Soviet Pimpernel demands respect

Steve Hughes has selections from two races on the best card of the season so far in Ireland at Fairyhouse

The weather has put paid to any action in Britain today, but that is no great hardship as Fairyhouse’s card is full of top class racing. I have selection from one of the three Grade 1’s on the card, plus an early trial for the Irish National here. We picked up some scraps yesterday with each-way places for Highway One O One (advised 14/1), Mr Pumblechook (SP 8/1) and Mister Malarky (SP 14/1) but got a winner through Magic Saint (advised 7/2) in the finale at Newbury.

Fairyhouse 1.00: Soviet Pimpernel

This definitely looks an above average renewal of the first Grade 1 novice of the season. However Soviet Pimpernel has really caught my eye this autumn and whilst he might not be up to beating the hotpot Envoi Allen, there is an each-way angle with nine runners.

A real strong traveller and fluent jumper he built on two promising efforts in the spring when quickening up well to win at the Listowel Festival in September. He then hacked up in a Gowran maiden on his hurdling debut and was sent to Cheltenham for the valuable 4yo hurdle at their first meeting.

I don’t think the heavy rain helped him (the meeting only went ahead after a late inspection) yet he still cruised into contention turning for home before Quel Destin outlasted him up the hill. I am encouraged to see conditions are drying at Fairyhouse where his natural pace will be better suited by this more galloping track. The morning betting suggests he is being ignored, yet I think this is a horse with a real engine and whilst he might be seen to best effect on faster ground in the spring, he is worth a punt at big odds.

Fairyhouse 2.05: Killer Miller & Wrong Direction

One of the few races on the calendar raced over this course and distance of the Irish National. This race has a lopsided look with some potentially over the hill Gordon Elliott horses at the top of the handicap keeping the weights down for everything else. I have two of the lower weights on my side.

Killer Miller has had little racing for a 10yo, but has already run in a Troytown and Paddy Power in his time. He has effectively raced only twice in the last three years, but there was plenty to like about his staying on fourth at Punchestown last month. This represents a first attempt beyond 3m, but this son of Flemensfirth promises to stay the distance and it is always worth looking out for Noel Meade runners at this time of the year.

Wrong Direction is an interesting runner as the handicapper only has Hunter Chase and point form to go on as an assessment of his ability. He has won his two points with the minimum of fuss and looked set to win at Limerick last Christmas when falling two out. He was just beaten in a photo at Cork two weeks ago but was keeping on strongly to the finish and promises to do better still over an extra 5f. The handicapper only gave him a rating of 116 (carries 4lb more being out of the handicap) but that might be generous especially with a professional jockey taking over in the saddle.

Recommended bets:

1pt each-way – Soviet Pimpernel – 1.00 Fairyhouse – 20/1 Bet365, BetVictor

0.75pts each-way – Killer Miller – 2.05 Fairyhouse – 11/1 BetVictor, Coral, Boylesports (1/5 odds 1st 4)

1pt win – Wrong Direction – 2.05 Fairyhouse – 13/2 general

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