Sunday’s action at Navan features two pattern races, beginning with the feature of the day, the Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle (12:30) and like Phil Taylor in his local, it is once again Gigginstown who are throwing all of the best darts, with their trio of runners – Defi Bleu, Monbeg Worldwide and Choungaya – topping the Timeform ratings.
Two of those runners, Defi Bleu and Monbeg Worldwide, are trained by Gordon Elliott, and preference is for the former, who got off the mark at the third time of asking over hurdles at Navan at the end of last month, impressing with how he saw off a rival who was moving just as well. With more improvement to come, he can take this graded contest.
Disappointingly for both Tusken Raiders (the Sand People from Star Wars) and General Tufto fans, Southwell strays away from its fibresand surface to stage a National Hunt card on Sunday, and Henry Oliver looks to have every chance of winning the mares’ handicap hurdle (14:15) with Darlyn.
She showed improved form to get off the mark at the fifth attempt over hurdles after a 113-day break at Uttoxeter last month, and whilst she is likely to need further in time, she’s open to more improvement yet and there’s every chance that she will be able to shrug off a 9 lb rise from the handicapper – particularly when you consider that she started off in handicap company off a particular lowly mark.
As well as being the only place where you can expect to hear donk techno music in the city centre at 5pm, Carlisle also has the prestige of hosting a qualifier for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, which is due off at 14:25.
The entire field of nine are split by just 7 lb on Timeform’s weight-adjusted figures but preference is for Mac N Cheese, who heads back over hurdles having failed to take to fences, putting in a poor effort in that sphere on reappearance at Ayr last month. Whilst he is yet to try today’s longer trip, he looks the sort who will stay longer than the mother-in-law.
We head back to Ireland for our final fancy, in the 2m4f handicap chase at Navan (14:35) and there’s every chance that Allee Bleue, like a pint of Guinness, will prove far better in Ireland than England. Named after a vineyard in South Africa, Allee Bleue went from fine wine to corked plonk for Philip Hobbs last term, finishing down the field in a winnable race on his most recent start at Kempton in March.
He was a useful handicapper at this peak over hurdles, though, and whilst he will need to improve his jumping, he’s been found a very winnable race by his new trainer. It looks worth chancing that he will improve leaps and bounds for the switch of yards.
Timeform Lucky 15
12.30pm Navan – Defi Bleu @ 3/1
14.15 Southwell – Darlyn @ 2/1
14.25 – Mac N Cheese @ 13/2
14.35 Navan – Allee Bleue @ 6/4
*All prices correct at time of posting