Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 22 July 2017

Knight can have his day over hurdles for Mullins

Oscar Knight takes the eye in the staying handicap hurdle at Navan today for Tom Mullins. Picture: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Oscar Knight takes the eye in the staying handicap hurdle at Navan today for Tom Mullins. Picture: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Navan stages a pretty low-key jumps card today and Oscar Knight takes the eye in the staying handicap hurdle for Tom Mullins.

The son of Oscar is better-known as a chaser, and his third to Noble Endeavor in the lucrative Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas, an excellent effort, came off a rating of 130.

The last time he raced over hurdles, he was brought down in a handicap at the Punchestown Festival when a 7/2 favourite in a 25-runner race. Competing off 116, and thus scraping into today's race, he should be very hard to beat.

In a pretty forgettable card, Redhotfillypeppers takes the eye. This strapping mare bids to put her Sandown disappointment behind her in the finale but it is quite clear that she went too fast on that occasion. Every little helps for Willie Mullins in what looks an unlikely bid to retain his title.

Such is Gordon Elliott's lead, Mullins will need a massive Punchestown Festival to have any chance. Elliott can edge further ahead today with Crest in the maiden chase, returning to the scene of his maiden hurdle win.

Stuart Crawford has had an extremely quiet season. The Larne trainer's three winners in Ireland from 89 runners means he would welcome another with glee and Our Valentina may be able to strike in the first, Paul Townend a notable booking.

Kolumbus has been knocking on the door over hurdles and should go close again in the two-mile maiden hurdle for Ruby Walsh, who goes to the track for just one ride.

Another trainer who has been quiet, Charles Byrnes, has decent prospects in Hareth in the handicap hurdle over that trip.

Irish Independent

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