Today’s 2012 Irish Grand National, at 16.50pm, is going to be as gruelling as any as 30 horses and jockeys take to the Fairyhouse fences in a bid to win yet another major trophy.
Back in the saddle is last year’s winner, Nina Carberry, on board Lastoftheleaders, another horse trained by her uncle Arthur Moore – can they repeat the success of last year?
Favourite for the race is Groody Hill, available at a general 9/1 with Paddy Power bookmakers and it’s A.P. McCoy that will partner him in the hopes of getting yet another win. His last run out finished in a third place after he made a mistake but before that he had three back to back wins.
Hot on his heels though is Ninetieth Minute, trained by Tom Taafe and will be ridden by Andrew Lynch who will also saddle up for next Saturday’s Grand National at Aintree. An excellent hurdler who won the Coral Cup handicap at Cheltenham three years ago, he has gradually warmed to the chasing game winning his beginners chase at the fourth attempt here at Fairyhouse in February. Is that enough experience though?
Others to keep an eye on are Four Commanders, ridden by Davy Russell. The six year old, trained by Mouse Morris, came a very respectable third in the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on March 14th and is a good, solid horse, that only three times in his career has NOT finished in the money! One for the each-way bet?
Noel Meade’s Cross Appeal, who will be saddled by Paul Carberry, is another fine horse to watch. The six year old is on fantastic form and from just seven chase starts has won two of them and finished third three times, a great return on those who backed him each way.
Ruby Walsh rides Allee Garde for Willie Mullins – another horse with an excellent chance this afternoon and Barry Geraghty is on Aigle Dor for the Nicky Henderson yard.