Gallant Oscar (right) one of the leading Irish National contendersPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Tammys Hill one of four out of Irish National
TAMMYS HILL, one of the leading contenders for this afternoon's Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse, has been ruled out of the race.
He is joined by Los Amigos, Rich Revival and The Westener Boy to leave a field of 26.
Winner of the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on his last start, the nine-year-old Tammys Hill was trading around the 11-1 mark, but was found to be lame on the morning of the race.
Trainer Liam Lennon said: "James [Smyth, owners' son] cantered him yesterday and we were 100 per cent happy with him, but he has just pulled out lame this morning.
"Maybe it's a tweak of a muscle. Whatever it is, he's just too good of a horse to risk. It's devastating for everyone to miss the race, we'd the bus booked and everyone was looking forward to it, bit it's not serious and I've no doubt he'll be alright for Punchestown."
Punters seeking value in the race should have little difficulty in doing so, as the market remains wide-open.
With no favourite obliging in the last ten years, four of the winners returning at 33-1 and last year's victor Liberty Counsel a 50-1 shot, the Irish National has proved a benefit for bookmakers, and there is no clear-cut favourite.
Pricewise selection Shutthefrontdoor, Gallant Oscar, Home Farm and Goonyella are all duelling for favouritism.
Alfie Sherrin, the other pick for Tom Segal, has been cut to 16-1 from as big as 25, while there has also been support for Sraid Padraig, now also a general 16-1 chance (from 20).
The race has so far eluded Willie Mullins, and he has Touch The Eden and Away We Go as his representatives.
Of the pair, Touch The Eden appears the more obvious chance, and Mullins said: "Things have gone well for Touch The Eden this season. He's won over the track, jumps well and we think he'll get the trip. Hopefully the ground won't have dried out too much."
There was 4mm of rain overnight at Fairyhouse, and the ground remains good to yielding.