Gordon Elliott edged out his great rival Willie Mullins to win the BoyleSports Irish Grand National a year ago and the pair look to be assembling strong teams ahead of the latest renewal at Fairyhouse next Monday.
A total of 63 horses remain in the Easter spectacular with Elliott responsible for 17, including the 2018 hero General Principle, Dounikos, Jury Duty, Shattered Love and A Toi Phil while Mullins has a team of nine going forward after this afternoon’s forfeit stage.
The champion trainer’s entry includes Isleofhopendreams, beaten just a head by General Principle last year, Pairofbrowneyes, Total Recall, Bellow Mome and the exciting novice Burrows Saint.
The Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis is the highest rated of those remaining. Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now stands his ground as do other leading ante-post fancies Discorama for trainer Paul Nolan and Liam Cusack’s Snugsborough Benny.
Third in the race a year ago, the Edward Cawley-trained Forever Gold could be on target for a repeat bid while Jessica Harrington has left in Whisperinthebreeze. Enda Bolger has Auvergnat still in the mix and Minella Rocco, another owned by JP McManus, could yet represent Jonjo O’Neill.
Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse, said, “We are delighted with the quality of entries still remaining in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National headed by the impressive Troytown Chase winner Tout Est Permis for local trainer Noel Meade. It is great to see last year’s winner General Principle still in the race along with impressive Fairyhouse winner Snugsborough Benny.
“The supporting card also features plenty of top-class entries with such horses as Samcro, Un Des Sceaux and Joseph O’Brien’s impressive Navan winner Darasso all entered up.
“The ground remains yielding, good to yielding in places following an overcast day. The forecast is mainly dry with some uncertainty over the weekend weather and we are continuing to monitor the situation regarding watering.”