How do you like them Apples

Lone Wolf and Mark Walsh in the winner's enclosure at Fairyhouse on Saturday

Peter Kingston looks forward to huge day in Irish racing have been rewarded for their support of the Fairyhouse Hatton’s Grace card with a wonderful day’s racing in store.

Three Grade 1’s on offer, a Grade 3 Juvenile which normally throws up a Triumph Hurdle leading player and a couple of valuable handicaps with a bumper to finish, consisting of endless potential. Gordon Elliott seems to have a stranglehold on the day, but there might be a twist in the tale yet.

The ground as I write this on Saturday morning is good. Amazing for the first of December. I do hope we get a few more mils of rain tonight to put off any chance of non runners.

See Sunday’s full card at Fairyhouse on

I’ll preview the Juvenile Hurdle, Royal Bond, Drinmore Chase and the Hatton’s Grace before returning later for a look at the handicaps all sponsored by and the bumper, where you could win a house with Meath GAA, or failing that a few bob if you back the winner.

Coeur Blimey

The €260,000 purchase Coeur Sublime is my idea of the winner of the Juvenile Hurdle, kicking us off at 12.35. I’ll contradict myself later by opposing short odds with not enough substance in the form book and priced on potential, but I think I’m allowed in a 4 year old hurdle.

The Chris Jones gelding trained by Gordon Elliott was solid if not spectacular in Down Royal, winning decisively on hurdling debut a month ago. He was a little green in a messy race, where he was ridden for cover and the pace was slow. Cooper then pulled him 3 wide down the hill and made ground easily, he landed on all fours after the last however and lost all momentum, leaving the margin of victory less comfortable.

I was very impressed with Coeur Sublime’s only run and win on the flat for Peter Fahey. He won a 10f maiden in Navan in likeable fashion, beating now 100+ rated Southern France into 2nd.

Down Royal was the first time he galloped on grass for Elliott, he said after the race he’d ‘come on a tonne’. I think he’s the one with most potential. His owner has had the likes of Mega Fortune and Zabana and I think this fella can be as good.

Humaniste is respected who done a lot wrong on debut and still won for Edward O’Grady.  He could continue to improve. Lever du Soleil took a pearler of a fall in Punchestown but really learnt from that when jumping brilliantly at Gowran next time. He probably lacks scope of the fav but his experience and professional may keep him involved.

I dislike the talented but quirky Chief Justice. He refused to race twice on the flat when with Richard Fahey. The Cheveley Park owned gelding nearly ran out at the 2nd at Wetherby latest and hung left under pressure in straight. Chief Justice will appreciate good ground however and maybe dangerous if slowly run, but Cromwell’s charge should keep this an honestly run race.

Grabim while it’s Hot

Quick Grabim can interrupt the domination of Gordon Elliott on today’s meeting in winning the Grade 1 Royal Bond at 1.05.

He can be excused his Navan run in my opinion and be chief benefactor of the good ground and his experience. The ex Robbie McNamara trained 6 year old is 3 from 9 under rules, that should be 4 as he was the moral winner behind Minds Eye last November when unlucky in running. He beat Triplicate in a grade 3 in Tipperary on good ground when awkward at the last but much the best.

Quick Grabim then went off 7/4 fav at Navan three weeks ago when giving weight away but that race turned into a crawl where he was poorly positioned at the back, made a mistake at the 2nd last as they started to sprint for home, trailed by 8 lengths then but was only beat half that, gaining ground at the line in an unsatisfactory race.

Ruby Walsh can be alive to things in a small field here.

Tintangle will probably set a pace for stablemate Commander of Fleet, who looked hugely impressive when winning the Goffs Land Rover bumper at Punchestown by 8.5 lengths to subsequent winner Column of Fire. He won his maiden hurdle at Punchestown at 1/5f a fortnight ago but we didn’t learn much. His price is very much on bumper form and potential rather than what he’s achieved over hurdles so far.

