Racing expert Alex Davies takes on the Boosted £5,000 Place 6 at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Check out his Fairyhouse tips below.
12:00 – Mares’ Handicap Chase
A very competitive opener to our Fairhouse tips. DON’T KICK NOR BITE had some smart form in 2018, but she is clearly fragile and has only raced twice since October of that year. She was beaten 31l at Clonmel a month ago but almost certainly needed the run after such an absence and a mark of 121 is fair. If she retains any of his old ability, she could go close.
THE CADDY ROSE will have to carry top weight, but this represents a step down in grade for her. She was pulled up in the Cork National last time out but back in calmer waters she too is respected.
Selections: DON’T KICK NOR BITE, THE CADDY ROSE
12:30 – Juvenile Hurdle
DRUID’S ALTAR won a relatively deep maiden hurdle at Punchestown on his debut over obstacles and is taken to continue his upward curve in this Grade 3. He had Ilmig, who had smart form on the flat for Jessica Harrington, and the well-touted Dark Voyager for Willie Mullins in behind and looked good value for the victory.
In a race where all six runners are open to improvement, he is the tentative selection.
Selection: DRUID’S ALTAR
13:05 – Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
I was impressed with the way N’GOLO battled back to win his novice hurdle at Navan three weeks ago and if the ground remains on the soft side, he could be up to winning the Royal Bond. Something was clearly amiss when he was pulled up at Kilbeggan in the summer, but he has made great strides since.
He disposed of the much-discussed Malone Road at the Listowel Harvest Festival before claiming the aforementioned Grade 3. It is not the deepest of fields for a race won in the past by the likes of Envoi Allen, Hurricane Fly and the ill-fated Nichols Canyon and I think Willie Mullins 5yo could be up to the task. He looks the type to be seen to better effect over a longer trip, but soft ground could help bring his stamina to the fore.
ANNEXATION also ran a mighty race last time out behind N’Golo and there could well be more to come. A useful sort on the flat, he won his maiden hurdle under a hands and heels ride and stepped up markedly on that on his second start.
I don’t think there are any daunting types in this field and if he takes another step forward, he could well be up to winning this.
Selections: N’GOLO, ANNEXATION
13:35 – Drinmore Novice Chase
ENVOI ALLEN is quite possibly the best horse in training across both codes currently and should win this with the minimum of fuss.
He was exceptional when winning the Ballymore at the Festival and looked every bit a star in the making over fences when winning cosily on chase debut at Down Royal next month. This should be a penalty kick for the horse of his calibre.
Selection: ENVOI ALLEN
14:05 – Porterstown Handicap Chase
The trickiest contest of the day and a tentative vote is given to SCOIR MEAR. He ran as well as expected when third behind The Jam Man in the Troytown, the winner quite clearly a blot on the handicap.
He runs here off the same mark with talented claimer Simon Torrens on board and he clearly enjoys a big field handicap. Before the Troytown, he won comfortably off a mark of 128 and although this trip will test the stamina, he is likely to be fighting it out at the end.
DEATH DUTY was a high-class novice hurdler three years ago, and he could roll back the years with a big performance here. He raced in the Racing Post Novice Chase off a mark of 159 in December 2017, and after a two-year absence returned with some modest displays against high class opposition.
He ran well enough on reappearance in the Troytown and a big horse like him will come on a great deal for that. Off a reduced mark of 146 and with a talented 5lb claimer on board, he ticks a lot of boxes.
Selections: SCOIR MEAR, DEATH DUTY
14:35 – Hatton’s Grace Hurdle
One hour after Envoi Allen is unleashed, HONEYSUCKLE will look to showcase her talents in the Hatton’s Grace. She was foot perfect last season, unbeaten in her four starts culminating in a fabulous victory in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham where she dispatched of hot favourite Benie Des Dieux.
She was brilliant in this race last year too, thumping Barcardys by 9l and providing she is in good health on her reappearance, she should retain her crown.
Fury Road made a satisfactory reappearance at Punchestown two weeks ago, but he is likely to relish a stiffer test and looks every bit a three-mile staying hurdler, and another strong contender in what looks a wide-open Stayers Hurdle next season.
The same thoughts apply to Ronald Pump. I have a great amount of respect for this horse and he ran a cracker when second to Lisnagar Oscar in last season’s Stayers Hurdle. He took a crashing fall on reappearance in the Lismullen Hurdle and provided that hasn’t left a mark, he too should go close over a slightly inadequate trip.