HomeHorse RacingBoylesports Irish Grand National report and free video replay: Intense Raffles wins...

Boylesports Irish Grand National report and free video replay: Intense Raffles wins thriller


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Intense Raffles gave JJ Slevin and Tom Gibney a second win in the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

The six-year-old was due to be the ride of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s retained jockey Daryl Jacob but the British-based rider was forced onto the sidelines by a broke collar-bone.

Slevin was the man connections turned to and he got a great tune out of the 13/2 winner who sat second behind the front-running Frontal Assault for much of the contest. He made a mistake four out but was soon in front as the challengers in behind took aim.

The veteran Any Second Now (14/1) emerged as the big threat but try as he might Mark Walsh’s mount couldn’t get to the leader.

At the line a length-and-a-half separated the pair with Minella Cocooner (20/1) close-up in the third ahead of Frontal Assault.

Slevin was previously successful in the race aboard General Principle for Gordon Elliott in 2018. Gibney sent out Lion Na Bearnai to win it in 2012.

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The winning rider told Racing TV: “I thought they didn’t go very quick and I was always very comfortable where I was. It was three miles five on very soft ground so I just pottered away and he gave the fourth last a real belt and I thought that might have knocked the stuffing out of him and then down to the last he was starting to look around a bit.

“He was long at it but he’s big and scopey and stuck down his head and galloped all the way to the line. He’s only six but this is a big pot to win and we’ll appreciate today first.”

Gibney added: “He’s a fantastic horse and it’s easy to train good horses like that,” said Gibney. “Last February was the first time I spoke to them (Munir and Souede) and fair play to the boys. It’s very easy for the big owners to go to the big yards, so for them to pick out a small stable like us and give us a horse, kudos to them. That takes a bit of doing and it’s great to repay them.

“When he won here the last time we were just getting to know him and it’s just fallen into place. I could make out like I’m a genius but I’m not really, it’s just the way it worked out – it worked out well. I had huge confidence in the horse. People were asking me if I was nervous and hand on my heart I wasn’t because we had huge confidence in him. He’s the best I’ve had.

“He’s just a good horse, when you ride a good horse you just get a feeling that this horse is so much better than the others. That’s the feeling I get on him nearly every day I ride him. He’s only six so who knows where he’ll go. It was a dream to win it in 2012, it was so different to today as there was so much expectation today and pressure.”

He added: “I want to say thanks to the staff, it’s a small outfit with my family, my daughters, my wife and a small local team. They are brilliant and it’s great for them, they need it as much as I need it. I’m getting hugs and kisses, it feels like a wedding! I’m a Meath man and to win it twice is surreal. The two lads (Munir and Souede) are on planes, they were hoping to watch it so I hope they did see it.”

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