Intense Raffles Triumphs in Thrilling Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse

Intense Raffles Triumphs in Thrilling Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse

Fairyhouse, April 1, 2024 – In a heart-pounding renewal of the BoyleSports Irish Grand NationalIntense Raffles continued his love affair with the Fairyhouse racecourse. The French import, owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, held off the fast-finishing Any Second Now to secure victory.

A Fairyhouse Legend Revisited

Twelve years after his previous Irish Grand National win with Lion Na Bearnai, trainer Thomas Gibney struck gold once again. Intense Raffles has thrived at Fairyhouse since his transfer from the continent, making this victory all the more special.

J. J. Slevin’s Heroics

The currently-injured Daryl Jacob had previously ridden Intense Raffles to victory, but fate intervened. J. J. Slevin, stepping in for Jacob, showcased his riding prowess aboard the gutsy grey. Slevin’s brilliant round of jumping kept Intense Raffles in contention throughout the race.

Unstoppable Momentum

Despite a minor mistake at the fourth-last fence, Intense Raffles powered ahead under Slevin’s guidance. The six-year-old surged effortlessly to the front, leaving the chasing pack in his wake. Even as Ted Walsh’s veteran and Willie Mullins’ Minella Cocooner closed in, Intense Raffles maintained his momentum.

Gibney’s Confidence and Gratitude

Trainer Thomas Gibney expressed his confidence in the horse, emphasizing that Intense Raffles was the best he’d ever had. Speaking about the owners, Munir and Souede, Gibney praised their decision to support a smaller stable like his. The victory felt like a dream, especially given the high expectations and pressure surrounding the race.

A Wedding Celebration

As the Fairyhouse crowd erupted in celebration, Gibney thanked his family, staff, and supporters. “I’m a Meath man,” he said, “and to win it twice is surreal.” Gibney went on to say  “I want to say thanks to the staff, it’s a small outfit with my family, my daughters, my wife and a small local team. They are brilliant and it’s great for them, they need it as much as I need it. “I’m getting hugs and kisses, it feels like a wedding!  Munir and Souede, watching from afar, undoubtedly shared in the joy of Intense Raffles’ triumph.



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