Entries suggest Irish out to win first Grand National for five years
There has been a drought in terms of Irish winners in the Grand National, but based on the opening list of entrants this year, the luck of the Irish may be about to change.
After successive victories between 2005 and 2007 from Hedgehunter, Numbersixvalverde and Silver Birch, the Irish have failed to land the Aintree showpiece since.
But Irish trainers are certainly keen to end this sequence this year as they are responsible for over a third of the initial 82 entries, which is the lowest total number since 1996 and far less than the 102 that were keen to take part 12 months ago.
Willie Mullins could be celebrating a productive Cheltenham Festival with Hurricane Fly odds-on to win the Champion Hurdle and Quevega well fancied to triumph in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle for a fourth time.
And Mullins has a high chance of celebrating again at Aintree as he is responsible for 12 of the Irish entrants as he bids to win the Grand National for a second time following the aforementioned success of Hedgehunter.
Cooldine would arguably be the biggest surprise entrant given the fact that he has been previously well fancied to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he has the class to win if given a workable rate by the handicapper when the weights are declared on February 14th.
Meanwhile, the same would ring true for Apt Approach, who may be an each-way option for some punters after winning a Grade Two contest at Thurles recently.
Mullins will also be hoping for bigger things from The Midnight Club, who was sent off favourite in the Grand National odds last year but could only finish sixth behind Ballabriggs.