|Time for Another Irish-trained Grand National Winner?|
Six of the twelve Grand National winners since 1999 have been Irish. Now with only a few days to go to the Grand National 2011, there are 20 Irish-trained possible runners in this year's big race.
So how likely are we to see an Irish victory in 2011?
The current 8-1 Irish favourite is Ruby Walsh-ridden The Midnight Club (10st 13lb). Walsh has already enjoyed two Grand National wins with Papillon in 2000 and Hedgehunter in 2005. The ten-year old Midnight Club is trained by Willie Mullins, who also trained Hedgehunter.
Mullins has another four horses taking part on Saturday. His son Patrick, an amateur jockey, will ride relative outsider Dooneys Gate (11st 4lb) currently 66-1. Arbor Supreme (10st 3lb) is 20-1 chance, while Our Monty (10st 3lb) at 66-1 and Pomme Tiepy (9st 9lb) at 100-1 make up the quintet – though the latter looks unlikely to make the starting line-up due to the 40 horse limit.
Mullins isn't the only Irish trainer to consider. Martin Lynch trains owners the Waley-Cohens' short-priced and well-fancied Oscar Time (10st 9lb) – currently around 12-1 and there are much worse Grand National tips around. An Oscar Time win would make 2011 a dream double-winning year for the Waley-Cohens after Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Meanwhile, quite a few shrewd punters see Bluesea Cracker (10st 4lb), the by JP McManus-owned 2010 Irish Grand National winner as having a big chance in this year's race. The James Motherway-trained is a 20-1 chance, whilst Noel Glynn's Becauseicouldntsee (10st 8lb), runner-up in the 2010 National Hunt Chase, is around 25-1.
Gordon Elliott trains Backstage (10st 12lb) who returns to the 2011 National having had no luck in running last year when a loose horse got in his way putting paid to any chance of victory. The County Meath-based trainer enjoyed Grand National success with Silver Birch in 2007.