The last four winners of the Irish Grand National


The spring is an exciting time for fans of horse racing. There’s the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March, which offers four days of top-class action in the Cotswolds, and even more high-quality racing in April — including the Irish and English Grand National Festivals, the Punchestown Festival, the Jumps Finale at Sandown and the return of the flat racing season.

It’s the Irish Grand National we’re going to focus on in this article. The Fairyhouse showpiece is set to take place at the County Meath-based track on Easter Monday (April 10) and Thedevilscoachman is the 7/1 favourite in the betting odds for the Irish Grand National as Noel Meade, who trained the Bunny Boiler to success in 2002, looks to deliver JP McManus his fourth triumph in the contest.

As always though, the three miles and five furlongs race will be a wide-open affair at Fairyhouse in a couple of weeks’ time — with any one of the potential runners capable of taking out the €270,000 prize to for the winner. That said, read on as we take a look back at the last four winners of the Irish National.

2018: General Principle

Because of the cancellation to the 2020 renewal of the race due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have to go back to 2018 to find the fourth most recent winner of the Irish Grand National. And, it was General Principle who landed the spoils for top trainer Gordon Elliott.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned horse lined up at Fairyhouse at a start price of 20/1 following some questionable form throughout the season (47046), but managed to pick up a win at the right time under Jamie Slevin. Disputing third two out, General Principle ran on from the last to take the lead from Willie Mullins’ Isleofhopendream in the final strides and win by a head and land Elliott his maiden Irish National. He won the English variation with Tiger Roll the following week.

2019: Burrows Saint

Mullins’s wait for his maiden Irish National success took longer than many would have expected and he might have been agonisingly denied his first Irish National success by such a slender margin in the prior renewal, but the 2019 edition of the race was all about the Closutton genius.

Not only did 6/1 favourite Burrows Saint live up to his status as market leader to win the Extended Handicap Chase under immense pressure for Ruby Walsh, but 2018 runner up Isleofhopendreams and Acapella Bourgeois made it a Mullins 1-2-3, while Bellow Mome also placed for the yard in fifth — securing Mullins a cool €420,000 in prize money.

2021: Freewheelin Dylan

With the two previous winners of the Irish Grand National coming from yards you’d expect to see on this list, Freewheelin Dylan’s victory in 2021 was somewhat refreshing. From Dermot McLoughlin’s small and relatively unknown stables just down the road from Fairyhouse Racecourse, the then nine-year-old became the biggest winner of the famed race at 150/1.

Under Ricky Doyle, Freewheelin Dylan made most of the running for the three-mile, five-furlong contest. He started facing strong challenges three out, but was ridden and stayed on to win by little more than a length from 9/1 shot Run Wild Fred for Elliott and Gigginstown House.

2022: Lord Lariat

While it was a shame the biggest win of McLoughlin’s training career fell on empty stands at his local track in 2021 as racing was still behind closed doors due to the pandemic, the Co. Meath trainer did the unthinkable again in 2022 — defending his title with 40/1 chance Lord Lariat.

With crowds back in attendance, the then seven-year-old led three out and went clear approaching the last before staying on to beat Elliott’s Frontal Assault by almost five lengths. Lord Lariat was initially being targeted at Aintree, but after being scratched he is the 9/1 second favourite to retain the Irish National this year.