Conditions at Fairyhouse have become truly dire, and our focus today has to be on proven heavy ground form. Yesterday’s Irish National was a bizarre slog, our selection departed early, and even though only 8 finished it was an unlikely close finish in the conditions. Our frustrations reached fever point as 20/1 shot General Principle prevailed, a horse we have picked three times on the blog this season without success, who we picked in the Cheltenham Festival Guide and determined at our preview night would be an Irish National prospect if he missed Cheltenham (which he did). Such is punting….
Whilst a few Cheltenham contenders have returned to success here, notably Getabird and Un De Sceaux yesterday, on the whole it has been horses kept away from the heat of Cheltenham battle who have fared best this week.
That should apply to Willie Mullins’ Saglawy who looks likely to go off market leader for the Grade 2 juvenile hurdle (1510). This horse is the pick of stable jockey Paul Townend, and comes here without the festival scars of other market leaders Saldier and Mitchouka.
Saglawy has French flat form, and initially ran below expectations on hurdles debut for Willie in January. That experience may have been needed because next time on truly awful ground at Gowran he absolutely crushed his rivals by 15 easy lengths. That was only a maiden, but conditions would have been much like the prevailing ones here, and he is obviously highly regarded.
Stablemate Saldier is the clear one to beat after finishing 5th in the Triumph hurdle, but his finishing effort that day was weak and he ended up well beaten. On this ground he will need to see out his race a whole lot better.
Recommendation: Saglawy, (1510 Fairyhouse), 1pt win, 15/8 generally available
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