Tag Archive for: Irish National

Enjoy D’allen seeking Irish National compensation after luckless Aintree run

Ciaran Murphy is hoping fortune favours Enjoy D’allen when he looks to bounce back from an early Aintree fall in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday.

The eight-year-old unseated Conor Orr at the first fence in the Randox Grand National, a race he went into off the back of a solid third in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and a decent hurdles warm up.

The gelding was a 20-1 shot for Aintree and became an intriguing prospect for racing fans as he was purchased by JP McManus, one of the sport’s most high-profile owners, in March.

“It was horrendous bad luck at Aintree – we just couldn’t believe it had happened,” said Murphy.

“He jumped the fence perfectly, but he caught his front foot with his hind toe and just shot Connor (Orr) out of the saddle. It was just a one in a million thing and was unfortunate it happened that day.

“We just have to draw a line under it.”

Enjoy D’allen kept on well to be a four-and-a-half-length third to shock winner Freewheelin Dylan in the Irish National last year and Murphy hopes he is in similar form, despite carrying 6lb more this time.

“He will go there fresh. If he can produce that level again, we would love to think we might be in the shake-up,” added Murphy.

Though his Aintree faux pas was frustrating, connections will seemingly have that target in mind next season.

“I would love to think we can go to Aintree with him next year, and have a good go,” said Murphy.

“It will be down to Frank (Berry, racing manager) and JP, but he will be a lovely horse for the Paddy Power next year and the National. He is a staying chaser.

“He had a very light campaign on purpose this year and hopefully his exertions at Aintree haven’t taken too much out of him. If they haven’t, we hope he will go there and run a nice race and the rest is a bonus.”

Enjoy D’allen is one of eight for McManus in the race, with School Boy Hours and Time To Get Up also towards the head of the betting.

Ronald Pump in action over hurdles
Ronald Pump in action over hurdles (PA)

Matthew Smith saddles Ronald Pump, who was beaten half a length by Diol Ker, who reopposes, in the Leinster National at Naas last time.

Runner-up to Lisnagar Oscar in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2020, he has had just four runs over fences and will be ridden by 7lb claimer Liam McKenna.

Smith said: “We are looking forward to it. We never had any expectations the last day. It was a mixture of delight and frustration in that he didn’t manage to hold on, but we were delighted with the run.

“He seems in good form and fingers crossed for a clear run around and a good run.

“Liam gave him a good ride the last day and he gets on well with him.

“He claims 7lb as well which will be a help. If he gets a clear round and jumps cleanly, hopefully that 7lb will make a difference.

“He is not ground dependent. He has won on good ground and has won at the Easter meeting before at the track. He has won three times around Fairyhouse, including his beginners’ chase, and he likes the track.

“Like all of them, he will need a bit of luck.”

Gordon Elliott is responsible for no fewer than 11 of the runners, with Navan Troytown Handicap Chase runner-up Farclas heading his powerful team.

Owner Michael O’Leary and wife Anita Farrell with Farclas
Owner Michael O’Leary and wife Anita Farrell with Farclas (David Davies/PA)

Farclas will be ridden by 5lb claimer Shane Fitzgerald, with Davy Russell on Mount Ida, who unseated at the first at Aintree, while Jack Kennedy teams up with Frontal Assault – a horse yet to win over fences.

Elliott enjoyed a winner at Fairyhouse on Sunday and outlined his thoughts on his leading hopes.

He said: “Fakir D’alene is in good form and ran very well in Cheltenham. Harry (Swan) will take a valuable 7lb off him. I think he can run well.

“The more rain that falls the better for Frontal Assault. I fancied him at Cheltenham and he made a mistake at the wrong time. He’s in good form as well and will wear blinkers for the first time over fences.

“Floueur has an engine but is a bit novicey jumping. If he jumps, he’ll have a chance.

Mount Ida makes a quick return to action
Mount Ida makes a quick return to action (Tim Goode/PA)

“Death Duty won a Grand National Trial in Punchestown but he ran in the English National last week and obviously it’s a worry after only running last week.

“Mount Ida only got to the first at Aintree and if she gets into it after the first mile, she’ll run well.

