Close on the heels of Cheltenham, Fairyhouse host their big Easter meeting and Tony Keenan likes two at big prices in the Irish Grand National...
"Rogue Angel's most recent effort off a break over a trip too sharp was very encouraging in a race worked out well while his trainer has a good record in this and was very keen on him for the Liverpool National which he is too low to get into."
The Easter Festival at Fairyhouse is not the meeting it was, suffering from movable feast status and the dominance of Punchestown later on, while the proximity of Cheltenham this year doesn't help either. Horses that ran at Prestbury Park are 36/270 (13.3%) with an actual over expected of 0.85 here since 2006 though it's fair to expect few to try to especially quick turnaround this year. That might make the meeting more manageable for punters as they don't have to weigh up whether a horse has gotten over their recent exertions.
One horse that could back up quickly is Cause Of Causes in the Irish National though it's worth noting his trainer Gordon Elliott has failed to manage even a placed runner with the 11 Cheltenham runners he ran back here. He will also have to contend with a 12lbs higher mark than the Kim Muir and connections might be take the chance that he will get into the Aintree equivalent off his old rating.
In any case, Elliott has another leading chance with Mala Beach and he's about the most solid of the fancied runners. He'll need to be a graded horse to win off 150 but his most recent effort in the Bobbyjo suggests that might be the case though the drying ground is a worry. This looks a big 'going' race and a sound surface won't suit Mala Beach's sibling Bonny Kate either so I prefer to chance a few at bigger prices in a race that can throw up shocks.
Rogue Angel is the first of these at 34.033/1. One could point to his failures over this sort of trip in the past but he's older now and his previous tries came when either he or his stable were out of form. His most recent effort off a break over a trip too sharp was very encouraging in a race worked out well while his trainer has a good record in this and was very keen on him for the Liverpool National which he is too low to get into. He's a little in-and-out but seems primed to run well after last time though it might be worth putting in a short-priced lay in running if he doesn't last home.
The other one to back is Jarob at 34.033/1 though he would want the rain to stay away. Like Rogue Angel, he shaped well off a winter break last time over a trip too sharp and his trainer has had this race in mind for him for a while. The galloping track will suit as would some good ground and he's long been one with the ability to compete in graded handicaps.
There are two other Grade 1s on Sunday's card worth mentioning. Outlander could back up quickly in the Ryanair Gold Cup for the sponsors but is surely one to oppose; he fell just 10 days ago in the JLT and lost his form after Cheltenham last season too. The UK horses are all interesting in this, most especially King's Odyssey who is a doubtful runner, as is Killer Crow who was well-fancied for a Cheltenham handicap though failed to make the cut. He has a bit to find at the weights but this is a weak Grade 1.
Similar comments apply to the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final. Jessber's Dream has been aimed at this race but it is hard to fancy an English mare in light of events in the Vroum Vroum Mag race last week. Myska looks more solid and had a valid excuse for her defeat last time (coughing post-race) while connections have likely kept her for this race rather than take on Limini at Cheltenham. Speaking of Limini, Cashelard Lady would have to have a chance on her second to that one last time, especially as sectional times suggest she went too hard.
Back Rogue Angel @ 34.033/1 and Jarob @ 34.033/1 in the Irish Grand National