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DAVY RUSSELL: Fairyhouse Easter

Easter weekend and that of course means Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival and the Irish Grand National on Monday.

Ahead of riding Dounikos in the big race, I have five rides on Sunday’s card and after my tumble at Clonmel on Thursday a couple of days break have come at the perfect time. I was a bit sore on the shoulder but hope to be A1 ahead of Sunday:

EASTER SUNDAY

FAIRYHOUSE

CALTEX (2.20pm)

Won his maiden hurdle really well the last day at Limerick on testing ground and drops back in trip for this handicap hurdle. He’s got top weight to defy but is going the right way and can hopefully make his presence felt in a competitive race. Last Man Standing will find this much easier than when contesting a Grade 3 at Clonmel and looks one of the bigger dangers.

LACKANEEN LEADER (2.50pm)

Is in grand form and brought up her hat-trick for me at Limerick having won also at Navan and here at Fairyhouse. She’s been nudged up in distance in each of her starts and settles back to two and a half for this – which should prove ideal on the ground. However, the looming presence of Laurina dominates this race. She looked extra special when sauntering home at Cheltenham in the Trull House Stud novices’ hurdle by 18 lengths on only her third start. Laurina steps up in trip but that’s unlikely to cause problems for her on what we’ve seen so far.

PALLASATOR (3.20pm)

Had a ton of class on the flat when trained by Sir Mark Prescott and is definitely going the right way over jumps too. He traveled really well for me the last day at Leopardstown when winning his maiden hurdle over today’s trip of 2m 4f. This is a tough looking Grade 2 though with a couple of horses who ran well at Cheltenham looking the key contenders. Jack (Kennedy) is onboard Blow By Blow who won the Martin Pipe at the Festival in good style and Willie’s (Mullins) Duc Des Genievres was by no means disgraced behind Samcro when fifth in the Ballymore.

ROBIN DES MANA (3.55pm)

If you take the latest run out he’s had a decent season so hopefully he can bounce back here. The ground was very bad the last day at Gowran and he could never really get going after clattering the third. JP (McManus) has a strong hand with three of the runners and of those I like Blazer who could come back a fresh horse after a break against runners who have had busy campaigns.

THE STORYTELLER (4.30pm Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase)

Looking forward to getting back onboard The Storyteller, one of my Cheltenham Festival winners. He was really game when staying on to grab the Brown Advisory at the big meeting a couple of weeks back. He won his beginners chase here at Fairyhouse and although he keeps stepping forward he will likely need to do so again to again in this very competitive Grade 1, especially on the ground which is softer than ideal. He’s narrowly rated the best in the race though, so fingers crossed the figures are right!

EASTER MONDAY

FAIRYHOUSE

DOUNIKOS (5pm BoyleSports Irish Grand National Chase)

Hopefully will give me a good spin in the great race. He was pulled up in the RSA at Cheltenham but had previously shown he has plenty of class when beating Tombstone at Limerick in a Grade 2 and then going down by less than two lengths behind Monalee in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown. He was staying on well that day which hopefully is a sign that the extra distance here will suit him well. As always though in these races, you need a huge slice of luck and the rub of the green. The dangers are well into double figures but Pairofbrowneyes is worthy of a special mention after his good win in the Leinster National run at Gowran Park.

Happy Easter

DAVY


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