The Grade 1 racing action continues into Sunday this coming weekend with a glut of high class equine talent on display at Fairyhouse. The big guns are beginning to come out in force now and this 2m4f contests sees two of the stars from the powerful operations of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott locking horns in what could prove to be a thriller.

Race Analysis

With eight successes at the highest level, over trips ranging from 2m to 3m and on ground varying from heavy to good, its hard to find too many holes in the chances of the Willie Mullins runner, Nichols Canyon. The only horse to have ever beaten the mighty Faugheen claimed a famous success when getting on top late in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March and makes his seasonal return here. A winner on his only previous visit to the track, and two from three at this distance, he is the best in the field on official ratings and looks sure to go well.

Gordon Elliott’s, Apple’s Jade arrives here as the defending champion, and whilst she is rated 8lbs inferior to Nicholl’s Canyon, she gets seven of those back courtesy of the fillies’ allowance which suggests there may be very little between the pair. Prior to Bristol Du Mai’s antics last weekend, this daughter of Saddler Maker boasted the biggest Grade 1 winning margin this century, and is undoubtedly a high class performer on her day. Whereas last season she took a little while to come to the boil, she roared out of the blocks this term with a comfortable success in a Grade 2 at Navan on her seasonal comeback. Fully expected to come on for that run, she rates a big threat to all.

Jessica Harrington enjoyed an excellent campaign last term, nowhere more so than at the Cheltenham Festival. It may have been Gold Cup winner Sizing John who grabbed the headlines, but he wasn’t her only March success and she sends Coral Cup winner Supasundae into battle here. Going in the colours of the now sadly departed Alan Potts, this one will need to improve to trouble the principles but did round off last season with an excellent second to Yanworth in a Grade 1 at Aintree and may not be out of this.

If there is one potential big improver in the line-up it seems most likely to be Mullins’ apparent second string, Cilaos Emery. Having just his fifth start over hurdles here, this one fluffed his lines in the Supreme Novices at the Festival but bounced back with a verdict over the highly rated Melon in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival in April. Unraced at much beyond two miles to date, any improvement for this step up in trip would put him right in the mix.

Betting Tips

It’s tough to split the pair at the head of the market here, but overall we just favour Apple’s Jade. Her sire has been making waves with his jumpers of late, and along with her half brother Bristol De Mai, this one looks to have bags of class. Over this trip we expect her to have too much speed for Nicholls Canyon in the closing stages. Take the 6/4 with Coral.