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Paddy Power trials day at Naas begins with the WhatOddsPaddy? Chase with a small field of four-declared runners. It really is a match between the Willie Mullins-trained CILAOS EMERY and Daly Tiger from the Noel Meade stable, with both Kildorrery and Café Con Leche looking outclassed.
The Closutton runner is having his second run of the season having finished second to Bachasson in the Clonmel Oil Chase last November. Despite giving away 9lbs to his Gigginstown rival, the nine-year-old has a touch of class about him and should kick-off the day with victory for favourite backers.
The Willie Mullins team can take more prize money from our Paddy with ECHOES IN RAIN looking more than capable of winning this Grade 2 Paddy Power Betting Shop Novice Hurdle. The daughter of Authorized is having her fourth Irish start and has several positives towards her chances of victory.
She previously landed her maiden hurdle over course and distance back in December and wasn’t disgraced when fourth to the Dreal Deal in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown last month. It will be interesting to see how Streets Of Doyen performs now dropping down in trip, with John McConnell’s runner looking for a fifth straight victory and wearing cheekpieces for the first time in this one.
Jesse Evans could be best of the rest for Noel Meade in a race which has seen nine of the previous 10-winners returned at starting of 7/1 or under in the betting. It doesn’t look the strongest of renewals to a race won on many previous occasions by the Mullins team, including with Annie Power in 2013.
The Road to Cheltenham continues and we’ve decided to pay four-places instead of the normal three-places in this Paddy Power sponsored four-year-old handicap hurdle. Many of these youngsters know each other extremely well having contested several juvenile hurdles already this season and to be honest, it looks an open affair on paper. Zoffanien has been consistent without getting his head in front over hurdles for Denis Hogan, with plenty of collateral form for both Awkwafina and Toughari.
PECKHAM SPRINGS gets the vote though, having travelled and jumped nicely to score under Adam Short at Fairyhouse in mid-December. It’s only a third career start over hurdles for Paul Strafford’s runner, who should improve further now returning from a break with a rating of 115. Saeer looks interesting on his handicap debut and could easily improve for Gordon Elliott, while Perry Owens and Varna Gold are other each-way contenders.
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Another Paddy Power sponsored handicap hurdle on trials day and another extra-place race with five-places on offer in this competitive contest. It’s a big field, but LIGHT BRIGADE looks the obvious choice with a six month suspension looming very shortly for trainer Charles Byrnes. The lightly raced son of Leading Light won his maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse last month and runs off an official rating of 110 on his handicap debut.
He looks nicely handicapped and will be patiently ridden to strike as late as possible under Kevin Brouder having idled close home at Fairyhouse. Stand Off, trained by another shrewd trainer in Philip Fenton will appreciate the drop down in trip and should prove the biggest danger.
Gavin Cromwell won this race in 2019 and saddles You Say Nothing with the six-year-old looking for a hat-trick after his easy victory at Punchestown last month – can he beat the handicapper today?
The closing bumper at Naas has been an excellent contest for favourite backers in recent years with the previous five all securing victory since 2016. Willie Mullins is not represented this year, but Gordon Elliott – who has won this race three times in six-years – has the exciting GERRI COLOMBE to saddle in the finale.
The former Lingstown point-to-point winner ran out a 24-length winner on his rules debut at Fairyhouse and looks a horse to follow over the next few seasons. He’s more a staying chaser down the line for the Robcour team and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jamie Codd dominates from the front today.
Highland Charge is one of two Gigginstown rivals and also scored on debut at Fairyhouse having battled gamely and survived a stewards’ enquiry. Forged With Fire is the other Michael and Eddie O’Leary-owned runner who can’t be discounted. He once beat Ferny Hollow over the Christmas of 2019 and returns to bumpers following two spins over hurdles.
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