herald

Friday 9 December 2016

National Amigos: Jim Dreaper looks to continue family tradition at Fairyhouse

Jim Dreaper looking to continue on a rich family tradition in Fairyhouse showpiece

Los Amigos
Los Amigos

JUST like Croke Park is taken over for the All-Ireland Club Finals on St Patrick's Day, Easter Monday wouldn't be the same without the Irish Grand National and this year's race promises to be just as exciting as previous years.

A race with such a rich tradition and prestige has certainly be revived in recent years and last year's winner Shutthefrontdoor is now the market leader for the Aintree Grand National next weekend.

Shutthefrontdoor is owned by JP McManus who previously won the race with Butlers Cabin and his Cantlow has proved to be a big market move with sponsors BoyleSports for this Monday's renewal.

However, when looking down through the field there's one horse who stands out as being worth taking a chance on in the wide-open 30-runner field and that is the Jim Dreaper-trained LOS AMIGOS.

The Dreaper name is synonymous with the Irish Grand National and this horse looked primed for the race last year until he was ruled out on the morning of the race. Since then, he has only had one run and that was a more than satisfactory outing at the end of January when he won at Fairyhouse and if he can see out the gruelling 3m5f trip on Monday he should be there or thereabouts.

As with any Grand National it's good to keep your options open and Vics Canvas is a horse who has come in for a lot of support in the past week or so but Colm Murphy's Empire Of Dirt is another than could run a big race.

A winner of a lucrative handicap at Naas back in February, the Gigginstown owned eight-year-old had Champagne James behind on that occasion and the pair pulled well clear of the third horse and with the trip expected to suit him, Empire Of Dirt may well be able to defy his seven-pound rise from the handicapper and be bang there with a shout jumping the last fence.

SUPPORTING

Willie Mullins may never have won the Irish Grand National yet, but he certainly looks to have a strong hand to go to war with on the supporting card at Fairyhouse this weekend.

MORNING RUN, who skipped the temptations of the Cheltenham Festival is unbeaten in six starts and it'll be exciting to see her contest the Grade One EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Final.

While in the Ryanair Gold Cup, Mullins could be celebrating with another high class mare as the recent French winner GITANE DU BERLAIS is given the nod to oblige on ground that she'd love and getting the all important allowances for being just a five-year-old and a mare which sees her carry just 10st 9lbs and get over a stone in weight from her other major dangers which could make a massive difference.

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