Felix Yonger and Faugheen the stars of Saturday show
WITH the likes of Felix Yonger, Trifolium and Faugheen in action there will be no shortage of interest in a very high class card at Navan on Saturday.
The likelihood is that there will be a comparative lack of betting opportunities with several short priced favourites likely, but the best opportunity may well present itself in the opening Kells Maiden Hurdle (12.15).
It’s a competitive event with the market likely to be made by Willie Mullins’ French import Vautour with a couple of smart bumper performers like Yes Sir Brian in opposition. It may pay though to side with the Dessie Hughes-trained Lieutenant Colonel.
This son of Kayf Tara made a winning debut in a bumper at Punchestown last month with its share of well-touted and well-fancied horses.
This horse didn’t seem to fit the latter category but came out in front in a close finish (today’s rival Harvey Logan back in fifth) and off a slowish pace which probably didn’t suit him but he was still good enough to win. A maiden hurdle was immediately nominated by his trainer as his next target, he’s certain to be well-schooled and a very big run is very likely.
The two handicaps on the card have attracted big fields and look predictably difficult, but Davy Russell looks to have a good chance of completing a double in the Dean Hill Handicap Chase (2.55) on the Shay Slevin-trained Tabhachtach.
This gelding has enjoyed the good ground on offer over hurdles during the autumn, running well here before accounting for the consistent World Citizen at Punchestown.
His run at Limerick last time though is almost more interesting in the context of a handicap chase, when under top-weight he finished a very competitive third in the handicap hurdle won by Questions Answered, trying to give him 5lb.
In a handicap chase he would have been receiving 18lb from the same horse so it was a considerable effort. He can take advantage of this opportunity on ground he likes off a slightly more generous chase mark.
The concluding Navan 2014 Membership INH Flat Race (3.30) looks another potentially interesting contest, and much of that revolves around track newcomer Casino Markets.
This horse was declared as a reserve for a hot maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse last Saturday, didn’t get in, and makes his debut in this bumper.
He did impress observers with the manner in which he won his sole point-to-point on soft ground last spring, and while this is a different kind of test his stable is in fine form following a double on a Grade 1 day at Fairyhouse last Sunday and tends to do very well with this sort of horse. He could be worth a sporting bet in an open but quite winnable contest.