Horse Racing Tips

Monday Irish Racing Tips: Two darts to fire at Irish Grand National

Fairyhouse
The Irish Grand National is the highlight at Fairyhouse on Monday

"He defied a penalty in Grade 2 novice company by a neck from Ha D'or last time, but that only tells half the story as he repeatedly had the door shut on him in the straight"

Mark Milligan is back to look at the final day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, where he's taking aim at the big race with a pair of selections...

The Irish Grand National (17:00) at Fairyhouse is the traditional Easter Monday highlight in Ireland, and a race that climaxes the three-day Festival at the County Meath course.

As usual, we have a fiendishly tricky handicap to unravel, with no less than 33 runners heading to post. Somewhat surprisingly, however, more lightly raced types/novices have a good record in the race, so don't be scared to have a pop at one that seems more inexperienced than some of its rivals.

In a race of this nature it's probably prudent to fire a couple of darts - both of them win only - though with extra places available on the Sportsbook, each-way players may want to go that route.

Gaillard looks sure to take plenty of beating

No surprises for originality here, but I really do think current favourite Gaillard Du Mesnil has lots in his favour, and a clear round will see him prove very hard to beat.

Willie Mullins' six-year-old may still be a maiden over fences but he has some of the best form on offer after knocking heads with he top novices this season, including the likes of stable companion Galopin Des Champs and Bob Olinger.

The winner of two Grade 1s over hurdles last season, the selection enters this race on the back of a career-best effort in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham, where he finished third to L'Homme Presse and Ahoy Senor.

As mentioned in the preamble, a relative lack of experience has been no bar to success in this event in the past and Gaillard Du Mesnil looks sure to run a big race granted the kind of luck in running that you generally need to win a contest of this nature.

There's also a very strong chance we've yet to see the best of this one, and while carrying 11-8 means he faces no easy task, I'm hoping he can improve enough to defy that burden for a trainer who won this race as recently as 2019.

Farclas fresher than most

Regular readers of this column will know I put up Farclas as a lively outsider for the Grand National itself at Aintree and it was a little disappointing he didn't turn up there. However, that means he'll be fresh for this assignment and he should run a very good race, albeit not at the fancy odds that were available ante-post at Liverpool.

Going as well as any when unseating his rider three fences from home in the Kerry National at Listowel in September, Gordon Elliott's grey son of Jukebox Jury ran a cracker when second to Run Wild Fred in the Troytown at Navan in November.

While quite a few of these runners will be coming into the race on the back of a hard season, with just two runs under his belt this campaign, Farclas should be raring to go in a race that looks tailor-made for him.

A mark of 151 is further reduced when taking into account Shane Fitzgerald's 5lb claim and Farclas is still relatively low mileage compared to many of his rivals. Gordon Elliott is going into the race mob handed but I'll be disappointed if this one doesn't prove just about the best of his battalion.

Flame Bearer still on the upgrade

Flame Bearer steps out of novice company for the first time in the Grade 2 hurdle at 15:50 but he looks a really progressive sort, and I was somewhat surprised he wasn't put in favourite for this despite his relative lack of experience.

He defied a penalty in Grade 2 novice company by a neck from Ha D'or last time, but that only tells half the story as he repeatedly had the door shut on him in the straight before showing a really likeable attitude to get himself out of trouble.

That was a career-best effort from the son of Fame And Glory and I was fully expecting his next outing to be in Grade 1 company, such was the impression he's created in winning his last three starts.

While he does have to concede experience to some decent rivals, most notably Thedevilscoachman, such is the engine Flame Bearer possesses that I think he can prove very competitive in this company.

Darasso and Whiskey Sour are other notable rivals but we know what both of those are capable of, while we may not have seen the limit of the selection's ability so far, and I'm hoping Flame Bearer can show what he's all about and take the next step up the ladder here.

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L (Not including Sunday)

Staked: 152
Returns: 175.86
P/L: +23.86

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