Eamonn Hames guides you through the racing from Fairyhouse and Cork on Sunday
With over half of the field representing Closutton, the huge amount of prize money on offer for this Grade 1 prize looks just the ticket for Willie Mullins as he strives to retain his trainers’ championship.
His title-chasing rival Gordon Elliott sends two classy mares of his own, but with both already beaten by a few of the Mullins mares this season and the only other runner, Colin’s Sister, likely to not be at her best on this better ground, this really does look as straightforward as it seems.
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Rich Ricci’s Let’s Dance understandably heads the betting after her unbeaten season and her win in the Cheltenham Festival’s equivalent of this in particular, but with her price being so short, it might be worth taking a chance on AUGUSTA KATE bouncing back from a poor Cheltenham effort.
The celebrity-owned six-year-old did not jump as well as she can when sixth in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle the last day, but her penultimate effort, when putting up a huge challenge to
Death Duty in a Grade 1 before falling at the last, puts her at the same level, if not better than the favourite.
Fairyhouse tips for Sunday
- 1.45 Tudor City
- 2.20 Dakota Moirette
- 2.50 Augusta Kate (nb)
- 3.25 Don’t Touch It (nap)
- 4.00 Yorkhill
- 4.35 Killaro Boy
- 5.10 Special Ted
Let’s Dance has been untouchable this season and she will be a tough mare to better, but Augusta Kate is outstanding value for one with so much potential. 3.25
DON’T TOUCH IT was firmly put in his place behind Great Field at Leopardstown, but there was no disgrace in that with the winner looking a genuine Grade 1 chaser, so he deserves maximum respect as he embarks on his first foray into handicapping.
Jessica Harrington’s seven-year-old was a Grade 1 winner over timber last Spring and this could just be the time that he peaks. A mark of 143 is fair on the balance of his chase form and this better ground can only bring out further improvement.
Similar could be argued about the chances of Three Stars and Neverushacon with their efforts in graded company some of the best form on offer, but the main threat to the selection could come from Elusive Ivy at the other end of the weights.
Gavin Cromwell’s mare responded well to pressure to win her handicap debut at Leopardstown and she could have a lot more to come over fences.
Third Opinion won his first start for Gordon Elliott at Clonmel in a canter, jumping for fun the whole way around. This is a big step up in class, but the nine-year-old is another that could benefit from the weight they receive from the selection. Prickly should be ready to roll after a recent pipe-opener at Limerick, but his tendency to not find much off the bridle has to be a concern.
Cork tips for Sunday
- 2.00 Brontide
- 2.30 Mozilla
- 3.05 A Toi Phil
- 3.35 Fire In His Eyes
- 4.10 Pique Sous
- 4.45 Polymath
- 5.20 Emma Beag
- 5.50 Minella Beau
Coming here fresh having skipped the Cheltenham Festival, Anibale Fly looks the potential spoiler, but in all likelihood this should be as straightforward a task for YORKHILL as the market reflects.
Graham Wylie’s seven-year-old continues to have his detractors, but even though he is far from the most natural jumper of a fence, it has certainly not stopped him from winning as he continues to get the job done.
Willie Mullins has stated before that his jumping out to the left may be just the way he does things and if Mullins has no problems entering him at a right-handed track then I have no problems with his ability to perform this way round.
Simply put, this could be the best horse in training and although he faces a strong field of rivals, hopefully they all bring their best and really test Yorkhill’s stamina, so he can show just what he can do.
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Ball D’Arc’s winning run came to an end here in March, but he lost nothing in defeat that day and it must have been a tough choice for Bryan Cooper to opt for Road To Respect over him.
Noel Meade’s six-year-old did look like a top level performer at Cheltenham, but he will face a different test here, unlike Gordon Elliott’s dual Grade 3 winner, who has proven adept to how these smaller field events are run.
Some Plan will ensure this is a decent test, but if he is pressured too early, then that could produce the sort of scenario that would suit Anibale Fly.
Tony Martin’s seven-year-old is not by any means short of pace, but he relishes a stamina test and is likely to be held up.
His chances hinge on this being strongly run, but if it is then he edges Ball D’Arc as the biggest threat to the selection.