Fairyhouse hosts the best meeting of the Irish jumps season thus far with three Grade 1s on the card and Tony Keenan has found two horses to back...
"Copy That looks a really solid alternative, win and place. The race he won at Leopardstown last Christmas worked out well, the second Ancient Sands now 16lbs higher, and Copy That offered plenty to work with on his return at Galway, doing best of those that raced off the pace to finish third."
Saturnas was advised at 4.216/5 here earlier in the week in the expectation Ruby Walsh would ride in the Royal Bond; it hasn't turned out that way with him opting for Penhill instead but that does present the opportunity to back the selection at nearly twice the price now.
Currently 6.611/2, those odds are hard to pass up and Paul Townend who now rides Saturnas seemed pleasantly surprised that Walsh had opted for another in a recent column. Saturnas looks the horse in the field with most upside along with Peace News but interestingly Townend also implied he could have the measure of that one as he knows him from his time with Mullins last year.
Willie Mullins cops plenty of flak for avoidance tactics with some of his big names, not least from me, but one thing he can't be knocked on is the record of these horses when they do make the track; the likes of Annie Power, Faugheen, Douvan and Vautour just tend to win whenever they race. Vroum Vroum Mag looks another in that mould and she's a good odds-on shot in the Hatton's Grace; she did well to cope with the drop to two miles at Punchestown last season when landing a colossal punt.
I hate this spot for Apple's Jade who looks a poor second favourite. The step up in trip looked like it would suit last time but not eight days later; I can see her bombing completely here after a very hard race on her travels last week, the sectionals suggesting that the leaders went an attritional gallop with Irving only picking up the pieces late on.
That opens up the market for a place bet and Shaneshill looks very solid. His seasonal return in the Lismullen was good considering he was up against fit rivals and Walsh looked to leave him a bit out of his ground. This drier ground will suit and prices around 2.47/5 look fair in what is effectively a match bet against the rest of the field.
Gordon Elliott holds a strong hand in this handicap hurdle, incidentally the most valuable race on the card, with Campeador and Mick Jazz but both come with their doubts. Campeador hasn't run in 263 days and his trainer has implied that he's not the strongest finisher while Mick Jazz certainly fails in that regard; he was done at 1.3130/100 in running last time and has a couple of other short trades too.
Copy That looks a really solid alternative, win and place. The race he won at Leopardstown last Christmas worked out well, the second Ancient Sands is now 16lbs higher, and Copy That offered plenty to work with on his return at Galway, doing best of those that raced off the pace to finish third. It would have been preferable to see Barry Geraghty take the ride but that would have meant an inevitable shortening in price and at least Niall Madden has won on him before. Solita was the next horse on my shortlist.
2 Points Place Back Shaneshill @ 2.47/5 or bigger in the Fairyhouse 13:40
1.5 Point Back Copy That @ 13.012/1 or bigger in the Fairyhouse 14:10
1.5 Point Place Back Copy That @ 3.814/5 or bigger in the Fairyhouse 14:10
*National Hunt Season P+L: +4.5 points