Impressive Cheltenham Festival winner Shattered Love heads the 15 acceptors for the Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase on Easter Sunday at Fairyhouse.
The brilliant winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase will be just one of a strong team earmarked for the three-day festival by Gordon Elliott who leads his great rival Willie Mullins by €521,626 in the race to be crowned champion trainer.
Mullins had been expected to run his Arkle Chase winner Footpad in the two and a half mile Fairyhouse feature but the horse's name was missing from the entries on Tuesday afternoon. The champion trainer has said that Footpad is due to run at Aintree, with the two-mile novice chase on Grand National day (April 14th) the most likely option.
Mullins can choose from a squad of eight that includes Al Boum Photo, course winner Saturnas and more recent winners Some Neck and Up For Review.
The Storyteller, another among Elliott’s haul of eight winners at Cheltenham two weeks ago, is also in the running to represent the season’s leading trainer in the €100,000 opening day feature.
Henry de Bromhead could be represented by his Arkle third Petit Mouchoir while Noel Meade has left in Snow Falcon, third in the Drinmore Novice Chase over this course and distance back in December.
These are the only four trainers with entries in the race.
Cheltenham Festival form will also be put to the test in the Grade 1 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final with the exciting Laurina, so impressive in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, among the 14 standing their ground.
She features among an entry of six for Willie Mullins while Momella and Woolstone One could yet carry the hopes of British trainers Dan Skelton and Emma Lavelle respectively.
Lackaneen Leader completed a hat-trick of wins when taking the Grade 3 Kerry Group EBF Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle at Limerick last week and is Gordon Elliott’s sole remaining entry.
A third pot of €100,000 on Easter Sunday is up for grabs in the Tattersalls Ireland George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper and 37 horses remain in the race. Jessica Harrington was successful with subsequent Grade 2 winning hurdler Forge Meadow two years ago and her impressive Leopardstown winner Sizing Pottsie and Gordon Elliott’s promising Cork scorer Black Tears head the entries.
Fairyhouse manager Peter Roe said: "We are delighted with the quality of entries for our feature races on Sunday. The Ryanair Gold Cup is firmly established as one of the leading novice chases in Ireland and its set to be a cracking renewal. I’m sure that there will also be a number of future stars in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final and the Tattersalls Ireland George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper and it looks like being a great start to our Easter Festival. The ground is currently soft to heavy with a mixture of sunshine and showers forecast for the remainder of the week.”
EASTER FESTIVAL PREVIEWS INCLUDING FINAL IRISH GRAND NATIONAL RUNNERS IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKENDCLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE EASTER SUNDAY ENTRIES FOR FAIRYHOUSE