Crow To Be Crowned At BoyleSports Irish National

When you fancy a horse in a race where a jockey has a choice to make you always like the vote of confidence and to see the jockey has sided with your selection, just like Bryan Cooper and Don Cossack last week for example.

That was undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions of Cooper’s career and one that he got right, although I’m hoping he may have got it wrong in Monday’s BoyleSports Irish Grand National.

Eight To Choose From
Although he probably never gave some of them a second thought, Cooper did have eight horses to choose between for Monday’s feature race and on Friday morning his name appeared beside recent Naas Grade Three winner Sub Lieutenant (14/1) for last year’s winning trainer Sandra Hughes.

Another man with eight to worry about was Gordon Elliott although he won’t mind which of them win and much of the talk is about 8/1 co favourite Mala Beach if Fairyhouse get the rain they are expecting.

Fresh from all the Gold Cup winning celebrations there’s no doubt that Elliott wouldn’t mind throwing an Irish National winning party as well and although the Thyestes Chase runner-up has obvious claims having fallen when seemingly going best of all in the Bobbyjo Chase, the selection is given to his stable companion Killer Crow.


Flying Form
Elliott’s horses are absolutely flying at the moment and the record of his 19 runners around Cheltenham last week is the biggest testament to that. Apart from the Martin Pipe Hurdle nearly all his horses either outran or ran up to expectations and in 14/1 shot Killer Crow he has a horse that will hopefully continue on that trend.

The Gigginstown-owned seven-year-old was second last time to Empire Of Dirt who obviously came out and franked that form very well at Cheltenham and prior to that his run behind Pairofbrowneyes was a decent one over an inadequate distance.

It was pleasing to hear Elliott suggest on the BoyleSports podcast during the week that Killer Crow could indeed be “a dark horse” for the race.

The 3lbs claim of Jack Kennedy is an obvious bonus and has him on a lovely racing weight of 10st3lbs and the ground should be close to perfect for him.

Weighty Issues
No horse since Commanche Court in 2000 has managed to carry more than 11st to victory in the Irish Grand National. Prior to him, Bobbyjo (1998), Flashing Steel (1995) and the great Desert Orchid were the only others since 1990. So that would count as a major negative for last week’s Kim Muir winner Cause Of Causes, the co-favourite Mala Beach, Thyestes Chase winner My Murphy (14/1), Tony Martin’s 16/1 shot Living Next Door and the Sandra Hughes-trained pair of Sub Lieutenant and last year’s winner Thunder And Roses who is 20/1 for a repeat success.

Dreaper’s National
There is no name more associated to the Irish Grand National than that of the Dreapers and a fifth win for Jim couldn’t be ruled out as Venitien De Mai would be an alternative to the selection Killer Crow.

He is only an 8/1 shot but he impressively accounted for stable companion Goonyella at Naas in the Leinster National and there was a lot to like about that performance. He got 10lbs of a hike from the handicapper but also had Jonathan Moore claiming 5lbs the last day so he has effectively gone up 15 for that Naas win and that would be the only slight concern.

*Prices correct at time of publication.