Rich Revival gets green light for Fairyhouse tilt
Liz Doyle will be hoping that her stable's irresistible vein of form might stretch to Monday after Rich Revival was yesterday guaranteed a place in the Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Following the latest forfeit stage for the Easter feature, Doyle's 10-year-old is now the last of 30 to be guaranteed a run off 10st 2lb in the prestigious €250,000 handicap.
Pulled up two-out in the three-mile-five-furlong event a year ago after recording three successive wins, Rich Revival also waived the white flag on his next two starts in the Paddy Power Chase and the Thyestes Chase.
However, the mud-lover was a more encouraging third over flights at Navan recently, and Wexford-based Doyle will doubtless be pleased that watering has commenced at the Co Meath venue.
The going ahead of the two-day fixture that gets under way with Sunday's Powers Gold Cup card is good-to-yielding, and officials have now begun watering to maintain that.
Sponsors Boylesports, who have offered a generous non-runner-no-bet concession since first pricing up the race, are a top-priced 25/1 about Rich Revival, yet he is as low as 16/1 elsewhere.
Home Farm and Goonyella, both seven-year-old sons of Presenting that represent respective Irish Grand National royalty in Arthur Moore and Jim Dreaper, continue to be nibbled at in the market.
Home Farm (10st 13lb), third last year, is clear favourite with a number of firms, including one that offer him as low as 9/1. Goonyella (10st 6lb) pulled up when his tack malfunctioned 12 months ago, but he has been supported from a high of 16/1 to between 12/1 and 14/1 now.
Willie Mullins is likely to rely on just two in his elusive quest to claim the country's most valuable chase, with his eye-catching Cheltenham third Suntiep a notable scratching yesterday.
The champion trainer is left to choose from the hat-trick-seeking novice Touch The Eden (10st 12lb), his 2013 runner-up Away We Go (10st 10lb) and Are Ya Right Chief, which is unlikely to make the cut.
Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack (11st 10lb) and Tony Martin's Bog Warrior (11st 8lb) head the weights, though neither are expected to run in the race, leaving Paul Webber's JP McManus-owned Cantlow the most likely top-weight on 11st 7lb.
"The plan is to speak to Frank (Berry, McManus' racing manager) on Thursday or Friday, but as it stands, we're making plans to run," Webber said of the nine-year-old, one of seven that could try to take the spoils across the water for a 10th time.
McManus has nine entries in total, including Elliott's Cause Of Causes (11st 3lb), which vies for favouritism following a third successive second-place finish in the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham.
Ruby Walsh won't be on duty at Fairyhouse as he continues his recuperation after dislocating his shoulder and fracturing his humerus in the Cotswolds.
However, he has revealed he expects to ride out this weekend ahead of his intended return in time for the Punchestown Festival on April 29.