Airlie Beach and Vroum Vroum Mag can grab Grade 1 glory for Mullins at Fairyhouse
Jamie Clark | 4 December 2016
Fairyhouse tips for December 4 on three Grade 1s
There’s a hat-trick of Grade 1 contests at Fairyhouse this Sunday, December 4, so Coral horse racing experts give their tips for what promises to be an absorbing day of action at the Irish Grand National venue.
Airlie Beach odds in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle appeal for all-conquering trainer Willie Mullins.
Meanwhile, handler Gordon Elliott and jockey Brian Cooper team up with Apple’s Jade in the Hatton’s Grace, but also A Toi Phil, who is worth a bet in the Drinmore Novice Chase. Read more about these Fairyhouse tips for December 4…
Brilliant Airlie Beach odds in Royal Bond
Mullins saddles three of the seven scheduled runners in the 2m Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (13:10), but Airlie Beach looks the best value of his trio at the odds on offer.
This front-running six-year-old is the highest-rated in this renewal, according to both official and Racing Post figures, yet races off just 11st 3lb – half a stone lighter than stablemates Penhill and Saturnas.
Although Ruby Walsh and Paul Townend pass up Airlie Beach to ride those other respective Mullins mounts, the selection is the most experienced horse in this race, winning a Grade 3 last time out to make it five hurdle victories from as many starts.
Royal Bond Novice Hurdle favourite Peace News, partnered by Cooper, has just one run over the obstacles to his name and carries 4lb more on board than Airlie Beach.
Barry Geraghty gets the leg up on Labiak, but he refused to race on a couple of occasions before starting his hurdles career with back-to-back victories.
A sixth place finish at Doncaster last season is a black mark against Penhill, while the unexposed Saturnas only has a maiden hurdle run under his belt, leaving Airlie Beach odds the most appealing.
Vroum Vroum Mag has Grace to make reappearance run a winning one
There’s also a magnificent seven set to go to post in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle (13:40) over two-and-a-half miles, and Vroum Vroum Mag should take full advantage of a handy 7lb sex allowance to win on her return to action.
Like stablemate Airlie Beach, the seven-year-old carries 11st 3lb. That means Vroum Vroum Mag races off 2lb lighter than her Grade 1 successes at the Cheltenham Festival and in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the back end of last term.
With yet another Mullins mount, Shaneshill, carrying joint top weight alongside Dedigout, one of two entrants for Gigginstown House Stud, and Noel Meade’s Monksland, siding with the mares here really should pay off.
Another plus is Vroum Vroum Mag’s handler has a fine recent record in this race, saddling three of the last six Hatton’s Grace Hurdle winners.
Apple’s Jade a fine forecast pick
Sticking with mares, Apple’s Jade is able to race off bottom weight (10st 13lb) and a pound lighter than when going down by a nose to Irving in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle last Saturday.
Although reappearing quickly just eight days later here, jockey Cooper returns in the plate, and he partnered Apple’s Jade to her two high-profile successes at the Grand National and Punchestown Festivals at the end of last season.
She definitely has the beating of Ivanovich Gorbatov, a JP McManus owned horse who has gone backwards since scoring the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
A forecast bet on Vroum Vroum Mag finishing ahead of fellow mare Apple’s Jade looks well worth a wager in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, then.
A Toi Phil bets delightful in Drinmore
One Gigginstown horse who has caught the eye is A Toi Phil, however, and bets on him to follow-up his Florida Pearl Novice Chase success at Punchestown in the 2m 4f Drinmore Novice Chase (14:40) here look a wise investment.
Coming out of the thick mist in fourth with three to jump last time out, Elliott’s six-year-old was then pushed along to lead two out and kept on strong from the last to win a Grade 2 by seven lengths.
Selection stablemate Diamond King, winner of the 2016 Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, is made favourite for the Drinmore, but usually wants further than two-and-a-half miles, so he may find others too quick for him. Only one other eight-year-old has won this race before.
Alpha Des Obeaux, another Gigginstown entrant though trained by Mouse Morris, is taking his time to flourish over fences, so stepping up to Grade 1 level may come too soon.
It may fall to Anibale Fly, one of two who will bear the green and gold hoops silks of McManus in this, to give A Toi Phil most to think about.
Gerarghty takes over from Mark Walsh on board, but Anibale Fly made an unextended chase debut over 2m 1f at Navan in November, beating 2015 Cheltenham Festival winner Martello Tower by 3/4 of a length.
Fairyhouse tips for Sunday, November 4
13:10 Airlie Beach E/W
13:40 Vroum Vroum Mag, Apple’s Jade forecast
14:40 A Toi Phil NAP