“Farclas hasn’t had the greatest preparation. We missed a bit of work with him about 10 days ago but he’s in good form at home. He’ll like nice ground.

“Run Wild Fred was second in it last year and is in good form.

“We’ll see what happens with the weather and what the ground is going to be like in the morning.”

Gaillard Du Mesnil heads the market for Willie Mullins, who also fields Franco De Port, while Dermot McLoughlin tries to follow up on last year’s shock 150-1 success with Freewheelin Dylan as he fields another outsider in Lord Lariat.

Max Flamingo heading for Irish National after Thurles triumph

Max Flamingo booked his Irish Grand National ticket in landing the odds to get off the mark over fences in the Horse & Jockey Beginners’ Chase at Thurles.

The seven-year-old brushed aside his main market rival Bacardys after leading three out to get the verdict by three-quarters of a length under Denis O’Regan.

Max Flamingo (4-7 favourite) was back meeting the opposition on equal terms after running in competitive handicaps at Leopardstown on his two previous starts. This was his easiest task as he had previously finished fourth to Fury Road in the Grade One Neville Hotels Chase, also at Leopardstown, in December.

Trained by Francis Casey, Max Flamingo put his experience to good use in a race that was reduced to four runners after two late withdrawals.

The first two were far too good for the other two with 35 lengths back to Fest Deiz in third.

“His whole plan is the Irish National and he is entered. The weights are out next week, but he is rated 142 and should get in,” said Casey.

“I don’t know if this will affect his handicap mark or not, but I don’t think the second horse is a 142-rated horse so he probably ran to his mark.

“I didn’t really want to win our beginners’ chase at this time of year, but we were disappointed with his jumping the last day so we said we’d go for this.

“Denis said he loved the ground but wouldn’t want it any quicker.

“He’ll run in the Irish National next and us small men have to dream big!”

French Dynamite got up in the shadow of the post to land the Grade Three Pierce Molony Novice Chase.

Ciel De Niege looked certain to take his winning run to four when he jumped the last with a handy lead but persistence paid off for Darragh O’Keeffe.

He did not give up on French Dynamite (9-4) and the Mouse Morris-trained seven-year-old stayed on to such good effect that he snatched the verdict by a nose.

Mark Walsh had set out to make all on Ciel De Niege and the 4-11 favourite looked carrying on the fine form of both the rider and trainer Willie Mullins from the Cheltenham Festival until French Dynamite’s late thrust proved decisive.

Mouse Morris with Mark Walsh
Mouse Morris with Mark Walsh (PA)

Morris said: “What’s seldom is wonderful! It is nice to see him back and that ground suits him. He jumped well.

“I have no plans and will speak with the owners and see what they want to do.”

He added “The horses have been running well, but had been hitting the crossbar, although they are just moderate. The two in Cheltenham ran well.

“I have a couple of nice four-year-olds and there are a few which have run well and been placed, so hopefully they can improve.

“Unfortunately I don’t have 500 grand to spend.”

Barry Connell sweet on Bello’s Irish National claims

Barry Connell is aiming to win the BoyleSports Irish National at Fairyhouse in his first season as a trainer with Espanito Bello.

Connell’s yellow and blue silks are a familiar sight on Irish racecourses, in fact Connell used to sport them himself for a lot of years.

It was only in July he took out a licence of his own, however, and the man who has seen his colours carried to victory by the likes of Martello Tower, Shinrock Paddy and The Tullow Tank believes the seven-year-old has all the right credentials, having looked a marginally unlucky loser in the Ten Up Novice Chase.

“He’s definitely on track for the National,” said Connell.

“I think he might still have won the Ten Up but for making the mistake at the last, I thought he was just getting the better of the argument at the time.

“The question going there was stamina but he stayed every yard of three miles in heavy ground, prior to that he’d only run over two-three. That showed that he should get the trip, though, and was the deciding factor of going down the National route.

“All his runs have been on soft or heavy ground. As long as there’s no good in the ground I think he’ll be fine, yielding will be fine.”

He added: “Fairyhouse always do a terrific job with the ground for this meeting.

“He’s going the right way and looks to have a bright future. The novices this year look a nice bunch and he’s up there with them.

“A few of the horses he’s beaten before are reopposing and this has been the target all along since the last day.”