Horse Racing Tips: Brendan Duke’s 4 fancies at Naas on Sunday

Our tipster Brendan Duke runs the rule over the racing at Naas on Sunday.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

An intriguing eight race card in Naas to preview. Competitive graded race action with some promising sorts in the maiden hurdles and a couple of marquee names for devotees of the hunter chase division.

This wet weather shows little sign of abating. Conditions will be attritional. Hopefully, not as gruelling as we witnessed in Gowran the other day. At least eight winners on the card. Here are my attempts at identifying some of them.

13:15 Bacchason

As the betting suggests, some sort of a case can be made for every runner in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at 13:15. Bacchason looks a worthy favourite. This trip is a bare minimum for him. The same could be said of his most obvious danger Beacon Edge though.

Bacchason is a curious horse. There’s not much of him but he seems to jump fences better than hurdles. He’s not bad over the smaller obstacles all the same. What he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in heart.

It’s not hard to see Coeur Sublime travelling best of all at this trip. Whether he has the resolution to go past a couple of tough nuts is another matter. Beacon Edge is a likeable, progressive horse. I just think conceding seven pounds to Bacchason may prove beyond him.

Expect Paul Townend to jump out in front, and make this a good test in conditions. I’ll be surprised if he sees another horse.

14:45 Star Max

Star Max runs in the handicap hurdle at 14:45. He’s another horse who could probably do with a longer trip. Naas will ride very testing on Sunday, though. He’s not an easy horse to win with.

He’s inclined to make the odd mistake over fences. Connections have tried to take advantage of a slightly reduced hurdles mark on his last couple of starts. The first of those runs came in a Navan handicap. Given how well that race has worked out, fourth should be considered a respectable effort.

He then went to Leopardstown over Christmas. He travelled and jumped really well. He ultimately faded quite tamely but maybe three miles in gruelling conditions was just too far for him.

I think the market might take the distance he was beaten by that day literally. The Navan run is the one to focus on. Off a two pound lower mark here, Star Max should put up a bold show at rewarding odds.

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15:15 Eklat De Rire

Pencilfulloflead will rightly prove popular in the novice chase at 15:15. He’s mixed it with some of the best novice chasers around this season. His form was boosted during the week and it’s quite possible he may improve for this step up in trip.

Despite all that, I will take him on with Eklat De Rire. He looked a horse going places when putting some useful sorts to the sword on his chasing bow in Punchestown. The way he attacked the last four fences was particularly encouraging.

He was inclined to favour his left hand lead that day. It’s possible the horse may be more effective going this way around. There is also the potential for a soft lead on Sunday.

He’ll need to improve to prevail here but on only his fourth start under rules, that seems highly likely. He might just do enough to take advantage of a significant weight concession from Pencilfulloflead.

15:45 Punitive

My fortunes will be closely allied with those of Henry De Bromhead on Sunday. Punitive can take advantage of a good opportunity in the handicap chase at 15:45.

This horse was progressive over hurdles last term. On the evidence of his close fourth in a good race last time out, he has continued to go forward over fences. Fils D’oudairies, the winner that day, is a promising sort.

The second had previously gone close in a handicap off a mark of 129. In that context, a mark of 130 shouldn’t prove beyond Punitive. He jumped well in Navan. His only mistake came at the penultimate jump.

It was encouraging to see how well he rallied after the last. Ideally, I’d prefer to see him step up to three miles. As mentioned before, this ground will be taxing. Hopefully taxing enough to see Punitive gallop home in front.

Brendan’s picks at Naas on Sunday

13:45 Bacchason
14:45 Star Max
15:15 Eklat De Rire
15:45 Punitive

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

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