People’s Park can halt Elliott’s handicap streak at Fairyhouse

Willie Mullins aiming to land Saturday feature at Punchestown with Crack Mome

Gordon Elliott has dominated this season's major handicap chases and will be doubly-represented in the first six-figure pot of 2017 at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

However he could be trumped this time by Tom Taaffe’s runner, People’s Park.

Prior to that the ebb and flow of Elliott's battle to dethrone Willie Mullins as champion trainer will take in Punchestown where the latter's three runners are all likely to start favourite and can potentially make inroads on the near €275,000 championship lead Elliott currently holds.

They include Crack Mome who will attempt to give Mullins a five-in-a-row in the Grade Two Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Hurdle.


The ex-French runner was installed a 14-1 shot for Supreme Hurdle success at Cheltenham in March after his Clonmel debut.

Considering Saturday’s race was won by both Vautour and Douvan en route to Supreme glory at the festival should Crack Mome win well then bookmakers are likely to be in slash-mode.

Both Bachasson in the Beginners Chase and Kolumbus in the maiden hurdle can also score for the Mullins-Ruby Walsh team.

Lord Windermere’s half-brother It Came To Pass always looked out of his comfort zone in the Paddy Power Chase but could be a different proposition in the Conyngham Cup while Luckyinmilan is potentially well-handicapped in the Opportunity Chase.

Early mistake

Sunday’s feature, the €100,000 Bar One Dan Moore Chase has the cross-channel raider, Baltimore Rock, among 14 runners.

Kerry Lee’s big-race Easter double with Kylemore Lough and Top Gamble proved how British-trained runners can make an impact at Fairyhouse but in this case Neil Mulholland’s runner looks plenty high enough in the ratings.

Gordon Elliott has both Ball d’Arc and Turn Over Sivola while Mullins relies on the JP McManus-owned Jarry d’Honneur.

However Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride the other McManus runner, People’s Park, who returns to the course and distance of his last success in December.

After that People’s Park was upped to three miles for the first time in his in career for the Paddy Power Chase. An early mistake didn’t help his chance of lasting the trip and Geraghty’s decision helps the suspicion that People’s Park’s best chance of a valuable prize is at a shorter trip.

Elliott unveils an interesting newcomer to jumping in the juvenile maiden with Mengli Khan one of a trio of Gigginstown Stud runners lining up.

Mengli Khan ran off a flat mark of 96 on his last start for Hugo Palmer at Goodwood last year and the horse is preferred to A Year To Remember, one of a trio of starters for Joseph O'Brien.

In other news, Gigginstown Stud’s principal Cheltenham Gold Cup hope now looks to be the Lexus winner Outlander with Valseur Lido ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

Earlier in the week, last season's 'blue riband' hero Don Cossack had to be retired with a recurrence of a tendon problem.

”As injuries go it’s not that bad, we don’t think,” said Gigginstown’s spokesman, Eddie O’Leary of Valseur Lido. “However he’ll definitely miss the rest of the season, I’d have thought.”

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column