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Gary O’Brien: 5 picks for Irish Grand National day at Fairyhouse

31 Mar | BY Gary O’Brien | MIN READ TIME |
Gary O’Brien: 5 picks for Irish Grand National day at Fairyhouse

The Betway ambassador previews the final day of the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse, with selections in five of the eight races on the card.

14:40

The connections of BOTTLER’SECRET / opted to swerve Cheltenham and that decision could be rewarded here. The Dragon Pulse gelding is chasing a four-timer, having won his last two on the level for Ciarán Murphy before landing an admittedly weak Grade 3 on his initial foray over jumps after joining Gavin Cromwell.

Crucially, he handles testing conditions very well and is just preferred to British raider Givemefive, who was narrowly outpointed by a smart prospect at Kempton last time. Boodles third and fifth Ndaawi and Miss Manzor could be vulnerable to fresher rivals.

15:15

SLANAGAIBHGOLEIR / ran much better than distance beaten suggests on his latest start at today’s venue and might be worth another chance from 1lb lower. The six-year-old was having his first start outside novice company there and ought to have plenty more to offer after just five career starts.

Western Walk landed a valuable contest at this fixture last year and would be a major threat if fully tuned-up for his first start since.

15:50

Zarak The Brave is the one to beat after his creditable Champion Hurdle fourth but whether 2m 4f on heavy ground will be ideal is debatable.

I’ll take him on with the veteran BREWIN’UPASTORM / , who appeared to run right up to his handicap rating at Kelso last month and is something of a specialist over this trip.

The rest of them all look to have some sort of question mark over them.

17:00

With just 21 declared from a maximum field of 30, this is undoubtedly a weak edition of the Irish Grand National – where are all the British staying chasers? – and ANY SECOND NOW / might be capable of a famous last hurrah.

Ted Walsh’s stalwart has been given a huge chance by the handicapper and is likely to have had this as his target for some time. The fact he is JP McManus’ only representative in a race in which the leading trainer is usually much stronger numerically looks a real vote of confidence in the Oscar gelding.

Wellhavewan didn’t quite get home in the trial for this at Punchestown but has a squeak off his light weight, while his conqueror there, Where It All Began, is a thorough stayer and should go well if his Cheltenham run hasn’t left a mark. Good Time Jonny is potentially well-in based on the pick of his hurdles form but would need to have done more of late for me to fancy him strongly.

17:40

BETTER TIMES AHEAD / is sure to be all the sharper for his belated seasonal debut at Gowran Park last month. This well-bred seven-year-old has already won a valuable handicap at Navan just over a year ago and appeals as still having plenty of upside from a mark of 119.

St Denis’s Well goes from strength to strength and, with Jack Kennedy maintaining the association, he looks sure to be thereabouts again.

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Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.

Gary O’Brien

Gary O’Brien

Widely known as ‘the voice of Irish racing’, Gary is a horse racing broadcaster, presenter, and enthusiastic racehorse owner.