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Mikael has Powers to grab Gold


MAKE THE MIK: Mikael D’Haguenet can triumph in tomorrow’s Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse

MAKE THE MIK: Mikael D’Haguenet can triumph in tomorrow’s Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse

MAKE THE MIK: Mikael D’Haguenet can triumph in tomorrow’s Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse

The Fairyhouse Easter Festival is one of the highlights of the Irish racing calendar and after a record-breaking Cheltenham Festival, this coming weekend is packed with more top-class racing.

None of the 14 Cheltenham winners will be in action tomorrow afternoon, but some of those who didn't make the trip across the water earlier in month are on show and amongst them are exciting novice hurdlers Annie Power and Defy Logic.

Just six will go to post for the first ever running of the Mares Novice Hurdle as a Grade One event and among that sextet is Willie Mullins' Annie Power who remains unbeaten in six starts to date, a sequence that is likely to be extended tomorrow afternoon.

The five-year-old has already been mentioned in the same breath as Quevega following her facile defeat of Defy Logic and Don Cossack at Naas last month and indeed, after being asked could Quevega come back and win at a sixth Cheltenham Festival jockey Ruby Walsh joked: "Willie has the only danger to her – Annie Power!"

Annie Power will be an odds-on shot for tomorrow's assignment but she certainly is an extremely exciting prospect and one of the leading novices around at the moment and not just in the mares ranks.

Paul Nolan's Defy Logic had his reputation dented ever so slightly by Annie Power last time, but he will get the chance to return to winning ways in the Grade Two Coolmore NH Sires Fame And Glory & Sans Frontieres Novice Hurdle.

When connections earmarked this race for Defy Logic they were probably expecting the race to be a slightly easier task for the six-year-old, but the opposition will prove a stern test for the likely favourite.

A field of 10 are due to face the starter for this one with Bright New Dawn, Some Tikket, Sizing Gold and Morning Assembly all proving interesting runners.

Despite the quality of the race, Defy Logic looks like a horse who could be well above the average for a novice hurdler, despite that defeat last time, and although fences will bring out the very best in him, this Grade Two could be a nice way to cap off his novice hurdling season.

Of course, tomorrow's feature race is the Powers Gold Cup which was memorably won last year by Peter Casey's Flemenstar and will this season be contested by a field of six novice chasers.

Recent Thurles victor Mount Benbulben hardly put a foot wrong when winning that race last month and he could be the first major winner for Danny Mullins since he teamed up with owner Barry Connell.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has always held Mount Benbulben in high regard and while he is a worthy favourite, a chance is taken on Mikael D'Haguenet.

The charismatic nine-year-old has never proved to be as fluent over fences as he was when winning a novice hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival four years ago, but should he get his act together for the entire race, he could win this quite easily and although that may be a big 'if', he is worth taking a chance on.

A couple of competitive handicap hurdles also feature on the card and in the Grade B INH Stallion Owners EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle, Colm Murphy's Rye Martini could oblige under Jane Mangan's valuable seven-pound allowance, while in the same Gigginstown House colours, Raise Hell can land the Gleesons Butchers Novice Handicap Hurdle for Willie Mullins and Davy Russell.