Irish Grand National Weekend | Gordon to be Champ

Punchestown Festival

The Irish Grand National highlights the Easter weekend, though action at Plumpton and the supporting Fairyhouse card is also tasty.

Before we start, here’s an apology for yesterday’s selections. A few horses massively disappointed – Luxembourg and Pink Legend – though the others just didn’t go well.

Let’s hope for a turn in fortune over the next few days.


3:05 Plumpton – Sea Invasion @ 3/1 with William Hill – 2pt Win

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Sea Invasion looked like an interesting bet when connections entered him for a £20,000 handicap hurdle at Kempton in February, but the team ruled him out due to soft ground.

That race was hotter than today’s assignment, so his 3/1 price looks good on what is his handicap debut.

In his point-to-point, he finished second to Slade Steel over three miles which is good form even with a pinch of salt applied to point-to-point form, and he then finished behind Jeriko Du Reponet at Newbury.

However, the form that looks rock solid is his latest start at Kempton. He finished a staying-on fourth this day, though the winner (Court In The Act) has franked the form when second to Fergal O’Brien’s smart Go To War, the second (Onethreefivenotout) won two starts later, and the third (Moon Chime) has won two races since.

With a family of horses who stayed long distances on the Flat in the blood, today’s first try at two-and-a-half miles looks like a positive one.


3:10 Fairyhouse – Loughglynn @ 14/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

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Over in Ireland, the Grade 2 2m4f Novice Hurdle looks interesting, but the overpriced one is Loughglynn for Willie Mullins.

The six-year-old beat Firefox over two miles on soft ground in a bumper before he ran a good race in the Champion Bumper.

After that, he bolted up on his hurdles debut before he beat Stellar Story, the subsequent Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner, at Limerick in dire conditions.

Answer To Kayf was also back in third and Search For Glory, a horse who has form with Monty’s Star, was in fourth, so the form of that Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Limerick looks good.

The drop back in trip to 2m4f is one I think could work as we know he can stay 2m7f, but he was fading at the finish at Limerick. He has also shown plenty of speed in his bumper days, so there are plenty of things going for him today.


4:15 Plumpton – Aucunrisque @ 13/2 with William Hill (1pt EW) & Our Champ @ 4/1 with William Hill (1pt Win)

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Chris Gordon and Plumpton is a winning formula that many people know, and he seems to have a strong hand in the Sussex Champion Hurdle with Aucunrisque and Our Champ.

Starting with the bigger-priced runner of the pair, he is one pound below his last winning mark (which came in the 2023 Betfair Hurdle) and he has seemingly been saved for this race.

Although this season makes for bad reading, a deeper look into his performances reveals a positive light.

He ran well for a while in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle over a distance too far and his form when third to Soul Icon and Mr Freedom at Fontwell in October has worked out well.

Freddie Gordon takes off a valuable five pounds, so he should go well here.

As for Our Champ, Gordon said that this lad was as good if not better than Aucunrisque on the gallops after his Cheltenham win in October and today sees him have his second race after a wind-op.

Today’s better ground will suit and a mark of 122 looks lenient based on what he did at Prestbury Park in October.


4:20 Fairyhouse – Cadatharla @ 3/1 with Betvictor – 2pt Win

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The price has diminished quickly overnight which is slightly annoying, but I still fancy Cadatharla in the novice handicap chase at Fairyhouse today.

The six-year-old is having his first start in a handicap chase after three runs in beginners’ chases, but the way he travelled and jumped through these races was pleasing to see.

As a hurdler, he bolted up in a handicap hurdle off 109 and then ran well in two handicap hurdles off 122 and 127, the latter of which came when behind Ailie Rose (now rated 13lbs higher).

He’s won on soft ground and his dam, There Is No Point, won over two miles, so conditions look likely to suit today off a workable mark of 123.


5:00 Fairyhouse (Monday) – Favori De Champdou @ 20/1 with Betvictor (1pt EW) & Hartur D’Arc @ 8/1 with Betvictor (1pt EW)

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The Irish Grand National has a few interesting contenders this year, but none more so than Hartur D’Arc and Favori De Champdou.

Starting with the former, he landed success on his first handicap chase start at Naas in the Leinster National smartly.

The handicapper has put him up nine pounds for the effort, which seems on the sharp side, but he is still unexposed in handicap chases and his profile fits the one of an improving Irish National winner.

As for Favori De Champdou, connections skipped Cheltenham after his disappointment at Navan and now come here as a fresh horse which should help his case.

This novice has plenty of talent, as shown by his 14-length Grade 2 success in November, and a mark of 145 alongside Danny Gilligan’s five-pound claim puts him in a competitive position.

Furthermore, the slow conditions will suit him well and this is his handicap debut.

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