Today’s meeting at Fairyhouse was called off due to the Co Meath venue being unfit for racing. Though not a surprise, it’s another setback to whatever semblance of normalcy there remains to aid one’s circumnavigation of the big ball on which we reside during these present times.
More than that, however, it’s a blow to the venue itself and manager Peter Roe, having lost their flagship Easter Festival last year – which would’ve included the 150th staging of Irish Grand National – and like all other tracks seen recent fixtures proceed behind closed doors. Including their second biggest meet of the season, the Winter Festival which features four Grade One contests over the two days.
Roscrea native Roe must surely now – even at the back of his mind – be growing fearful for the prospects of this term’s Easter incarnation, scheduled for April 3rd to 5th. Of more immediate concern however will be to get racing back on in whatever for that needs to be as soon as possible. Extensive drainage work has been carried out an the Co Meath venue over the years but those structures have surely been rigorously tested of late,
That said, as bad as the situation may be here at the minute, British racing is taking even more of a hammering from the elements with numerous intended meetings lost. None more noteworthy than Cheltenham Trials day which should have been ongoing as this is being keyboarded. Thankfully, as some sort of saving grace there was a very useful card at Doncaster to while away the wintry afternoon.
The undoubted star turn on Rose Hill was Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin owned by retired bookmaker Joe Donnelly and his wife Marie. The 7-year-old maintained his unbeaten status over fences, readily seeing off the very useful Eldorado Allen from the Colin Tizzard yard by an eye-catching six and half lengths. Not surprisingly, last year’s Supreme Novices Hurdle winner was cut to 8/11 for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival in a little over six weeks time.
If you ask me though, the 3/1 currently available about Envoi Allen may end up akin to buying money.