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There’s one hell of a card at Fairyhouse on Saturday and we’ve turned to PPTV tipster James Shortt, a man who knows Irish racing inside-out, for a steer on which horses to back at the Co. Meath track.
The action at Fairyhouse gets underway with a very exciting Triumph Hurdle trial with all eight previous winners coming into this 2m contest. Josh D’id and Teahupoo are interesting French imports making Irish debuts for both Gavin Cromwell and Gordon Elliott. The two trainers have dominated the last four renewals of this race with Prospectus, Mitchouka, Surin and Wolf Prince all winners since 2017.
Josh D’id, a gelded son of Joshua Tree was privately purchased by JP McManus following his 14-length victory at Saint-Brieuc last November, with the Robcour operation also privately buying Teaphupoo after his impressive win at Auteuil in October. The form of that race has been enhanced nicely since with both the second and third horses winning afterwards – the second, Good Ball won on debut for Paul Nicholls and Sir Alex Ferguson at Newbury over Christmas.
However, YOUMDOR gets the verdict for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend following his impressive victory on his Irish debut at Gowran Park in November. The opposition wasn’t the strongest in Kilkenny, but the manner of victory was extremely eye-catching with an easy 16-length romp. Elsewhere, 100/1 Limerick winner Awkwafina is worth a mention with Merry Poppins also running for the Robcour team following her Tipperary victory last August.
Ballyshannon Rose is looking for a four-timer in this handicap hurdle following victories at Thurles, Limerick and here at Fairyhouse since in the end of November. The Paul Fahey-trained mare secured her first victory at Thurles off an official rating of 87, with the handicapper now increasing her a further 12lbs today following her success earlier this month.
The daughter of Doyen is now rated 117 and I’m happy to side against her with the David O’Brien-trained MINX TIARA under Sean Flanagan. She comes here having pecked on landing at the last when dominating from the front in impressive fashion at Limerick over Christmas.
There’s more to offer from the mare and despite an extra 9lbs in the ratings, she can improve again now stepping up in trip and go very close to securing back-to-back wins at a nice price.
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The Shunter and CHATHAM STREET LAD return home following impressive victories at Cheltenham in recent months to contest the feature Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase. The Emmet Mullins-trained The Shunter goes back to fences after success in the Greatwood Hurdle in November, while Chatham Street Lad bolted up for Mick Winters in the Caspain Caviar Gold Cup last month.
Despite dropping down in trip and a 10lb increase in the ratings, Chatham Street Lad looks progressive with the 5lbs claim of Simon Torrens only helping his cause. Talk of possible Cheltenham races in March can wait for now, with this son of Beneficial looking to have an extremely nice profile having been well placed by Mick Winters to strike again today.
Elsewhere, both JP McManus-owned runners, Entoucas and Front View are trained by Joseph O’Brien and warrant respect with good each-way chances. Mark Walsh rides the consistent Entoucas who finished second here last month, while Front View has been handed a rating of 136 on his handicap debut after his victory here in mid-December.
PORT STANLEY has been unfortunate not to win over fences after three starts this season, but should get off the mark for Jessica Harrington in this Beginners Chase. Robbie Power returns home to ride at Fairyhouse and is back in the saddle following his placed efforts at Navan, Gowran Park and this track. Power guided the son of Papal Bull to his maiden hurdle success at Naas last February and he’s been unlucky to come up against some progressive novice chasers more recently.
He was no match when third behind Easywork and Energumene, before finishing second to Dan & Joan Moore entry Front View here in mid-December. His new rating of 132 is more than good enough to see off this opposition, with both Thatsy and Alfa Mix his biggest rivals for Gordon Elliott and Gavin Cromwell.
The closing bumper looks an interesting affair with the three powerhouses in Irish racing, Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead all represented. Jamie Codd takes the ride on GERRI COLOMBE for the Robcour team, who paid £240,000 for the ex-Colin Bowe runner following his point-to-point win at Lingstown last March. Rajsalad who finished third in that race has since moved to Conor O’Dwyer and recently finished a good second to Kalkas at Limerick over Christmas.
Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have dominated this bumper in recent years with five victories between them from the last six renewals of the contest. Hi Ho Phoenix runs on debut here for the champion trainer, with Viscount Gort another serious runner for Henry de Bromhead following his second-place finish at Cork. Go Boy and Grozni for Timmy Hyde and Denis Hogan need watching in the betting market in what looks a decent bumper to close out a fine Saturday card at Fairyhouse.
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