The Equine Flu has stopped play in the UK but it’s a result for ITV racing viewers that there are five live races from Naas on Saturday.
Hopefully, we can bag a few winners on the eight-race card.
An uncompetitive event to kick things off but the odds-on favourite will be hard to beat for Martin Brassil. City Island is a good one to anchor any multiple bet and will likely head to the Ballymore Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham, a race his owner sponsors.
If somebody had said that Debuchet would still be a maiden over hurdles after six starts, you’d have thought they were joking. But he is and while it is a little leap of faith backing him – this is far and away his easiest task to date.
There are a few in here that will improve when they go handicapping, but I like Jessica Harrington’s Emily Moon to at least get among the places.
Advantage Point looks a deserved favourite as Gordon Elliot’s Dallas des Pictons has franked the form by winning twice since after finishing just in front of him in that Naas maiden hurdle, when he was third.
The drop back in trip isn’t too much of a worry, the bigger concern is that it has been over 230 days since trainer Edward Harty last had a winner. The interesting one is Henry de Bromhead’s Royal Thief. He’s related to some winners and HdB can get them ready first time up.
The fascinating thing about this race is how little recent winning form these mares have over the trip.
Willie Mullins’ Pravalaguna is going to be hard to beat as she jumps very well. She’s likely to be an odds-on favourite so for a bit of value look to Gordon Elliott’s Mrs Lovettt for each-way value. She travels strongly in her races.
Konitho is another four-year-old from the Joseph O’Brien stable who has winning form. He was really impressive at Naas last time. Joseph’s other runner, Band OF Outlaws, is the danger.
He has a habit of flying home late and Naas will play to this highly-rated flat horse’s. strengths. Konitho can’t take it easy as this lad will expose any weaknesses.
A decent handicap chase where I am plumping for an old pal, Velocity Boy who has run over a few trips recently.
He ran a hell of a race in the Paddy Power Cork National over a marathon 3m 4f last year, where he was booked for at least a place, when coming down at the second-last fence. He will enjoy this shorter trip, especially if he is ridden handily.
Peculiar Genius is one that I looked long and hard at, but I worry that he may not be a strong enough stayer at this stiff track.
Leave Your Mark runs in the colours of the race sponsor, J P McManus and should be involved at the business end off a rating of 107.
He was placed behind Jimmy Rabbitte at Thurles and he’s subsequently won two races in the UK for Dr Richard Newland.
Captain Courageous is the one to be wary of. He won off a mark of 82 at Haydock for Ed Vaughan before joining Gavin Cromwell and any market support could speak volumes.
I really want Front View to win this – because I’ve backed Blue Sari for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. Front View was really fancied that day but was left for dust by Blue Sari. Gordon Elliot’s Special Brute could be worth keeping an eye on as are a few of the other stables’ big guns who have strong records in bumpers.