Fairyhouse Easter Festival: Give Outlander another chance in Ryanair Gold Cup
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 26, 2016
Forgiving punters could well be rewarded for keeping faith with Willie Mullins bay gelding Outlander, as he looks a worthy favourite to bounce back from his Cheltenham Festival fall and scoop the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse (16:15) on day one of the Irish Grand National meeting.
Outlander the one for Ryanair prize
Owned by Gigginstown House Stud, the eight-year-old was close up in fourth place during the JLT Novices’ Chase when he took a tumble four flights from home.
Stablemate Black Hercules went on to win the third day opener of the Prestbury Park showpiece, but Outlander has recorded victory on all three of his starts in Ireland this season.
As evidenced when taking races at Punchestown, Limerick and Leopardstown, this horse saves his best for the run-in, staying on well in that hat-trick of home wins.
Other Mullins horse have points to prove
In the Flogas Novice Chase when last seen on home soil, Outlander finished more than a whopping 80 lengths ahead of Mckinley, another Mullins gelding who re-opposes with an awful lot to find.
Ruby Walsh has raised eyebrows by picking Mckinley as his mount over the Ricci family owned Vedettariat – a horse he stormed to victory on aboard at this venue in a beginners chase by a facile 29 lengths back in February.
Prior to that, however, Vedettariat was a poor fifth of nine behind yet another Mullins stable companion, Roi Des Francs, also at Fairyhouse.
Kylemore Lough on Otago Trail
Instead, it falls to the travelling British contingent to lay down the gauntlet in this novice chase feature contest.
Although Venetia Williams’ Otago Trail has won two of his last three starts, he is a horse that clearly loves heavy ground and the going is yielding.
One of those victories came at Chepstow on the rearranged Coral Welsh Grand National card in January, but Otago Trail has since flopped with a 42-length third of five to subsequent JLT runner-up Bristol De Mai at Haydock.
That makes seven-year-old Kylemore Lough, a winner in four of his five outings since Kerry Lee took the trainers’ licence over from her father Richard, the main challenger to Mullins and Outlander.
Scoundrel could be an each-way Lord
Fellow Gigginstown gelding Lord Scoundrel, trained by Gordon Elliott, represents each-way value at a decent price. He has raced eight times this season, winning four times on yielding or soft ground.
Lord Scoundrel’s two victories with conditions he again gets underfoot here were most impressive and, although lacking the high profile of Outlander, his lively outsider status should not be ignored.
Coral’s top tip: Outlander is definitely worth siding with again, so forget his Cheltenham Festival fall. Lord Scoundrel is an under the radar each-way wager for the Ryanair Gold Cup.