Thursday, February 22, 2024

Runners & Riders – The Irish Grand National 2021

‘The Steeple Times’ examines the tipsters’ selections and offers 2 options for today’s Irish Grand National 2021

Today, after a 1st for Small Present at 11/2 on Saturday and some remarkable successes last month at the Cheltenham Festival for our racing followers on email including a 28/1 win for Vintage Clouds, it’s time for the Irish Grand National 2021 at Fairyhouse in County Meath, Ireland.

5pm Fairyhouse – Irish Grand National 2021 – (29 runners, 6 places with Ladbrokes ’The Grid’)

The Irish Grand National 2021 – Inaugurated in 1870 and covering a distance of 3 miles, 5 furlongs with 24 fences to be jumped, the Irish Grand National – nicknamed ‘Dub’s Day Out’ given it normally attracts a large contingent from Dublin – is a National Hunt steeplechase open to horses aged five years or older.

The race’s first ever winner was a horse named Sir Robert Peel and its most successful entrant was Brown Lad with 3 wins in 1975, 1976 and 1978. Not run in 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown, the winner of the Irish Grand National in 2019 was Ruby Walsh on Burrows Saint.

Whilst the market was initially keen on The Big Dog, he is now a non-runner and we thus suggest EACH WAY BETS in the Irish Grand National 2021 on:

Donagh Meyler – Joseph O’Brien combo Sempo at 15/1 from 9/1 earlier (Racing Post ‘Eyecatcher’)

Mark Brown for Racing Post comments: “Looks well treated for the Irish Grand National 2021 having been campaigned over the wrong trip all season.”

Greg Wood for Guardian adds: “Joseph O’Brien’s Sempo is an unknown quantity and has looked potentially high-class at times in his novice season but 9-1 is very short for a runner who remains a maiden over fences.”

Racing Post adds: “Had an interesting preparation for this over 2m at Naas, may come into own over this trip in the Irish Grand National 2021.”

Also in the Irish Grand National 2021, Jack Kennendy – Denise Foster combo Run Wild Fred at 19/2 from 17/2 earlier (The Sun ‘Longshot’)

The Sun suggests: “He is one of several Sneezy Foster runners in with a shout and he caught the eye when second in the tough Thyestes Chase at Gowran last time. He shapes as though this marathon Irish National test will suit.”

Sporting Life comments: “A Grade 3 winner as a novice hurdler last February, he hasn’t won yet over fences, but he has run some big races in defeat. On his penultimate run, he split Longhouse Poet and subsequent Punchestown Grand National Trial winner The Big Dog in a beginners’ chase at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.”

“Then, last time, he ran a big race to finish second behind his stable companion Coko Beach in the Thyestes Chase. The handicapper raised him by 4lb for that run to a mark of 140, but that mark is still 4lb lower than his hurdles mark. Rain would probably be a positive but, a seven-year-old who has run just six times over fences, he has the potential to go beyond his chase mark now, and he won a bumper on his only run to date at Fairyhouse.”

Racing Post adds: “Holds strong chance in the Irish Grand National 2021 on the basis of his 4l second to stablemate Coko Beach in the Thyestes.”

Runners & Riders – The Irish Grand National 2021 – ‘The Steeple Times’ examines the tipsters’ selections and offers 2 options for today’s Irish Grand National 2021.
Runners & Riders – Irish Grand National 2021 – Jack Kennedy is hoping for success in the Irish Grand National 2021 on Run Wild Fred.
Runners & Riders – The Irish Grand National 2021 – ‘The Steeple Times’ examines the tipsters’ selections and offers 2 options for today’s Irish Grand National 2021.
Runners & Riders – Irish Grand National 2021 – Joseph O’Brien is hoping for success in the Irish Grand National 2021 with Sempo.

Elsewhere on this especially busy Easter Monday, we make the following EACH WAY BET suggestions:

2.15pm Redcar (14 runners, 4 places with Ladbrokes ’The Grid’)

Vindabola at 13/2 (Beat The Bookies,, The Times, SPOTLIGHT, POSTDATA)

Beat The Bookies observes: “Opening mark is generous after a run here in the past. Chance.”


Racing Post adds: “This open contest may go to VINDOBALA, who posted a solid effort here when last seen on turf… Solid second here when last seen in turf; interesting back at this venue.”


2.20pm Kempton Park (6 runners, 2 places)

Blue Vega at 13/2 from 4/1 earlier (Radio 4,, Daily Mail ‘Gimcrack’, At The Races ‘Watch Out For’, The Times, The Star)

Racing Post remarks: “Narrowly beaten last time; well held in this two years ago; should run well this time.”


At The Races adds: “Blue De Vega rattled the crossbar in a conditions race at Wolverhampton last time and should be competitive back in a handicap.”


3.25pm Redcar (12 runners, 3 places)

Gale Force Maya at 19/4 from 5/1 earlier (Beat The Bookies, Sporting Life)

Beat The Bookies observes: “Draw a line through LTO and now back on fast ground. Big chance.”

