The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY - / Fax /

Easter in the Mor­gan house­hold as a child was an im­pre­cise af­fair. Choco­late eggs were pur­chased sev­eral days af­ter the main event be­cause they were usu­ally half price; some­times those oeufs that ac­tu­ally came from a hen were painted, on other oc­ca­sions they were not, rarer still they were rolled down a hill some­where in the Mournes. It didn’t hap­pen that of­ten so I can’t be cer­tain.

Church was a def­i­nite no-no given that my mother is and my fa­ther was a hea­then. But to him, no prod of Satan’s tri­dent would ever st­ing quite as much as a fail­ure to have a bet on the Ir­ish Grand Na­tional. This was a pe­cu­liar phe­nom­e­non in it­self since you couldn’t ac­tu­ally watch the race in North­ern Ire­land – not quite true, ac­tu­ally, but it re­quired an (il­le­gal?) RTE aerial pointed some­where at the south in or­der to take in the race and ours swept off the roof one par­tic­u­larly blowy au­tumn never to be re­placed.

Of­ten the only means of hear­ing the race was on the car ra­dio dur­ing week­ends away in West­port or Done­gal, but on one Easter Mon­day my fa­ther drove 50 miles closer to the bor­der just so that he could pick up the fre­quency.

And for what? I can’t re­mem­ber but I don’t re­call it be­ing a race in which he was pro­lific at pick­ing win­ners and, anec­do­tally at least, he had a pretty good record. We heard these things – like the time he sold a Linotronic type­set­ting ma­chine and stuck the cash on Dawn Run to win the Gold Cup. So, what was it? I can only guess that it was him do­ing what his fa­ther had al­ways done. Much like I’ll be do­ing this week.


The Ir­ish Na­tional is one for the trends, much like its English coun­ter­part. How­ever, there is a much nar­rower range that comes into play and

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I’ve failed more than once try­ing to nar­row the field. That said, this is my pre­ferred method when it comes to the horses and it stood me in good stead a fort­night ago for the Ain­tree race when Pineau De Re was a se­lec­tion.

Just as is the case for the Grand Na­tional we can call on a whole plethora of stats to whit­tle the field down. These are read­ily iden­ti­fi­able from a rudi­men­tary in­ter­net search and re­veal favourable trends for Ir­ish and French bred horses, those aged 6-9, those car­ry­ing 10st 8lb or less, those with a rat­ing of 128-140, horses that have won over three miles, stats per­tain­ing to fresh­ness and value of races won.

It is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing to note that a horse such as Jim Dreaper’s Goonyella sits near the head of the mar­ket yet has not placed or won a chase worth at least £19,000, a trend that has been shared by the last 10 win­ners of the race. Hav­ing been con­fronted with a field that was listed be­fore the five-day dec­la­ra­tions, I’ve had to be pretty bru­tal in my con­sid­er­a­tions but by ap­ply­ing those trends listed above I was able to take draw up a list of six.

Those horses are Tammy’s Hill, Gal­lant Os­car, Dar­ing Ar­ti­cle, Let­ter Of Credit, Sraid Padraig and Saoirse Dun. Of these, I’m not sure the lat­ter has the stamina for the trip and Let­ter Of Credit is sus­cep­ti­ble to the £19,000 race trend (al­though it has placed in one there are other con­cerns, chiefly get­ting the dis­tance).

That leaves Tammy’s Hill, Gal­lant Os­car, Dar­ing Ar­ti­cle and Sraid Padraig. If we take the horses with train­ers that have pre­vi­ous in the race, namely Tony Martin and Jonjo O’Neill, that’s a pos­i­tive for Gal­lant Os­car and Sraid Padraig. But lesser-known Ir­ish train­ers have a good record in the race and Liam Len­non’s Tammy’s Hill comes here fol­low­ing a hugely im­pres­sive per­for­mance at Chel­tenham.


The pick is Tammy’s Hill at 12s with shouts for Sraid Padraig at 20s and Gal­lant Os­car at 14s as each-way bets.


Quite how Aberdeen blew it last weekend is any­one’s guess but suf­fice to say it cost me dearly. That said, we’re still in profit at £51.72.


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