Some talented horses are set to grace Fairyhouse’s interesting two-day meeting and Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders highlights his three best bets for Saturday’s card.
A compelling beginners’ chase kicks off the card at Fairyhouse and I’m backing NICK ROCKETT to down Corbetts Cross and Three Card Brag on his first try over fences.
Corbetts Cross and Three Card Brag were sent off 9/4 and 4/1 respectively for the Albert Bartlett at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, whereas Nick Rockett had only landed a maiden hurdle at Naas just five days earlier.
However, Nick Rockett is clearly a rapid improver as his second start over hurdles coincided with a rampant 15-length display when upped to two and a half miles in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse in April.
The fact he was Willie Mullins’ second string that day and went off a 9/1 chance suggests he surprised his connections, but there was little fluke about it and he can become a leading light in the intermediate trip novice chase division this term.
I didn’t particularly like what I saw from Corbetts Cross on his first try over fences as he was sketchy at a few, while Three Card Brag surely needs three miles.
The 2m maiden hurdle sees the eagerly awaited hurdling debut of the Mullins-trained BALLYBURN, who I tipped for an ante-post column with Bet365 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March before the season began.
Ballyburn looked a bumper performer of the highest quality when dotting up twice at Punchestown in the spring. On Racing Post Ratings, he is among the best of last season’s generation in that sphere, although did plenty wrong in his races, running too keenly.
The potential is huge though and he might just be Mullins' best novice hurdler. It would be a major surprise if he didn’t maintain his unbeaten record in a winnable event before moving on to better things.
Mullins and Paul Townend could wipe the floor with them at Fairyhouse as I’m expecting GUST OF WIND to bring up the hat-trick in the Grade 3 WillowWarm Hurdle.
When Mullins throws a four-year-old into a Grade 1 on their first start for the stable it is usually a strong indicator that a big future beckons, and Gust Of Wind can build on his fifth-place finish in the Spring Juvenile and fourth behind three more precocious types (all fillies who were stablemates) in the Triumph.
It is still very early days with Gust Of Wind and he has the pedigree to keep improving with time. The same owner’s Il Etait Temps was campaigned similarly as a juvenile and didn’t realise his potential until his second season over hurdles (Grade 1 winner last term).
I’m expecting Gust Of Wind to show similar progression with that experience sure to benefit him.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.