Fairyhouse Race Preview, 16/01/2021

Fairyhouse, Saturday 16th January

Fairyhouse 2.15
Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase Grade A
2m1f – Going: Heavy – 16 runners, 1 reserve

Chosen Mate
The 2020 Grand Annual winner, turned for home in 7th some 4 lengths down, passed more still on the bit and jumped 2 out in 3rd 2 lengrths down, niggled along and led between last 2, drew 3 lengths clear when ridden into and in close to last, hard driven, stayed on well to beat Eclair De Beaufeu; has won on the Flat since but jumps form has been variable, probably flattered on his only decent run when just over 7 lengths 4th to Saint Roi in Grade 3 hurdle at Tipperary in October, finishing weakly after leading turning in, and pulled up when last seen in Grade B handicap at Fairyhouse in December, headway and midfield when ridden into 3 out, pushed along and didn’t find more, lost place and rear under a ride approaching home turn, weakening further and tailing off when pulled up before 2 out behind Sizing Pottsie. He’d need to put up a near Queen Mother Champion Chase-standard performance to be winning this off 156
Chatham Street Lad
Progressing chaser took a 2m160y handicap chase at Cork in November, midfield most of the way, disputed lead going best between last 2, pushed along and asserted approaching last, 2 lengths up jumping, ridden out, stayed on well, drew further clear, decisive from Off You Go; then best to date when spreadeagling the field in Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham last month, keen early, midfield 4th, more settled by then, mistake 12th, not fluent 13th, travelled comfortably at the top of the hill, edged closer 14th, prominent approaching 3 out, tracked leaders and going much the best home turn, led on the bit 2 out, shaken up, found extra and drew well clear between last 2, some 6 to 8 lengths up last, ran on up the hill to draw further clear, sdtill running on passing the line, readily beat Midnight Shadow 15 lengths. Up 10 lbs to 151, the useful Simon Torrens claims 5 lbs here and he won’t be inconvenienced by the drop in trip
Daly Tiger
For the fourth time in as many seasonal debuts, won first up when taking a Grade B handicap chase at Punchestown in November,  tracked leaders going comfortably approaching 3 out, sent forward to challenge leader home turn, niggled along and led approaching 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on well between last 2, was 2 to 3 lengths up jumping last, ridden out, stayed on well to pull clear of Tornado Flyer run-in; failed to back it up in Grade 3 handicap chase at Fairyhouse on December 12th, prominent 2nd, soon tracked leaders, ridden into 4th, niggled along approaching 3 out, mistake, hard ridden, faded approaching home turn, hard driven and struggling turning in, made no ground, well back 2 out, weakened further, tailed off run-in behind Sizing Pottsie. With that indication that, as previously, the rest of the season will turn out to be an anti-climax for this one, he’s best watched
Goulane Chosen
In this race last year was a well-held 3rd to Charlie Stout, upsides leader when pushed along home turn, ridden and couldn’t go with 1st 2 from 2 out, well held in 3rd when mistake and went right last; after that posted best effort last season when running 4th to Éclair De Beaufeu at Leopardstown in February, left in front 2 out, very hard driven, stayed on, every chance under pressure approaching last, being headed when steadied into it and bumped rival, faded run-in and bumped on several occasions, lost ground on 1st 3 inside final 100 yards. Didn’t jump well over hurdles at Limerick over Christmas on reappearance, prominent when mistakes 8th and 9th, losing place when blundered 3 out, hard ridden and kept on approaching home turn, got to within 6 lengths turning in, started to lose ground under a push and quickly eased down, pulled up before 2 out behind Mattie’s Mountain. Might need another run to come to hand and best watched here
