It may not be as long or as difficult as the Aintree Grand National but the American Grand National at Far Hills in New Jersey still attracts the big names. This year is no different and had plenty of interest from the British and Irish trainers. The US version is unusual because it is a hurdle contest, run over 2m5f and this year it only had nine runners as opposed to the fences and 4m+ that we are more used to.
Prior to the trip Irish trainer Gordon Elliott earmarked the race for his seven-year-old Jury Duty. He enlisted the services of jockey Robbie Power who was quite confident before the race.
He said:”Gordon has had this plan hatched since Jury Duty was a good third in the Galway Plate so hopefully it comes to fruition.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) October 20, 2018
“He's got a massive chance. He's a horse who likes good ground, which is what he'll get in America.
“It'll be a bit sharper than some tracks in Ireland. Ross Geraghty, who has been riding in America for the last number of years, is going to walk the course with me and give me some first-hand information.”
The race took place on Saturday 20th October. It looked very close at the final stages with Jury Duty going toe-to-toe with the Emmet Mullins-trained Tornado Watch coming down to the final fence.
An unbelievable day in Far Hills yesterday winning the American Grand National on Jury Duty for @gelliott_racing. Unbelievable achievement from Gordon to win the English, Irish & American Nationals in 2018. On the road to cork now! 😴😴 #sidewayssyndicate #celebrationstonight👍👍 pic.twitter.com/IDzP7q4piN
— Robbie "Puppy" Power (@Robbie_Power_) October 21, 2018
But it was Jury Duty and Robbie Power who found more after the last to win by three-and-a-quarter lengths. It's another incredible win for Elliott and Power. The formidable team also took home the 2007 Grand National with Silverbirch. The win also helped boost the coffers by £200K. But more significantly, it means that Gordon Elliott has won the Irish, Aintree and US Grand Nationals all in the same year!
Can he maintain this incredible level of success? Undoubtedly he will once again be looking forward to another set of victories at the Cheltenham Festival. And for the 2019 Grand National he looks likely to give Tiger Roll a chance at back-to-back victories, though the handicapper may scupper his chances.