Fairyhouse manager ‘very optimistic’ Easter Festival will beat predicted cold snap

Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott dominate betting for €500,000 Irish Grand National

The Willie Mullins-trained Bellshill (above) and Gordon Elliott’s Folsom Blue  top the Grand National betting at a general 12-1. Photograph: Inpho

The Willie Mullins-trained Bellshill (above) and Gordon Elliott’s Folsom Blue top the Grand National betting at a general 12-1. Photograph: Inpho

 

Unseasonal wintry conditions are forecast next week although Fairyhouse officials don’t anticipate any impact on the Easter festival featuring the €500,000 Boylesports Irish Grand National.

Talk of possible snowfall over Easter is anything but a joke ahead of the lucrative three-day festival which starts on April 1st.

The country’s richest jumps race, the Irish National, is scheduled for its traditional Easter Monday date on April 2nd and Fairyhouse’s manager said it would be “ferocious bad luck” if the weather was to interfere.

Peter Roe agreed there is snow in the current weather outlook but stressed it is too early for any definite predictions.

“It is an unsettled forecast and it is supposed to get cold. But I don’t see it being bitter, bitter, snow cold. When the clocks go back, and you get to April, it’s only floating through even if there’s a drop in temperature.

“There is a slight concern and we’ll watch it closely. But I’m very optimistic, based on the information I’m getting, that there won’t be any issue with the Easter racing. 

“It’s been a tricky winter already. I lost a meeting to Storm Brian (October) and I lost a meeting to snow (January) so nothing surprises me.  But it would be ferocious bad luck,” he said.

Continuing duel

The Irish National could prove a crucial ingredient in the continuing duel for the Irish trainers title.

Gordon Elliott has built up a considerable lead over Willie Mullins with just weeks to go until the season ends at Punchestown next month.

However Mullins is still a slight favourite to retain his crown and between them Irish racing racing’s two dominant figures have 10 of the top 13 horses quoted in most ante-post betting lists.

Bellshill (Mullins) and Folsom Blue (Elliott) top the National betting at a general 12-1. Neither man has won the Irish National before although both have been successful in the Aintree Grand National.

There is National action in Downpatrick on Sunday when the Toals Ulster National over three and a half miles will be an assured stamina test.

Last year’s winner, the controversial Anseanachai Cliste, is back for another crack at the race while Elliott is doubly represented.

However a stamina test like this could be just what Undressed requires to show his best. Michael Hourigan’s runner was runner up to Sumios Novis on St Patrick’s Day and can give jockey David Mullins a good spin.        

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