Fairyhouse battles to avoid washout
AHEAD of their biggest meeting of the season, Fairyhouse are battling the elements to ensure the Meath track is fit to race for all three days of their Easter festival.
Eight hours of snow showers yesterday on top of plenty of rain during the previous two days left parts of the course flooded with little immediate respite in prospect. With rainfall continuing overnight, it's no wonder general manager Caroline Gray and clerk of the course Joe Collins are concerned.
"To be honest parts of the course are now waterlogged, particularly on the hurdle track," Gray explained.
"All we can do is monitor the situation as we have had the equivalent of an inch of rainfall in the past 36 hours. We can only hope for the best as the Easter festival is our harvest."
The advance acceptors for the Powers Gold Cup and the Rathbarry and Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle on Sunday are full of quality. Unless the weather intervenes, these twin features should be very competitive with Willie Mullins entering multiple scorers Kempes, Shakervilz, Blackstairmountain and Morning Supreme. The first pair are among the 15 survivors for the 51st renewal of the €100,000 Powers Gold Cup along with Colm Murphy's Zaarito, Roberto Goldback, Jagoes Mills and Let Yourself Go.
Noel Meade can choose between Jered and Nicanor as well as Fisher Bridge, while Dessie Hughes has included Deal Done and Sarteano.
Paul Nolan is likely to reroute See U Bob to Aintree the following week due to the ground conditions and Tony Martin may switch Psycho to a lesser contest at his local track on Monday.
Kempes took the scalp of Jagoes Mills in the Nas Na Riogh Chase -- switched from Naas to Thurles last month -- while his Closutton stable companion Shakervilz scored at Grade Two level in Navan's Flyingbolt Chase.
The Bowe family's Coolcashin and Paul Gilligan's Navan victor, Jadanli, complete the Powers Gold Cup possibles, while flat-bred Kempes and Jered were the past two winners of the Rathbarry and Glenview Studs Novices Hurdle sponsored by the late Liam Cashman's noted Cork nurseries.
This Grade Two event has been prioritised by John 'Shark' Hanlon for Luska Lad since that splendid Gowran Park defeat of Jumbo Rio in the Red Mills Hurdle, and Colm Murphy's Gates Of Rome could likewise be attempting to complete a hat-trick on Sunday.
Champion trainer Mullins may opt to rely on Morning Supreme rather than Blackstairmountain, while Shinrock Paddy, Loosen My Load and Sweeps Hill would add spice to this contest.
Horse Racing Ireland has decided to transfer today's abandoned Gowran Park card to tomorrow week, thus clashing with the opening afternoon of Aintree's Grand National meeting.
Meanwhile, Meade's Go Native has been ruled out for the rest of the season after returning home "very sore" following his disappointing Champion Hurdle display.
The seven-year-old was sent off favourite for the hurdling crown at Cheltenham but never recovered after making a bad mistake at the second flight.