Frank Hickey’s Naas Picks
There’s a couple of interesting races on Saturday’s Naas card and the result of the opener in particular should be noted with the Cheltenham Festival in mind.
The last five runnings of this rated four-year-old novice hurdle has thrown up the winner of the Boodles Hurdle at Cheltenham three times – the most recent of which was Brazil last year.
Sir Allen, Byker and Metamorpheus all won maiden hurdles on their second start and are open to further improvement – but I’ll take a flyer on Morning Soldier for Tom Mullins.
He had a peak rating of 88 on the Flat but was regressing through the Summer and Autumn and was only rated 72 after two poor runs at Galway and Leopardstown. His last three flat starts came on soft or heavy ground.
He was very well backed on hurdles debut at Punchestown on yielding ground from big prices and travelled well before finding Nusret too strong. The testing ground was probably against him on his second start over timber when nine and a half lengths behind Sir Allen at the same venue after that.
He faced a tough test at Fairyhouse the last day – when sixth of seven again on heavy ground – up against the likes of Blood Destiny, Common Practice and Nusret and was six lengths behind Jazzy Matty (who reopposes today) also.
However, back on decent ground again, he could be overpriced.
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Elimay has won this race the last two years but she has to concede a 12lb penalty here.
Magic Daze has a 4lb penalty and has been running well in handicaps over this sort of trip. She has had a short break since her close second at Fairyhouse at the beginning of December and just might need the run before a shot at the Grand Annual at Cheltenham. Elimay’s stablemate Dinoblue has no penalty and the form of her three-length second to Impervious at Cork before Christmas looks even better now given what the winner has done since.
Dinoblue was impressive on her chase debut at Cork, jumps well and is suited by this 2m trip.
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