Sunday Nap: Handicapper to be the April Fool

We are glad to see the back of March.  A fine month in aggregate but a great start and middle petered out to a modest finish, with even yesterday’s big price each way hope Washington Dc doing what all great each way shots do – finish one place out of the frame.  The new month acts as a refresher, and no better way to regain top speed than with a top notch jumping Sunday in Ireland.

A couple of quality mares look likely to hold centre stage over at Fairyhouse with both Laurina and Shattered Love highly likely to add to their Cheltenham Festival wins.

It is Laurina’s namesake and stablemate that might offer the best bet however.  Also a Mullins mare, Lareena is hardly in the same league but she heads to a valuable Cork handicap (1605) with a truly outstanding looking chance.

She was the horse who provided a winning comeback for Ruby Walsh the week before Cheltenham.  That smooth win was a step forward from her previous defeat to the subsequently twice successful Lackaneen Leader at Fairyhouse.  That horse is now rated 131, which would put Lareena on around 123 – she gets to race here off just 113.

This looks to be an extraordinarily generous act of handicapping.  Even on her easy last win you would have to rate her the equal of runner up Awayinthewest (who was giving weight).  That horse is rated 124.

Everything says she should be rated 10lbs at least higher than she is.  Add in the ability of Willie Mullins to improve a horse and jockey Bryan Cooper should have every opportunity to show us the skills that recently had him at the top of Irish jump racing.

It is a massive effort to pick her as we are huge fans of Gordon Elliott’s High Expectations, but he surely needs a faster surface that this to show us his best.  We are sure he has a big handicap win in him, but this must be a sharpener, perhaps for Ayr, Haydock or Punchestown targets once the ground dries up.

Recommendation:  Lareena, (1605 Cork), 2pts win, 11/4 generally available

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