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Unearthing value in this afternoon’s trio of Grade 1 events at Fairyhouse is no easy task, but FORGE MEADOW appeals as one who could at the very least be capable of outrunning her odds in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at 1.10. Unfortunately there are only two places on offer for each-way players in this two-miler and therefore a wager without Peace News, who showed he had the ability to go with his tall reputation when scoring easily at Cork, could be the way to go. The majority of the others have admittedly achieved more on paper than Jessica Harrington’s mare, but there are nevertheless doubts about several of them. Ordinarily it would be folly to suggest backing a short-head Wexford maiden winner thrown straight into Grade 1 company but that was a very strong race of its type at the south-eastern track – Listed/Group 3 class flat performer Toe The Line finished second – and Forge Meadow ought to have learned plenty from the experience. Her trainer has won this three times in the past, and therefore her decision to allow the course bumper winner to take her chance should be respected.
It goes without saying that Gordon Elliott will struggle to match last week’s Navan six-timer, but with lots of good chances throughout the card the leading trainer could be set for another big Sunday and his RIVERSIDE CITY looks interesting in the valuable Porterstown Handicap Chase at 3.10. Last year’s Troytown hero was all set to defend his crown only to miss the cut for a high-quality renewal but that could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as on paper at least this looks a much better opportunity to land another big prize. With the cobwebs blown away by an outing over hurdles and Jack Kennedy back in the plate, the seven year-old – who is now 1lb lower than when running a screamer in last December’s Paddy Power Chase – should mount a bold bid provided his sometimes sketchy jumping holds up.
Gary's Best Bets (scale 1-5 points):
1.10 FAIRYHOUSE (BETTING WITHOUT PEACE NEWS)
1pt each way FORGE MEADOW (BETTING WITHOUT PEACE NEWS) (18-1 Paddy Power - use *BOG firms)
1pt each way RIVERSIDE CITY (9-1 general - use *BOG firms)
* = BOG (Best Odds Guaranteed)