NAVAN PREVIEW SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER
By Alan Marron
12.05 KELLS MAIDEN HURDLE 2M
The winner of the Goffs Land Rover Bumper, Festival d’Ex, makes his debut over hurdles here and is likely to be a short-priced favourite. However, the each-way play in the race could well be the locally-trained GOAHEADWITHTHEPLAN for the combination of Noel Meade and Sean Flanagan.
This horse was all the rage for a Galway bumper, where he bombed out and didn’t run well at all. He finished fourth to Dewcup last time and it looks as though he might come on for both of those runs and improve for his first assault over obstacles.
A small each-way play for me as Festival d’Ex could be Cheltenham-bound if successful here.
12.35 HOTEL PARK ST JOHANN TIROL AUSTRIA MAIDEN HURDLE 2M 4F
A very trappy contest for the second race on the card but LONGHOUSE POET might be the one to pay most attention to.
He was a very impressive winner of a bumper at the Punchestown Festival when he beat Monkfish, trained by Willie Mullins. He then ran an absolute cracker on his debut over hurdles when second to Elixir d’Ainay, with both of them stretching clear (there were 13 lengths back to the third horse.)
Derek O’Connor, who won on him for his point-to-point and bumper, is back aboard, and if he can improve off the back of his last run, he should go very close.
Solid each-way value. A big field here and he will need luck in running but he is a horse with a big engine.
1.05 ECOMM MERCHANT SOLUTIONS HANDICAP HURDLE (GRADE B) 3M, €80,000
Two horses really stand out in terms of being extremely well-handicapped. Both Moyhenna and my selection, TOUT ET PERMIS, have higher chase marks and look nicely weighted over hurdles.
Tout Et Permis looks the most progressive for me and is 41lb better off over hurdles than over fences. His chase mark has reached peaks of 155 while he gets in here at the foot of the handicap off 114. Rachael Blackmore takes the mount and she will be looking for more big-race success in Meath following Honeysuckle’s Grade 1 win last weekend at Fairyhouse. This horse finished fourth behind Douvan in the Clonmel Oil Chase last time and a reproduction of any of his chase form off this lowly hurdles mark could see him be one of the best bets of the day.
1.35 JOHN LYNCH CARPETS BEGINNER CHASE 2M 4F
CANARDIER could be the one to follow here but it is a race that I would watch for future reference rather than have a bet in it. It looks very tough to try and sort out, but in terms of hurdle form, Canardier looks the best of them. He finished fifth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last season and then went on to be third at Aintree in another competitive handicap. He was 7/1 joint-fav for a very decent handicap at the Punchestown Festival, where he got no luck in running and ran on late.
He has always looked to me as if he would improve for the switch to fences. He should be tough to beat with a clear round but I wouldn’t be overly confident.
2.10 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF KLARION DAVIES NOVICE CHASE (GRADE 3) 2M 1F, €40,000
TORNADO FLYER is likely to be to the fore of the betting here and this Willie Mullins runner should take a world of beating.
I was very impressed with his attitude last time out at Naas, where he made a couple of sloppy mistakes but stayed on well to win going away. Naas and Navan are similar tracks, with stiff uphill finishes, and this should play to this horse’s strengths. He will likely need further in time but this is an ideal stepping stone and I’d say Willie Mullins will be looking for a big run ahead of the Festivals in Limerick and Leopardstown at Christmas.
Batcio, who finished 9th in that race came out and won on Thursday to give the form a boost. Should be very hard to beat.
2.45 FOXROCK HANDICAP CHASE (GRADE B) 2M 4F, €50,000
Henry De Bromhead has his team in flying form and FULL CRY, who will be ridden by Hugh Morgan, could be well enough handicapped here. He gets in here off a mark of 131, but with Hugh’s 7lb claim, it brings him down to 124. He was third but then promoted to second in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan off 131 and a reproduction of that kind of form would make him nice each-way value here.
If you look at his run last time out, he was under pressure a long way from home and was beaten well in the end. This is a step up in Grade so he will have to produce one of his better runs. Navan could be the sort of track that could suit him. He finished third in a beginners chase at the course back in 2015, so he will be one I will be paying close attention to.
Could be a decent price for a small play.
3.20 CLUB ACTIVE GYM INH FLAT RACE
This could turn out to be one of the better bumper races in Ireland this season as both En Beton and Wide Receiver have massive reputations. WIDE RECEIVER is one of those point-to-point talking horses that everyone can’t wait to see. He was very impressive in Cragmore and has since been acquired by Gigginstown House.
This horse could be anything and I would be inclined to watch the market and see which way the punters are thinking. This horse will definitely be one to follow whatever he does today.