A terrific day of racing is in store on the Grade 1 Fairyhouse card this afternoon, and our man Tony Keenan has previewed some of the key races, providing a wager in each...
"Art Of Security was an eye-catcher in the bumper won by Forgotten Rules at Punchestown and it is encouraging that the stable have seen fit to declare him for bumpers on a pair of Grade 1 days rather at an ordinary fixture."
Fairyhouse is sometimes seen as the poor relation of Irish jumps tracks, the decline of its Easter Festival and the many industry days run at the track the most part of that, but today's Hatton's Grace card is a strong one, notably the Drinmore which might be the race of the national hunt season thus far.
The main event had some betting interest breathed into it with the news on Friday that Annie Power was lame but having been up and down the form, I have concluded that nothing can win it so this is a race to have a cup of tea during. The shoulder races however are more appealing.
Allez Colombieres has been the buzz horse for a weak Royal Bond and most punters over here have to admit we simply don't know much about him. Rich Ricci was bullish about him in a recent interview but that's the sort of thing that leads to artificially short prices and there are negatives with him. The ground won't be slow here and he was beaten on the fastest ground he encountered in France (though their descriptions can be inaccurate) when he bolted before the start; the application of the hood suggests an element of keenness. At odds-on I can leave him alone.
Willie Mullins has the second favourite in Nichols Canyon but he too might prefer softer ground and he was only workmanlike in winning a weak maiden hurdle last time. Tandem was my selection for the race during the week and I'm happy with him as he's still overpriced. Coming here fresh is no issue from the Dermot Weld yard and the form of both his maiden hurdles has worked. If the favourite doesn't live up to his reputation, it will take little more than 135 to win this and Tandem is up to that level.
The Tullow Tank was the best of these over hurdles and merits favourite status for the Drinmore; he won well on his chase debut and could have improved for the step up in trip. That said, he's very short in a race where 10 of the 13 runners were rated 132 or higher over sticks and this is more open than the betting suggests.
Apache Stronghold is probably the best value of the front few as he tends to come on a lot for a run but at a massive price Band Of Blood has a chance. He can be in and out but when on song he's very good as when beating Lots Of Memories when conceding 5lbs on chase debut. Prices of 40.039/1 plus underestimate his chance.
The favourite Embracing Change should go well in the Porterstown but rather than back the impressive low grade winner at a short price I prefer a pair at double figures that went well in better races lately.
Vasco Du Mee is only a 5yo but already looks like he wants an extended trip; his figures over three miles read:224125 and he has finished with running to give on most of those, not least when fifth in the Troytown last time. A Decent Excuse went well for a long in the Cork National, not looking as one-paced as he has over shorter, and slightly better ground should suit.
Art Of Security was a selection for this column on the Morgiana undercard a few weeks back before being a non-runner and I'm happy to go back to him. He was an eye-catcher in the bumper won by Forgotten Rules at Punchestown and it is encouraging that the stable have seen fit to declare him for bumpers on a pair of Grade 1 days rather at an ordinary fixture.
This race will take a bit of winning judging by some of the past winners (they include Al Ferof, Outlander and last year Value At Risk) but Art Of Security seems well regarded.
Childrens List is the obvious problem but his point win, albeit achieved in easy fashion, hasn't worked out and he'll need to be decent to beat Art Of Security. Akito has his chance after a fair return at Cork but he was behind the selection at Punchestown and has it to do to reverse form, even allowing for his jockey being easy on him that day and receiving a sixty day ban for his troubles.
Recommended Bets (All Fairyhouse)
1 point Back Tandem @ 8.07/1 or bigger - 13.00
1 point Back Band Of Blood @ 40.039/1 or bigger - 14.05
1 point Place Band Of Blood @ 11.010/1 or bigger - 14.05
1 point Back Vasco Du Mee @ 13.012/1 or bigger - 15.10
1 point Back A Decent Excuse @ 15.014/1 or bigger - 15.10
1 point Back Art Of Security @ 7.06/1 or bigger - 15.40
1 point Place Art Of Security @ 2.56/4 or bigger - 15.40