On last start before lockdown, posted a good effort on paper to run 3rd to Cedarwood Road in Listed novice hurdle at Naas in March but failed to impress with his finishing effort, arguably moved best home turn but hung left before and after last under pressure, faded run-in, no more last 150 yards, lost ground on 1st 2 and was being closed on by the 4th final strides. Gone chasing this season and runner-up on all three chase starts, last time at Fairyhouse was 2nd to Sizing Pottsie in Grade B handicap chase on December 12th, keen early, travelled comfortably 3 out, effort delayed till niggled along with 6 or 7 lengths to find home turn, pushed along as Sizing Pottsie drew clear, stayed on to dispute 2nd 2 out, hard ridden, wandered and not stay on, well held between last 2, hard ridden run-in, kept on under pressure, was closed on by 4th and 5th (along with eventual 3rd) last 100 yards, kept on well enough to get 2nd close home. The reason why his effort was delayed was evident after the second last, as he wandered all over when the jockey went for him, and it then took an eternity for him to get 2nd under a ride on the run-in. Has the form to take this, but needs to be held on to as long as possible
Fan De Blues*
Winning hurdler/maiden chaser in his native France, but so far since joining Willie Mullins has failed to add to his stable debut-win over hurdles at Thurles in November 2019. On only Irish chase start to date ran well in a beginners’ at Killarney in August,  led, travelled comfortably home turn, was joined 3 out, travelled the better when steadied into and mistake 2 out, pushed along, stayed on, headed approaching last, half a length down when steadied into last and had little room, hard driven run-in, one pace last 150 yards, stuck to task behind Benruben; was drastically stepped up in trip in Grade B handicap hurdle at Navan over 3m last time and to say the least failed to stay, midfield, keen, in close to 7th and 8th, closer order when mistake 11th, just about prominent and travelled comfortably turning out of back straight, niggled along home turn, faded before mistake 3 out, reminder after, weakened, tailed off 2 out behind Flooring Porter. Now wearing a hood, chances back over fences and back to his best trip
Front View
Fair over hurdles, best effort 2nd to Five O’Clock in Grade 3 novice at Thurles in February, had ground taken and forced to switch approaching last, getting the worst of it when mistake, rallied run-in and stayed on well to take 2nd close home; midfield when several mistakes behind Indefatigable in Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Best of three chase starts this season when winning a beginners’ at Fairyhouse on December 12th, headway to track leaders approaching 3 out, niggled along approaching home turn, 1st 2 broke 3 to 4 lengths clear approaching 2 out, shaken up after 2 out, ran on between last 2, took 2nd and had a length and a half to find nearing last, hit it and slightly unbalanced on landing, hard ridden, found extra to lead 150 yards out, was going away from Port Stanley at the line, with Arvico Bleu back in 4th. Promising performance; jumping needs work, but the best bit of that was the turn of foot he found – twice – after the second last and again after the last. Unexposed and chances
Or Jaune De Somoza
No wins since going in at Listowel in September 2019,  led 3rd, ridden into and jumped right 4 out, ridden home turn, stayed on, clear when mistake 2 out, pushed along, stayed on, was closed on and jumped right last, ridden out to beat Ballyegan Hero. Beaten dougle digits when completing last five starts, including behind Impact Factor in Grade B handicap at Fairyhouse on November 28th (mistake 10th, struggling when mistake 3 out, put under pressure, dropped back to last trio home turn, well held 2 out, put under pressure, no impression between last 2) and when 7th to Uisce Beatha at Leopardstown over Christmas,  pushed along after 8th, a lot to do 3 out and ridden along, made a little ground and disputing 9 lengths 9th approaching 2 out, hard driven and struggling after it, no impression under a ride home turn, left in 15 lengths 6th after several either fell or were hampered last, lost 6th final strides. Seems to prefer better ground nowadays and not hard to eliminate from consideration
Top Moon
Winning hurdler, off a mark of 131 when going in at Cork in November 2019. Gone chasing this season and has posted four dougle-digit defeats, with his best effort on my figures at Navan on chase debut in November, blundered 7th, niggled along after 8th, ridden into 4 out and vigorously ridden away from it, stayed on home turn, got to within 8 lengths of leaders jumping 3 out, pushed along and no further impression approaching 2 out, ridden along between last 2, disputed well held 4th last, no extra run-in, stuck to task and 7th beaten 22 lengths behind Easywork. First handicap chase last time out at Leopardstown over Christmas and cut no ice, prominent after 1st, not fluent 2nd, in close to 3rd, pushed along after 8th, lost place when steadied into 3 out, vigorously ridden along, eased off 50 yards before mistake 2 out, well back when pushed along again approaching home turn, tailing off when bumped on landing last, 10th to Uisce Beatha. Normally up with the pace, he has a habit of fading out of contention late on 
