It’s unbelievable. As a young lad you dream of riding in these kinds of races and to win it hasn’t really sunk in yet”, stated jockey J.J Slevin after he galvanised 20/1 shot General Principle to victory, right on the winning line to claim the 2018 Boyle Sports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.by the narrowest of margins
Co. Meath trainer Gordon Elliott saddled 13 of the 30 runners in the three-mile-five-furlong showpiece in a bid to win it for the first time and unquestionable it boosted his chances of being crowned champion trainer, with a total prize fund of €500,000 up for grabs.
Though it was Bellshill, trained by Willie Mullins who travelled ominously well throughout the contest and looked the clear-cut winner before putting in a sloppy leap at the last fence scuppering his chances, but to be fair it was a tiring field and to his credit he kept on, though his chance of glory was ultimately gone, his stablemate Isleofhopendreams came with a full head of steam but then out of the pack was emerged eventual winner General Principle and jockey JJ Slevin driving the horse home with a late lunge right on the line, for Irish national glory.
Winning jockey Slevin added: “I was doing my own thing, following the boys away. “There looked to be plenty of carnage at the last fence – I think Bellshill nearly landed on it – and I was just trying to keep my horse going. He galloped away for me. “I got a good run and got plenty of light. I left him popping away and kept saving.
“I owe Gordon a lot. He’s a great man and I owe him an awful lot.”