Grand National: Bookies pick Cause of Causes as ‘best of Irish’

The JP McManus-owned horse may not even run in the big race at Aintree on Saturday

The odds look against Cause Of Causes even making the final field for Saturday's Crabbie's Aintree Grand National but bookmakers still appear to reckon he represents the best chance of first Irish-trained winner of the world's most famous steeplechase since Silver Birch in 2007.

Silver Birch catapulted Gordon Elliott into the big-race limelight nine years ago and while the Co Meath trainer has Ucello Conti among 13 Irish-trained horses currently assured of making the final maximum field of 40 runners, it is Cause Of Causes who remains as short as 12/1 in some ante-post lists.


The JP McManus-owned runner is currently at number 50 among the long list of 87 National contenders ahead of Thursday’s final declaration. McManus has four horses among the top 40, including Shutthefrontdoor, Gilgamboa and Gallant Oscar.

Last year’s winner Many Clouds tops the weights and is a general 8/1 favourite to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1973-74 to win the National back-to-back.


As expected Willie Mullins has left in four hopefuls – Boston Bob, Ballycasey, Sir Des Champs and On His Own – as he builds up an Aintree squad as part of his attempt to become the first Irishman since Vincent O'Brien in 1954 to win the British trainers title.

Sir Des Champs is one of three horses from Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud currently guaranteed a start in the National. The other pair, First Lieutenant and Rule The World, represent Mouse Morris who scored an emotional Irish National victory with Rogue Angel .

Davy Russell is set to team up with the Pat Fahy-trained Morning Assembly.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column