Matt Brocklebank for Sporting Life adds: “GALE FORCE MAYA signed off last season with a very poor effort in first-time cheekpieces at Musselburgh but that was her first ever run on bad ground and she’s well worth another chance with the headgear retained on seasonal debut at Redcar.”

“She posted some really creditable efforts in defeat and while getting a bit of a reputation for being the bridesmaid, it’s not like she can’t get her head in front a she scored four times in total during 2019. I don’t think there’s much wrong with her attitude at all and a mark of 86 looks well within her capabilities when everything falls into place.


“A strongly-run six furlongs on decent ground is right up her street and trainer Michael Dods seems to have his early-season types in good nick with Brunch second in the Lincoln and Havagomecca winning a Newcastle novice event over the weekend.”

Racing Post concludes: “Form dipped when last seen; consistent otherwise and could bounce back.”

3.45pm Chepstow (6 runners, 2 runners)

Tom Bellamy – Emma Lavelle combo Buster Thomas at 7/2 from 10/3 earlier (The Sun, Guardian, TOPSPEED)

The Sun states: “Hated heavy ground last time and much better in these conditions.”

At The Races observes: “Buster Thomas struggled in soft ground at Ludlow last time but has much better form on a sounder surface.”

Racing Post adds: “Not seen since struggling on slow ground in December but current mark is workable.”

3.55pm Plumpton (8 runners, 3 places)

Moore double The Flying Sofa at 8/1 from 15/2 earlier (Sporting Life)

Matt Brocklebank for Sporting Life observes: “With course form figures of 2212, it’s no great surprise to see THE FLYING SOFA back at Plumton to contest the Sussex Champion Chase Handicap Chase and he’s got more than a slight chance. He’s not quite been at his best so far this season but I’m far from convinced he wants really deep ground so am willing the excuse the belated Fakenham return in January, while he didn’t run at all badly in a jumpers’ bumper at Kempton the following month.

“He flopped when favourite at Sandown last time but he’s clearly better on sharper tracks anyway and a 2lb drop for that effort leaves him now 1lb lower than for his last success. The eight-year-old should enjoy conditions and he sneaks in here under a low weight for a trainer with 196 course winners to his name already.”

Racing Post adds: “Not at his best this season but return to a track he likes could spark a revival.”

Also in the same race, Lorcan Williams – Paul Nicholls combo Dr Sanderson at 19/4 (At The Races ’Top Tip’, Daily Express, SPOTLIGHT, Daily Record, Racing Post NAP)

Racing Post remarks: “Comfortable C&D winner in October; not so good next time but fair run in a bumper latest.. A C&D winner in October, DR SANDERSON (nap) may well have been aimed at this decent prize for some time and looks a strong contender.”

At The Races adds: “Preference is for DR SANDERSON. A winner on his last visit to this track, Paul Nicholls’ charge is only 6lb higher here and was not beaten far in a jumpers’ bumper at Kempton.”

3.58pm Redcar (13 runners, 3 places)

Kevin Stott – Kevin Ryan combo Na Bilanta Beo at 15/2 (Beat The Bookies, Racing Post)

Beat The Bookies observes: “Wind op and back on turf, interesting.”

Racing Post adds: “Became disappointing in Ireland, also on seasonal/stable debut; wind op and tongue tied.”

4.10pm Wolverhampton (7 runners, 2 places)

Dirty Rascal at 9/5 (Racing Blogger, The Sun, Sporting Life, Guardian)

Racing Blogger comments: “Cert alert. Ran a blinder for George on stable debut which I pinpointed. This test, down in trip will be interesting.”

The Sun adds: “Good second on debut for this yard last time and more to come.”

Matt Brocklebank for Sporting Life observes: “DIRTY RASCAL very nearly landed a bit of a touch on his debut for George Boughey at Doncaster and it’ll be disappointing if he can’t go one better off the same mark in Wolverhampton’s Watch Sky Sports Racing On Sky 415 Handicap. Granted, he’s yet to show much spark on all-weather surfaces but it’s not like he’s exposed in this sphere (0-2) and he did run quite creditably at Kempton a couple of years ago. Now 7lb lower than when winning at Glorious Goodwood that summer, he’s clearly resumed in good heart for his new yard and should be really hard to beat under Mark Crehan.”

At The Races concludes: “On same mark as for close call at Doncaster; big player if he can match that back at 6f.”

5.25pm Plumpton (4 places with Ladbrokes ’The Grid’)

Harry Banniser on Henschke at 7/2 from 3/1 earlier (Guardian, The Sun,, At The Races ’Top Tip’, The Times, POSTDATA, Daily Record, Daily Express)

The Sun shares: “Improved effort at Hereford latest and won’t be far away.”


Racing Post remarks: “Fair third on handicap debut last month; may do even better given greater test of stamina.”


At The Races concludes: “HENSCHKE kept on well in the closing stages when third at Hereford last time and it would come as no surprise to see him go well, off an unchanged mark, now tackling this longer trip.”


Happy Easter to all our readers and may we wish whoever you back great success in today’s Irish Grand National 2021.


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Runners & Riders – Irish Grand National 2021 – ‘The Finishing Line Podcast’s’ team shared their analysis of the prospects for the race on 31st March.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


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