Hard to look past Roi Du Mee
On what is a fantastic card at Navan this afternoon, Roi Du Mee is napped to exploit a lenient hurdle mark under the excellent Jane Mangan.
Gordon Elliott's Gigginstown Stud-owned seven-year-old faces 19 rivals in the €27,500 Proudstown Handicap Hurdle, not the sort of contest that would normally appeal as a source of banker material.
Indeed, with winners like Away We Go, Jetson and Coole Avenue all in attendance, the two-mile-seven-furlong heat will certainly be hard won, but Roi Du Mee strikes as being especially leniently handicapped. A six-time winner over fences that has scored four times in Listed or Graded class, he boasts a chase rating of 148 after two facile recent wins.
After six runs over flights two years ago, though, his hurdle mark is a whopping 30lbs lower, which rises again if you deem Mangan value for her seven-pound claim – and that she is.
While these so-called handicap 'good things' often get turned over, it's hard to make a solid case for anything other than Roi Du Mee here.
An informative novice hurdle precedes the Proudstown on a card that must pass an 8.0 inspection due to the threat of frost and Elliott's Bonisland sports the Gigginstown silks in that.
However, so too does the Mouse Morris-trained Rule The World. A 'point' and maiden hurdle winner, the likeable Sulamani gelding did little wrong when chinned by the more experienced Our Vinnie in a three-mile Grade Three at Cork last time.
He drops back in trip now, but is fancied to justify Davy Russell's vote of confidence in him.
Later on, the champion jockey might double-up on Ipsos Du Berlais, yet another smart Gigginstown prospect in the three-mile beginners' chase.
Marasonnien, successful in a poor Grade One at the Punchestown Festival, is a relatively unexposed rival for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. While he should go close on his fencing bow, Ipsos Du Berlais has the benefit of valuable chasing experience, having finished second to Lyreen Legend in a hot event at Galway.
Brian Hamilton's three-time bumper victor Moscow Mannon – fourth in the Champion Bumper in March – should take plenty of stopping for Andrew Lynch in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle. A similar comment applies to Oscars Well.
Jessica Harrington's Irish Champion Hurdle runner-up faces legitimate opposition from the likes of Dylan Ross, Klepht and stablemate Jenari in the two-mile novice chase. Still, he is the one with the proven class if none the worse for his recent fall.