Thirteen line up for the feature race at Fairyhouse today with 12,300 Euros on offer to the winner of this handicap chase. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Back Before Dawn was a ready winner last time out and should go well again in his current frame of mind. He has been hit with a hefty hike in the weights however and may find the two McManus runners Whatareyoudoingtome and IRISH BULLETIN too much handle. The former was a good winner of chases in his last two starts last term and his comeback run was encouraging. He should be fitter for this. Eric McNamara’s runner looks to hold stronger credentials however and has won three times already over hurdles this term. He looks thrown in off his current mark reverting back to fences and he could be tough to beat.
1 Bearly Legal – Hasn’t won since scoring in a Class 1 at Leopardstown (Soft) in good style by four lengths from a 3lb lower mark than today and has struggled in better company since. Well beaten when 12 ½ lengths behind Irish Bulletin at Limerick over 3m in a handicap hurdle on last start and reverts back to fences today. Looks a better chaser and easy to ignore today despite sliding mark.
2 Topper Thornton – Only three career wins, two of them at Down Royal and has been largely out of form since winning at that track in February over 3m. Well beaten over further on last start at this track (Good/Soft) when eighth of 12 at the start of December and hard to fancy today even with cheek pieces returning.
3 Riverside City – Shown minor promise when fourth of 12 at Galway over 3m5f on his second start this term and now 5lb above his last winning mark in this sphere. Best watched for now unless the market speaks in his favour and one of four runners in the McManus silks.
4 Presenting Beara – Landed back to back wins in 2014 and returned this year after clearly having some problems with four moderate runs up to this trip. Seemed to be getting the hang of things on his last start, with the best of those efforts coming at Punchestown (Yielding/Soft) three weeks ago and now 5lb below his last winning mark but plenty to prove at present against classier rivals.
5 Back Before Dawn – Belatedly got off the mark over fences on his last start when comfortably beating the reopposing Garrai Phaidin at Thurles (Soft) over a slightly shorter trip two weeks ago (Capture The Drama in fourth). Up 12lb for that win and strike rate over fences is hardly encouraging. Needs another career best to take this and may have to settle for place money today.
6 Whatareyoudoingtome – One of four runners for JP McManus and followed up back to back wins over similar trips when returning from a 247 day break recently in minor company to finish a decent fourth in a handicap chase at Punchestown (Yielding/Soft) with the reopposing White Arm and Presenting Beara behind. This is tougher but has a chance on best form and should be better for that run. Claims.
7 Garrai Phaidin – Well beaten by Back Before Dawn on his last start at Thurles two weeks ago and is now 10lb better off with that rival. Still has a way to go to beat that one and despite consistent placed form recently in lesser company he looks up against it for win purposes today.
8 Sunsetstorise – Scored back to back wins at this course on his last visit and now 3lb higher than his last win. Didn’t run that well in better company following and has struggled dropped back into minor company since. Only his second start for new yard and plenty to find on form.
9 White Arm – Ran well to score in a minor event at Navan in January and only fair form since. Mid-division on his last start at Punchestown (Yielding/Soft) three weeks ago with Whatareyoudoingtome ½ in front and Presenting Beara in behind. Has a tongue tie back on today which is a plus given he has run well with it applied before but this is much tougher and he faces a few in-form rivals today not least in these colours.
10 Capture The Drama – Well beaten by Back Before Dawn when ten lengths behind in fourth at Thurles (Soft) over 3m two weeks ago. Had been progressive landing a couple of minor handicap chases prior to that. 11lb better off with that reopposing rival now and this is his toughest assignment so far so hard to fancy for win purposes.
11 Irish Bulletin – Scored with authority on last two runs in handicaps (1 chase,1 hurdle) and looks thrown in for this on his current hurdles mark. A strong traveller he made a mockery of a 12lb higher mark over hurdles last time and he could be tough to beat for his leading owner who has four in the race. Big player.
12 Fergiethelegend – Well beaten in seventh behind a few reopposing rivals at Punchestown (Yielding/Soft) three weeks ago but need a couple of these in grand style when landing a handicap chase at Naas (Heavy) in February including White Arm. That one finished in front of him in that Punchestown race and probably vulnerable to younger legs again today.
13 Tiger Sam – Landed back to back chase victories this Autumn at Punchestown (Good) and Down Royal (Good) up to 3m1f. Bit to prove at present having unseated his rider and been pulled up in his last two starts. Can be forgiven his last run when something looked amiss but needs to bounce back quickly to get involved and bets watched for now.