Fairyhouse Preview

Fairyhouse Preview

The Irish Grand National is always one of the big betting heats of the spring but it's notoriously difficult to find the winner - with 5 of the last 6 winners going off at 50/1, 33/1 (3 times) and 25/1. It’s proved hard to win this with a big weight - with nothing more than 10-8 carried to victory in the last decade. That's not a statistic to be dogmatic about, but, unsurprisingly, there do tend to be plenty of runners near the foot of the weights that have been laid out for this.

After a dry week its decent spring ground, officially good to yielding. It’s been watered to stop it getting too quick and is due to ride just on the dead side of good.

Despite the success of long shots, there are a few at the head of the market that I like. Goonyella (12/1) has to be on the shortlist. He was only 6 when contesting this as a novice last season, only for his saddle to slip. He made amends at Punchestown later in the month, winning a 3½m handicap off 127. He is off 135 (10-6) this time and still looks nicely handicapped. He's done a lot of his racing on heavy ground but his breeding suggests this sort of surface should suit ideally and its not hard to imagine he's been laid out for this again - he deserves some better luck this time.

Further up the weights, I like Home Farm (11/1) who, racing off 142, has 10-13 to carry. He ran a blinder in this as a 6 year old novice last season off 137. He didn't get the clearest of runs then and, more experienced this time, might be able to be ridden a touch more positively. Arthur Moore is a master at laying one out and has a good record in the race.

Tammys Hill (12/1) won the Foxhunters at the Festival and has been allocated a mark of 135 for this. He stays and jumps, but after 15 chases under rules the handicapper has had a good opportunity to assess him and I think he has him about right.

The last 2 renewals have provided fairytale wins for the small yards. Liberty Counsel was 1 of only 7 winners last season for Dot Love, and Lion Na Bearnai was one of only 4 for Tom Gibney the year before. If there is to another similar story this time it could be Mary Hallahan’s Toon River, (50/1). Toon River’s win at Gowran is Hallahan’s only one this season, but he was pretty impressive when thumping 132 rated Abbey Lane there, staying on strongly to win over 2m4f. He’s off 132 himself here (10-3) and is interesting over a marathon trip on decent ground.

One I like is Golden Wonder (28/1). He's inexperienced for this having only had 4 runs, but he beat Kim Muir winner Spring Heeled (now rated 149) on his fencing debut and gets in here off 135, (10-6). He had a break through the winter before a pipe opener here earlier in the month when a good 3¾l 4th to Jupitor on soft ground. This quicker surface should suit better and he looks to be crying out for a step up to this sort of trip. The obvious concern is that his lack of experience catches him out.

The other interesting one is Mullaghanoe River (28/1). He’s a more experienced novice after 7 chase starts and Noel Meade has made no secret of the fact he expects significant improvement once he steps up in trip, (all 7 chase starts at around 2½m so far). He’s looked a talented but slightly lazy individual and the application of first time blinkers may really help.

He looked like he might beat Bright New Dawn (who gave 8lb) last time when tipping up 2 out and that’s good form in the context of being rated 136 (10-7) here, even before the likely improvement for the big step up in trip is factored in. He looks too big a price and gets the vote.

1pt Mullaghanoe River to win the Irish Grand National @ 28/1

On Sunday, the feature event is the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup (novice chase.) Given the absence of an obvious star, its disappointing only 4 line up. They are all genuine contenders though and there should be no hanging around, especially if Bright New Dawn (9/2) forces the pace again. He’s a tricky horse to weigh up – I’d thought he was a bit soft but he’s looked to knuckle down in his last 2 wins and the mixture of better ground and reverting to a right handed track ought to suit ideally. He jumps well but I’m not convinced he quite has the class for this.

Ballycasey (6/4) coped well with the cut throat pace in the RSA which put Don Cossack, Le Bec and Black Thunder on the floor. His 4th there might be as good as he is, but he looked to run out of stamina rather than be outclassed and it makes sense to try him in a Grade 1 at this trip. Similarly to Bright New Dawn, he’s a good jumper who will enjoy the sound surface.

The concern is that he did look to have a hard race in the RSA, and he hasn’t been the most robust horse, so I’m not sure he’ll reproduce his best here. The 3 finishers in the RSA who have run since - winner O’Faolains Boy, 5th Sam Winner and 7th Just A Par – have all disappointed. If Ballycasey is over that hard race he has every chance - but it’s hard to argue he’s good value at 11/8.

Rebel Fitz (9/4) is the unknown quantity in that he was running last summer and hasn't taken on any of the top novice chasers. He was a classy hurdler, (rated 155 having won the Galway Plate off 145). He'd jumped really well when rattling up a five timer in Ireland last year, but didn't have a cut at his fences when unable to give the quirky but talented Third Intention 8lb at Cheltenham in the autumn. After a winter break he was an impressive winner of a minor conditions hurdle on unsuitably heavy ground, which should have put him spot on for this. He is 9 though and there is always the concern that one or two of the young horses will have improved past him now.

I reckon Mozoltov (6/1) is probably the most underrated novice chaser around. As is often the case with Willie Mullins’ staying novice chasers he has run regularly at around 2m, (3 of his 5 chase starts.) He promises to be much better served by 2m4f+, having thrashed 135 rated Folsom Blue by 35l on his first try at 2½m at Naas.

