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The opening race at Fairyhouse sees several runners doing battle again having contested a maiden hurdle at Naas last month. SHOWBUSINESS ran out the best on that occasion with a good second-place finish behind the Dermot Weld trained winner Coltor. It was a nice performance from Gordon Elliott’s runner having raced with little cover on the outside on his Irish debut.
The son of Camelot uses a tongue-tie here and it’s hard to see any of his Naas rivals reversing the form. Halifax raced keenly and looked held when jumping awkwardly at the last hurdle for Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin with Brides Hill and Shantou Lucky further down the field.
Coventry was well beaten when second to Elliott’s Riviere D’etel at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve and should finish second. Elsewhere, Powerful Blue, Pretorius and Vischio are perhaps best of the rest who could challenge for the remaining place.
The second division of the 2m maiden hurdle is another poor affair, but finding winners are key and LUNAR DISPLAY has the best chance of scoring despite giving weight away to the entire field. The Joseph O’Brien-trained mare has a 116 rating and the best form on offer after five career starts.
The daughter of Getaway won a bumper at Leopardstown on debut before falling when in touch on her second maiden hurdle start won by Royal Kahala last November. She contested a Listed mares’ bumper at Navan later that month and finished a creditable third behind stablemate Castra Vetera.
The five-year-old was outclassed on her latest start in graded company at Limerick over Christmas and this looks an excellent opportunity to break her maiden. Norwigi should finish second following two runs over hurdles for Enda Bolger, while Red Sole Diva is an each-way player for Willie McCreery now dropping in trip.
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Folcano was unlucky not to be awarded victory in the stewards’ room when clearly suffering interference late on by Brazos at Navan last month. The Gordon Elliott-trained runner has been knocking on the door in recent starts and will be popular with punters.
However, I’m taking a chance with the Willie Mullins-trained BUCK’S BILLIONAIRE, who should represent better value in the betting market. The son of Kapgarde has been expensive to follow, but ran an interesting race when finishing fifth at this venue last month.
He was waited out the back under Patrick Mullins, before staying on nicely in what looked a good maiden hurdle won by Joseph O’Brien’s Fun Light. He’s only had seven career starts for an eight-year-old, but can finally strike for the Mullins family with Lucky Tenner another in the mix for Peter Fahey.
Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd can team-up to win the closing bumper at Fairyhouse with the McNeill and Byrceland family-owned WHERE IT ALL BEGAN. The five-year-old was just touched off on debut behind Lucky Tenner, with both horses pulling 20-lengths clear of the third-placed runner at Limerick over Christmas.
Peter Fahey’s runner is declared to run in the maiden hurdle earlier on the card (16:00) and could enhance the form. Hi Ho Phoenix was well beaten when third on debut for Willie Mullins at this venue last month, but should appreciate the extra distance.
Fair Frontieres is another contender for Declan Queally having pushed Gars De Sceaux all the way when second at Navan last month. Elsewhere, any market support for point-to-pointers, Dom Of Mary and Pomerol George should be noted for Sam Curling and Stuart Crawford.
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