Renetti to reward in-form Mullins
Our Irish Eyes column picks out the best bets from two good-quality cards this afternoon at Fairyhouse and Cork.
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There will be no Aintree hangover for Irish racing fans, who are spoilt for action this afternoon with top-class National Hunt action at Fairyhouse featuring one Grade One and three Grade Two events in addition to a classy Flat card at Cork.
A total of 16 races and just shy of €420,000 is up for grabs between the two meetings and the next-best bet falls on Renetti today in the Grade Two Novice Hurdle.
A 13-length winner on his Irish debut, Renetti proceeded to chase home The Tullow Tank in the Grade One Royal Bond on his next start, going down by a mere half-length to the Philip Fenton-trained star.
He was all set to run out an easy winner of a conditions hurdle at Limerick over the Christmas period, as he travelled smoothly to take up the lead two flights from home, only to fall at the penultimate hurdle.
He travelled to Cheltenham with a view to running the Neptune Investments Novices' Hurdle but an elevated temperature ruled him out from participating. He has since been given a chance to recover and his recent work suggests he is a Grade One winner in waiting.
Dessie Hughes supplies the obvious danger in the form of Lieutenant Colonel, a horse that did run in the aforementioned Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle, where he finished an excellent sixth.
Prior to that he had finished second to Wicklow Brave so he has the form in the book but there is a chance he may have peaked at Cheltenham and in any case, there is also more than a fair chance that Renetti is better than him.
Le Vent D'Antan got his act together in no uncertain style in this third hurdle start over this trip last time out and he could pose the biggest danger. All that said, the Willie Mullins team remains in tremendous form racking up four winners again last weekend, prior to Boston Bob's Grade One Melling Chase at Aintree on Thursday.
Today's jockey, Paul Townend, was on board Boston Bob and had Ruby Walsh given him the same guidance, it would have been lauded as one of the best rides of the week.
Therefore with both trainer and jockey in great form and given they supply the horse with the most scope in the field, Renetti must be the selection.
We travel down to Cork for the next best vote which falls upon Bwana in the opening two-year-old race over five furlongs.
Bwana is a son of Footstepsinthesand and his progeny seems to relish soft or heavy conditions (he should supply a second winner later in the card with Onenightideamed, 4.00).
Bwana ran a cracker on his debut at The Curragh when finishing second to the Irish Eyes selection on the day, Beach Belle, who is now set to bid for Listed glory in the Marble Hill Stakes.
He was very fit that day and whilst he was outclassed by the winner, experience is immeasurable when it comes to early-season juvenile events and he should make it pay today, particularly when he has the added advantage of having drawn a high stall as well.
We mentioned that the Willie Mullins string remains in tremendous form with four winners last weekend but his former boss Jim Bolger had four winners yesterday alone and he trains the nap of the day courtesy of Upper Silesian in the closing fillies' maiden.
This daughter of Lawman has already earned an official rating of 80 and with good reason. Amongst four juvenile appearances, she lists a fourth placing behind leading 1000 Guineas hope My Titania and a second to last week's Listed 1000 Guineas Trial runner-up Balansiya (both at Leopardstown).
She is proven on this ground, has the blinkers applied for the first time, and will stay all day on what will be desperately heavy ground after 7mm overnight and more promised. She could win this by a wide margin and it will take a well above average newcomer to beat her. Take the 6/4 with Sky Bet.