Race Time: 2.45pm Meeting: Fairyhouse Distance: 2m
Full Race Name: REA Grimes Property Consultants Hurdle (Grade 3)
Experience looks to be vital in this opening race at Fairyhouse on Irish Grand National day with two of the most experienced horses leading the way at the head of the betting. One of three runners for Willie Mullins, Dicosimo is the current favourite for the Grade Three hurdle for four-year-olds. The Rich Ricci charge can be backed at 13/8.
Dicosimo is the highest rated horse in the field by some margin at 139 after completing the Cheltenham Festival’s Triumph Hurdle in eighth, a full 23 lengths off strong favourite and eventual winner Peace And Co. Whilst his being only one of two horses in this field to appear at the Festival is a sign of his class, perhaps Dicosimo’s most important piece of form is not his Gloucestershire finish but his previous January win over 2m at Gowran Park justifying favouritism to see off Prussian Eagle – the second favourite for this Grade Three Hurdle.
The Mullins-Ricci collaboration finished seven lengths clear of Charles O’Brien’s entry on that occasion and whilst he carries 4lbs more than the Robbie Power-ridden mount that’s definitely not enough to put us off. There’s decent company here but no where near the same standard he faced at Cheltenham, and with an extra run under his belt (remember Ruby trying another front running ride which is far more difficult to pull off at Cheltenham?) we’re having faith in his powerful connections.
This Grade Three outing will be Prussian Eagle’s six over hurdles, without doubt making him the most experienced runner of the whole field. Whilst he is in the shadow of Dicosimo after their Gowran Park outing, the Jeremy-sired mount has a good record over 2m at which all of his previous hurdle runs have been. Discounting his first maiden run, the 134 rated hurdler has never gone unplaced over obstacles, this including a Grade One run at Leopardstown when third to Petite Parisienne last time out. Whilst the Fairyhouse 6/1 second-favourite was four lengths shy of the Willie Mullins runner in this event, Dicosimo was only just over a length off his stablemate in the Triumph Hurdle.
Like Prussian Eagle before him, 7/1 chance Whiteout was an experienced flat horse, disappointing somewhat in the Austrian Derby when running home dead-last. Another of Mullins’ three charges, the horse finished three lengths clear of Dermot Weld’s more experienced (though a seemingly perpetual bridesmaid) Zafayan at 2m at Gowran Park in what was both his debut over hurdles and debut in Ireland. Whilst he was 7lbs better off than most of the rest of the 11 strong field on this occasion, there’s nothing to say that this charge can’t be the horse that this result suggests with improvement expected after an ample rest followed that February outing.
Alan Fleming’s Sam Red was third in that Gowran Park event, that also his debut over obstacles. The 8/1 shot did manage to hack up the 26 length winner when the evens favourite at this distance at Navan last time out though that was a far inferior race to this one and the Barry Connell-owned mount will have to show that he has what it takes to not fade away in the closing stages when pushed by his nearest rivals.
The final Mullins’ selection is Buiseness Sivola, the other horse to have been given a shot at the Cheltenham Festival with his 10th placed completion of the Fred Winter hurdle. Finishing just 10 lengths behind winner Qualando as a 16/1 shot was actually a very pleasing result for his trainer who will be hoping to use this experience as a springboard to success. A son of regular 10f winner Archange D’or, Buiseness Sivola is yet to win at this distance and will be looking to reverse the form on Prussian Eagle who beat him by over a length at Gowran Park when the Mullins mount was the evens favourite.
He can be backed at the best price of 10/1.