Elliott Pulled Up – 50/1
Senior Chief Rachael Blackmore Henry De Bromhead Pulled Up – 10/1
Daily Present Sean O’Keeffe Paul Nolan Pulled Up – 16/1
Churchstonewarrior Michael O’Sullivan Jonathan Sweeney Pulled Up – 50/1

Prize Money

With only ten finishers in what was a gruelling test of stamina, the first eight home earned prize money.

It may not be as lucrative as what’s on offer at Aintree, but with €500,000 up for grabs, it can definitely boost the coffers of the winning connections.

Here is how the Irish Grand National prize money is divvied up:

  • 1st €270,000 – Intense Raffles
  • 2nd €95,000 – Any Second Now
  • 3rd €45,000 – Minella Cocooner
  • 4th €20,000 – Frontal Assault
  • 5th €10,000 – History of Fashion
  • 6th €5,000 – We’llhavewan
  • 7th €2,500 – Nick Rockett
  • 8th €2,500 – Where It All Began

If you’re keeping a tally, Willie Mullins had three in the first eight home – Minella Cocooner, We’llhavewan, and Nick Rockett, taking his race earnings to €52,500.

Special mention has to go to Ted Walsh and Any Second Now, who, at 12 years old, is a stalwart of jumps racing and, having missed out twice on the Aintree National win, almost deserved the Fairyhouse win.

However, it was not to be, and he lost out by 1½L to become the oldest horse to win since Brown Lad in 1978.

That said, Intense Raffles, at six years old, is one of the youngest to win it with only Burrows Saint in 2019, and Organisedconfusion in 2011, the others to win at that age in 38 years.

Impact On Aintree

Given the timings between the two races this year, there is almost no impact on the Aintree race. Minella Cocooner is the only dual entry with a guaranteed spot in Liverpool with Frontal Assault and Where It All Began, almost too far down the list to seriously be in with a chance of qualifying.

Interestingly, there were no entries from the UK, which, given the prize money on offer, seems a shame not to at least have a go at raiding Fairyhouse, which is more valuable than most of the races in Britain.

People may have complained about Willie Mullins cleaning up at Cheltenham, but as Ruby Walsh stated after Captain Guinness won the Queen Mother Champion Chance – if you want to win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket!