Uradel can get Mullins back on winning track at Fairyhouse
Champion trainer Willie Mullins faces a mammoth task in overhauling Gordon Elliott's significant lead in the Irish trainers' championship but as today's very interesting Fairyhouse meeting shows, Mullins is prepared to throw his lot at it once again.
The Fairyhouse meeting today is a little pre-Punchestown treat for National Hunt followers, as it is the meeting which was scheduled to be the final day of the Easter Festival and features the valuable Rybo Handicap Hurdle of €100,000 in which Mullins has 10 of the 19 runners.
Just six trainers are represented and it is Yaha Fizz who will interest a lot of punters as the talented eight-year-old has moved from his former trainer Eamonn Delaney to join Elliott, despite still being owned by his former trainer. But the nod is given to Uradel for Mullins and Paul Townend.
Jockey bookings would suggest that Uradel is the stable preference of the Mullins 10 but he was far from an expectant winner when scoring at Naas back in February on what was his first outing since last June.
If coming on for that outing as connections expect, there could be even more to come from the seven-length winner.
Noel Meade's Minella Fair was third on that occasion and Pete So High was the last of five finishers in the Naas race but both came out and won next time.
So it could be a race that works out quite well and if Uradel has a bit of luck, we know he handles the ground and could be hard to beat.
Form students will be keeping an eye on the race prior to the feature as Best Behaviour, who was second to Uradel at Naas, will line up in the Grade B novice handicap hurdle but he might just be edged out by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Speak Easy.
A good winner of his maiden, Speak Easy has been beaten in better company a couple of times since and now steps right up in trip for his handicap debut.
Although he's high enough up the ranks on a rating of 134, Speak Easy looks like a horse capable of winning some nice prizes and this could be the first of those, with a career over fences possible next season.
So much of this card is dominated by the battle of Mullins and Elliott and that pair provide all seven runners in the Grade Two BoyleSports Juvenile Hurdle.
Saglawy will be well fancied here but a chance is taken on Mitchouka to record a fourth course and distance success for Elliott and Gigginstown.
Mitchouka disappointed at Cheltenham and needs to be forgiven for that outing but he clearly loves it around Fairyhouse. And while Saglawy was impressive last time, Mitchouka is tough and battle hardened and can oblige.
Other likely Elliott winners on the card are De Plotting Shed in the opening beginners chase, the Nina Carberry-ridden Sunsetstorise can appreciate the step up in trip for the Ladies National and Carberry could be on the pick of the Elliott bumpers horses in the finale as she rides Tintangle.
The Mullins-trained Asthuria is picked to outdo Youcantcallherthat and Dinaria Des Obeaux in a decent renewal of the Grade Three John & Chich Fowler Chase.
Stepping up in trip for the first time over fences could help Asthuria get back to winning ways after running a nice race over two-miles behind stable companion Benie Des Dieux that day.
4.05 De Plotting Shed
5.15 Speak Easy
7.20 Sizing Coal