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Mark your card: Easter Sunday at Fairyhouse

If you followed Mark Hobbs’ advice yesterday you’d have an extra few quid in the pocket. Here’s today’s preview of the action at Fairyhouse.

Image: Inpho

HIGH-PROFILE FESTIVALS and meetings come thick and fast this time of year, and Easter is Fairyhouse’s turn to take centre stage.

Fairyhouse Powers-up

Last year’s meeting was run in bog-like conditions but thankfully the sun is shining today and conditions for both horses and spectators alike will be ideal.

The Powers Gold Cup is undoubtedly the highlight of the card, where seven talented novices go to post for the two-and-a-half mile chase. Only three-runners finished the race last term due to the inclement conditions, but this year none will have any excuses. The ground should be ideal for the well-backed favourite and recent Cheltenham scorer Noble Prince.

His victory in the Jewson now reads even more impressively given that the second-placed horse that day; Wishful Thinking, went on to a facile success in Aintree. Clearly the trip is very much to his liking, and he is the one they all have to beat.

Noel Meade’s Realt Dubh could be the one to prosper should the favourite not oblige. Indeed, he has already beaten Noble Prince twice this season – albeit on very different ground at a shorter trip. He ran an excellent third in the Arkle in Cheltenham, but seemed to lack the same gears as the winner. While his stamina for this step-up is not fully assured, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he may improve for it.

Mikael D’Haguenet is on something of a retrieval mission after disappointing thus far this season. As a novice hurdler he was imperious, but since returning from a season on the sidelines he has only hinted at his form of old. Having failed to complete on two of his four starts he is not one to place too much faith in, but the good ground may help his jumping. Loosen My Load, Mr Cracker and Roi Du Mee complete the line-up.

Of the supporting card, the most high profile event is the mares’ hurdle, where Our Girl Salley will be a popular choice as she seeks to earn a sixth consecutive win. She seems nailed on to build on her last Listed victories with a win here, the only concern being that she yet to race on ground this fast.

Nap of the Day

Realt Dubh seems generously priced at 4/1. He has the edge over Noble Prince on their running over the winter, and it is probably a little too simplistic to say that today’s conditions and trip will play to that horse’s strengths. It will be a tall order; Noble Prince excelled at Cheltenham, but Noel Meade’s charge performed well at the festival too and is well-worth chancing here.

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Each-Way

Vivaldi is overpriced at 16/1 for the Family Day At Fairyhouse Novice Handicap Hurdle; the third race on the card. A former inmate of Ballydoyle, the son of Montjeu achieved a rating of 100 on the flat. With this in mind, his current hurdles rating of 116 should enable him to be competitive.

His strike-rate is not very impressive, but he is admirably consistent and could sneak into the frame. It may be that the fast ground brings out some improvement in the gelding, and it would be no surprise to see him outrun his price.

About the author:

Mark Hobbs

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