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A damp Easter Monday at Fairyhouse may not suit the fashion conscious but expect many eyes to be staring skyward today, pleading for rain. And if it comes, expect Edmond to be the name on most people's lips for the Powers Gold Label Irish Grand National.

Yesterday's showery conditions allowed the Fairyhouse authorities maintain an official ground forecast of 'good to yielding'. Jockey Conor O'Dwyer described the chase course as 'almost perfect' which sounds hopeful but track manager Dick Shiel admitted that significant rain could hit the area early tomorrow afternoon. Such talk is music to the ears of Edmond's followers.

He and his stable companion Lancastrian Jet are trainer Henry Daly's first runners in Ireland and for both horses the softer the going the better. Particularly so for Edmond whose Welsh National win was one of the most impressive handicap displays of the season.

It was Edmond's third Chepstow success and the first of them came on good to soft going which usually equates to good to yielding in Ireland. Ridden with restraint then, the current ground should not be a problem for Edmond. With rain he can impose his usual free-wheeling front running style on the race. Either way, his class for a stamina test is obvious.

'The more rain that falls the better,' said Daly yesterday who has resisted the urge to run his stable star again following his second to Young Kenny at Uttoxeter in February.

British-trained horses have won Ireland's most valuable steeplechase three times since 1990 and a total of eight raiders take their chance today. The bookies make the Midlands National winner, Ackzo, their favourite despite being a glorified novice.

'It's his first time away but he's travelled well and we believe he has improved since he won the Midlands National,' said his Wexford-born trainer Ferdy Murphy, who bids to follow up Paris Pike's Scottish National success just nine days ago along with rider Adrian Maguire. The latter won this race nine years ago on Omerta.

Local hero Bobbyjo tops the weights and contrary to Edmond wants no more rain to fall while Saxophone could be the horse that receives the local's financial support this round. Saxophone's jumping might come into question in handicap company, however, while Commanche Court's stamina will be tested as he bids to add to Ted Walsh's Grand National year.

But a home hope that will love a stamina test and any soft ground available is the mare Roses Of Picardy who is held by Saxophone on Naas running but is the sort of tough operator that could thrive in this competition and go close to becoming the first mare since Ebony Jane in 1993 to win this race. However, if the rain arrives, the win bet option will have to be Edmond.

The main supporting feature, the Powers Novice Hurdle, has cut up with the Aintree winner Ross Moff giving weight away to just five opponents. The Punchestown and Naas winner Hotel Minella has a good turn of foot but Ross Moff is no slouch either and despite racing over short of his best can top up.

The dual Flat winner Royal Barathea is preferred in the opener while the Liscarroll winner, Best On Show, has Philip Fenton on side in the bumper and is taken to live up to his name.

Down at Cork, Michael Kinane looks set to have a good day. He rides Shoal Creek in the mile maiden and that colt's third to Muakaad at Leopardstown was boosted yesterday by the success of Takali.

Curragh winner Laurentia really appeals considering her aptitude for the soft and the quarter mile extra of the Lynch Handicap compared to when she beat Creux Noir at headquarters.