Obviously the Grand National at Aintree captivates us this week, but life will go on as ever afterwards, and the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, April 22 provides two tasty ante post bets in TOUT EST PERMIS and ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS.
Tout Est Permis was transferred by Gigginstown from the Mouse Morris yard to Noel Meade and the improvement has been little short of electric. To be fair, as Meade himself is quick to point out, Mouse tends to be a slow burner and his patient approach with budding chasers is often handsomely rewarded in latter years as we saw with Cheltenham Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition in 2006 and Grand National winner Rule The World in 2016.
After that Aintree triumph Rule The World was paraded through Michael O'Leary's home town of Mullingar, and of course War Of Attrition was the first major breakthrough triumph for the Gigginstown empire. But eaten bread is soon forgotten and Tout Est Permis was switched to Meade in a typically ruthless Gigginstown end of season shake up that saw Morris slip well down the pecking order.
A cruel move perhaps, but proving inspired. Tout Est Permis landed a huge touch at Galway before romping home in the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase, the biggest jumping event of the year at Meade's local track Navan. It was an astonishing performance, he won doing handstands, and it seemed his handicapping days were over.
And indeed it was on to a Grade 2 next, the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (formerly The Kinloch Brae) at Thurles where he was all out to beat Sub Lieutenant. Allowing for the big step up in class the bare form may not seem imposing, but recent winners of that race include Gold Cup heroes Don Cossack and Sizing John.
Indeed Tout Est Permis was seriously considered for Cheltenham, with the Gold Cup and Ryanair being the options. He was also entered for tomorrow's Betfair Bowl but stablemate Road To Respect runs instead. This should all work in our favour as he does run particularly well when fresh, and he should be perfectly primed for Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.
Most horses that join Willie Mullins tend to improve out of all recognition, but that can certainly not be said so far of Acapella Bourgeois who was probably the last stable star that Sandra Hughes trained before handing in her license.
Far from being an instant hit at Closutton, he quickly regressed alarmingly. But Mullins hasn't got from being a small seven horse operation to where he is today by giving up on things or despairing, and it looks as if the tide is turning again for this ten year old.
Just how to accurately evaluate a recent comfortable Clonmel win over stablemate Yorkhill is something Mullins himself finds hard to do. But there is no doubt he has regained his appetite for the game and before that before that he got a very easy time of it in the Martin Pipe when his chance was gone after a bad blunder at the second.
Chasing is very much his game and he is a fascinating dark horse in the Irish National. Amazingly Mullins has never won this race but in the year in which he finally broke his Gold Cup duck, he could be about to bury another ghost now with Acapella Bourgeois who is starting to find form at just the right time.
TOUT EST PERMIS 0.5 point each way 16/1 generally.
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS 0.5 point each way 40/1 Unibet; 33/1 Sky Bet, BoyleSports