Irish Grand National The Irish Game

In this article, we will be sharing all that you need to know about the Irish Grand National. Follow it right till the end!


Introduction to Irish Grand National

The Irish Grand National is a horse race that has been taking place annually since 1866. It is considered one of the most difficult races in the world, with 16 fences and four steeple chase jumps. The race takes place at Fairy-house Racecourse in Ireland on Easter Monday, which marks the start of spring for many people.

The course starts with an uphill section before it descends down towards two water-filled ditches, followed by three more fence sections with some tricky turns before heading back up to finish off the tough course. Horses are penalized if they refuse or jump incorrectly over any obstacles. A single refusal results in a 20-second time penalty while a double refusal sees riders disqualified from the event altogether!

Until 1960, the race was open to both horses bred in Ireland and those imported from other countries but now only Irish-bred horses are allowed to take part. The event attracts many of the world’s best riders who come over especially for it each year, as well as Europe’s richest prize fund which currently stands at €275 000 (for 2017). The race covers a distance of 4 miles 3 furlongs and 100 yards (6.828 km) with 29 fences to be jumped along the way. It is unusual  among races in the UK and Ireland, as it has traditionally been contested by amateurs on horses who were not trained full-time for racing. This unique tradition is still upheld and although there are professional riders taking part today, many of their mounts will have had little or no race experience before running in the Grand National.

Although only seven Irish-trained horses have won so far, many have appeared in the “field of thirty” on Grand National day. The first was Reve d’Or in 1873. He also became the only horse to win both races on the same day, when he won the Irish Grand National on 26 March that year and then followed up by winning England’.

Irish Grand National’s History Customs & Traditions!

 The Irish Grand National is a horse race that is run annually in Ireland. It is a Grade 3 steeplechase that is open to horses that are four years of age or older. The race is contested over a distance of about 4 miles and 2 furlongs, and it is open to both amateur and professional jockeys. The Irish Grand National was first run in 1839, and it was initially known as the Grand National Sweepstakes. The race was renamed the Irish Grand National in 1922, and it has been run at Fairy-house Racecourse since its inception.

The Irish Grand National has been won by some of the most accomplished horses in history, including Arkle, Red Rum Dawn Run, and Might Bite. The record for the most wins in the Irish Grand National is held by Blowing Wind, who has won the race five times. The record for the most consecutive wins is held by Red Rum, who won his first three races between 1973 and 1975.

The Irish Grand National has been temporarily cancelled on several occasions, including during World War I between 1915 and 1918. The race was also not run in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II. The 2011 running of the race was held at Fairy-house instead of its usual location because of renovations at Cheltenham Racecourse.

One of the most remarkable and distinct customs of the Irish Grand National is the parade that takes place before the race. The parade usually features colourful floats and riders dressed in traditional Irish attire. The parade begins near the entrance to the racecourse and proceeds around the track.


Another popular tradition is the “field hunt” that takes place after the race. In this tradition, all of the horses that participated in the race are released into a large field where they are allowed to run free. The first horse to cross the finish line is declared the winner.

Winners and Facts!

 An interesting fact about the Irish Grand National is that it is named after a horse named The Irish Game, who won this race in 1829. That was just three years after its inception, and it would go on to be one of only five horses to ever do so.

The average winning distance of the Irish Grand National is 5.7 furlongs, and the longest time it has taken to be decided was 11 minutes 23 seconds. It took that long for Jan Vermeer to win in 1990. A high number of horses have fallen during the race; most recently, Relkeel fell in 2016, and he came back with a win two years later in 2018.

The Irish Grand National is run around Fairy-house Racecourse, which opened in 1997. It was designed by Rory McGonigle and built by the British company SIB while overseen by Hugh McManus. The race has been hosted at other venues throughout its history; until 1968, it took place at Phoenix Park Racecourse before moving to Baldoyle Racecourse. It was run at Fairy-house until 1991, when it relocated to Harold’s Cross due to redevelopment. The Irish Grand National returned to Fairy-house in 1996.

In 1907, the betting book for the race was found on a bus from Dublin after it had been stolen from a car park at Harold’s Cross. Red Rum is the most successful horse in this race’s history with three wins to his name. The first was at Aintree, and it launched him to international fame as he went on to win the Grand National two years later. His other two wins were achieved at Fairy-house Racecourse. Red Rum won this race in 1973 and 1975.

