I start off the day on Aretesone for my dad Ted, who won well in Wexford over 2m 4f at but drops back to 2m here. Navan is a stiff track though so that should be ok.
However, Tom Mullins That’s a Wrap won his last start at Galway very impressively, got a big hike in the ratings and looks the one we all have to beat.
I ride this five-year-old for Gordon Elliott in the Grade 3 Novice Hurdle. He won his maiden hurdle well at Punchestown and then won a charity race by 14 lengths at Leopardstown in October.
Gordon also saddles Mick Jazz who won at Clonmel recently. The stable is flying and he thinks my mount Labaik has a good chance.
Likely favourite La Martalin is improving for Noel Meade and Wakea reappears quickly after winning a handicap hurdle at Down Royal well last weekend.
He hasn’t run since he finished second in America to Rawnaq last May ridden by Danny Mullins where I was three lengths back on Nichols Canyon.
A worry is that this is his first run of the season but it suits to start him off here. There’s a couple of runners in good form notably De Plotting Shed who brought up the hat-trick at Naas last weekend and the four-year-old filly Jer’s Girl who gets all the allowances.
She actually beat O O Seven 10 lengths in a Grade One Novice Hurdle at Punchestown last April when last seen and he was a good winner over fences at Cheltenham on Friday.
He’s rediscovered a nice bit of form recently and is in good order at home.
Ideally he needs 2m 4f but this two miles trip is probably better for him than a step up to three miles. The last time he raced over near the minimum trip he was second to Twinlight in December, 2014.
Gordon Elliott has three runners in the field with Tell Us More winning well at Naas last weekend from stable-mate The Game Changer. Both line up again.
The other Elliott runner Causes of Causes has been talked about as a Grand National type horse and won the 3m 2f Kim Muir easily at Cheltenham last March. I’m hoping he needs a longer trip than today’s to show his best. The same could apply to Enda Bolger’s Gilgamboa who was placed in the Grand National at Aintree but is a former Grade One winner.
There’s plenty of talent in here but I’d like to think Ballycasey has a good chance in an open-looking contest.
Gigginstown Stud’s runner was a fair novice last year, and is a good spare ride to get. It’s a competitive race but he has some decent hurdling form to his name before he was pulled up at Aintree on his last start.
He could improve again for tackling fences and I’m hoping he’s competitive on his chasing bow where Martello Tower brings some high-class hurdle form into the contest if the trip doesn’t prove too sharp for him.