Tyner has 'Rock' of hope for Fairyhouse feature
Willie Mullins could yet call on the awesome Vautour in his quest to secure an elusive Ryanair Chase victory at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
Such a sensational winner of the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, the exceptional ante-post favourite for the 2016 Gold Cup remains a possible Aintree contender later next week, but Mullins yesterday opted to leave him in at the five-day entry stage for Sunday's two-and-a-half-mile Grade One.
The JLT third Valseur Lido, Blood Cotil and the mares Vroum Vroum Mag and Gitane Du Berlais are Mullins' other entries in a €100,000 event that he has yet to secure.
Still, apart from Vautour representing his best chance of a breakthrough victory, with AP McCoy also pencilled in to have his final Irish rides at the Meath venue on Sunday and Monday, the presence of such a precocious equine talent would be a further boon to the Easter festival's organisers.
Apache Stronghold, second at Cheltenham, is also among the 18 Ryanair entries, though Noel Meade has stressed that he won't run if his Prestbury Park conqueror does. Paddy Power quote Vautour at 2/5 "with a run", the firm's standard early market headed by Gitane Du Berlais at 9/4.
There is no British entry for the Ryanair, but there are four in the Grade One mares' novices' hurdle, including Harry Fry's Bitofapuzzle and Desert Queen. Morning Run heads five Mullins contenders in the card's first two-and-a-half-mile €100,000 affair.
Also engaged is Carrigmoorna Rock. An explosive graded winner at Leopardstown over Christmas, Robert Tyner's seven-year-old was pulled up behind Morning Run at Fairyhouse on January 31. That was a below-par turn for a classy sort that had previously hosed up under McCoy at Newbury.
"The ground was very deep the last day and she just didn't seem to be herself," the wily Kinsale-based handler explained yesterday.
"She seems to be in good form again now and this race has been the plan for a while, so hopefully the ground might dry out a bit - she would like it a bit better."
After 10mm of rain overnight, the official going was yesterday being given as soft, soft to heavy in places, with a mixed forecast ahead of a potentially fine weekend. Tyner would also like to see conditions improve for Embracing Change, one of three that he has engaged in the €275,000 Boylesports Irish Grand National.
A late-maturing 10-year-old that has won its last four starts, Embracing Change was last seen recording a stylish success in the National trial under stable jockey Philip Enright at Punchestown in February. He vies for National favouritism with Tony Martin's Gallant Oscar - which has Aintree as his stated target - at as low as 10/1.
However, Embracing Change is 53rd on the page, with a maximum field of 30 plus three reserves, which will have until 10.0 on Sunday morning to get in. "It's a pity the reserves can't get in after Sunday but they are making an effort," Tyner said of the prestigious three-mile-five-furlong affair's reserve system, a new initiative.
"It will be a big step up for Embracing Change, although the trip will suit. He had his problems with his breathing and his back over the years, but he is lightly raced. If it dries up a little he will run his race if he gets in."
Tyner's JP McManus-owned Whatwillwecallher is 50th on the list. The subject of an extraordinary training performance when produced to win under McCoy on her fencing bow at Naas in January after more than three years off, the 10-year-old mare was still in contention when crashing out at the final fence at the same track next time.
"She will probably run if she gets in," he confirmed of his 20/1 shot, a 2010 'point' winner that was running over two miles at Naas. "While she is definitely a staying mare, you are going into unknown territory over the trip. Her lack of experience would be more of a concern, although she jumps well, despite falling the last day."