Owner JP McManus to send out a six strong team to challenge for the Irish Grand National 2014 at Fairyhouse this afternoon
Leading owner JP McManus looks determined to take the Fairyhouse feature with his impressive team of six runners; Cantlow, Cause Of Causes, Shutthefrontdoor, Pendra, Westerner Boy and Alfie Sherrin.
The top weight Cantlow is priced amongst the outsiders at 50/1 for the race, but has excellent earlier season form to fall back on. The Paul Webber trained horse fell at the Cheltenham Festival and disappointed at Aintree having racked up a good win at Newbury back in November.
Cause of Causes was many punters idea of a Festival banker back in March. Everything appeared to be going to plan until the Elliott horse blundered at the last and could not recover in time to beat Spring Heeled in the Kim Muir. With his trainer being a master plotter this former classy hurdler looks well placed to have a strong hand in the finish of the Irish National 2014. 14/1 looks to be excellent each way value.
Jonjo O’Neill sends the Cheltenham fancy Shutthefrontdoor and stalwart Alfie Sherrin over in the McManus colours. Shutthefrontdoor could not live up to expectations in the National Hunt chase at the Festival but has a notable booking today in the form of Barry Gerraghty suggesting more is hoped for. The seven-year-old is vying for favouritism but there appears to be better value in McManus’s other runners.
Alfie Sherrin was a leading fancy last year and ran well to finish third in that renewal. Back here again he is certain to put in a good effort after a reasonable Cheltenham run and blessed with a nice low weight.
The novice Pendra is a very interesting contender and priced at 25/1 appears somewhat overlooked by the market. His was a bold effort at Cheltenham to run third behind Present View and Attaglance. Pendra has always been highly regarded and could be a surprise package today.
The final horse of the McManus six is Westerner Boy. With respectable form in the book and an interesting preparation over hurdles this season expect this seven-year-old not to be without chances.
With such a team the race looks to be at McManus’s mercy, but will any of the other twenty-four contenders have a chance of spoiling the party? Well, Goonyella stays all day and looks well suited to this test, Tammy’s Hill is in good form and Sraid Padraig is highly regarded.
Expect a McManus win with Cause Of Causes, Pendra and Westerner Boy the dangers.
(Featured Photograph – JP McManus and Barry Gerraghty after World Hurdle 2014 by Stuart Rice)