Pont Aven *
Hasn’t yet added to his sole chase win, at Wexford in May 2019. Contrasting run styles on his two runs so far this season, at Punchestown on reappearance made most –  pulled about 12 lengths clear by 6th, not fluent 8th and nowhere near so far ahead, at most 3 lengths ahead 10th, nudged along bend before 12th, readily headed there, niggled along and faded approaching 3 out, pushed along approaching home turn, dropped away, well held approaching 2 out, 9th to Daly Tiger – and at Leopardstown on Boxing Day dropped out last, not fluent 8th and pushed along away from it, passed a couple 3 out, steadied into 2 out, pushed along and passed a couple more but essentially no impression approaching home turn, stayed on well once off the bend and passed many to get into midfield approaching last though carried head to one side, left in 4th when several either fell or were hampered last, hard driven, closed strongly on 1st 3 last 150 yards, nearest finish, 4th to Uisce Beatha. It doesn’t take much working out that he’d have challenged for the win at Leopardstown if he’d been better positioned with 4 to jump – not sure this one needs to be held up to quite the extent he was there
The Shunter*
Won beginners’ over 2m5f at Punchestown in September; best chase form to date when 4th to Home By The Lee in Grade 3 at Cork in November, held up, a little keen, passed a rival approaching 8th, raced wide approaching 10th, travelled largely comfortably but had 7 still in front and 7 lengths to find approaching 4 out, along with 3 others allowed 1st 3 to break clear approaching home turn, niggled along, took 5th and was closing on those ahead approaching 3 out, pushed along, stayed on and continued to close approaching 2 out, hard ridden and no extra between last 2, well held last, just kept on, beaten 12 lengths – jumped soundly; didn’t get home, but there was good work from the fourth last to the second last before his stamina failed. That was before his finest hour to date when, reverted to hurdles, he took the Greatwood Handicap at Cheltenham’s November meeting, shaken up 3 out, a bit to do and a few going better when not clear run approaching 2 out, hard ridden disputing 7th home turn with 6 lengths to find, put under pressure straightening, effort and ran on approaching last, at most a length and a half behind jumping, led 175 yards out, hard driven, stayed on strongly, pulled clear of Ballyandy. Back over fences, likely to run well
Arvico Bleu
In this race last year was 49 lengths 7th to Charlie Stout. Has failed to add another win to his sole victory to date, which came over hurdles at Clonmel in September 2017. Best to date over fences was at Thurles in February,  led 2nd, drew clear before 6th, was 12 to 15 lengths clear after 8th, not so far ahead 3 out, pushed along from 2 out, stayed on, steadied into last, hard driven, was closed on and headed 75 yards out, no extra and a length and three parts-2nd to Mitchouka. An okay run behind Chatham Street Lad at Cork in November, but in the end only set that race up; led, clear, not so far ahead after 8th, took off a bit early 9th, pushed along off home turn, narrow lead 3 out, stayed on under a hand ride approaching 2 out, led a length there, was closed on and headed approaching last, hard driven, no extra run-in and 4th beaten 8 lengths – fair play for still being in front between the last 2. Not near that in beginners’ at Fairyhouse last time behind Front View, hard ridden approaching 2 out, mistake and headed, put under pressure between last 2, no more and lost 2nd approaching last, weakened markedly run-in, lost 3rd last 150 yards, dropped away. If the Cork race was the result of a tough task, that was an easier race, yet he checked out more tamely
Bel Ami De Sivola
