Fairyhouse Five To Watch
The National Hunt season in Ireland really ramps up a notch this weekend with the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse on Saturday and Sunday. With so much class on view it’s odds-on that there’ll be a huge attendance and we’ve gone through both cards in an effort to highlight 5 to watch.
11.55am Saturday: A cracking Beginners Chase to kick of the weekend and Martello Tower will be a warm order to take this following his ¾L second to Anibale Fly at Navan on his chase debut. The longer distance here will also suit. He meets a formidable opponent here in Acapella Bourgeois however. A two time Grade 2 winner, including here at the Easter Festival he signed off for the season with a 5L 4th behind Bellshill at the Punchestown Festival and fell at the first on his chase debut at Naas (where he was very well fancied in a hot Beginners Chase). If none the worse for that he can make amends here.
1.10pm Sunday: Ruby Walsh has (surprisingly!) chosen to ride Penhill here over Saturnas and Airlie Beach and that tip should be taken. A smart performer on the flat for Luca Cumani he has taken well to this discipline and apart from his sole defeat at Killarney (where he burst blood vessels) he has been impressive on each occasion, particularly when taking a Grade 3 hurdle at Tipperary last time out. Peace News is the likely favourite and won a hot looking Maiden Hurdle at Cork but takes a huge jump in class to this Grade 1.
1.40pm Sunday: A small but select field here and all eyes will be on Vroum Vroum Mag as she makes her seasonal debut. Unbeaten since she arrived in Ireland she has yet to be seriously tested but makes her reappearance in a Grade 1 that won’t be easily won. She should, however, have too much class for these over a distance that’s ideal. Bellshill has the beating of Dedigout on their run behind Snow falcon at Navan while Apple’s Jade is having her 3rd run in the last 4 weeks since joining Gordon Elliott. Her short-head 2nd in last week’s Grade 1 Fighting Fifth at Newcastle reads very well but the form of the race is questionable.
2.10pm Sunday: A horse that a lot of us have been waiting to reappear and also a horse that is exciting his trainer no end. Campeador looked like he would hose up in the Fred Winter Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival but he fell at the last when Barry Geraghty looked like he had a lot of horse underneath him. He had previously finished 4th behind Apples Jade in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas on his debut in this country. Off a mark only 1lb higher than the one carried at Cheltenham he can take this on his way to a very successful season over hurdles.
2.40pm Sunday: A brilliant renewal of the Drinmore and if the distance was 3 miles rather than 2 ½ Alpha Des Obeaux would be a confident choice. At the shorter distance though this should concern A Toi Phil and Diamond King. Gordon Elliott’s bay gelding was a much better hurdler than A Toi Phil and bolted up in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham, one of the most competitive handicaps of the year. His chase debut at Galway was visually stunning and he is one of the most exciting novice chasers on either side of the Irish Sea. This should be a spectacular contest and none of the front four in the market are easily discounted but, if first impressions are anything to go by, Diamond King will be one of the stars of this year’s National Hunt season.
Bet on thetote.com