By Andrew Atkinson
THE 2019 BoyleSports Irish Grand National Chase at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday over 3 miles and 5 furlongs sees Shady Operator eyeing success.
The race will be a test for those at the top of the weights – unlike bottom weight Shady Operator – well in and should go well.
Trainer Joseph O’Brien’s Shady Operator carries just 10st in comparison to Tout Est Permis (11st 7lb), Jury Duty (11st 6lb) and Pairofbrowneyes (11st 5lb) amongst the top weights.
Shady Operator ran at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and despite having made a bad mistake on the first circuit, added to suffering interference four fences from home, did well to finish seventh.
The Cheltenham race was Shady Operator’s first start in a handicap and O’Brien’s six-year-old had posted useful efforts on his first three starts over the larger obstacles, most notably when he beat the ill-fated Ballyward over three miles at Naas in January.
Shady Operator, ridden by JJ Slevin, will be amongst the shake up in the Irish Grand National, with his jumping improved, stays, and there’s more to come from him now handicapping.
Burrows Saint, ridden by Ruby Walsh, and trained by Willie Mullins; and Jury Duty, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Robbie Power, are each way selections.