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Amateur didn't look like winning the Ffos Las National race but somehow managed to get a second wind to finish in the places, grabbing us some place money.
Brighterdaysahead was superb in the bumper at Fairyhouse. I thought she was a superstar and she cemented those thoughts in my head even further with that performance yesterday. She was probably worth more than a 2pt win, but with my form over the last week being poor I decided to play it safe.
Fairyhouse 3:50 – Asterion Forlonge 15/8 (1.5pt)
I really do think this race is a terrible renewal. Monkfish would've run away with this if he didn't have his problems, and he's returning from 700 days off the track, and the others don't seem great, so I felt the market had it right with the favourite and Asterion Forlonge would win.
This horse is a nutter and has his own way of thinking, but on his day he is a very smart performer. He has made mistakes over fences when being in contention for some big races like the King George and a Grade 1 at Punchestown when he seemed to be going as well as Allaho before unseating. Now he's back over hurdles and that should be better for him, as he will be able to get away with a lot more than he does when running over fences. Other than Monkfish, he is the class horse in the race, and I think you've got to believe that his run on seasonal reappearance was just a fitness run and that he needed that run, as it seemed a bit too bad to be true.
I think he is better than the rest in this field. Fil Dor's form doesn't convince me with the recent win over Sharjah, the form from those in behind hasn't been franked and he also bottomed out at Cheltenham, as well as the fact he has to give away weight to every horse in the race. Beacon Edge ran well in the Boyne hurdle which produced the stayers' hurdle winner, but his run at Cheltenham was also terrible. HMS Seahorse was a horse I was willing to follow, but once again his run at Cheltenham was fairly flat and I expected more. Master McShee is another Grade 1 winner over fences, but his prep this season hasn't been ideal, just one run and that saw him bleed from both nostrils, which has happened before, so you'll have to be brave to back him. Monkfish is decent odds, but the jockey bookings suggest he'll come on for the run, and they'll probably have an eye on the Punchestown festival at the end of the month for him.
Fairyhouse 4:20 – French Dynamite 11/4 (1pt)
This race is Easy Game‘s Gold Cup, he has won the last two renewals and is going to be primed to make it three in a row but I think he is vulnerable this time around. French Dynamite is a Grade 2 horse, he doesn't quite bridge the gap to Grade 1 quality but he is capable of winning a race like this today.
He has been a consistent horse of late, French Dynamite, and I thought he ran a belter in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham when finishing 4th, ahead of Janidil. Prior to that run, he finished 2nd to Fakir D'oudairies at Thurles, when he probably would've gotten much closer than the 6L defeat if he wasn't inconvenienced by the faller and didn't smash through the final fence. He was in the middle of running a big race in the Leopardstown Savills Chase over 3m, travelling nicely behind Conflated before getting tired, which isn't a surprise over a trip which is too far for him.
Janidil probably would be the play in this race, but his jumping is far too inconsistent in recent years like we saw at Cheltenham last time out and in this race last year when falling. He is a smart horse, but you'd have to worry about his jumping.
Fairyhouse 5:00 – Gevrey 20/1 (0.5pt ew 6pl)
I've ummed and ahhed about this race, which is normal for any 30-runner handicap but my dart eventually landed on Gordon Elliott's Gevrey.
It's always a risk going for a horse who has never run over a trip this long, or even remotely close to it, but Gordon is a master trainer who knows what he is doing and he has won races at this distance before with horses who have previously never run over the trip. Based on this horse's run over 2m 4f at Cheltenham, I think he looks like a horse who will relish a stamina test, whether that's as far as today's trip in the Irish Grand National, I'm not sure, but he was staying up that Cheltenham Hill with plenty of power, finishing a closing 4th/23 in the Plate. He was held up in the rear off the pace and ran a huge race to finish where he did at odds of 125/1. He's always had a tendency to be towards the rear and run on strongly in races shorter than today, looking like he is massively outpaced but when his engine kicks in and those ahead of him start to fade he stays on strongly. At the odds, and with 6 places on offer I think he is worth a small ew chance.
Fairyhouse - 3:50 pm
15/8 @ Bet365
Fairyhouse - 4:20 pm
11/4 @ Bet365
Fairyhouse - 5:00 pm