Santini the focus in this one. He was second in the RSA Chase last year makes his seasonal debut. He’s not a price and not worth betting on. This one is purely to watch and we’ll get a guide on where last year’s novices might stand in this year’s Gold Cup picture.
Latest Exhibition is a horse I really like. My only concern I have for him is he’s reappearing after winning 15 days ago. That’s quite a quick turn around. Fast Buck was disappointing last day out, maybe the two and a half miles didn’t suit. With Abacadabras, he has a huge reputation and he couldn’t have done any more than he did when he won his maiden. It’s hard to go against one of Willie’s runners but I think Abacadabras could be the one.
The mighty Apples Jade is unbeatable at this time of year. Willie runs Bacardys and he’s in great form but it’s all about the Apples Jade and her new rider, Robert Power.
Willie runs a horse called Eden Flight here who ran a two-mile flat race in France and who jumps brilliantly. Cobblers Way also makes his debut for Henry de Bromhead but it’s going to be about a horse called Andy Dufresne, from The Shawshank Redemption. This fella was well-touted and bolted up in a bumper last year. Apparently, he’s one of the top novice hurdlers for this season.
Lasy year’s winner, Ballyoisin, was brilliant in the race last year, blazing a trail on much better ground. This year’s ground is going to be a good bit slower and there are three of the second season novices taking him on: Duc des Genevieres, the Arkle winner, Hardline, the grade one winner in Limerick at Christmas and A Plus Tard, who won the Close Brothers Handicap Chase at the festival.
Duc des Genevieres is in good order. A strong gallop over two miles on soft ground will be right up his street.
This one sees a fascinating beginners chase – Melon versus Fakir Doudairies. I’m in the Melon camp. He has age, he’s a good jumper, he’s not far off Champion Hurdle standard. Fakir Doudairies was a good four year old but this a step into the unknown taking on older horses.
In this bumper, Energumene represents Willie and Fakir Dalene, Getabay and One Down go out for Gordon. Our bumper horses simply haven’t been winning often enough to be confident here.
Navan 12.35pm: Abracadabras @ 5/6
Navan 1.05pm : Apples Jade @ 3/10
Navan 1.35pm Andy Dufresne @ 8/11
Navan 2.10pm: Duc des Genevieres @ 8/11
Navan 3.15pm: Melon @ 5/4
*All prices correct at time of posting