Sport

Gust Of Wind can blow his rivals off course at Fairyhouse

Willie Mullins can claim the WillowWarm Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday afternoon with Gust Of Wind Picture by PA
Willie Mullins can claim the WillowWarm Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday afternoon with Gust Of Wind Picture by PA Willie Mullins can claim the WillowWarm Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday afternoon with Gust Of Wind Picture by PA

The Grade Three WillowWarm Hurdle is an interesting little heat on day one of the Winter Festival at Fairyhouse and it looks a nice race for the Willie Mullins-trained Gust Of Wind.

He faced some tough tasks last season when pitching up in some of the best juvenile contests.

The Great Pretender gelding made his first start for the champion trainer when fifth in the Grade One contest at the Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown.

That was a solid enough effort and he stepped forward to run a big race in fourth behind star performer Lossiemouth in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham the following month.

He finished his campaign by picking up some black-type, when third to Enjoy The Dream in Grade Two company at Fairyhouse and his form reads really well.

This looks a nice starting point for the French-import on his return to action and if he runs up to the level he showed last term he’s the one to beat in the two-miler.

Mullins also saddles the filly Risk Belle and she commands respect having won a valuable handicap over course and distance at the Easter festival.

The highest-rated performer in the field is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Nusret but he has to carry a 9lb penalty for his Grade Two success at Kempton in February which makes life a bit tougher.

Earlier on the card, Ballyburn is likely to be a short price on his hurdling debut in the two-mile maiden.

The Flemensfirth gelding won both his bumpers last season and was impressive when scoring at the Punchestown Festival in April.

He already has jumping experience, having won a point-to-point, and is an exciting prospect for novices this term.

It looks set to be a very informative contest with Group One-winning Flat performer Helvic Dream an intriguing rival.

Noel Meade’s charge has shown he retains plenty of ability this term and has been schooling well.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Firefox, a three-time bumper winner, is another to throw into the mix in a mouth-watering contest.

There is a strong line-up in the opening beginners’ chase and Corbetts Cross can step forward from his initial run over fences.

Emmet Mullins’ charge was beaten at a short price at Naas just under three weeks ago when third to Grangeclare West.

The winner is a classy sort at his best though and with that run under his belt Corbetts Cross could prove hard to beat now.

Elliott will obviously be keen to win the bumper named in memory of his uncle, and his local GAA club.

He takes the wraps off £420,000 purchase Jalon D’oudairies. The No Risk At All gelding joined the Gigginstown team after his point-to-point win at Lingstown in March.

SELECTIONS

11.45 Corbetts Cross

12.15 Tempo Chapter Two

12.50 Ballyburn (Dbl)

1.25 Redstone

2.00 The Folkes Tiara

2.35 Gust Of Wind (Nap)

3.10 Hunting Brook

3.40 Jalon D’oudairies