Hickey ace out to win Irish Grand National

Ballistraw will attempt to prove there was no fluke about his recent 33-1 win in the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday.

Ballistraw will attempt to prove there was no fluke about his recent 33-1 win in the Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Monday.

Trained by Denis Hickey, the nine-year-old came home a smooth winner at Gowran Park last month, where his victims included Knight Legend and former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Kicking King.

Hickey said: “At this moment in time we’re going for it and he’s a definite runner as long as everything works to plan up to Monday.

“There are an awful lot of horses between 10st and 10st 7lb that you’d give chances to – there’s probably too many even to pick out a really dangerous one.

“They’d all be dangers at that sort of weight but he’s a big horse and off 11st 1lb there won’t be an excuse.”

Hickey was pleased to see Knight Legend show up well behind Our Vic at Cheltenham last week and is looking forward to Monday’s three-mile-five-furlong feature.

“Knight Legend ran well and he’s a good yardstick. He’s a very consistent and reliable horse and he did run well in the Ryanair I must say,” he continued.

“We’re just hoping for the best now but the Irish National is like any other National, it’s a bit of a lottery with so many good runners.

“I think he’ll stay but we won’t know until the day. He does generally travel quite well in his races though and that’d be a big help to him.

“He’s a very big horse but he has a lovely stride. I just hope he’ll jump well and keep out of trouble and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Abbeybraney sits relatively prominently in the ante-post lists but connections have yet to commit to the race.

John Berry’s seven-year-old has fought his corner at the top level all season but has yet to run over three miles.

Berry said: “He’s in grand form, and looks like he’s crying out for a trip, but I’m not sure whether he’ll run in the National yet.

“I’ve yet to speak to the owners and we need to talk about a few things.

“A decision will not be made until closer to the time.”

Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National, Paddy Power bet: 5-1 Royal County Star, 7-1 Cailin Alainn, Old Benny, 10-1 Pomme Tiepy, 12-1 Abbeybraney, 14-1 Albertas Run, Alexander Taipan, 16-1 Ballycullen Boy, Chelsea Harbour, Dun Doire, Juveigneur, Kerryhead Windfarm, Notre Pere, Patsy Hall, Preists Leap, Snowy Morning, Well Tutored, 20-1 bar

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