Paul Callaghan’s Racing Tips For Fairyhouse Sunday 4th April

Paul Callaghan analyses the penultimate day at Fairyhouse before the BoyleSports Irish Grand National. He gives us his tips and predictions.

2.50 Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2m.

The Willie Mullins trained Echoes In Rain is a mare still improving. A winner of a Grade 2 contest at Naas last time out, and had the County Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Belfast Banter, comfortably held 8 lengths behind in second. This daughter of Authorized is settling better with the experience of racing.

Echoes In Rain is the choice of Paul Townend and is my selection in this competitive Grade 2 contest.

Master McShee tops the list of dangers, having contested Grade 1 company on his latest outing, he should be more competitive dropping down in grade.

3.20 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final (Grade 1) over 2m 4f.

Atlantic Fairy is fancied to cope with the step up to Grade 1 company for the formidable trainer/jockey partnership of Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. She has won her last two, which include a Listed Mares Novice Hurdle on her last start at Navan in February. The better ground is an unknown as Atlantic Fairy has yet to encounter ground better than soft, but she’s a mare on the upgrade who is open to plenty of improvement.

Royal Illusion always gives her running, whether she is good enough? I don’t know, but she won’t be far away turning for home.

Finally, a mention for Delvino. A mare who has been disappointing since winning a Mares Maiden Hurdle at Naas last December. That day she looked a mare to follow but her form since has been too bad to be true.

You couldn’t back Delvino on what she has shown on her last three runs, but I think she is better than that.

3.50 Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2m 4f.

A chance is taken that the Gavin Cromwell trained Gabynako can make it 2 victories from 8 starts over hurdles. He got no further than the first hurdle in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival. I thought, when I saw him finish second on hurdling debut at Punchestown behind Eskylane last October, that there was a decent race in him. His third in the Lawlor’s Of Naas, in January was a cracking run and if he can reproduce that form, he won’t be far away.

4.25 BoyleSports Novice Handicap Chase (Grade B) over 2m 150y.

Steer Clear gets a tentative nod for trainer Padraig Roche and jockey Mark Walsh. The handicapper has raised him 10lbs for his Leopardstown success at the beginning of March.

I think he will cope with the rise in weights and I find it encouraging that Mark Walsh has stayed loyal.

5pm Gold Cup Novice Chase (Grade 1) over 2m 4f.

I like Any Defresne in this one, who looked as though the extended 2m 5f trip at Leopardstown on his last start, was a furlong too far. I think the 2m 4f trip, on nice ground will see him tough to beat.