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Daily Record
Daily Record
Ian Brindle

Gaillard Du Mesnil heads Irish Grand National betting but Willie Mullins has weight issues on his mind

Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins isn’t a man noted for his nerves but despite Gaillard Du Mesnil heading the betting for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, the Closutton handler holds reservations about the six-year-old on Monday.

A top class hurdler on his day, he is yet to win over fences though given the level of opposition he has taken on so far – that is perhaps of no surprise.

The grey was third to L’Homme Presse in the Browns Advisory Chase at Cheltenham last month and side-stepped potential opportunities at Aintree to take his chance in this race.

Mullins told the Racing Post: “Statistically it's not in Gaillard Du Mesnil's favour at all. He's in good form and I was pleased with his run at Cheltenham, but it looks like he'll be carrying a lot of weight and the Irish Grand National is not usually won by horses carrying so much weight.

"You have to go back to Flashing Steel to find a winner who carried as much as Gaillard Du Mesnil will have to and that was back in the last century. It's not going to be easy for him."

Mullins won the race in 2019 with Burrows Saint when the horse was a 6/1 favourite under Ruby Walsh, but this race has produced its fair share of shock results and none-more-so than in last year’s renewal as 150/1 shot Freewheelin Dylan made all under Ricky Doyle.

Mount Ida has been muted in some circles as a more likely player for Mullins and the trainer was a little more positive in his remarks ahead of the Fairyhouse showpiece.

He said to : “She did remarkably well to win the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last season, given the degree to which she jumped to her right, and she has looked much happier on right-handed tracks this season, winning at Clonmel at Fairyhouse.

“She under-performed in the Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham last month, and she got no further than the first fence in the Aintree Grand National but, back on a right-handed track and with Davy Russell for company, if she can get into her racing rhythm early, she could go well.”

Gordon Elliott’s Run Wild Fred finished second in last year’s renewal but he will need to bounce back from a fall during the Grand National and is off a mark some 15lb higher than was the case last term.

The market presently suggests that Farclas is the number one entrant from the County Meath yard.

Fifth at Aintree in the 2021 Grand National, he has not been sighted since appearing at Navan in November and though he’d need to reverse form with his stable companion; that absence has meant that the handicapper hasn’t had a chance to act.

The riding instructions for the jockeys could prove something of a nightmare for Elliott to dispense as he is responsible for no fewer than 11 runners in the race.

Screaming Colours is already a ‘National’ winner having won the Midlands National on soft ground at Uttoxeter and he will be reopposed by third-placed Time To Get Up.

Jonjo O’Neill’s raider will be partnered by Robbie Power and the rider is a previous winner of the race.

Power told BoyleSports : “The trip and ground isn’t going to be an issue with him - so I’d like to think he has a good each-way chance.

“Max Flamingo is a horse with an awful lot of ability. Sometimes his jumping can let him down but the Caseys’ are very, very shrewd. Francis and his legendary father Peter were very, very shrewd people and I think he has a massive each-way chance. He’s got a lovely racing weight on his back and he’d be one I’d definitely be respecting.”

Enjoy D’Allen was one of the leading fancies at Aintree but his race was over as he unseated Conor Orr at the first fence.

That was an unusual blemish given his previous form and as he was third in last year’s race, the punters may sniff some value in his current odds.

The BoyleSports Irish Grand National takes place on Easter Monday at 17:00 and will be shown live on ITV4.

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