Fairyhouse, 1.00pm – 2m Maiden Hurdle
Uradel (4/1) has been bitterly disappointing. We thought he’d win the first day at Navan and he was disappointing, and then I thought he’d take all the beating last time out at Fairyhouse. He ran very free that day (finishing fourth) but it was still poor. He’s on a recovery mission now. They say once bitten twice shy, but twice bitten very shy! He really hasn’t brought his true form to the track and until he does that you simply can’t fancy him. Battle Hymn (5/2) for Charles Byrnes will take all the beating. He came third at Leopardstown over Christmas behind Theophilus and the re-opposing Hostile Fire (6/4) and is the one to beat today.
Fairyhouse, 1.30pm – 2m Maiden Hurdle
Eddie Harty’s Enumerater (5/1) ran well enough in a Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas despite his Bumper form being just OK. It’s a huge field but it isn’t the strongest race in the world. Bailey Cloud, for Mouse Morris, is due his turn and will probably be hard to beat, but Enumerater is an each-way price and most certainly has an each-way chance. Bailey Cloud (5/4) was second behind Avisio Ville at Leopardstown last month and second to Nichols Canyon in Cork in November. If he brings that form today and runs to those kind of levels again he’ll be very hard to beat.
Fairyhouse, 2.30 – 2m Handicap Chase (Grade A)
Abbey Lane (6/1) has a lovely weight on his back, carrying 10-3. He’s a pound out of the handicap but 10-3 is still a nice weight. A small concern is that he ran in the Paddy Power Chase 16 days ago. He ran a blinder that day and was still in the picture as they turned in, but the 3m 100y trip was probably a bit long for him. He is a lovely weight and there’s a big prize pot so he’s taking his chance, I just hope it isn’t too soon for him. Competitive Edge (13/2) is clearly suited by the track and trip and was second in this last year but if you’re picking one, Bright New Dawn (11/4) sticks out like a sore thumb. He ran a cracking race finishing fourth at Leopardstown over Christmas on his first start this season and he’s ahead of the handicapper. Well in at the weights and with Bryan Cooper on board, he is very appealing.