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Beautiful Day looks unlikely

Sponsors Ladbrokes yesterday inserted the Gordon Elliott trained Beautiful Sound as the 7/1 clear favourite for the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in just under a fortnight, however, the market leader will struggle to make the line up.

The Irish Grand National will see 25 runners face the starter, however Beautiful Sound is number 64 on the list and therefore needs 39 horses above him to withdraw before declaration morning.

Irish National Hunt Handicapper Noel O'Brien dropped Aintree hero Ballabriggs to a mark of 157 -- 3lbs below his British mark -- for the race leaving him with top weight although he's unlikely to make the journey.

With the Jonjo O'Neill trained Synchronised and Dermot Weld's Majestic Concorde also unlikely to run in the race, top weight appears it could be either Barker or Follow The Plan on 11st5lbs or even both.

The highest rated of the UK challenge likely to make the trip over is Alan King's Blazing Bailey with 11st4lbs.

Noel Meade spoke yesterday about giving Aran Concerto one more crack at a race having taken him out of retirement on Christmas Day and he was pleased to see the handicapper give him a chance with a mark of 143 (10st10lbs).

Of those that ran at Aintree on Saturday, early faller Becauseicouldntsee is an intended runner for Noel Glynn while Backstage may reappear for Elliott.

Elliott said yesterday: "Backstage is fine after Aintree and is an intended runner and obviously I'm hoping that both Tharawaat and Beautiful Sound get into the race. Chicago Grey is better on a left-handed track so we may be going to Ayr although I'm not ruling him out."


Dessie Hughes has Thyestes Chase winner Siegemaster among his entries and after his early exit from the Topham last week at Aintree he may now head back for another go at the Irish National.

"Siegemaster ran well here last year and led into the straight on ground that was probably a bit dead so he'll like nice ground and if Michael (O'Leary -- owner) wants to come here he probably will run," said Hughes.

He added: "Sarteano will definitely run if he gets in, which I think he should, and he'll love quick ground, while Western Charmer has a fair weight of 10st6lbs."

Speaking about his runners, local trainer Meade is hopeful of a good showing from Aran Concerto and Munster National runner-up Fisher Bridge.

"Aran is in good shape and coming along well. He was retired and out in a field with a few others but on Christmas day I was out looking at him and thought he looked fantastic so we brought him in the next day and thankfully he's holding up well so far anyway.

"It's nearly impossible to get those older horses back to their best but it's nice to see the handicapper drop him five pounds to give him some chance but it's probably a shot in the dark."


Meade continued: "Fisher Bridge will definitely run and this has been his plan since the Munster National. I think if we get good ground he could have a real chance."

O'Brien thought Beautiful Sound was an obvious favourite although also questioned if he would get a run, while he picked last year's favourite Saddlers Storm out to be a big priced horse among the field, although also needing a bit of luck to get into the race.

"Beautiful Sound ran a cracker at Cheltenham so if he got in he would be an obvious favourite," O'Brien said.

"It says a lot about the quality of this year's race if Beautiful Sound doesn't get a run.

"Last year I thought Saddlers Storm was travelling ominously well before he fell so he's one that stands out for me if he gets a run.

"Quite a lot of the time the Irish National is a race for a progressive novice and who is improving throughout the season and gets his ground."

Daragh Fitzpatrick of Ladbrokes, who are going non-runner, no bet about the race, described it as "a lottery to him".

"I think the favourite will be 5 or 6/1 on the day and if Beautiful Sound gets in he looks the obvious one. I just hope we get a result and get our sponsorship money back!"

Fitzpatrick added that he hopes the Ladbrokes sponsorship can see an increase in attendances over the Fairyhouse Grand National weekend with a number of promotions ongoing around their shops nationwide and following an increase in trade over Aintree Grand National weekend.

Ladbrokes Irish Grand National Betting - Sponsors Bet:

7 Beautiful Sound; 8 The Midnight Club; 10 Chicago Grey, Synchronised; 12 Majestic Concorde, Prince Erik; 14 Backstage, Iconoclast, Niche Market, Pomme Tiepy, Quel Esprit; 16 Arbor Supreme, Barker, Becauseicouldntsee, Blazing Bailey, Galant Nuit, Hughies Grey, Mr Cracker, Quantitativeasing, Rare Bob, See U Bob, Seigemaster, Some Target, Western Charmer, Whatuthink; 20 Aran Concerto, Can't Buy Time, Faasel, Giles Cross, Hello Bud, Montan, Notre Pere, Or Noir De Somoza, Preists Leap, Quiscover Fontaine, Regal Heights, Shakervilz, Skippers Brig, Sona Sasta, Sunnyhillboy, Wins Now; 25 bar (1/4 odds 1-2-3-4-5 available for Irish retail customers.)


  • JP McManus owned winner 3/1

  • Willie Mullins trained winner 3/1

  • Female trained winner 25/1

  • Gigginstown House owned winner 7/2

  • Gordon Elliott trained winner 11/4