Naas has long held a reputation of being a breeding ground for future festival stars and with two graded races taking place on Sunday, we are likely to see some potential Cheltenham Festival players in action this weekend.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins made more history on Saturday as he saddled his 4000th winner thanks to Bronn’s win at Fairyhouse and the Closutton chief has a supreme recent record in the first race on the card at Naas on Sunday with Mullins winning 3 of the last 4 runnings of the Grade 3 Novice Chase (12.57)
Mullins is represented by just one runner in the form of Ramillies with last years Albert Bartlett sixth winning a beginners on his chase debut at Thurles last time. However, it’s Gordon Elliott’s Chemical Energy who looks the one to beat having won 2 of his 3 chase starts.
Race 2 (1.32) is a novice handicap chase with Henry De Bromhead’s Percy Warner a likely player on handicap debut. The 7-year-old ran with credit in two hot beginners contests at Navan and Fairyhouse at the end of last year (Fil Dor and El Fabiolo won the races).
22 runners will line up in a maiden hurdle at 2.07 with French flat winner Sinbad Le Marin a beaten favourite on debut for Willie Mullins last time out but that third placed finish at Punchestown in a maiden hurdle containing 20 runners will be useful experience to call upon.
Denis Hogan’s Almuhit won over 1m4f for John and Thady Gosden in Britain and has shown lots of promise in two hurdlingh starts since coming to Ireland.
The Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle is due off at 2.42 with last years winner Darasso back to defend his crown for Joseph O’Brien, who landed the opener at Cheltenham on Saturday with Triumph prospect Comfort Zone.
Last seasons fortunate Turners winner Bob Olinger is on a comeback mission down in grade while there’s another Grade 1 winner looking to bounce back here in Echoes In Rain after her fall in the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace.
It’s another big field maiden hurdle at 3.17 with course bumper winner Seabank Bistro hoping to go one place better than at Limerick over Christmas while Gordon Elliott’s Kansas City Star posted some good maiden efforts before misfiring in Grade 1 company at Newbury last time out.
The penultimate race of the afternoon is at 3.52 the 2 mile handicap hurdle looking a wide open affair.
The card concludes at 4.27 with a bumper won last year by Seabank Bistro who runs earlier on the card for Willie Mullins. Last years winning handler is represented by PTP winner Western Diego (Patrick rides).
Bar One Racing will be price boosting the live show favorite in every race at Naas tomorrow across all betting channels (shops, online, Telebetting).
Meanwhile, on Sunday March 12th, Naas will stage the Bar One Racing Leinster National.