It is no secret that Ireland lead the way when it comes to Grand National winners. In the last 28 meetings, 15 races have been won by an Irish-bred horse, while nine winners were trained in Ireland (including six in the last 13 years). Interestingly, two horses were winners ridden by Irish Ruby Walsh, who holds the best record of current jockeys. However, in the history of the race, Cheltenham-born George Stevens is the most successful jockey with five wins.
Last year’s race alone provided a great day for Irish horseracing, with Tiger Roll winning (ridden and trained by Irishmen Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott) and Irish-bred Pleasant Company (ridden by Willie Mullins’ nephew, David) losing by a head in a photo finish. In fact, the top six either featured an Irish-bred or Irish-trained horse, with Bless the Wings in third, AJ Martin’s French-bred Anibale Fly in fourth, Milansbar taking fifth and Road To Riches completing the top six. There’s no doubt about it, the dominance of Ireland is set to take over this year’s Grand National too.
Previous winners and runners-up
Including last year’s winner, Tiger Roll, six of the last 10 National champions were Irish-bred. In addition to this, eight of the 10 runners-up during those years were also Irish-bred, including Comply or Die who won the race in 2008 and The Last Samuri who was recently retired at the age of 11:
2018 – Tiger Roll (IRE) beat Pleasant Company (IRE)
2017 – One For Arthur (IRE) beat Cause of Causes (USA)
2016 – Rule the World (GB) beat The Last Samuri (IRE)
2015 – Many Clouds (IRE) beat Saint Are (FR)
2014 – Pineau De Re (FR) beat Balthazar King (IRE)
2013 – Aurora Encore (IRE) beat Cappa Bleu (IRE)
2012 – Neptune Collonges (FR) beat Sunnyhillboy (IRE)
2011 – BallaBriggs (IRE) beat Oscar Time (IRE)
2010 – Don’t Push It (IRE) beat Black Apalachi (IRE)
2009 – Mon Mome (IRE) beat Comply or Die (IRE)
Grand National 2019
Just a quick look over the Grand National 2019 runners and you’ll see Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins dominate the entries again, while Jonjo O’Neill is also likely to feature. But when seeing the odds for the race winner, the favourites are all Irish-bred. In fact, nine of the top 10 horses are Irish, with Tiger Roll leading the way at 10/1, closely followed by Rathvinden and Vintage Clouds, both priced at 12/1. Minella Rocco and Elegant Escape complete the top-five at 14/1 apiece.
Davy Russell looks set to ride Tiger Roll again this year and Elliott will be hinging his best hopes on last year’s winner. He recently said:
“Tiger Roll is in very good form and I couldn’t be happier with him. I think he’ll love the National.
It’s the Grand National, and you need a lot of luck and for everything to go right, but I think the race will suit him. The one worry would be the weather and what sort of ground they get. The better the ground at Aintree, the better his chance”.