The Fairyhouse Easter Festival is one of the most highly anticipated events in the Irish racing calendar.  This year’s festival will run from Easter Sunday April 21, 2019 through Tuesday, April 23rd. One of the highlights of the festival is the Irish Grand National steeplechase race.

This year features the 105th edition of the race and it is dubbed as the 2019 BoyleSports Irish Grand National. It is considered as the richest Jumps race in the country with a prize money of €500,000. As such, it attracts the sport’s best runners and riders in what is always a thrilling and challenging sporting event in all of Ireland.

The Irish Grand National is Ireland’s version of Aintree’s Grand National. It is run at a distance of about 3 miles and 5 furlongs or approximately 5,834 meters. There are a total of 24 fences to be jumped on and the race is open to horses five years or older. The race is scheduled to take place on Easter Monday or the day after Easter Sunday.

The first Irish Grand National was ran in 1870 at was already held at its current venue. The race was won by a horse named Sir Robert Peel and the prize money was 167 sovereigns. Several winners of the Irish Grand National have gone on to win its Aintree counterpart which is the Grand National but none of them were able to do so on the same year. The first to accomplish the feat was Ascetic’s Silver who won the latter in 1906. The other horses who won this “double” were Rhyme n’ Reason, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde. The most successful horse in the Irish Grand National was Brown Lad who won three times in the 1970’s.

Last year, General Principle won the race, beating out Isleofhopendreams and Forever Gold. This year, a field of outstanding runners are slated to go to Fairyhouse to partake in this prestigious steeplechase.  Check out our how to bet on horse racing guide.

Here are the favorites to win the 2019 Irish Grand National. Odds taken from Bet365 as of 4/11/19:

HorseOdds
Any Second Now+700
Rathvinden+800
Tiger Roll+800
Pairofbrowneyes+800
Discorama+800
Magic of Light+1000
Tout Est Permis+1200
Jury Duty+1200
Total Recall+1400
Snugsborough Benny+1400
Delta Work+1600
Acapella Bourgeois+1600
Mortal+1600
C’est Jersey+1600
Burrows Saint+1600
De Name Escapes Me+1600
Dounikos+2000
Pleasant Company+2000
Ramses De Tellee+2000
Blaklion+2000

The betting favorite for the 2019 Irish Grand National is seven year old  Any Second Now. Trained by Ted Walsh and owned by John P. McManus, Any Second Now won the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival from Kilfilum Cross at 6-1 odds. Prior to that race, Any Second now had never won in nine previous starts over fences.

Rathvinden won the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year and was a winner at the BetVictor BobbyJo Chase. Rathvinden came up third at Aintree earlier this month, finishing behind Tiger Roll and Magic of Light. This 11 year old is trained by the Cheltenham Festival’s winningest trainer Willie Mullins.

Tiger Roll gave Gigginstown House Stud their third win at Aintree earlier this month. In doing so, he became the first back to back winner since Red Rum in 1974. Trained by Gordon Elliott, Tiger Roll is also the first favorite to win the Grand National since Comply or Die in 2008. Prior to his win at Aintree, Tiger Roll won his warm up race – the Boyne Hurdle last February at Navan and won at the odds of 25/1. The following month, he was victorious at the Glenfarcas Cross Country Chase by 22 lengths.

Trained by Willie Mullins, ten-year old Pairofbrowneyes delivered the finest race of his career by winning the 14-runner field Leinster National Handicap Chase by five lengths from Isleofhoepndreams. The win was the second consecutive at Leinster for the ten-year old. Pairofbrowneyes ran in the Irish National last year  but did not make it past the fifth fence.

Discorama is a six year old gelding trained by Paul Nolan and owned by Thomas Friel & Andrew Gemmell. Discorama finished second to Le Breuil in the National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (G2).

Who Wins?

No horse has won the Grand National double in the same year. Since Tiger Roll won the Grand National at Aintree earlier this month, history tells us that he won’t win the Irish Grand National on the same year.  But when you look at the list of favorites and their current form, it’s Tiger Roll who I like after his win at Aintree.

When you look at Aintree- 40 runners, 30 fences and 4 ¼ miles of distance, the Grand National is the ultimate Jumps race test for horses. To win it once is impressive but to do so in back to back years really says something extraordinary about the horse. That’s what Tiger Roll has done, win back to back at Aintree. Trainer Gordon Elliott has been on a roll as he’s won in Aintree the last two years and is looking to win at Fairyhouse for the second straight year as well. With everything going for him, I am backing Tiger Roll to win the 2019 Irish Grand National.

Prediction: Tiger Roll

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