Fairyhouse Monday Preview - 21/04/2019

14:05 - Polished Steel

Polished Steel can get us underway on Irish National day in the Farmhouse Foods Novice Handicap Hurdle over two miles.

The five-year-old is just a pound heavier than his last winning mark at Thurles in a maiden, of which he was a very convincing winner.

In what is not the greatest looking race, he has some striking form on a yielding (good to soft) surface, so would hope for a bit of cut between now and then, as he looked to better his fifth place finish here a couple of months ago.

Robbie Power in useful form in the spring.

14:40 - Gardens Of Babylon

Gardens Of Babylon finished a good third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, and now takes his campaign towards a tilt at the Grade Two Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Juvenile Hurdle.

He will lock horns once again with Coeur Sublime who was second best to Pentland Hills at Cheltenham - form that has been boosted by the latter's victory in the Anniversary at Aintree.

Joseph O'Brien with a couple of decent chances here, and has a fine string of juveniles going into next year; Gardens Of Babylon - who held great form with the ill-fated Sir Erec, will surely be key the outcome in this.

Big player.

15:15 - Getaway John

Getaway John has a fine record on placing in big affairs; who got his head in front here back in January in his maiden hurdle, will look to return the winners enclosure in the Fairyhouse Steel Handicap Hurdle over 2m6f.

After that win here three months ago, he twice finished a close third at Thurles in a novice and handicap and is very much open to further improvement.

Fairly lightly raced over timber having scored in a couple of bumpers - including again here last April, so will look to use his good course ability and record to his advantage.

15:50 - Wicklow Brave

The ever-reliable Wicklow Brave looks the pick of the bunch in this small field for the Grade Two Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles.

The ten-year-old finished an outstanding second in the Grade Three Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival when just being pinched by William Henry and Nico de Boinville in the final few yards towards the post.

Held up in rear, he made incredible headway to circle the field on the home turn, reminiscing some of his Festival traits and form of old.

Landed a hat-trick on the flat last summer at ridiculously short odds having returned from a premature retirement; he has always been a fine hurdler too, and will be an obvious contender if on his A game.

16:20 - Snow Falcon

Snow Falcon can land a chasing hat-trick in the Grade Two Devenish Chase for Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan.

Victorious at Listowel in the Kerry National back in September, he soon followed that effort up in another Grade Two at Down Royal a few weeks later.

Had a break since then, so every possibility he could return to a stint on the flat over a summer, but as for this contest he surely holds leading claims.

This will be just his tenth start over the larger fences given how experienced he is, and holds good form with former JLT scorer Shattered Love earlier in the season, which could set us up nicely for the next.

17:00 Auvergnat & Shattered Love

The big race of the day of course is the Irish Grand National, and we have selected two decent chances in the field.

Firstly, Auvergnat was pulled up at Cheltenham in the Cross Country, but has been waited with ever since for this.

He won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas impressively, and handles these National-type races. On that sort of form and ground, he certainly holds a card to play here over a lesser trip from Prestbury Park.

Meanwhile, Grand National winning rider Davy Russell has opted to ride the only mare in the field - Shattered Love, who last finished ninth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup over a month ago now.

In what was a hard race on the legs of any participant, the eight-year-old did not fulfil her entry at Aintree, so there is a degree of freshness in her physique now.

A Grade One winner certainly deserves respect in fields like these, and if Snow Falcon wins the previous race, Shattered Love may shift in the market.

17:40 - Wishmoor

Wishmoor was well beaten in the Leinster National at Naas back in March, after a few mistakes from the front really hindered his chances of success.

However looking past that effort, he ran a cracker finishing second to Dounikos in the National trial at Punchestown six weeks into the new year, and yet was impeded that day too with loose horses instead.

Smaller field beckons in the Fred Kenny Lifetime Service To Racing Handicap Chase over three-miles so the Gigginstown-owned nine-year-old will be hoping for a clearer passage.

If his jumping improves, he has got to have a chance, but will require a slog for his optimum conditions.

18:10 - Andy Dufresne

Andy Dufresne - the Cheltenham absentee, looks a highly exciting prospect going forward and will take all the beating once again in the Cawley Furniture INH Flat Race.

Point-to-point winner, he was picked up by JP McManus before his impressive win in a bumper at Down Royal back in January.

His sire Doyen has had a few decent novice hurdlers this season, and Gordon Elliott probably cannot wait to unleash this five-year-old over hurdles next season.

Really does look one for the future, and can consolidate his profile with another bloodless victory in this.

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