Rogue Angel can oblige in Irish Grand National

Mouse Morris-trained hope capable of victory at sizable price

Mouse Morris: Only six years since the trainer supplied the Irish Grand National winner Hear The Echo at 33/1. Photograph: Alan Betson

Mouse Morris: Only six years since the trainer supplied the Irish Grand National winner Hear The Echo at 33/1. Photograph: Alan Betson

 


Since he is owned by a wealthy businessman and trained by a Lord’s son, a win for Rogue Angel might not exactly chime with the Boylesports Irish Grand National’s “Race of the People” tag line, but the horse’s likely SP is in line to keep up the trend of big-priced outsiders coming out best in today’s highlight.

Even Michael O’Leary’s triple challenge in the €250,000 feature pales when compared to the Ryanair boss’s great rival JP McManus who throws half-a-dozen runners at a National where Irish racing’s two dominant owners possess almost a third of the field. Other top owners such as the colourful American Rich Ricci and Barry Connell are also represented by fancied hopes.

However, big names were also present in the last couple of years when Liberty Counsel at 50 to 1 last year followed up on Lion Na Bearnai’s 33 to 1 success in 2012. With 30 horses raring to go around Fairyhouse’s three-and-a-half miles-plus today, it’s worth noting the last outright favourite to win Ireland’s most coveted steeplechase prize was Omerta in 1991.


Successful duo
The fact that Willie Mullins and Barry Geraghty are yet to win the Irish National is likely to be the focus of

attention and Geraghty’s presence aboard Jonjo O’Neill’s Shutthefrontdoor, one of a quartet of British-based McManus hopes, will lead many towards the seven-year-old following up on Butler’s Cabin’s 2007 triumph for O’Neill. Mullins has last year’s runner up Away We Go and Touch The Eden while connections of last year’s third, Home Farm, will be hoping less is more when it comes to predictions of overnight rain.

In contrast Jim Dreaper’s team will be anxious for the opposite with Goonyella and the top hunter Tammys Hill adds an intriguing element but may just be better going left-handed. Ground conditions will be crucial to many and although Rogue Angel has winning form on heavy, better conditions could suit the Mouse-Morris trained hope who looked to act perfectly well on better going in the four-miler at Cheltenham last month when seventh, but not beaten far, after presenting himself as a target for the opposition a long way from home.

Leading claimer Kevin Sexton takes a valuable 5lbs off Rogue Angel’s back and it’s only six years ago since Morris supplied Hear The Echo to spring a 33-1 surprise in the Irish National for Gigginstown.


Geraghty mounts intriguing
In a hugely-competitive event, the lightweight at least looks to represent a touch of each-way value. On a quality

card, worth nearly €500,000, Geraghty can prove the man to follow with Get Me Out Of Here, famously a Cheltenham bridesmaid over the years, back for the Grade Two hurdle which he won in 2014 while Nicky Henderson’s Une Artiste is preferred in the Grade Three mares chase. Kitten Rock is an intriguing mount for Geraghty in the opening Grade Three.

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