Timeform preview the two graded races at Fairyhouse on Saturday and pick out their two best bets.
"The bare form isn’t so strong, but the manner of his victory suggests there should be even more to come..."
Timeform on Authorizo
The Grade 3 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday isn't the strongest renewal, and is unlikely to have any bearing on the ante-post market for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, but it looks a competitive affair nonetheless.
The one who stands out is Authorizo, who was a near-useful performer on the Flat when trained in France, and looks as though he can rate much higher in this sphere judged by his winning start at Fairyhouse last month. He jumped well and travelled fluently, quickening to lead soon after two out and quickly kicking clear of his rivals to win by six and a half lengths. The bare form isn't so strong, but the manner of his victory suggests there should be even more to come, and he looks the one to side with for last year's winning connections.
The main danger could prove to be the Willie Mullins-trained Farid, who remains a maiden over hurdles but has reached a similar level of form as Authorizo in his two starts so far. He improved as expected from his debut in this sphere when finishing fifth to the promising Carlo Biraghi at Punchestown last month, and remains with the potential for better, too. He travelled well, making headway until not getting the clearest of runs on the home turn, in fourth when blundering the last and having no extra after. The smaller field here may help his cause and he couldn't be in better hands.
The fly in the ointment could be Morosini who, like Farid, will race in the green and gold hoops of owner J.P. McManus. It perhaps says plenty about the regard he is held to be making his debut over hurdles in this company, having had just the one start on the Flat when trained in France. That run came in a mile and three quarter minor event where he finished second, and has since joined the Jessica Harrington team. He is related to a couple of winners in this sphere, and his dam also won over hurdles, so there's reason to think he will take to jumping and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the market.
The Bobbyjo Chase later on the card is all the poorer for the absence of Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy, connections again deciding against running the eight-year-old ahead of the Cheltenham Festival seemingly on the account of the ground not being soft enough.
It looks an open renewal as a result, with Alpha des Obeaux just about making the most appeal ahead of the sole mare in the race Magic of Light. The first-named is a high-class chaser on his day, and took a big step back in the right direction when finishing second to Invitation Only in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran last time. That improved effort came in first-time blinkers and, if the headgear has the same desired effect now, he could prove tough to peg back being the only natural prominent runner in this small field.
Magic of Light has been a revelation since fitted with cheekpieces, winning three of her last five starts over both hurdles and fences. She may have found the race coming too soon just six days after her Ascot win when finishing second to Happy Diva in a listed mares' event at Huntingdon last time, going with zest until headed on the home turn and left behind by the winner between the last two fences. This will demand more back up against the boys but she hasn't much to find on form and at least arrives in good heart.
Pleasant Company will likely be being brought along with another tilt at the Grand National in April in mind, but he has the form to figure if putting his best foot forward and shouldn't be overlooked completely, while the likes of Outlander and Valseur Lido have it all to prove at present.
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Back Authorizo in the Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle
Back Alpha des Obeaux in the Bobbyjo Chase