Our Irish Racing tipster Ray Flanagan has a further three selections at Fairyhouse today.
A nice return for us yesterday with the three selections winning for a combined 76/1 treble. Today we have the traditional Easter Monday feature, the €275,000 Guaranteed Boyle Sports Irish Grand National. I have no really strong fancies on the card, but here are a few sporting outsiders for a small interest.
Fairyhouse 3.55- Seafood
Seafood has often disappointed when fancied to run well in the past but perhaps fresh might be the time to catch him and he rates a sporting choice in a wide open handicap hurdle. A useful novice hurdler a couple of seasons ago his form included a narrow defeat by Busky Brown at Fairyhouse along with a placing in a graded novice event at Aintree.
Sandra Hughes’ gelding shaped encouragingly on occasion last year , particularly behind Courage at Leopardstown over 3 miles and arguably in the Pertemps at Cheltenham where he moved smoothly throughout before failing for lack of stamina. On the back of that run he was quietly fancied for the big 3 mile handicap hurdle at Aintree but he proved quite disappointing there. It was a similar story for the majority of the summer and autumn but the horse had been running very frequently and perhaps he simply had had enough racing for the season.
After a few respectable efforts over fences, Sandra Hughes gave him a break and it will be interesting to see if he can rediscover some sparkle on his return.
Fairyhouse 4.55- Champagne James, Pass The Hat , The Crafty Butcher (recommended yesterday)
I have spent a bit of time on this race, so I will fire two more darts to add to yesterday’s selection, The Crafty Butcher.
Champagne James has looked to be crying out for a distance of ground on testing conditions all year and it is possible he will relish the demands of this race. A former bumper winner at Navan, Ted Walsh’s representative has been keeping some good company in novice chases running placed against the likes of Valseur Lido and notably staying on pretty strongly in the majority of these races. On this basis he was well punted for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham but never really got competitive there seemingly struggling for pace on the good ground. I think the softer surface today will be more up his street and he could be the one who will keep galloping when others have cried enough.
I have always had Pass The Hat in mind for a decent handicap chase and while I have a concern that this may be too great a stamina test, I am still tempted by him. He posted a fine effort in the Kerry National at Listowel when second in a race run in a fast time and he would have fared better in a decent handicap chase at Ascot last October but for a few jumping errors and losing a shoe during the race. I was very encouraged by a nice comeback run at Naas over hurdles and if his stamina holds he will be a player.
The Crafty Butcher has been my long-term fancy. Interestingly his jockey Davy Condon, writing in today’s Irish Independent, is on the same wavelength that he would prefer slightly better ground, but he has a chance if the first time blinkers sharpen his game.
0.5 pts ew – Seafood-3.55- Fairyhouse -20-1 General
0.75 pts ew- Champagne James-5.00 Fairyhouse-16-1 William Hill
0.5 pts ew-Pass The Hat-5.00 Fairyhouse- 33-1 General
1 pt ew-The Crafty Butcher-5.00 Fairyhouse-50-1-Bet Victor