He was backed from 25/1 into 11/1 for the JLT but got knocked over by Oscar Whisky at the first. He’s had a confidence booster at Navan since and I think he’s a top class novice, who should be a much shorter price to win this. Mullins has often said this sort of ground will suit him ideally and he rates a cracking bet at the prices.

1pt Mozoltov to win the Powers Gold Cup @ 6/1

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Cheltenham Countdown

Welcome to our exclusive betting blog focusing on the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

For the third year running, we welcomed National Hunt expert Matt Tombs to blog all things Cheltenham through the winter. The highlight was Jezki's Champion Hurdle win, which was a vindication of a long-term plot and went some way to ensuring another Festival in profit. Click through to view the archive of 2012 and 2013.


2014 Results:


Western Boy - Supreme Novices - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Zamdy Man - Supreme Novices - 1pt 33/1 - N/R

Ted Veale - Arkle - 1pt e/w 25/1 NRNB - U/P

Felix Yonger - Arkle - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Jezki - Champion Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Cockney Sparrow - Mares Hurdle - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Foxrock - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Gullinbursti - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 33/1 NRNB - N/R


Rathvinden - Neptune Novices - 1pt e/w 16/1 - 3rd

Corrin Wood - RSA Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Ifandbutwhynot - Coral Cup - 1pt 28/1 - U/P

Arvika Ligeonniere - Champion Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Balthazar King - Cross Country - 1pt 33/1 - WON

Modus - Champion Bumper - 1pt 10/1 - U/P


Mozoltov - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Champagne Fever - JLT Novices Chase - 1pt 7/1 - N/R

Benefficient - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 9/2 - U/P

Baily Green - Ryanair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Salubrious - World Hurdle - 1pt e/w 25/1 - U/P


Captain Cutter - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - County Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - 2nd

The Giant Bolster - Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - 3rd

Dynaste - Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 NRNB - N/R

Certain Flight - Foxhunter Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P


Gigginstown - Top Owner - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Good Ground - Official Going - 1pt 10/1 - LOST


Advised Bets:

Sizing Gold - Aon Novice Handicap Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

On The Fringe - Champion Hunters Chase - 1pt 7/4 - WON

At Fishers Cross - World Series Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - 3rd

Balder Succes - Ryanair Novice Chase - 1pt 11/4 - 3rd

Art Of Logistics - Three.ie Handicap Chase - 1pt 12/1 - 2nd

Lyreen Legend - Punchestown Gold Cup - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Shanahan's Turn - Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 33/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Boylesports.com Champion Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Western Boy - Champion Novice Hurdle - 1pt e/w 10/1 - U/P

Mullaghanoe River - Irish National - 1pt 18/1 - U/P

Mozoltov - Powers Gold Cup - 1pt 11/2 - U/P

Quito De La Roque - Grand National - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Salubrious - Liverpool Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Ted Veale - Maghull Chase - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Saint Are - Aintree Handicap Chase - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Melling Chase - 1pt 7/1 - 3rd

King Of The Picts - Top Novices Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 - 3rd

Themanfrom Minella - Sefton Novices Hurdle - 1pt 50/1 - U/P

Giorgio Quercus - Topham Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Dynaste - Betfred Bowl - 1pt 15/8 - 2nd

Turn Over Sivola - Red Rum Chase - 1pt 8/1 - 2nd

Uxizandre - Manifesto Novices Chase - 1pt 9/2 - WON

Mossey Joe - Aintree Fox Hunters - 1pt 13/8 - 3rd

Baby Shine - Reynoldstown Chase - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Kingwell Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Bog Warrior - Red Mills Chase - 1pt 9/4 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Vautour - Deloitte Novice - 1pt 2/1 - WON

Tammys Hill - Hunters Chase - 1pt e/w 5/1 - WON

Vendor - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Boston Bob - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

The Giant Bolster - Argento Chase - 1pt 7/1 - WON

Unioniste - Sky Bet Chase - 1pt 9/2 - 3rd

Hidden Cyclone - Clarence House Chase - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

Captain Chris - WH Chase - 1pt 2/1 - WON

The Liquidator - Tolworth Hurdle - 1pt 5/2 - U/P

Lord Windermere - Lexus Chase - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Hey Big Spender - Welsh National - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Shantou Magic - Challow Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Morning Assembly - Topaz Novice Chase - 1pt 9/4 - 2nd

Cue Card - King George - 1pt 7/2 - 2nd

My Tent Or Yours - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 5/4 - WON

Defy Logic - Racing Post Novice Chase - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Salubrious - Long Walk Hurdle - 1pt 9/1 - 2nd

Totalize - The Ladbroke - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Ma Filleule - December Gold Cup - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Prince De Beauchene - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Grumeti - Fighting Fifth - 1pt e/w 10/1 - 3rd @ 9/1

Sizing Rio - Drinmore - 1pt 5/2 - U/P @ 3/1

Jezki - Hatton's Grace - 1pt Evens - WON

Roi Du Mee - Betfair Chase - 1pt e/w 20/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 8/1 - U/P

Gift Of Dgab - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Cash And Go - Greatwood Hurdle - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Cotton Mill - Elite Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Cue Card - Haldon Gold Cup - 2pts 11/8 - U/P

Benefficient - Charlie Hall Chase - 1pt 9/1 - U/P

Sizing Europe - JNwine Champion Chase - 1pt 3/1 - 2nd