YORKHILL HEADS A STELLAR LINE UP FOR THE RYANAIR GOLD CUP AT FAIRYHOUSE ON EASTER SUNDAY
Thursday, 23 March 2017 at 02:41PM
Yorkhill, such an impressive winner of the JLT
Novices' Chase at last week's Cheltenham Festival, could put his unbeaten
record over fences on the line in the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at
Fairyhouse on Sunday, March 16, as his name features among a stellar cast of 24
who are entered for the Easter Sunday showpiece. The chestnut son of Presenting
began his chasing career at Fairyhouse in mid-December when winning by 14
lengths and is now as short as 6-1 to win the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup after getting
the better of Top Notch and Disko at Cheltenham. This would be Willie
Mullins first ever success in the race.
Sponsor Michael O'Leary's sole success in the race arrived in 2007 courtesy of
the Charlie Swan-trained One Cool Cookie but Gigginstown's familiar maroon and
white silks are sure to be well represented this year. Road To Respect was one
of the most impressive winners at the Cheltenham Festival as he stormed to a
six-length success in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap
Chase under Bryan Cooper. Only Cause Of Causes won by a bigger margin over the
Like Road To Respect, Disko is also trained by Noel Meade and he enhanced his
reputation by finishing a highly-respectable third to Yorkhill in the
aforementioned JLT Novices' Chase. He is already a Grade 1 winner having landed
the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Irish Gold Cup day in February.
With €59,000 up for grabs to the winner, this could have a big bearing on the
Irish trainers' championship and Ball D'Arc is one of three possibles for the
current pacesetter, Gordon Elliott. He has some top-notch course form to his
name having won the competitive Bar One Racing Dan Moore Memorial Handicap
Chase at Fairyhouse in January. Recent Navan scorer A Toi Phil and General
Principle are Elliott's other two entries.
Yorkhill and Road To Respect are not the only Cheltenham Festival winners who
could show up as Alan Fleming has entered Tully East, a comfortable winner of
the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase under a typically-cool Denis O'Regan
The winner's cheque went for export last year as Kylemore Lough landed the
spoils for Kerry Lee and the British challenge could be spearheaded by Frodon
this time around. Paul Nicholls' prolific five-year-old has already won six
times over fences this season, his finest hour arriving in the betVictor Gold
Cup at Cheltenham's Open meeting in November. Gary Moore has also entered Casse
Tete, who was a 27-length winner on his latest start at Sandown. Other notable
entries include the Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke who is favourite with
many firms for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National and Anibale Fly from the
Tony Martin stable.
Fairyhouse manager, Peter Roe, said: “The Ryanair Gold Cup is always a
top-class affair and this year's renewal is shaping up to be one of the best
yet. To potentially have three Cheltenham Festival winners in the line-up is a
mouth-watering prospect. Yorkhill won his chasing debut at Fairyhouse and he
looked a star when scoring at Cheltenham. I'm sure Ball D'Arc, who won at
Fairyhouse earlier on in the season, will have his supporters for Gordon
Elliott who continues to set a scorching pace at the top of the trainers'
championship. It should be a race to savour.”
The other Grade 1 on Easter Sunday is the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice
Hurdle and the standout name among the 22 entries is undoubtedly Let's Dance
from the Willie Mullins stables who swooped late to land the Trull House Stud
Mares' Novices' Hurdle in stunning style at Cheltenham. She is one of ten
Mullins entries in the race with Airlie Beach, Augusta Kate and Asthuria others
to note from the champion trainer.
La Bague Au Roi could not live with Let's Dance at Cheltenham but was unbeaten
over hurdles prior to that and could seek compensation for Warren Greatrex,
while the other British raider could be Lastbutnotleast from the Donald McCain
stable who showed such a willing attitude to win a Listed contest at Doncaster
Shattered Love was unable to land a blow in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at
Cheltenham but she won a Grade 3 contest by 13 lengths on her last visit to
Fairyhouse in February.
“Let's Dance produced a brilliant performance to win at Cheltenham and her
presence at Fairyhouse, should she show up, would be a real treat for
racegoers,” said Fairyhouse manager Peter Roe.
Click here for a full list of entries