Sunday’s feature is the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle, due off at 13:50, and it could well prove to be a corker of a contest, with both Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins sending runners who look out of the top drawer.
Battleoverdoyen, who represents Elliott, and Tornado Flyer, who represents Mullins, are more difficult to split than Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin considering that both made impressive debuts over hurdles last month, and both have a “large P” attached to their Timeform rating. A very narrow preference goes in the direction of Elliott’s charge, who scored by 13 lengths last time, though regardless of the result, both are likely to be big players in the Grade 1 novice races in the spring.
Whilst organisers of the parish council’s Autumn Flower Show may disagree, Plumpton host their big day of the year on Sunday, and there’s a novice chase on the card (13:10) which wouldn’t look out of place at Cheltenham.
Setting the standard on Timeform ratings is the French raider Master Dino, who built up a sequence of graded wins over timber at Auteuil through the summer and autumn, before making a winning debut over fences at the same track in November. He looks an exciting prospect, and is fancied to pick up a sixth successive win at the expense of the Gary Moore-trained Knocknanuss, another good prospect.
Plumpton’s feature on Sunday is the Sussex National, run over a little bit more than three-and-a-half-miles.
Runners will need to linger around longer than Louis Walsh if they are to feature in what looks a strong renewal.
It looks worth keeping on the right side of The Two Amigos, who has proved a revelation since switching to fences, and looked tailor-made for this kind of test when winning a slogger’s contest at Exeter last month. He’s been handed a 10lb rise for that success, but Nicky Martin’s seven-year-old is going places in this division, and can improve further to take this.
In case a home tie in the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday evening wasn’t enough punishment, the people of Newcastle are treated to a low grade All-Weather card on Sunday afternoon, though Sir Mark Prescott’s Elysses Palace looks a good bet in the fourth race on the card (14:30).
Elysses Palace completed a double when scoring over C&D back in May, winning cosily, and whilst he has given signals that he will improve for a step up in trip in time, he is very much the type that the shrewd Prescott excels with, and it would be no surprise should this gelding rack off a sequence of wins during the All-Weather Championships.