Easter weekend is soon to be upon us which means the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse is right around the corner. The big race is of course the Irish Grand National. Four of the last 10 winners of this prestigious race were novices and this number increases to six if you include second season chasers. This teaches us that we should be on the lookout for horses with unexposed and progressive profiles. Doing this can narrow down the number of candidates significantly and unearths a particularly interesting contender. For tips across the whole of the festival and all British and Irish meetings, check out our free tips page.
Willie Mullins won this race with novice Burrows Saint back in 2019 and he will be looking to repeat the trick this year. Gaillard Du Mesnil was useful over hurdles, winning a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last season. He also finished second to Bob Olinger in the Ballymore at Cheltenham before scoring in another Grade 1 at Punchestown.
Due to his size and scope, this gelding was always going to be a chaser and connections would probably consider his hurdling exploits a bonus. It has perhaps been a somewhat disappointing novice chase campaign so far as he is yet to break his duck over the larger obstacles. In his defence, he has chased home some elite company such as Galopin Des Champs, Bob Olinger and L’Homme Presse. His latest effort was the most encouraging which suggests he’s getting the hang of things.
A staying on third in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham is a good sign that this 3m5f trip will be to his liking. The evidence is also in his pedigree as he is related to a 3m5f cross-country winner. I thought this race would be perfect for him the second he crossed the line at Cheltenham. He seems to have the perfect profile for this race and as he’s improving he should still be ahead of the handicapper. It would be a huge surprise if there isn’t more to come from this classy sort.
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