/ Racing

Substantial Irish entry for Grand National

Updated: Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 16:52 | Comments

Prince De Beauchene has already won over fences at Aintree
Prince De Beauchene has already won over fences at Aintree

Irish-trained runners account for 32 of the 84 entries for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree on 6 April.

Current ante-post favourites are the Willie Mullins-trained, Graham Wylie-owned Prince De Beauchene and On His Own.

Ted Walsh's Seabass, third in the race 12 months ago, is expected to line up once more.

Walsh, who won the race in 2000 with Papillon, has also put in Leopardstown winner Colbert Station.

Gordon Elliott enjoyed a dream start to his training career when Silver Birch collected the 2007 renewal and his six entries this year include the high-class Jessies Dream, who has not been seen since finishing second in the 2011 RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

The last two winners of the Irish National - Organisedconfusion (2011) and Lion Na Bearnai (2012) - are also engaged.

Sunnyhillboy, who was denied by a nose last season, and fourth home Cappa Bleu are possibles for the £975,000 showpiece.

Former Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander has also been entered, although his participation is thought unlikely.

A tweet from his owners Imperial Racing read: "He is entered but his main and probably only target is the Gold Cup!"

Paul Nicholls, trainer of 2012 hero Neptune Collonges, has four chances to make it two National wins, headed by Tidal Bay, last seen winning the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Nicholls also has What A Friend and Harry The Viking, who are part-owned by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, as well as Join Together.

For the first time, the world's greatest steeplechase will take place over the new distance of four miles, three furlongs and about 110 yards, with the start moved closer to the first fence.

As well as Sunnyhillboy, Jonjo O'Neill could also call on dual Ryanair Chase winner Albertas Run, Cheltenham Festival winner Alfie Sherrin, Lost Glory and Mister Hyde.

Donald McCain emulated his late father Ginger when successful with Ballabriggs in 2011 and that horse leads his team along with Across The Bay, Aintree regular Cloudy Lane, Fabalu and Weird Al.

Weights for the big race will be published at a ceremony in London on 12 February.

2012 Grand National

 

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