Horse Racing tips: Brendan Duke’s 4 to score at Naas on Sunday

In good form last week, tbf.

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

Naas hosts its traditional Sunday-before-Cheltenham card this weekend. It’s usually a grand day out where a man can meet fellow pilgrims, and maybe bolster the betting bank.

There is no meeting up this year of course but there will be eight winners on the card. While the graded novice chase at 2pm is an underwhelming affair and CONFLATED will probably make class tell, the rest of the racing looks competitive. There’s a bit of quality on show too while the ground will ride testing.

1.30pm – Ujumpthelastuwin

UJUMPTHELASTUWIN will prove hard to beat in the opening beginners chase. He was one of my horses to take out of the Dublin Racing festival – he ran in a hot handicap chase at that meeting. He was hampered jumping the first fence, and struggled with his fencing for most of the race as that experience at the first may have spooked the horse.

He was ultimately beaten a fair way but showed plenty of resolution to stick in there despite a litany of errors. He was also inclined to jump to his left but I wouldn’t worry though as he was perfectly straight in previous starts.

He appeals as well handicapped off a mark of 124. Unfortunately, Sunday’s race isn’t a handicap. The opposition are much of a muchness though. I suspect that not only is Ujumpthelastuwin the best horse in this race, but he has the most scope too. The recent resurgence in form of the Cromwell yard is another positive.

Naas racing Dec18



2.30pm – Fitzhenry

I will take a chance on FITZHENRY in the Leinster National at 2.30pm. Despite not winning, this horse enjoyed a fine campaign last season – he finished second in both the Troytown and Paddy Power, while he also ran well at the Cheltenham Festival.

This season hasn’t gone as well; he ran okay in the Paddy Power on his penultimate start but he was then well beaten in a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival. However, the trip would have been on the sharp side that day and he was also hampered by a faller early in the race.

Those defeats have seen the handicapper drop the horse to a mark of 136. That’s in and around the rating he ran off when performing so well in those big handicaps last term. There seems little reason why this nine-year-old can’t rediscover that level of form and he will relish the testing conditions.

3.05pm – Alko Rouge

Goodbye Someday sets the standard in the graded novice hurdle at 3.05pm. It’s not a dizzying one though and I’d expect one of the less exposed horses to improve past him. Therefore ALKO ROUGE gets the vote as I was impressed with his win last time out in Navan.

Coqolino, second that day, puts the form to the test on Saturday but I thought Alko Rouge ran out a snug winner on the day. His jumping was sound in the main and he looks a big unit on the telly. He’s a seven-year-old, granted, but may just have taken a bit of time to fill his frame. He has only had five starts under rules. My hunch is that he’ll have to improve about 10lbs to prevail on Sunday. That’s a lot but doesn’t seem unrealistic given the horse’s profile. We should get a decent price too.


Cheltenham Festival: Dates, race times and antepost tips from our experts

3.35pm – Ben Dundee

Gearoid O’Loughlin has his string in good nick so hopefully he will have BEN DUNDEE primed to run a big race in the handicap hurdle at 3.35pm. This horse hasn’t run since this time last year but he does have a fine record fresh though.

That last run came over fences in Cheltenham where he finished a close fifth off a mark of 147. He competes off a mark 20lbs lower on Sunday. He is a better chaser but that’s a big differential and he ran okay on his last start over hurdles. That run came over an inadequate trip too.

It’s possible that Sunday’s race is just a tune-up for bigger targets at the spring festivals but I feel like O’Loughlin will have him pretty straight. It would be a feather in his cap to win with an ex-Gordon Elliot trained horse. There are enough positives to take a flyer.

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

Brendan Duke’s Naas betting summary – Sunday, March 14

1.30pm – Ujumpthelastuwin
2.30pm – Fitzhenry
3.05pm – Alko Rouge
3.35pm – Ben Dundee

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What do you think?