The two-day Navan Racing Festival will see five graded races staged over the weekend, among them the Grade 2 Bar One Racing Fortria Chase and Grade 3 Bar One Racing For Auction Novice Hurdle.
The Fortria has attracted eight horses at the initial entry stage, among them last year’s 1-2 Captain Guinness and Riviere D’etel, while Grade One winning novice chaser Banbridge is also among those entered. Another Grade One winning novice chaser Saint Roi is the sole entry from the Willie Mullins yard. Both Captain Guinness and Banbridge both hold an alternative engagement in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.
Nine horses are entered in the Grade 3 For Auction, and it’s no surprise to see the Gordon Elliott yard strongly represented. Croke Park created a good impression when winning at Clonmel last time, while King Of Kingsfield has proved expensive to follow having suffered defeats in both starts over hurdles.
The beginners chases on Saturday and Sunday could have some future chasing stars with the likes of American Mike, Facile Vega, Gaelic Warrior and Inthepocket among the initial entries. The opening day bumper has six Gordon Elliott horses listed, among them expensive Irish point-to-point recruits Jalon D’oudairies and Undeniable Alibi.
24 remain in the Bar One Racing Troytown, with the Willie Mullins trained pair I Am Maximus and Gaillard Du Mesnil the most significant defections. Gordon Elliott is responsible for 17 of the 24 that remain entered, with the Galway Plate third Hollow Games and the 2021 Troytown winner Run Wild Fred among the 17. Limerick Lace is an eye-catching entry from the Gavin Cromwell stable, having returned with a win at Clonmel last month.
Hollow Games and Thedevilscoachman are joint-favourites for the Bar One Racing Troytown. In recent days there’s been strong support for Thedevilscoachman who’s novice chase form makes him a strong contender in the weekends big handicap.
Other entries that catch the eye across Sunday’s card include Hunting Brook, a recent Down Royal winner who could remain well-handicapped, while the Champion Hurdle third Zanahiyr will be on most shortlists should he line up in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle. Home By The Lee and Bob Olinger fought out a memorable finish to the Lismullen Hurdle 12 months ago, and both are among the 10 entries.
The final declarations for the first day of the Navan Racing Festival will be revealed on Thursday morning, while the second day declarations will be made official on Friday morning.