EMILY MOON shaped as if back in form when fifth in the Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown last time, leaving the impression the run would bring her on again. Still relatively unexposed as a chaser, she looks on a good mark judged on the pick of her efforts over hurdles and could be worth chancing in a fiercely competitive heat.
SAINT SAM won two of his three starts over hurdles in France before joining Willie Mullins, showing fairly useful form in the process. That level sets the standard in this line-up, and, with further improvement on the cards, he is fancied to take the step up in grade in his stride to complete the hat-trick.
BALLYADAM looked something out of the ordinary when making a winning hurdling debut at Down Royal last month, leading two out and then cruising clear virtually on the bridle (won by 18 lengths). This will be tougher now tackling a Grade 1 for the first time, but he remains open to significant improvement and is fancied to provide trainer Gordon Elliott with a second successive win in the Royal Bond after Envoi Allen 12 months ago.
ENVOI ALLEN is unbeaten in nine starts under Rules and seems to have scared away most of the potential opposition in this Grade 1. A high-class novice hurdler last season, he made a seamless transition to chasing when making a winning debut at Down Royal, jumping fluently on his way to a six-length victory (had plenty in hand). He looks a top-class chaser in the making and is impossible to oppose here as attempts to extend his winning sequence to 10.
MILAN NATIVE ran about as well as could be expected when beaten 25 lengths behind Minella Indo in a Grade 3 at Wexford last time, paying the price in the closing stages for trying to match strides with the favourite. He’s worth a chance to resume his progress now back in a handicap, with an official mark of 149 still appealing as fair.
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HONEYSUCKLE took another step forward when last seen winning the Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, finding plenty to beat Benie des Dieux by half a length. The performance she posted was good enough to suggest she would have given Epatante plenty to think about in the Champion Hurdle, while it’s not impossible that she may yet have even more to offer, still only a six-year-old after all. She can repeat her victory in this race 12 months ago.
DROP THE ANCHOR has been in good form recently, winning his penultimate outing at Limerick and then being brought down two out when still holding every chance at Down Royal. He is sure to have been thereabouts with a bit more luck on the last occasion, so this looks an excellent opportunity for him to gain compensation from the same mark.
GRAND PARADIS makes plenty of appeal in the bumper that closes the card. He cost €115,000 as a three-year-old and is related to plenty of winners under Rules, so it will be interesting to see whether the market speaks in his favour on debut, with the booking of Jamie Codd suggesting he is the pick of the two runners from the Gordon Elliott yard.
Timeform’s tips for Fairyhouse on Sunday
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