Lexus winner Outlander heads the weights for the Irish Grand National
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 11:16AM 7 MAR 2017
SPONSORS BoyleSports have made The Crafty Butcher, Noble Endeavor and Mall Dini their 10-1 co-favourites out of the 124 entries for next month’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Without Gordon Elliott the field size would have fallen short of three figures, with this season’s championship leader responsible for 28 of the potential runners.
Gold Cup hope Outlander heads the weights on 11st 10lb, with Empire Of Dirt and Don Poli next with 11st 8lb and 11st 7lb. The trio were recently pulled out of the Aintree equivalent after Gigginstown owner Michael O’Leary’s objection over their British handicap marks. O’Leary’s maroon with white star silks have been carried to victory in the last two renewals.
With €500,000 in prize-money, Willie Mullins has also made a block entry of 14 as he tries to wrestle his title out of Elliott’s grasp. The Crafty Butcher, Alelchi Inois, Bellshill and recent Bobbyjo winner Pleasant Company are among his entries.
Last year’s winner Rogue Angel would race off 10st 1lb if Outlander takes his chance.
The number of British entries is up from 11 last year to 24 this, with David Pipe responsible for four of those. Kerry Lee, Kim Bailey and Paul Nicholls are also doubly entered.
Leon Blanche, head of communications at BoyleSports, said: “With the significant increase in prize-money, we are delighted to see so many overseas entrants for the race in what is looking set to be the best ever BoyleSports Irish Grand National.”