No wins since taking a novice handicap chase at Fairyhouse (this c/d) at the Irish Grand National meeting in 2018 after a hold-up ride; mainly double digit defeats since. Missed all of 2019/20 and was running for the first time for 664 days when 2nd in Grade B handicap chase at Fairyhouse in November, midfield, slow 1st and dropped rear, reminders, last of the main group when slowed into 2nd and 3rd, ridden into 7th, pushed along 8th, passed a couple 9th racing wide, midfield 3 out, travelled better than earlier in the race as made good ground approaching home turn, closed on leaders, looked strong as tracked leaders on straightening, a length down 2 out, pushed along, one pace under a ride between last 2, took well-held 2nd approaching last, hard driven and kept on run-in, stuck to task but no impression. Took time to warm to his task and made eye-catching headway from the third last till Impact Factor went clear; could be interesting
Has so far failed to add to his chase debut-win at Punchestown in October 2018; best to date was when he would have been 2nd but for falling in Grade B handicap at Fairyhouse in November 2019, led narrowly home turn, ridden and headed when jumped left 2 out, outpaced under pressure between last 2, keeping on and booked for 6 lengths or so 2nd when fell heavily last – would have been 6 lengths behind Avenir D’Une Vie. Apparently good run when 3rd to Castlegrace Paddy in Fortria Chase at Navan in November but probably flattered, dropped out detached last, a bit keen, dropped further back after 7th, not hard ridden but 15 lengths off the others 8th, at most nudged along home turn, started to close on the rest approaching 3 out, still not shaken up approaching 2 out, closed on the 4th, pushed along between last 2, kept on, left well-held 3rd by Eclair De Beaufeu’s fall, nearest finish, made no contribution. A bit below that behind Impact Factor at Fairyhouse in November when last out, again held up and keen, finally picked off a couple of rivals after 3 out, closed on those ahead approaching 2 out, soon midfield, sustained effort under a push between last 2, closed on 2nd and 3rd approaching last, put under pressure run-in, stuck to task and took 3rd close home, nearest finish. Things might be interesting here if he’s a bit better positioned earlier on in the race
Little form since leaving Alan King’s yard for Gordon Elliott, at least so far; not that bad when 4th to Impact Factor at Fairyhouse in November,  headway to track leaders approaching 3 out, vigorously pushed along home turn, made ground to chase leader and came back on the bit nearing 2 out, half a length down jumping, hard ridden, put under pressure between last 2, kept on till weakened approaching last, just about hung on to well-held 3rd till lost the place last strides – one moment he was keeping on well enough to hold on to 2nd, the next he faded notably and wasn’t in the 3 come the line. Last time at Leopardstown behind Uisce Beatha was even worse, not fluent 5th and niggled along away from it, in close to 7th, dropped back to last trio 8th and detached from main body of the field, pushed along in last and looked laboured bend before 2 out, tailing off approaching home turn. For me best watched for now
Game Of War
Yet to add to chase debut win at Thurles in November 2018, which was on good ground. Must have had a truckload of problems as he’s had two long absences, managing only one other start in 2018/19 and only one run in 2019/20. First start this season, little sign of retaining his old ability at Fairyhouse in November behind Impact Factor, prominent to midfield approaching 5th, nudged along, not fluent 6th, mistake 7th and pushed along away from it, made ground approaching 8th but still pushed along, not fluent 3 out, hard driven and faded home turn, well held 2 out, hard driven and no more between last 2, weakening when clambered over last. Best watched

Dakota Moirette
If getting a run, this’ll be a quick turnaround after finishing 5th to Epson Du Houx at Naas on Wednesday this week, mistakes 6th and 7th, lost place and midfield 8th, ridden along home turn, kept on, closed on leaders approaching 2 out, a length and a half down there, put under pressure, no extra approaching last, well held jumping, driven and kept on run-in, no further impression; he’s run well after a week between races in the past. On his best runs over the last year he’s finished weakly – looked the winner going to the last but ended up beaten 15 lengths behind Sizing Pottsie at Fairyhouse in February (heavy ground), and again looked the most likely winner before coming away from the last a length down against Shumaker at Punchestown in September. Best watched for me

Shortlist: Fan De Blues, Pont Aven, The Shunter