Staged at Fairyhouse racecourse the 2021 Irish Grand National is run over a trip of 3m5f with 24 fences to be jumped.
The gruelling contest is always staged on Easter Monday (5th April 2021), while several Irish Grand National winners have also won the Aintree Grand National, but none in the same season – Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde are recent examples of this.
For example, did you know? The 16 of the last 17 winners carried 10-13 or less in weight, while 14 of the last 17 successful horses were Irish-bred. We’ve also seen just three winning favourites in the last 17 renewals, while in 2019, trainer Willie Mullins landed his first Irish Grand National with the 6-year-old Burrows Saint.
Recent Irish Grand National Winners
2020 – No Race (Covid)
2019 – BURROWS SAINT (6/1 fav)
2018 – GENERAL PRINCIPLE (20/1)
2017 – OUR DUKE (9/2 fav)
2016 – ROGUE ANGEL (16/1)
2015 – THUNDER AND ROSES (20/1)
2014 – SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR (8/1 fav)
2013 – LIBERTY COUNSEL (50/1)
2012 – LION NA BEARNAI (33/1)
2011 – ORGANISEDCONFUSION (12/1)
2010 – BLUESEA CRACKER (25/1)
2009 – NICHE MARKET (33/1)
2008 – HEAR THE ECHO (33/1)
2007 – BUTLER’S CABIN (14/1)
2006 – POINT BARROW (20/1)
2005 – NUMBERSIXVALVERDE (9/1)
2004 – GRANIT D’ESTRUVAL (33/1)
2003 – TIMBERA (11/1)
Irish Grand National Betting Trends
16/17 – Carried 10-13 or LESS
16/17 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
16/17 – Won over at least 3m previously
15/17 – Winning distance – 5 lengths or less
14/17 – Irish bred
14/17 – Carried 10-8 or LESS
13/17 – Came from outside the top 3 in the betting
13/17 – Returned a double-figure price
14/17 – Aged 9 or younger
12/17 – Carried 10-6 or LESS
13/17 – Won by an Irish-based trainer
12/17 – Had raced at Fairyhouse previously
11/17 – Unplaced favourites
10/17 – Finished fourth or better last time out
10/17 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
8/17 – Rated between 130-136
4/17 – Won by an English-based trainer
3/17 – Ran at Navan last time out
3/17 – Won last time out
3/17 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 21/1
Trainer Willie Mullins is yet to win the race
Only two horses since 2000 to win with more than 11-0, Our Duke (2017) & Commanche Court (2000)
The Irish Grand National is always staged on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse, so with the bunny and chocolate egg festivities early this year, the 2021 renewal will be run on April 5th – and five days BEFORE the Aintree Grand National.
Therefore, some connections will have to make a choice as to which race to run in and with the Scottish National set to be run on April 17th, then it’s Grand National carnage in the first two weeks of the month.
This is also another race that was lost to the Coronavirus situation last year – with the last winner being the Willie Mullins-trained Burrows Saint in 2019, who was also providing the popular Irish handler with his first success in the race.
Let’s take a look at some of the key trends………………
Weight – You can start your weight cut-off point at 10st 13lbs or less as 16 of the last 17 winners ticked this trend, but you can also take this a bit further too. With 82% of the last 17 winners having 10st 8lbs or less, then you could whittle down the runners further with this stat, or if you’re feeling a bit braver, then it could pay to note 12 of the last 17 winners (71%) won with just 10st 6lbs or less on their backs.
Recent Run/Form – Having a recent run within the last eight weeks is another trend to have on your side – 16 of the last 17 winners supported this trend, plus 10 of the last 17 ran in the last 4 weeks. The same amount had also won a race over at least 3m in the past, while 10 of the last 17 winners came into the race off a top four finish last time out, but it’s worth pointing out only 3 of the last 17 won their last outing.
Track Form – The most recent winner of the race – Burrows Saint – was having his debut run at Fairyhouse, but in general previous experience of the course is certainly something to look for with 12 of the last 17 successful horses having raced at the track before.
Betting – In the last 17 runnings, the average winning SP has been 20/1 – this tells us to not be afraid to look a bit further down the market for the winner. Yes, the 2019 winner – Burrows Saint – was sent off at the 6/1 favourite, but he was only the third winning market leader since 2003 and we’ve seen 11 of the last 17 jollies finish unplaced. This is further backed up with 13 of the last 17 winners coming from outside the top three in the market and also returning a double-figure price.
Age – Unlike the Aintree Grand National, where horses aged 7 or younger have struggled in recent times, the Irish version has been okay for the younger runners. The most recent winner – Burrows Saint was a 6 year-old when he won in 2019, while 50% of the last six winners have been aged 7 – did you know, the last 7 year-old to land the Aintree Grand National was in 1940! We saw a couple of 10 year-olds win the Irish National in 2012 and 2013, but since 1998 (22 runnings) we’ve had 19 runners aged 9 or younger.
RACING AHEAD VERDICT: With 16 of the last 17 winners carrying 10-13 or less, then this is a negative for the top 15 on the card, including some big fancies like The Big Dog, Agusta Gold and Latest Exhibition, who all have 11st+ on their backs. Having raced in the last 2 months and being Irish bred are other positive trends to look for, while if you want to take the weight trend a bit further than it could pay to know that 14 of the last 17 winners actually only had 10st 8lbs or less – there are only seven that fit the bill – ATLANTIC SHORE, BRACE YOURSELF, FITZHENRY, FREEWHEELIN DYLAN, TOP MOON, OPPOSITES ATTRACT and EUROBOT. They are all decent prices too, so you could even spilt stakes across them all and still profit if you are the kind of punter that likes to throw several arrows at a race like this. Other trends to note are that 14 of the last 17 winners were aged 9 or younger, so this might be seen as a negative for Scoir Mear, Snugsborough Benny and Brahma Bull, who are all 10+. The Big Dog will be popular after a gutsy win at Punchestown last time out over 3m4f and is clearly a staying chaser on the up. But he’s been raised a big-looking 9lbs for that so has more on his plate this time. The Paul Nolan-trained Latest Exhibition looks set to be the likely favourite and it’s easy to see why after running well behind Monkfish the last twice, but this step up in trip will be the furthest he’s gone, so even though he’s clearly the class act in the race his got stamina to prove and also a big weight (11-10) to carry. With that in mind, the two that catch the eye from those with lighter weights are RUN WILD FRED and SEMPO. The former hails from the Denise Foster yard and looks well worth a crack at this trip having run well over 3m1f in heavy ground recently. He’s a course winner here too (NH Flat race), while he’s the pick of jockey Jack Kennedy from the Gigginstown House Stud runners. Yes, he’s yet to win over fences, but he’s only had 6 career runs over the bigger obstacles and has run some solid races in defeat and stayed on really well over 3m1f last time to suggest this step up in trip will suit. Sempo is another that is stepping up in distance and quite a bit – having run over 2m last time. But he was a fair 6th in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival in 2020 (3m) and connections clearly feel he’s worth a crack over this longer trip. With just 10-10 to carry this will help this Joseph O’Brien-trained runner as he tackled this new distance for the first time.