There is a memorial for Red Rum erected at the point where he would always jump the Canal Turn, also known as hurdle number 15 or fence number 15. There is now a plaque on the wall with his name that commemorates his victories.

Arkle won this race back to back in 1964 and 1965, which is unmatched by any other horse in history. The race was actually called off the second year due to bad weather; Arkle won but jockey Pat Taaffe pushed him beyond his limits, with the result that he had to come out of the race injured. This made it difficult for Arkle to compete in later events, putting an end to his illustrious career.

Might Bite won the 2018 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, which was his start of a long road back to success after he had struggled with soundness for two years preceding that moment. Might Bite is trained by Gordon Elliott, who has owned him since he was a yearling. He had previously won the Topham Trophy at Aintree in 2016. Might Bite is currently trained with John Wigham, his owner Gordon Elliott’s racing manager.

The race itself is 2 miles long and has an uphill finish that resembles that of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It has 18 fences, making it one of the most challenging Grand Nationals in the world. Jockeys must be mindful of staying on their mounts when they close in on the final stretch, as there are a lot of obstacles to jump over.

Aftermath won this race for Ireland in 2014 after being ridden by Davy Russell. He was a 20-1 shot that year and  is currently standing at the Aga Khan’s stud that is located on his Gilltown Stud Farm in County Kildare.

As of 2018, there have only been three female jockeys to ever compete in this race: Lizzie Kelly, Katie Walsh and Nina Carberry. Lizzie Kelly won this race in 2018, riding a horse named Buveur D’air. She was the only woman out of the 18 female jockeys who even attempted to do so that year. The odds were 50-1, and she broke all kinds of records when she won this race.

The Irish Grand National has been won by 14 different trainers. The first was the great Edward O’Grady, who won this race in 1868 with a horse named The Fisherman. George Ferguson takes second place for the most wins, having trained three winners of this race between 1894 and 1900.

Margaret Johnston is one of two female stable jockeys to ever win this race, having done so in 1960 with Ballynoe. She was also the first female to train a winner of this race when she trained Boldboy in 1936. Previous winners include Newmill (1878), Thepluckyploughboy (1911) and Lucy’s Fancy (2015).

Some rules and considerations!

 There are a few different rules that apply to the Irish Grand National. Firstly, all horses must be 4 years old or older in order to compete. Secondly, the race is run over a distance of about 3 miles and 4 furlongs, which is a lengthy race for these horses. Thirdly, entrants can have up to 18 stone, or about 243 pounds, in weight. Finally, there are a number of conditions that must be met in order for a horse to qualify for the race- for example, they must have won at least one race over hurdles.

There are 28 fences that must be jumped during the Irish Grand National, and they vary in height from 4’11” all the way to 6’2″. The majority of these fences are very solid, with about only one fence being comprised of natural hedges. Horses can even choose to take a short cut through a ploughed field if they dislike a certain fence.

There can be upwards of 100 people riding on the horse and carriage, and they must all wear green in order to let everyone else know that there is a driver coming. They also blow horns whenever they go around a corner or pass by horseracing fans. Finally, some horses like to chew on their mouthpieces and cut them to pieces, so it’s always a good idea to bring extra mouthpieces whenever you head out for the Grand National.


 The atmosphere at the Irish Grand National is electric! There’s a festive air in the air as people from all over come to watch the race. The excitement is palpable and everyone is eager to see who will come out on top. The big race finally arrives and camera crews are everywhere. The horses line up in the starting gates and the jockeys ready themselves for what is an adrenaline filled competition.

Overall the excitement levels at Irish Grand National are at an all time high! Thousands of people go to watch the race which is no doubt a thrilling event.People cheer as the horses line up in their starting positions. They’re ready for this big moment but first there is a bit of waiting before the real action begins. The jockeys look very professional as they put on their helmets and prepare to get on the horses. They go over a quick set of rules before they head out onto the track. The race is about to start! The horses are lined up at the starting gates and things are about to heat up. Everyone looks very serious as cameras from all angles seize this big moment.

It can take months of careful consideration and preparation before a trainer decides which horse they think should take on this challenge, with no shortage of trainers thinking long and hard before making their decision. The Irish Grand National attracts some of the world’s best steeple chasers; it’s not just any old horse that can win here!

The Irish Grand National 2022 shall be contested in April and I hope this post really was a help in guiding you about all that you needed to know about Irish Grand National. Follow us for more sporting events.