0.75pts each-way Fletcher's Flyer @10/1, 0.75pts each-way Haymount @12/1, 17:00 Fairyhouse, Monday

We provided the English Grand National winner with One For Arthur last weekend, and we turn our attention to the Irish renewal which takes centre stage on Easter Monday.

The market is headed by the Gold Cup winning combination of Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power with the heavily backed Our Duke. But the juice has been taken out of his price at 5/1 with 30 runners involved, and as much as he could be destined for great things, winning a National after just three chase starts would be hugely impressive with his lack of experience. He is feared, but is worth taking on in the race.

There is €500,000 on offer for the first time ever in the National which has brought a bit more class to the field. The race could also be significant in deciding the Irish Champion Trainer’s title between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins. Both trainers are going for this, with no less than thirteen runners being saddled between the pair.

HAYMOUNT is the Mullins first string, and we are sweet on his chances with Ruby Walsh taking the ride. Mullins currently trails Elliott in prize money for the title, and Haymount looks an interesting contestant to close the gap as he makes his handicap chase debut.

He finished a few lengths behind the re-opposing Tiger Roll in the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, when the Elliott horse got first run on him before the hill. Subsequently, he is now 9lbs worse-off for less than a four length margin which is a decent swing in the weights.

Haymount stayed on best of any horse in that race to finish third, and a fastly run Irish National could suit him well with that proven stamina as he travelled smoothly and was excellent jumping his fences.

Before Cheltenham, he had already beaten Coney Island comfortably on his opening chase start, a horse who is now rated well in to the 150’s, so he has that bit of class.

He has competed well since and made the frame on all his chase starts in graded races without managing to follow up that first success. However, he has mainly competed in small-field (tactical) Irish Novice chases until the National Hunt Chase where he seemed to thrive, and looked a more mature specimen.

A big-field handicap on better ground could be the right ingredients. He finished 5/24 on his final (handicap) hurdle start at the Punchestown Festival in April last season (3m, gd-yld) which was a decent race.

Haymount also races on 11lbs better terms to Our Duke having finished four lengths behind him last year off level-weights in a hurdles contest, so overall he looks potentially well-treated off his current mark of 142 here, which incidentally, happens to be the highest winning mark for the National in the the last ten runnings.

Oscar Knight and Bless The Wings could be dangerous as they both sneak in to the bottom of the weights, but their prices have collapsed in the last few days.

FLETCHER’S FLYER has been targeted at this race all season by Harry Fry ever since he landed a 3m 6f chase at Punchestown last April. This nine-year-old excelled over the marathon trip on gd-yld ground and has been campaigned lightly with this race fully in mind.

His last start, we saw him travel best in a small field only to finish third. That was a 3m Novice Grade 2 at Ascot where he found Bigbadjohn a couple of lengths too good on softer ground.

Last year’s novice campaign brought some fine performances in defeat to the likes of Blaklion, Onenightinvienna and Drumacoo and he has had only had the two runs this season so he will have plenty left in the tank.

Fletcher’s Flyer remains just 7lbs higher than his win last year, carries a nice weight of 10st 10lbs, and could still have improvement in a race of this nature with only the six chase starts to date, so we are backing Noel Fehily to guide him in to a winning position.

0.75pts each-way Fletcher’s Flyer @10/1, 17:00 Monday, Fairyhouse (5 places, 1/4 odds with Bet365)
0.75pts each-way Haymount @12/1, 17:00 Monday, Fairyhouse (5 places, 1/4 odds with Bet365)

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