At this stage it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Irish Grand National will not go ahead. That said, when it was originally postponed, there were hopes that it could be rescheduled for later in the year.
The race should have been run at Fairyhouse on April 13th before being put on hold indefinitely. Any shred of hope that it would simply be postponed was dashed when it was formally cancelled this week. Horse Racing Ireland had intended to reschedule the race. It was supposed to be part of their enhanced National Hunt programme for the upcoming season.
Jason Morris, the director of racing at Horse Racing Ireland, said: “The decision not to run the Irish Grand National was made to give owners and trainers as much notice as possible and allows connections to firm up their plans for the winter with some certainty.”
Irish Grand National Prize Money
The total purse for the Irish Grand National stands at €500,000. With no race this year the powers that be have decided to distribute some of that money to two other races. They are The Ladbrokes Troytown at Navan on November 8th and the Bar One Porterstown Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse on November 29th. Each will be worth €125,000.
Last year it was Burrows Saint that took the honours. Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh this was, surprisingly, Mullins’ first win in the race. It was the third win for Walsh who had previously reigned victorious in 2005 on Numbersixvalverde and in 2000 on Commanche Court.
In recent years, Michael O’Leary has been the most successful owner winning three times since 2015. His wins came from Thunder and Roses (2015), Rogue Angel (2016) and General Principle (2018). Winning €250,000 for each race has certainly boosted his coffers. However, it is quite common for O’Leary to donate his Irish Grand National winnings to charity.
Looking Forward To 2021
So now that three of the four annual Grand Nationals have been called off, there is just one left standing. That is the Welsh Grand National. Due to take place at Chepstow racecourse on December 27th, will it actually go ahead in 2020?
The proud home of The Coral Welsh Grand National since 1949, it still looks like it’s full steam ahead at Chepstow. Potters Corner won the race in 2019 and followed that up with a win in the Virtual Grand National. That was televised to replace the regular Grand National in April. He is also an ante-post favourite for the 2021 Grand National at Aintree.
With National Hunt racing due to get underway fully very soon, we could see all of the Grand Nationals return in 2021. With seven months to go, we may even have spectators at the courses. But who really knows what will happen so far in advance.
In the meantime, we look forward to a great race at Chepstow and cross our fingers for the rest.