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Research Corner Ulster Grand National

Randox Ulster National Handicap Chase Sunday 22nd March Downpatrick 3.10pm

(CC BY-SA 4.0) –

As the Irish racing continues daily the feature race on Sunday’s card at Downpatrick is the Ulster National which is run over 3m4½f and at the time of writing there are 15 entries.

No less than 6 of those are trained by Gordon Elliott including the 11yo General Principle whose last win was back in 2018 when he won the Irish Grand National. His last couple of runs have been more encouraging and he may go well off his revised mark of 131.

Jockey Davy Russell is riding Its All Guesswork who is interesting given that he has been kept to Hurdle races so far this campaign and runs off a mark of 128 which gives him a good chance if he were to recapture his Novice Chase form.

Let’s see if the past winners can help us with some decent yardsticks as to the likely “winners profile” of this year’s contest.

9 of the last 10 winners had run within 31 days and equally the same number went off at a single figure price so those fit and fancied seem to have fared best.

Weight wise there doesn’t appear to be any particular pattern with the most recent 10 winners carrying from 9st 7lb all the way up to 11st 7lb.

Overall 17 of the last 22 winners had a top 6 finish last time out and those 13 were in the first 4 on their most recent outing.

Age wise there have only been 1 winner from the 22 latest to have been over 10 years of age and 6yo’s are a sweet spot with 3 wins from only 11 that have taken part. At the declaration stage that would make The Red Menace (Gen 14/1) and Jimmil (Gen 7/1) of keen interest.

Given that the track is right-handed, sharp and undulating with short, stiff uphill finish it doesn’t necessarily need an abundance of stamina which is borne out by only 2 of the previous 22 winners having won at the 3m4½f trip.

In summary to help narrow the field we are looking from those towards the head of the market (single figure prices), had a recent run (31 days or less) in which they finished in the first 6. Finally pay special attention to any 6yo’s taking part.


Steve Carter

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