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Fairyhouse Easter Festival: five day one tips from Irish Grand National meeting

| 27.03.2016

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 26, 2016

The Irish Grand National meeting or Easter Festival at Fairyhouse gets underway on Sunday and, to celebrate the three-day event at the Emerald Isle racecourse, Coral’s tipsters offer their best value bets for the opening day.

Easter Sunday’s card contains the feature Ryanair Gold Cup, a novice chase we’ve taken a closer look at. See what our experts fancy below:

Frequent flyer miles available on Mighty Concorde


Jim Culloty gelding Mighty Concorde has placed in all six of his starts this season, so looks a worthy each-way wager in the 2m novice handicap hurdle at 14:35.

Once again partnered by Bryan Cooper here, the six-year-old got himself on terms with Willie Mullins’ Blazer when jumping the final flight at Leopardstown over the trip last time out.

To end up just three-and-a-half lengths shy of such a quality horse, who has since gone out and finished fourth in a hotly competitive renewal of the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, gives the form a solid look.

Ruby ride Asthuria to turn Jessber’s Dream into nightmare for Fry

Connections have sent Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle winner Jessber’s Dream over to Ireland for the Easter Festival, and the Harry Fry trained horse will likely start favourite in the 15:05.

All three wins for Jessber’s Dream have come on heavy ground, yet the going is yielding at Fairyhouse. Some of her opponents are unexposed to boot.

Monday Gallops

This is the Grade 1 Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final, but Ruby Walsh had the pick of a four strong Mullins contingent and goes on board French bay Asthuria.

A relative unknown five-year-old that had two runs in her homeland last season before joining the County Carlow handler, Walsh must’ve seen something in this mare at the Closutton stables in order to pass over mounts like Myska, who he has ridden before.

McManus to Lift The Latch on 2m 4f run

Barry Geraghty’s best chance of a winner on day one of this meeting looks to be on Lift The Latch, who steps up in trip to two-and-a-half miles by going in novice hurdle at 15:40.


Owned by JP McManus, this six-year-old is looking to follow up on successive victories over 2m this year at Punchestown and Gowran Park.

Gigginstown House Stud have three entrants to rival Lift The Latch, but the Racing Post rate him higher than Nabmour (143), Fire In Soul (127) and Crest (124) at a mark of 147.

Outlander outright and Lord Scoundrel to place in Ryanair Gold Cup

In the feature contest over 2m 4f, Gigginstown could scoop plenty of prize money, with the Mullins trained Outlander a worthy favourite for the Ryanair Gold Cup.

Punters would be wise to forgive him his fall in the JLT Novices’ Chase during the Cheltenham Festival, and bounce back to make it four wins out of four on native Irish soil.

Lord Scoundrel

Lord Scoundrel, from Gordon Elliott’s yard, has got what it takes to outperform the British contingent and fellow Gigginstown horse Mckinley to snatch a place.

Guitar Pete not one to string you along

Walsh rides Sandra Hughes’ six-year-old Guitar Pete in the 2m 1f novice handicap chase at 16:50, and this is a far better horse than his last of seven when previously seen in action in the Cleeve Hurdle on Cheltenham Festival Trials Day suggests.

Good or yielding conditions are when the brown gelding finishes in the frame. A Racing Post rating of 144 may be exploitable here, and Guitar Pete is carrying 1lb less than when last successful at Kilbeggan.

Persuading Walsh to pilot him is a real coup and, now he has the preferred going instead of the heavy ground he got when running around Prestbury Park back in January, Guitar Pete can make amends.


14:35 Mighty Concorde (e/w)
15:05 Asthuria
15:40 Lift The Latch
16:15 Outlander (Nap), Lord Scoundrel (e/w)
16:50 Guitar Pete


You will find more tips over on Coral’s dedicated horse racing page.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.