Gaillard Du Mesnil Grand National Wins
Gaillard Du Mesnil has never won the Grand National.
Their best finish to date was in 2023 where they came 3rd. They were ridden by Paul Townend and trained by Willie Mullins.
From the moment his Irish career began with trainer Willie Mullins, Gaillard Du Mesnil has always looked like a staying chaser in the making. He’s won over 3m6f at the Cheltenham Festival, placed in an Irish Grand National, and won at Grade One level, so he’s got all the tools needed to compete at this race.
Foaled in 2016, the horse was able to take advantage of the fact that he didn’t win in his first novice chase season by being a second-season novice and going on to win a Grade One plus a Grade Two at the Cheltenham Festival.
Gaillard Du Mesnil’s Early Years
Gaillard Du Mesnil kicked off his racing career in France. His debut would be in May 2019, in a three-year-old national hunt flat race at Vichy. He would only finish sixth of seven in that contest, but on his third start, in the same type of race, he would get his first win on the board.
At the end of his French racing career, he would move up in grade, finishing second in a Grade Two national hunt flat race and finishing the same position in a Grade Three national hunt flat race on his final start in France.
Willie Mullins would take over his training, and the horse made his Irish debut in November 2020, a maiden hurdle race that he would finish second in. He would go one better on his next start and was immediately put into Grade One company after that, and the faith was rewarded as he won a Grade One Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown by five lengths.
The Cheltenham Festival would come next, the Ballymore Novice Hurdle, where he finished second, before winning the Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival to round off his first season in Ireland in style.
Novice chasing didn’t result in a win during his first season, he ran five times and finished third on all five occasions. That may sound disappointing, but those runs did include two Grade One contests, a Grade Three race and the Irish Grand National, so while it was disappointing he didn’t get a win that season, he did run to a very high level.
The fact he didn’t win, though, did allow the horse to run as a novice the following season when he would make it count and land some big ones.
Gaillard Du Mesnil’s Big Race Wins
Two Grade One wins over hurdles as a novice would set Gaillard Du Mesnil up for a very exciting career at the top of racing. The final of those wins came in the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, one of the best Grade One contests for novice hurdlers in Ireland.
He would have to wait until December 2022 for his next big race win, and it would come in the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. He won the race by seven and a half lengths, and it was actually his first win over fences, coming at the seventh attempt.
A few months later, he would add a win in the Cheltenham Festival National Hunt Novice Chase to his resume. This is a Grade Two contest at the festival and a race he won by just under three lengths.
The trip of 3m6f was ideal for him, as he’s now fully proven that staying trips show him in his best light, he was the strongest stayer in that race and a big part of the reason why he won.
Following that run, Gaillard Du Mesnil will take his place in the 2023 Grand National, his first run in the race, and a run while he is still technically a novice chaser.