Gigginstown field four of five in Grade 3 novice chase
Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase (Grade 3) | 2m4f | ATR
Much of the midweek chat surrounded this race because nine of the initial ten entries belonged to Gigginstown, with the JP McManus-owned and Tom Mullins-trained Oscar Knight the only other runner.
Oscar Knight has stood his ground against the might of Gigginstown, whose four runners are spread around three different trainers, and a case can be made for each contender.
Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O'Leary , said: “All of our horses are running on their merits and this is the race for them. They have been beaten many times by horses we don’t own so where are they?”
He added: “It’s a competitive race and I actually think Oscar Knight will be very hard to beat.”
Oscar Knight has the BoyleSports Irish Grand National as his big target, and Mullins said: “We gave him a little break after the Paddy Power and he’s ready to start back. He’s being aimed at the Irish National now and I’m looking forward to running him in this first.”
If Gigginstown come out on top, the Gordon Elliott-trained Ball D’Arc appears the most likely winner. He has two good wins to his credit and is the choice of Bryan Cooper, while Elliott also has Prince Of Scars to call upon.
Elliott said: “Ball D’Arc looks the pick of ours. Prince Of Scars has been a little bit disappointing but we’re hoping to get him back on track. For Ball D’Arc, it will be onwards to Fairyhouse all being well.”
The field is made up by impressive Fairyhouse beginners’ chase winner Alamein for Mouse Morris and Henry de Bromhead’s Gangster, who is the highest rated in the field.