Leading Grand National Contender Burrows Saint Beaten in Bobbyjo on Return to Fences

Published 2021/03/02

Leading Grand National Contender Burrows Saint Beaten in Bobbyjo on Return to Fences

Willie Mullins - @BoyleSportsIrish Grand National winning team!

Burrows Saint, Ruby Walsh and "https://t.co/FLC2GNCCcr">pic.twitter.com/FLC2GNCCcr

— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) April 22, 2019

Aintree-bound Burrows Saint suffered defeat in his Grand National prep run at Fairyhouse. Willie Mullins stable companion Acapella Bourgeois gave him 6lb and an almost five-length beating in the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase over nearly three-and-a-quarter miles at Fairyhouse.

The horse is owned by Rich and Susannah Ricci, who have enjoyed so much success with their Emerald Isle raiders at big British National Hunt festivals. Down the years, this has included the mighty Faugheen and Annie Power. This time around, Burrows Saint jumped fences in public for the first time in 15 months.

Bookmakers haven't reacted negatively to his defeat, however. Burrows Saint remains among the ante post favourites in the Grand National betting at odds of 14/1 with Paddy Power.

Mullins, who triumphed in the Aintree showpiece with Hedgehunter in 2005, was still encouraged by what he saw. He assured punters that the eight-year-old Saint Des Saints gelding would come on for that return to chasing, and improve for stepping up in trip and racing on better ground come the spring.

On the face of it, he was well-beaten in receipt of weight from an 11-year-old. Acapella Bourgeois actually reversed 2019 Irish Grand National form with Burrows Saint, who won the Emerald Isle's equivalent of the big Aintree betting handicap.

The pair met off the same terms in the Bobbyjo over a slightly shorter distance. Mullins has clearly had the Grand National in mind for Burrows Saint since his Fairyhouse success that came while he was still a novice chaser. So as to get in off a workable rating, connections have largely kept him over hurdles since that Irish National triumph. That may well bear fruit in time as, when the Aintree weights were released, Burrows Saint got a mark of 156; which equates to 10st 13lb provided at least one of the three horses allotted top-weight contests the race on Saturday, 10 April.

He could also meet Acapella Bourgeois again off 7lb worse terms. Rather than getting weight as he did in the Bobbyjo, Burrows Saint would have to give 1lb to his older stable companion at Aintree, although Mullins may keep the pair apart and target the Irish National with the veteran instead.

After two ready and consecutive wins at Fairyhouse in the Bobbyjo, plenty suggests that Acapella Bourgeois retains all his ability. Meanwhile, an almost two-year plan with Burrows Saint is hopefully coming to fruition.

Some 16 years on from Hedgehunter's heroics, Mullins has had four horses placed in the Grand National in the meantime. Pleasant Company came the closest of those in 2018 when he was just denied a head by the plucky Tiger Roll, who would win the world's most famous steeplechase again the following season.

In a renewal of the Grand National, where it looks as though many unexposed and dark horses are lurking towards the foot of the weights in the 40-runner field, Burrows Saint hasn't been missed in the market. Bettors will have to keep a keen eye out on racing news and fixtures, as a run at Aintree over those famous fences for the first time will only be the tenth steeplechase of his life.So, don't be surprised if he acquits himself well on Merseyside.