The Irish Angle With Paul Callaghan - Saturday Fairyhouse Tips

Paul Callaghan Intro

As a proud Meath man, this is one of my favourite times of the year. It’s Easter weekend and Easter Monday can only mean one thing – the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

As a child growing up, I was first introduced to horse racing at the Irish Grand National meeting. Fairyhouse was held on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wednesday was family day, my mother and father would pack my three brothers, sister and myself in the car and away we went.

My passion for the sport grew from there, so much so that starting primary school at the age of 5, I had my mind made up on becoming a national hunt jockey.

So on the opening day of a massive three days at the county Meath racecourse, I have three selections, I hope can pay for the Easter eggs on Sunday. Enjoy!

Fairyhouse - April 15 2022
Fairyhouse 12:55
2
Rachael Blackmore

Ballybough Native

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 11-12
OR: N/A
Days: 388

I quite like Ballybough Native’s chances of opening up his account over hurdles at the first time of asking. He ran out an easy winner of a point-to-point bumper at Tipperary on the 24th of March last year, when formerly trained by Ian McCarthy.

He was sold after that victory for £195,000 at the Cheltenham sale that same month and represents top connections here, in Gold Cup winning owner Barry Maloney, trainer Henry De Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore.

Level Neverending was a beaten favourite on both starts over hurdles. While he should be competitive, he may have to settle for minor honours once again. While any market support for Changing The Rules is worth noting.

Fairyhouse - April 15 2022
Fairyhouse 15:15
4
Rachael Blackmore

Nell's Well

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Sean O O'Brien
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 127
Days: 23

The consistent Nell’s Well has to go close despite a career high handicap mark of 127. The daughter of Gold Well hasn’t finished out of the first two, in six starts, since this time last year.

She was good winner at Cork last time out, but on her previous start, finished second. Beaten a little over 1 length by Mr Fred Rogers, who is rated 134.

The highest rated in this contest is 133. A reproduction of that second placed effort would see Nell’s Well bang in the mix under jockey Rachael Blackmore.

Fairyhouse - April 15 2022
Fairyhouse 15:50
1
Davy Russell

Eskylane

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-12
OR: 146
Days: 168

I think Eskylane can have a big say, despite being well beaten in this race last year and carrying top weight of 11st 12lbs with a rating of 146.Last year, the selection was ridden close to the pace before fading on the run to the final flight to finish a tired 12th of 20.

He’s only had two runs since then, and has been ridden with more restraint on both occasions. A tactic which paid dividends when Eskylane quickened clear to score at Down Royal last time out.

Connections may have just found the key to this horse.It is also worth mentioning that Gordon Elliott is neither short on or afraid to use talented claiming riders if he feels that his runners are in the grips of the handicapper.

Despite being rated 6lbs higher than the next in the field, Davy Russell takes the mount, indicating that connections feel off that mark of 146, in this company, Eskylane can follow up his last time out success.