Teahupoo beat four subsequent winners including Good Ball on hurdles debut in France before moving to Gordon Elliott and continuing his upward trajectory with a fifteen length demolition of rivals here at Fairyhouse in January. He returned the following month to win a Grade 3 without needing to be fully extended, clearing away from second by seven lengths with the remainder of the field a further eight plus lengths back, taking his record to three from three with two of those victories coming over course and distance. This will be his first time he has raced on a sounder surface (wins to date have come on soft and heavy), however he looks to be a future Grade 1 winner and his pedigree suggests the faster surface won't be a problem... in fact he could even improve for it!
Jeff Kidder is also a prior course and distance winner having won a maiden hurdle here in November, however was then pitched in to Grade 2 company next time out and finished last of seven, behind the likes of Zanahiyr, Busselton and Saint Sam. That result meant that he went completely un-fancied for the Fred Winter at this years' Festival, only to put in a fantastic run to reverse the form with Saint Sam and win at odds of 80/1. If he can put in a similar run here then he would have to be considered the main danger to the favourite, however given what we have seen from both to date he looks more likely to be fighting it out for minor honours.
Beacon Edge was a solid fourth in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, running a cracker before fading close home. He has won Grade 3 and Grade 2 races over 21furlongs and also got to within a length of Honeysuckle in a Grade 1 over todays' trip so the drop back from 3 miles looks a big positive and he looks the one they all have to beat.
That said, The Bosses Oscar has also progressed well throughout the season, chasing home Flooring Proter at Navan in December before an excellent second in a Pertemps Qualifier just three weeks later (finishing a couple of lengths ahead of the re-opposing Unexpected Depth) and then a similarly solid second in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. His victories over hurdles have come over 20furlongs and 22furlongs and he is proven on good, yielding and soft ground so everything looks set for another big performance.
On form alone, you would have to side with Beacon Edge. He is proven in this grade, over the trip, and is the more battle-hardened of the two. However, I think that given their respective exploits over the season so far and their runs at Cheltenham, The Bosses Oscar should arrive here the fresher of the two and as I can still see him improving he gets the nod today.
THE BOSSES OSCAR (WIN)
written by Dean Kilbryde
17:00 Fairyhouse - Irish Grand National
Of course in any race such as this a case can be made for at least half the field and you still may never get close to a winner. Never the less for those punters looking to unearth something in this years Irish Grand National you have to look for value and to potentially find one that could go well at a big price.
The likes of the well fancied Latest Exhibition, Run Wild Fred, The Big Dog and Sempo hold clear and obvious chances and I couldn’t put anyone off wanting to back them if they so wished. However with so many bookmakers paying six if not more places I urge those having a bet to look for a horse in the middle or tail end of the betting who can do far better than the bookies may think.
This years renewal looks no easier to decipher but in the form of Moyhenna and Fitzhenry I hope to have found a duo that could make the frame.
The Denis Hogan trained Moyhenna has run really well this season without actually finding the winners enclosure. A very taking performance to finish 5th in the Mares Chase at the Cheltenham Festival doesn’t look like an ideal prep run for this sort of task but it can’t be argued she’s been able to hold her own in graded company. Prior to that performance she did produce a fine effort to finish third in a marathon contest at Punchestown back in February. Although yet to tackle a trip as far as this in her career I’ve got a feeling it may well be the making of her. A former Grade 2 winner who can handle the hustle and bustle of a large field she looks a decent shout at around 28/1.
Fitzhenry is the other nine year old who gets the nod after showing a much improved effort to claim third in his most recent run. Another runner who seems to relish a bigger field having gone well in last years 23 runner Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham and finished a close second in 27 and 23 runner fields at Navan and Leopardstown respectively. Trainer Paul Nolan may well have more faith in the current favourite Latest Exhibition but it seems as if this JP McManus owned runner has been laid out for this race all season. The only negative is the horse may need it somewhat softer under foot but I’m happy to negate that possible down side as at 33/1 I feel he’s too much value to ignore.
The sole English raider Jerrysback is worth noting as are the ultra consistent former course winner Enjoy D’Allen and the Rich Ricci owned Salsaretta both who may finish in the money.
written by Rory Paddock
Fairyhouse TV Tips:
15:15 - Lynwood Gold (E/W), Swordsman (E/W)
16:20 - Castlegrace Paddy (E/W)
additional selections - Rory Paddock