They are joined by a host of others who might otherwise have been heading to Aintree at the start of next month – including several British hopefuls, despite the fact horses are currently not permitted to travel from overseas to race in Ireland.
It is safe to say that, even allowing for 265 years of inflation, the prize fund of €500,000 for this year’s Irish Grand National is somewhat more than the value of the hogshead or cask of wine that two Corkmen competed for in the world’s first steeplechase.
With only one winning favourite on the seven-race programme, bookmakers got an early Christmas present at Thurles, where 20-1 chance Seabass turned back the clock when running away with the David O’Halloran Memorial Rated Novice Hurdle in the hands of Katie Walsh.
It was, at least from a racing point of view, a magnificent couple of minutes of television. It happened on RTÉ on Wednesday, in the aftermath of Jonathan Burke guiding Shanahan’s Turn to a memorable success in the Galway Plate.