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Grand National Betting: Why Irish Eyes are Smiling

Posted on | March 31, 2011 | No Comments

In six of the last 12 years of the running of the Grand National, Irish trainers have been celebrating in the winner’s enclosure come the end of the grueling test of endurance. The 2011 race looks set to be another one where Irish-trained horses are set to dominate not only the ante post Grand National betting, but also to play a significant role in deciding who will be the winner on the day of the race.

It is certainly true that ante post horse racing odds can fluctuate wildly in the run up to an event and this is particularly the case for a huge race like the Grand National. Conversely, for a race like the Grand National it is a useful guide as to the horses in form. On the day of the race, when millions of people flock to betting shops to place their annual bet, the odds on the field can bear little resemblance to the ante post odds and picking a winner, for those who like to use the odds as a guide, can be difficult.

As such, a very good rule of thumb for the 2011 Grand National is to bet on one of the strong Irish contingent that will be lining up at Aintree on 9th April. Not only will the Irish horses be well backed on the day of the race, but they have been impressive in ante post markets.

The Willie Mullins-trained The Midnight Club is the current favourite and rightly so after an impressive victory at Fairyhouse earlier this year. Mullins last won the race in 2005 with Hedgehunter and The Midnight Club enters the race as the form most punters have been impressed with in the lead up to Aintree. Another positive is that Mullins’ stable is in good form, coming into Aintree having enjoyed an excellent few days at Cheltenham, with four winners to its name.

The sternest challenge to Mullins charge could well come from the Emerald Isle, too. Oscar Time, trained by Dublin-based Martin Lynch, has been backed at 12-1 in recent weeks after being very generously handicapped at 10-09.

This weight has a long tradition of doing well in the big race and though Oscar Time reportedly has issues with heavier ground and has never run the full race distance, he looks a well positioned to provide a fierce challenge at Aintree.

Another Irish-trained horse well placed in the betting is Big Fella Thanks, the Ferdy Murphy-trained charge who has finished sixth and fourth in the last two Grand Nationals. The nine year-old has the experience and form to push on from these promising showings, especially if Aintree specialist Ruby Walsh is given the ride.

With Niche Market, Ballabriggs and last year’s winner Don’t Push It also among the favorites in the betting leading up to the race, it seems a good bet that come the end of the big race, it will be Irish eyes smiling once again.



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