Richard Forristal: Sunday service
Three things we learned this week: 1 If it's an Aintree Grand National winner you're after, the Irish equivalent may be the place to start looking. L'Escargot, Papillon, Bobbyjo and Numbersixvalverde, four of the last seven Irish-trained National winners, all either won or were placed in the Fairyhouse race.
Yesterday, JP McManus added to his Aintree team by splashing out on Bluesea Cracker, last year's James Motherway-trained Fairyhouse hero. Oscar Time, the horse Bluesea Cracker beat into second, had already been bought by Long Run's owner Robert Waley-Cohen, specifically for Liverpool. It will be fascinating to see if either man has called it right.
2Samantha Bell is a girl going places. Nina Carberry, Katie Walsh, Cathy Gannon and Hayley Turner have raised the bar for lady riders to a high level in recent years. If her steer on Celtic Dane last Sunday is anything to go by, Bell could also excel in the saddle. Her performance to produce Kevin Prendergast's charge right on the line, on just her third ride, was a brilliantly executed piece of timing.
3 Forpadydeplasterer might be more game than anyone realised. The perennial runner-up was often derided for weak finishes, but it came to light that he suffers from a rare condition that causes air to leak from his lungs. As excuses go, that would probably do.
Quote of the week
"She'll get hammered for that! I was counting the pounds that she'd get coming up the straight. I'm not sure if Johnny learned anything when he was away from me." - A tongue-in-cheek John Oxx ponders the consequences of Haziyna's runaway handicap triumph under Johnny Murtagh at Leopardstown on Sunday.
Outsider to note
With three winners from five runners at Market Rasen, Lucy Normile's strike-rate at the Lincolnshire venue is impressive.
Those three winners have combined for a one-unit level-stake profit of €29.33, so her runners at tomorrow's fixture, which will travel further than anything else from her Perthshire base, are worth a look.
Of the three, Strobe should trade at double-figure odds for the 3.40. On his penultimate start over flights last summer, he was an eight-length winner at Market Rasen off 95.
He continued to pay his way over fences, but he has enjoyed a winter break since October. He will line out a fresh horse tomorrow and on his favoured good ground, it would be no surprise to see him make the frame.
Market Rasen 3.40 - Strobe
Market Rasen 4.40 - Babysitter
Doncaster 4.55 - Dorcas Lane
Limerick 5.15 - Waheeb
83.33 Percentage of handicaps won by apprentices at the two turf meetings that have been held so far. From six races, they have won five.
13 The full set of record-breaking Irish-based Cheltenham winners that will be on parade at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday.
4 Years Paddy Brennan spent as Nigel Twiston-Davies' stable jockey before resigning the position this week.
Monday: Folkestone, Kelso, Windsor
Tuesday: Limerick*, Exeter, Kempton (AW), Pontefract
Wednesday: Beverley, Kempton* (AW), Lingfield (AW), Nottingham
Thursday: Clonmel*, Aintree, Hereford, Kempton* (AW), Ripon
Friday: Dundalk* (AW), Aintree, Fontwell, Newcastle, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Saturday: Tramore, Aintree, Bangor, Chepstow, Lingfield (AW), Thirsk, Wolverhampton* (AW)
Sunday: Leopardstown, Tramore, Ascot, Ludlow, Wincanton