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Just the one runner for Willie Mullins on Saturday at Navan where the part Arabian-bred Manitopark Aa lines up in the 2m Maiden Hurdle. She was a six-length second in a mares’ maiden hurdle to La Chanteuse at Fairyhouse in January when an odds-on favourite, but that run doesn’t look as bad now.
La Chanteuse franked the form when bolting up at Down Royal in a rated novice hurdle beating On Eagles Wings by 13 lengths, but was subsequently pulled up at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Manitopark Aa will appreciate the drying ground and she’s in good form at home.
Noble Yeats makes his debut over timber for Emmett Mullins in the maiden hurdle having finishing sixth to Kilcruit in a Leopardstown bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival. Before that, he was a little disappointing at Limerick when third to Blazing Khai at Christmas, but put that right when beating Soldier Of Destiny at Thurles in January.
That bumper win together with his run behind Kilcruit could be good enough to see him get off the mark over hurdles now.
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The Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novices Chas looks an open contest with Epson Du Houx the top-rated in the field on 138. He’s already beaten Jack Hackett and should confirm that form on these terms. Joseph O’Brien’s Sempo ran well on his last start when third to Farmix at Punchestown but would probably have to improve on that, while stablemate Scarlet and Dove tipped up when travelling well behind Colreevy at Thurles in a Grade 2 contest at the end of January. Henry de Bromhead’s Epson Du Houx may just shade it.
A Veterans Chase and some of these have been in pretty good form in Open chases. The one that sticks out for me is Oliver McKiernan’s 12-year-old, Lean Araig. He’s a lovely racing weight and with Barry Browne’s 3lb claim means he races off 10-7. He’s been placed in his last three starts and may find the opposition here that little bit easier.
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