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Casey's star is aligning

THE Fairyhouse Easter Festival meeting gets underway on Sunday and entries for the fixture closed yesterday with our highest-rated novice chaser, Flemenstar, remaining in the field for the Powers Gold Cup.

The Grade One novice chase is the feature contest on the opening day and Peter Casey's stable star has been inserted as the 11/8 favourite for the race by Boylesports, while Paddy Power go 5/4.

Stamullen-based Casey hit the headlines following the seven-year-old's Irish Arkle success at Leopardstown back in January and he has since bypassed Cheltenham - but did win at Naas last month, beating Frisco Depot, who, incidentally, won at the weekend.

Extreme

Owner Stephen Curran has reportedly turned down extreme offers to buy the son of Flemensfirth, who is the hottest novice in the country at the moment having racked up a winning sequence of four over the larger obstacles.

Casey said yesterday: "This has been the plan for him all year. He is in great form at the moment. He did his final piece of work at the Curragh this morning and all is well."

He continued: "We will be keeping an eye on the ground as obviously we don't want it too quick."

Flemenstar will face a maximum of 11 rivals in the race and he is due to take on Rathlin, who was an absentee from the Naas race last month, while Willie Mullins has two still engaged in the 2m4f contest as Bishopsfurze and Call The Police stood their ground.

Tom Mullins' Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle winner, Alderwood, was the top rated off those already assessed by the handicapper in the Grade Two Coolmore NH Sires Ask & Getaway Novice Hurdle.

The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old was a game winner at last month's Cheltenham Festival and he could face opposition from Dessie Hughes' Lyreen Legend, Jim Culloty's Lord Windermere and Jessica Harrington's Bullock Harbour.

Meanwhile, Four Commanders continues to be all the rage for Monday's Ladbrokes Irish Grand National to give the trainer/owner combination of Mouse Morris and Gigginstown House Stud a second win in the prestigious race in just five runnings.

The duo combined with the Paddy Flood-ridden Hear The Echo, and Four Commanders is now as short as 10/1 from 12/1 with the race sponsors.

Latched

Hayley O'Connor of Ladbrokes told the Herald: "Punters have seriously latched on to Four Commanders and he's closing in on favouritism."

On Monday Leon Blanche of Boylesports revealed that they had to cut Four Commanders from 14/1 into 12/1.

Elsewhere, Gigginstown Stud's retained jockey Davy Russell is gearing up for Fairyhouse in the best possible way by partnering a double at Thurles yesterday to bring up his century in Ireland this year and extend his lead over Ruby Walsh to 17.

Russell is yet to make a decision on his Grand National mount with Gigginstown also having Roi Du Mee, Magnanimity, Gift Of Dgab, and Tharawaat all possible partners for the Cork native.


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