Horse Racing tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s Fairyhouse Mares’ Novice Hurdle best bets

Ruby and Frank think they’ve found some value at Fairyhouse

Santa Rossa Robbie Power Navan March 13, 2021


*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey have picked apart the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle ahead of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

The 2m4f contest is one of two Grade 1 races at the County Meath track on Sunday, with the Underwriting Exchange Novice Chase also sure to be a thriller.

Willie Mullins is sure to have plenty of chances in this all-mares affair, and it is his five-year-old challenger Echoes In Rain that heads the antepost market at time of publication.

But speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby and expert trader Frank are looking elsewhere as they try to pick a winner.

Ruby Walsh

It was disappointing that none of Willie Mullins’ string really got involved in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but I said beforehand that I wasn’t overly confident. I didn’t think there was a standout among them and maybe we should have brought Echoes In Rain, but Willie was keen to keep the lid on her. She was good in Naas the last day, but will she get 2½m? That’s a whole different question.

Roseys Hollow was disappointing in Cheltenham, Glens Of Antrim raced along on the pace but I think she wants this sort of trip so that could suit her, Lady Breffni got beaten in Limerick just before Christmas, Gauloise was disappointing in Cheltenham and so was Hook Up.

I’d say Royal Illusion could be the best of Willie’s and she’s a nine-year-old, but I thought she was good in Leopardstown before Cheltenham when she beat Sweet Street. She was a good third on her hurdling debut behind Delvino, she’s rated 94 on the Flat and she’ll definitely appreciate the drying ground.

The other one I give a fancy that I think is way over-priced is Henry De Bromhead’s Atlantic Fairy. I’m not sure who priced this race, but I tell you they got this horse wrong. Atlantic Fairy was originally 20/1 with Paddy Power but she beat Global Equity in Navan. Prior to that, Global Equity had split Heaven Help Us and Telmesomethinggirl at the Dublin Racing Festival. Form is form.

Atlantic Fairy Rachael Blackmore Limerick December 30, 2021



Frank Hickey

Echoes In Rain was impressive last time out in a Grade 2 at Naas over just shy of 2m. The form has worked out with the second – Belfast Banter – winning the County Hurdle on his next start off 129 and the sixth – Streets Of Doyen – running third in the Albert Bartlett. My worry would be that she can be a little keen and I’m not sure this trip is her ideal.

Royal Illusion is a nine-year-old but has only had two starts over hurdles. She was third at Naas on hurdles debut and got off the mark at Leopardstown over 2½m. She was very useful on the flat, rating as high as 96 after winning an Irish Cesarewitch by 8.5l off 83, while drying ground would be a positive for her and this is her trip.

Glens Of Antrim was keen enough in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle and I thought she ran well in sixth considering. She needs to learn to settle better but when she does, she is going to make up into a nice mare.

Glens Of Antrim Mark Walsh Naas January 31, 2021

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Skyace ran a cracker when fourth in the Mares’ Novice and has won a listed hurdle on her previous start over this trip. I could see her running well here again but she is probably vulnerable to something open to a bit more improvement.

Santa Rossa was a top class bumper mare back in the 2018/2019 season. She won a Grade 2 mares’ bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival in 2019 and followed up with a third against the geldings at Aintree – McFabulous won that day and she was less than 4l behind. She was then fifth in the Grade 1 Punchestown bumper, beaten by less than 5l with Colreevy, Abacadabras, Beacon Edge and Embittered ahead of her so that was a really strong renewal.

She has had one start over hurdles last season when third behind Exit Poll and Jon Snow while Lynwood Gold was fourth but was off another year before winning at Navan over 2m by 10l. She has the back class to win this and I think she has a big chance. She’s never been 2½m but I wouldn’t be concerned about the step up as she never looked like stopping that day in Navan. She’s at least a Grade 2 mare and potentially a Grade 1.

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Novice Hurdle bet summary – Sunday, April 4

Ruby WalshAtlantic Fairy
Frank HickeySanta Rossa

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