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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Robert Hynes

Irish Grand National atmosphere hailed 'best ever seen' as brilliant video emerges

There were joyous scenes at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday as punters returned to the Irish Grand National meeting for the first time since 2019.

Over 15,000 punters packed into the Meath racecourse for a party atmosphere as local trainer Dermot McLoughlin won the €500,000 race for the second year running.

Racegoers sang 'Hey! Baby' before chants of Ole Ole Ole rang out prior to the big race.

Fairyhouse have shared great footage of the crowd singing on social media.

Commenting on the video, they said: "This was special."

Trainer and former jockey Tony Mullins, who is the brother of Willie Mullins, was among those to comment on the post, describing the atmosphere as the best he's seen at an Irish race meeting.

He said: "Well done to Peter Roe and his team The best atmosphere I’ve seen at an Irish race meeting maybe ever."

Someone else commented: "Love it, hairs on arms stand up watching that, great to see people enjoying themselves again - what life is about."

Another tweet read: "Never seen anything like this on a racecourse, ever! Very audible on TV. Sure to attract new people to racecourses!"

Lord Lariat provided McLoughlin with a second successive victory in the Irish National.

A year on from 150-1 shot Freewheelin Dylan causing an almighty shock in the Easter Monday feature, Lord Lariat got his name on the roll of honour at odds of 40-1 under 7lb claimer Paddy O’Hanlon.

McLoughlin, who also enjoyed an Easter Sunday double at Fairyhouse, said of the winner: “Our plan was to jump him out, but I was a bit concerned about getting the trip.

“Obviously we wanted to get a start like we did last year and utilise his jumping as he is a good jumper. Paddy said he got plenty of breathers into him and it all worked out well.

“We’ve been aiming for this since before Christmas. He won a ladies’ race here in November when he ran away with the jockey, Joanna Walton, and she said then that he would get further.

“We’re 10 minutes down the road, there was nobody here last year but my family and everyone is here this year – it’s unbelievable.

“Paddy started off with me five or six years ago, he was going to be a Flat jockey for a while. He went over to England and tried the Flat there but had no luck and came back and rode a couple of winners for me on the Flat.

“I said ‘Paddy forget about the Flat, you’re going to be a big lad’ and he took to jumping like a duck to water. He won a couple of hurdle races and it went from there, he’s flying now.”

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