Horse Racing tips: Paddy Power and Frank Hickey’s Irish Grand National picks

Paddy and Frank have given their take on the big one at Fairyhouse

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Paddy Power and Frank Hickey have named their tips for the Irish Grand National, set to run on Easter Monday at Fairyhouse.

The 3m5f steeplechase is one of the highlights of the festival at the County Meath racecourse, and our dynamic duo have done their best to pick out a winner from a high-quality field.

Speaking on the latest episode of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Paddy has kept things simple with his selection while top trader Frank has been forced to look elsewhere after his antepost fancy Longhouse Poet was scratched from the race earlier in the week.

Paddy Power

I would love to see LATEST EXHIBITION win. It’s one of those horses that is top class, but has just run into Monkfish. He’s going to probably be up against Monkfish for his entire career, and he could easily be winning Grade 1s. He’s a top-class horse and Paul Nolan has done a brilliant job.

They obviously swerved Cheltenham because they weren’t going to be able to go over and have the craic – and I love that! The whole point of going there is living the dream and having the experience. I would love to see him win this, and novices obviously have a decent record in the big handicaps like the Irish Grand National.

But he’s carrying an awful lot of weight, so I’m actually going for one down the bottom – SEMPO for Joseph O’Brien and Martin O’Sullivan. He seems to have strangely been campaigned over 2m (I’m guessing to protect the handicap mark), he’s a maiden over fences, which might not be in the profile of a national winner, and has been quite highly tried while the trainer has had a funny old season – which is another negative! You would have been expecting him to challenge more in some of the big races.

Sempo is joint-favourite, so he’s not that sneaky, but I love the weird preparation and I think this one is interesting.

Sempo JJ Slevin Navan March 6, 2021

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Frank Hickey

It was an awful kick in the stones when Longhouse Poet was not included in the five-day declarations! I was very keen on him.

I agree with Paddy, in that I would love to see LATEST EXHIBITION win and I think Paul Nolan has a cracking chance of winning two nationals in a week with Discorama in the English version. He’s got a massive chance, and I’m delighted to not see him entered in the Irish version because I was half expecting that after I backed him for Aintree!

If Tiger Roll had run, it would have given Latest Exhibition a massive chance off a decent weight. I still think he will go well as he is a class act and a proper Grade 1 horse. It’s just unfortunate that he has bumped into an above-average Grade 1 novice in Monkfish.

If I was looking elsewhere, AGUSTA GOLD is very interesting on her first start for Willie Mullins. She was trained by Mags Mullins and she beat Moyhenna in a mares’ chase at Fairyhouse in January. She got 7lbs for that but she was second in the Grand National trial at Punchestown last February off a mark of 134 so we do know she stays. Willie might be able to eek out a bit of improvement so she could hit the frame.

I’m also going to fire one in at a massive price for Dermot McLoughlin – OPPOSITES ATTRACT. I was looking at the prices of past winners of the Irish National and they’re either favourite or second favourite, or absolutely wild prices. This one is a wild price but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran really well.

His form ties in with Latest Exhibition, when he was only beaten 2½l in a beginners’ chase at Punchestown back in October. He was then ¾l behind Assemble and beaten by Conflated in Navan, and was also well beaten by Longhouse Poet, The Big Dog and Run Wild Fred again at Punchestown. However, the way he was campaigned – four quick runs, then a break followed by a run behind Defi Blue at Wexford when beaten odds-on – caught the eye and his mark of 135 is workable while he’s running off a very light weight of 10st6lbs with Conor Maxwell up. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits the frame.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

Irish Grand National bet summary – Monday, April 5

Paddy PowerSempo
Frank HickeyAgusta Gold/Opposites Attract

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