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Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Two to back on fascinating Fairyhouse card

Mark Milligan is back with his views on Sunday’s Irish racing, where he’s siding with a pair on what is an interesting card at Fairyhouse…

“The first-time blinkers seemed to have a galvanising effect on Gordon Elliott’s charge, as he led two out before readily drawing clear of Imphal”

Sunday’s Fairyhouse racing is relatively low key compared to what was served up in Ireland over the Christmas period, but it’s an interesting card nonetheless, and here we’ll take a quick gallop through each race in chronological order.

The 4-y-o hurdle at 12:50 is an intriguing little contest, with Gordon Elliott’s C&D winner Britzka likely to go off as market leader. He followed up that win with a fair third to stable companion Fil Dor in Grade 2 company at Leopardstown on Boxing Day and just about sets the form standard.

Not too far behind, however, is the Willie Mullins-trained mare Feigh, who was also behind Fil Dor (albeit a little further than Britzka) over this C&D in November.

The handy 7 lb she receives from the likely favourite could make things interesting.

White Pepper and Iberique Du Seuil are others with chances in race that may not just develop into a match. A tricky affair to kick off proceedings, and a contest best passed over for betting purposes.

Brooklynn seeking Glory on hurdling bow

Banntown Girl has made a bright start to her hurdling career, improving on her debut form when third in a listed event last time, and should make a bold bid in the mares maiden hurdle at 13:20. However, she faces a couple of unexposed sorts in Jumping Jet and Brooklynn Glory, so it won’t be all plain sailing for Danny Mullins’ mount.

Jumping Jet was strong in the betting when third on hurdling bow at Galway in October, found out aby a relative lack of experience there, though should find that aiding her development.

I’ll be siding with Brooklynn Glory if she’s anywhere in the 3/1 region, with this daughter of Fame And Glory possessing plenty of scope for improvement as she steps out of bumpers for the first time.

She’s been rather headstrong in her bumper races to date, though I’ve got no doubt the Closutton team will have worked hard in the off-season to rectify that and it could well help her cause that Paul Townend takes over in the saddle for the first time, with him being one of the best in the business when it comes to get free-going sorts to settle.


Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
Jockey: P. Townend
Age: 7
Weight: 11st 9lbs

Recent winner could have been seriously understimated

The handicapper seems to have seriously underestimated Ardhill in the following handicap hurdle at 13:50, considering the ridiculous ease with which he won a novices handicap at Ascot the week before Christmas.

The first-time blinkers seemed to have a galvanising effect on Gordon Elliott’s charge, as he led two out before readily drawing clear of Imphal. The rate of improvement can be gauged by a quick glance at Ardhill’s Timeform rating, which improved from 99 to 118 in the space of that one race.

That suggests an official rise of just 7 lb could be extremely lenient, and he’ll take plenty of beating once more, provided the blinkers work as well second time around. This is a deeper race than that Ascot contest, but this is a horse firmly on the up, and I’ll be a player at anything 7/4+.


Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
Jockey: J. W. Kennedy
Age: 7
Weight: 10st 7lbs
OR: 111

A competitive feature event

The feature race on the card is the EUR80k handicap chase at 14:20, which is as competitive as you’d expect for the prize money on offer.

Dunvegan seemed to relish the return to front-running tactics when taking a C&D handicap in November, the feature of which was his sound jumping. There doesn’t look a great deal of other early pace in here and it could well be that he gets a similar set-up this time around, for all he has a 7-lb rise to defy.

Grange Walk is another coming into this on the back of a win, though his was earned more recently as he triumphed at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. Not always the most fluent of jumpers, his supporters will be hoping for a blemish-free round.

There are plenty of others in with chances, too, which makes this a trappy affair for punting, One just to watch, for me.

Fascinating beginners chase

While that handicap is the most valuable race on the card, by far the most fascinating is the following beginners chase at 14:50, which features an intriguing three-way clash between El Barra, Saint Sam and Thedevilscoachman.

El Barra and Thedevilscoachman both have the benefit of prior chasing experience over Saint Sam, with the former losing out only to his potentially top-notch stable companion Blue Lord, while the latter was third to another high-class chasing prospect in Ferny Hollow.

Saint Sam, however, is bred to be a better chase than a hurdler, so looks the sort to thrive as he goes over the bigger obstacles for the first time.

It goes without saying that this is too trappy an affair to call, though is an absolute must-watch with an eye on the future.

The novice chase at 15:20 may not have attracted a particularly large field, though is race in which several of the nine that go to post can be given some sort of chance. It’s a contest I’m more than happy to pass over.

As is customary on these Irish Sunday cards, we close with a bumper at 15:50, where Willie Mullins unleashes a fascinating newcomer in Grivei. Bred to be a useful jumping recruit in time (dam was an unraced half-sister to the smart winning hurdler/chaser Roxinela), it will be interesting to see how he gets on as steps foot on the track for the first time.

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