It’s the culmination of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival on Monday afternoon and that means one thing, the Irish Grand National is centre stage at the start of a week-long bout of ‘National fever’.
There are a trio of Grade 2 events leading up to the Irish Grand National itself at 5pm, with Fairyhouse hosting a seven-race card (2.05pm-5.40pm). Watch every race via live streaming when logged into MansionBet. Our tipster has selections for all the action below.
2.05 – Farmhouse Foods Novice Handicap Hurdle (2m)
Shanroe should go well for Karl Thornton and there’s a good chance that Powerful Ted leaves behind his previous hurdles form having progressed on the Flat and now returning to this sphere for his first handicap.
A chance is given to Gavin Cromwell’s YOU SAY NOTHING in a tough opener. He won at Down Royal and Punchestown either side of New Year before failing off this mark at Naas in February.
He made an early mistake that day and perhaps it took plenty out of him. He could bounce back with the yard in flying form.
Selection: You Say Nothing @
2.40 – Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m)
The Fred Winter hero Jeff Kidder makes this interesting lining up for Noel Meade, while Busselton is surely a good way better than he showed in that Cheltenham race and could easily bounce back, but both are going to have go some to stop TEAHUPOO.
His Auteuil win in October reads very well and he’s 2-2 since arriving in Ireland, both over C&D. Some quibbled his opening win here when Youmdor fell at the last, but he was better again since in taking out a Grade 3 and is very much the one to beat if handling this faster surface.
Selection: Teahupoo @
3.15 – Fairyhouse Steel Handicap Hurdle (2m6f)
Capilano Bridge has been in good form recently and can have a say, though quicker ground here is a minor concern. This trip could be ideal for Lynwood Gold, but there might be more to come from RED GERRY for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan.
He twice won around Punchestown this season (2m/2m4f) and perhaps would have needed last month’s return from a break at Navan tackling this sort of trip for the first time. This drying ground promises to suit him and he’s a solid each-way contender.
Selection: Red Gerry @
3.50 – Underwriting Exchange Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m)
The Bosses Oscar was runner-up in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, unable to match Mrs Milner late on, and he warrants a crack at this graded prize.
He drops back to this distance with strong claims, but not as strong BEACON EDGE – a good fourth behind Flooring Port in the Stayers’ Hurdle last month. He was second for much of the run-in before dropping two places late on.
He got within a length of Honeysuckle over C&D in the Hatton’s Grace here in November and can earn a second Grade 2 of the season at the intermediate trip.
Selection: Beacon Edge @
4.20 – Devenish Chase (Grade 2, 2m4f)
Fakir D’oudairies has taken three silver medals in four starts this season, each in Grade 1/2 company. The latest was behind ultra-impressive Ryanair winner Allaho at Cheltenham and Joseph O’Brien’s charge couldn’t be denied a change in luck.
He’s a major player, but will have to earn this and at the current prices CASTLEGRACE PADDY is preferred.
No match for Bachasson at this trip last month, he has since finished second to Any Second Now in a Navan Grade 2 at two-miles, rather caught by the winner’s early move to bag the prize. He may have more to offer back up in trip and has valid place claims if so.
Selection: Castlegrace Paddy @
5.00 – BoyleSports Irish Grand National Chase (3m5f)
A cracking renewal of this race and one headlined by LATEST EXHIBITION for trainer Paul Nolan. It’s a bullish call to go after this race with an exciting novice, but it has worked before (Our Duke, 2017) and may do so again.
Second to Monkfish on his last two starts, Latest Exhibition swerved another clash with that rival at Cheltenham to come here and connections opted against Sunday’s Grade 1 novice to instead chase the pot of gold in Ireland’s richest handicap chase.
€220,000 awaits the winner and with this trip likely to suit and drying ground in his favour, Bryan Cooper’s mount may have the class to defy top-weight in first-time cheekpieces as he appears very much on the up.
Each-way alternatives include Espanito Bello, Enjoy D’Allen and Run Wilde Fred, but the favourite could be hard to topple.
Selection: Latest Exhibition @
5.40 – Fred Kenny Lifetime Service To Racing Handicap Chase (3m½f)
A tough ‘get-out stakes’ to complete the Fairyhouse Festival. Valdieu looks primed for a big run after finishing third at Leopardstown last time, while Lord Lariat cannot be discounted, despite an 11lb rise for his success here in October, if he takes to this longer trip.
THE GUNNER MURPHY remains a maiden over fences, but has improved gradually this season and has been second on his last two starts. He stays this far and certainly isn’t in the clutches of the assessor at this point.
Selection: The Gunner Murphy @
*All odds correct at time of writing