Delta Flies for Ryanair

Delta Work is the selection for the Drinmore Novice Chase, the 2nd Grade 1 on the card at 1.35pm.

The Michael O’Leary owned 5 year old was the Pertemps winner off 139. He was then 2nd to Next Destination over 3 miles in Punchestown over hurdles. 30 days ago he won on chase debut in Down Royal where everything went well until the 2nd last; he got in tight, done for speed between the last two and got very close at the last when Davy Russell saw a stride and Delta Work didn’t agree.

That meant the margin of victory was minimal but I took the positives, as did his jockey. Russell said after he ‘couldn’t buy that experience’, that Delta Work was ‘nimble’ and ‘very talented’.

I like the way he jumped his fences so accurately in the country, dead straight and forgive the last two as he was clever, ultimately.

Blow by Blow is talented but may want further and should help a good pace here with High Nellie. Cubomania looks a summer horse, Cadmium has loads of experience but again lacks class here. Jetz won last week but I will never warm to his head carriage, nor his jumping so far.

Le Richebourg was very good in both chase starts over last few fences when quickening which impressed me but may fall short of Delta Work on overall ability. Mind’s Eye has a strange way of going but is talented, his Wexford win working out well but should find a few too good.

If the ground was softer I’d chance the patiently ridden Discorama, who looks to have loads of ability but they may get away from him here on a sound surface. Rashaan ran in the Clonmel Oil Chase latest, he’s a gas horse to watch in that he’ll be first off the bridle but never beat due to his ability on the level. A fascinating race awaits.

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Super Sunday

Before studying this race I thought Apple’s Jade was a very solid favourite. Now I’m not so sure. Neither is it easier to pick her master, who’ll dethrone the great mare who’s looking for three Hatton’s Grace wins in a row. The feature goes off at 2.40pm, live on RTE.

Supasundae is the highest rated officially at 164, when allowing for the mares allowance, Apple’s Jade is ahead by a single pound. That, recent form and course form doesn’t quite add up to the disparity in the betting.

Supasundae won two Irish Grade 1 hurdles last year over 2 miles; Leopardstown and Punchestown, has come 2nd in Stayers hurdle at Cheltenham. Last year when beaten 11 lengths in the Hatton’s Grace he looked completely ring rusty after a break. I’m hoping it will be different this year as the in form Jessica Harrington stable scratched him from the Morgiana (unsuitable ground), which would suggest he may strip fitter now, as that was a fortnight ago and he’s ready to race a while.

The other bet is Limini.

628 day’s since she last ran over hurdles but she is fit from the flat. Limini won a big handicap in Leopardstown off 98 in September so she’s in good shape. She was beat by Apples Jade in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2017, but she looked most likely winner at the last but she missed it and was outstayed up the hill by Apple’s Jade. She has a big chance if jumping well, on a flat track she’s won before and if this turns in to a speed test from the last and Limini is stalking, we could be in business. Limini too gets a generous mares allowance.

Recency bias may be at play in the prices here and the fact that Apple’s Jade is going for three wins in succession the headline. For all that Apple’s Jade is a brilliant mare, she has been beaten at short prices on occasion. Gordon Elliott is confident he’s ironed out the issues with her coming in season last year. If you play both challengers to her crown it works out around a 9/4 chance and that seems fair.

The most intriguing runner in the race is Sutton Place. We’ve yet to see his potential due to injury and what he’s already done really sets a high standard and he’s hugely exciting, but we may have to wait a little longer as the ground isn’t quite soft enough. If i was to have a word with Willie Mullins it would be to cheekily suggest sending the currently out of form Wicklow Brave up to keep a close eye on Apple’s Jade on the lead to make sure she gets nothing easy. Spoil the party, me, no..


Coeur Sublime 10/11

Quick Grabim 2/1

Delta Work 2/1

Supasundae 9/2

Limini 13/2 will be best price every favourite at Fairyhouse this weekend early and board price, in comparison to other leading Irish bookmakers. Some of the selections fall into this category so some value can be had on the day, that and €40 in free bets for new online customers.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article