Irish Grand National: General Principle wins at Fairyhouse

Gordon Elliott
Gordon Elliott now has a commanding lead over Willie Mullins in the prize money-judged championship

General Principle won the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in a photo finish as trainer Gordon Elliott claimed a first victory in the race.

Isleofhopendreams was edged out on the line, as Elliott's rival trainer Willie Mullins' wait for his first Irish Grand National win continues.

Forever Gold finished third, while Folsom Blue took fourth after Bellshill was demoted.

Bellshill led into the final stretch but blocked three others over the last.

Pairofbrowneyes, a pre-race favourite, was one of several who fell early on.

General Principle, a 20-1 shot, secures the 275,000 euro (£240,000) prize for Elliott, who had a total of 13 runners in the 30-strong field.

Success means he has now opened up a commanding lead over Mullins in the prize money judged championship. The season ends in late April, with Mullins the reigning titleholder.

"He wasn't one of my leading horses, but it's great to win," Elliott said.

"To be honest, there were that many of them coming to the last I didn't know where to look. I was watching Folsom Blue as he was coming home strong, but he got mowed out of it and was unlucky.

"We've had a rough enough week, hitting the crossbar with a good few, and to win this is brilliant."

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

The scrambling finish here may well have been Ireland's jump season in microcosm form.

Although Gordon Elliott holds the upper hand as he attempts to win a first champion trainer's title by beating Willie Mullins, it looked in the final stages as though Mullins might well score a significant prize money win with first Bellshill and then Isleofhopendreams.

But in the end Elliott's General Principle stormed home, and, with the stable also getting money for fourth - after a Mullins horse was demoted to fifth for interference - the 300,000 or so euro picked up could well be decisive in the prize money-judged championship.

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