Wednesday 13 December 2017

Death Duty's class to prevail in Navan feature

Gordon Elliott: Can extend lead. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Gordon Elliott: Can extend lead. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

It has been a quiet week in Irish racing but Navan's offering tomorrow sets us up nicely for the Christmas fare.

There is considerable prize-money up for grabs and the feature Navan Novice Hurdle, a Grade Two, saw Death Duty put in at 7/4 favourite yesterday by Paddy Power, with Invitation Only second in at 5/2.

Death Duty has impressed over hurdles, especially so in his course-and-distance victory last time, and he should be good enough to give weight and a beating to the Willie Mullins runner.

Gordon Elliott will be especially excited by the prospect of sending the horse over fences but there is little or nothing wrong with his hurdling technique.

The €50,000 Tara Handicap Hurdle can see Tom Mullins continue an excellent run of results. Scoir Mear, nicely progressive, is the choice of Barry Geraghty and may remain sufficiently ahead of the handicapper to take what is a suitably classy race. Gurteen, reverting from chasing, rates a danger.

The 'Future Champions' Flat Race is a Listed event and Elliott can extend his lead at the summit of the trainers' standings by striking with Samcro, a cracking prospect by the late stallion, Germany.

In the opening maiden hurdle, those who backed Joey Sasa at 1/25 in defeat in running here last time may go in again - albeit at more realistic odds. He is nice horse, travels easily and probably has enough to get off the mark.

Noel Meade can double up with Gigginstown's Stoneford in the staying maiden hurdle, while the Elliott-trained Crest can get over his fall on latest and snare the novice chase.

A drop back in distance can suit Flemenstorm in the handicap chase, at least to the extent that it should limit his likelihood of pulling for his head on his first run back.

Thurles also races tomorrow, the main event the €35,000 Listed Mares' Novice Hurdle. Mullins' domination of such events is well established and Asthuria, running in Hurricane Fly's colours, is near-impossible to oppose, even if the form of Shattered Love was boosted enormously by the Grade One win of the selection's stablemate Airlie Beach at Fairyhouse.

Stablemate Royal Caviar can put a disappointing run of seconds behind him in the opener, while the reliable Capture The Drama may hold all his foes at bay in the Molony Cup Handicap Steeplechase.

JJ Slevin has established himself as one of Joseph O'Brien's main riders and he gets a nice mount aboard Winter Magic, a winner when last seen for Jimmy Mangan, in the conditionals' handicap chase.

The Elliott-trained Bull Ride bids for a hat-trick in the Gift Horse Gallery @ The Horse & Jockey Hotel Handicap Hurdle but Charlie Stout, a really genuine sort, is preferred off a low weight.

The Christmas Greetings Rated Novice Hurdle will likely show the abundant stamina that Dounikos has. Mullins can take the finale with Sharps Choice.

Fairyhouse commences at noon today with a juveniles' maiden hurdle; unfortunately, there are none of O'Brien's recruits from his father Aidan in the JP McManus colours in the field. Dakota Moirette is a hopeful pick.

The horse that people will visit the track to see, chiefly, is top-notch hurdler Yorkhill, which begins a chase career in the maiden over two miles. He is a leading fancy for some of the Grade Ones at Cheltenham and, while a little quirky, his class should shine here.

Balynaclash Warior, rising 11, can follow up his Thurles success in the two-mile handicap hurdle, continuing a nice run for Rachael Blackmore.

Elliott has a nice prospect in Minella Till Dawn. The Shantou-bred chased home a decent sort in Moulin A Vent at Punchestown; compensation awaits in the maiden hurdle over two and a half.

A couple of Liz Doyle-trained horses were nicely backed on Thursday at Tramore, Sea Scorpion winning nicely, and she can strike again with Emma Beag in the staying handicap hurdle.

The staying maiden sees Mall Dini, which ran a blinder behind Haymount and subsequent Grade One winner Coney Island at Punchestown, bid to go two better. With A Genie In Abottle among the opposition, this is a fair test, while Martello Park can provide Mags Mullins with another bumper winner.

Irish Independent

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