Two against the field in the Irish Grand National....

Last Updated: 28.03.2016

Monday, 28th March 2016

Good morning, contrarians,

On the menu today….

  • Two against the field in the Irish Grand National…. 

Two against the field in the Irish Grand National….

Eleven of the last 14 winners of the Irish Grand National – this year’s renewal of the race will be run this afternoon at Fairyhouse (5.00) with 29 runners going to post – carried just 10-06 or less to victory.

That concentration of low-weighted winners might be a reflection of the arduous nature of the race. It’s a test of stamina over 3 miles and 5 furlongs. It might also be a reflection of the fact that horses on their way up through the ratings simply do better than those that have already plateaued or those that are on their way down the ratings ladder.

Whichever theory holds most water hardly matters. The fact is that lower-weighted horses – those on lower ratings – do best. And, with field-splitting in mind, the lower weights are the place to start looking for bets in this race.

One who attracts the eye is Gordon Elliott’s KILLER CROW priced-up at a general 12s overnight.

He gets into the race carrying 10-06 off his mark of 134. I’d suggest he’s better than that. Last time out he was beaten just over 2 lengths giving weight to Empire Of Dirt. That one subsequently dotted up in the Plate at the Cheltenham Festival and is now rated 148. The impression is that that Killer Crow is running this afternoon at a weight advantage.

Most of Killer Crow’s work to date over fences has been at trips around two-and-a-half miles – the trip Empire Of Dirt won over at Cheltenham – and he’s somewhat of an unknown at today’s trip. He did try 29f on heavy ground in November – staying on without troubling the principals. He was last off the bridle that day but didn’t quite see out the trip.

More importantly Gordon Elliott has always considered this horse a real stayer and I anticipate improvement over the trip on this afternoon’s better ground. The 7-year-old travels and jumps well and his tactical speed could see him in good stead at key points in this afternoon’s race under 3lb claimer, Jack Kennedy.

At a more speculative price I’ll also be supporting Katie Walsh on BAIE DES ILES at a general overnight 28s.

Katie won this race for me last season on Thunder and Roses and she can repeat the trick on Ross O’ Sullivan’s mare.

Back in January the 5yo French import was just a few lengths behind Bonny Kate in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown – giving away 3lbs. This afternoon she gets 2lbs from that one, stands every chance of improving for better ground than she’s been running on and is three times the price. That quote over-emphasises how far she was beaten by the overnight favourite for today’s race and represents fair each-way value in my book.

That’s where my money is going this afternoon. Feel free to follow me in. But good luck and happy hunting if you choose to go your own way….

The Contrarian Bet Box….

To recap where the value is today….

  • Nick’s Contrarian Picks – KILLER CROW each-way (12s generally) & BAIE DES ILES each-way (28s generally)

That is my take on today’s target race. You will no doubt have your own ideas – and that’s exactly as it should be. You can watch the action unfold live on ATR.


That’s all from me for today. Stay tuned for more contrarian big-race insight & analysis tomorrow.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd