A really good card at Fairyhouse on Saturday where the Dan Moore Chase is the feature race but there’s a decent undercard to go with it.
Willie Mullins saddles Youmdor who ran to a decent level at Gowran Park on debut and he’s improved a good bit in his homework since. I think he’ll be very hard to beat. We’re delighted with him and he’d be our best chance on the card without a doubt.
Manitopark Aa was a little disappointing at Navan last time and steps up in trip. She works well at home and does everything asked of her but the Aa at the end of her name signifies her one-tenth Anglo-Arab breeding and I’m not sure if they appreciate heavy winter ground in Ireland. She could be vulnerable, although the outside track at Fairyhouse that will be used on Saturday is less testing than the inside track.
Ballyshannon Rose has run up a three-timer and Paul Fahey trains just across the road from me. She continues to go in the right direction and when mares go on these winning runs – sometimes there’s no stopping them. It’s hard to discount her but some of the bigger yards have definite chances in this contest. Gordon Elliott and Gavin Cromwell run a couple each and to me the James Nash-trained Alohamora would have a big chance too.
I’ll stick with Ballyshannon Rose to stay on an upward curve.
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The Dan Moore Chase is the feature race on the card and Willie Mullins saddles Fan De Blues and Pont Aven. Paul Townend has opted for Fan De Blues, but your eye is immediately drawn to Chatham Street Lad who won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December. He got a fair hike in the ratings so 5lb claimer Simon Torres take over in the saddle to try and ease the burden, but he’ll still carry 11st 1lb.
He could still be thrown in off a rating of 151 (146 with Simon’s 5lb claim) and is the one to beat.
Fan De Blues wears a hood for the first time and has a lovely racing weight of 10st 5lbs, Pont Aven has just 10st 3lbs to carry, while Brian Hayes on The Shunter, who won the Greatwood Hurdle at the Cheltenham November meeting, has 10st 3lbs also as he reverts to fences.
It’s going to be a great contest and a lot of these horses will meet again at next month’s Dublin Racing Festival so watch closely for any clues.
Gerri Colombe was bought for big money at the Cheltenham Festival Sale after winning a point-to-point and makes his Rules debut for Gordon Elliott, while Henry de Bromhead’s Viscount Gort was second in a Cork bumper last month. Willie’s Hi Ho Phoenix makes his racecourse debut under Patrick Mullins. He’s not a flashy horse, but he gallops and he stays. Stamina could be key by the last race on Saturday and he has it in spades.
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