Monday 19 February 2018

Weld's Vigil should provide the answer on Flat debut at Navan

Weld has won it with Hidden Universe and Silver Concorde in recent years. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath
Weld has won it with Hidden Universe and Silver Concorde in recent years. Picture Credit: Frank Mc Grath

Johnny Ward

Vigil is perhaps the most eye-catching horse on Navan's Flat card today.

The two-mile maiden sees Vigil make his debut on the level. This has been a smart event down the years, often used to give high-class jumpers their first run in months; previous winners include Hardy Eustace and Back In Front.

Dermot Weld has won it with Hidden Universe and Silver Concorde in recent years and Vigil, which finished fifth in the Cheltenham Bumper on two occasions, may prove the answer. He failed to threaten in the Neptune at Cheltenham when last seen but, given his hurdling inexperience, he was far from disgraced in a plugging-on sixth.

Aidan O'Brien complicates the scene. Having saddled the first three home in the Arc, all bred by Galileo, he provides three Fastnet Rock-bred newcomers in Candle Rocks, Santa Anita and Sugarloaf Mountain. Rider bookings do not necessarily clarify matters.

The most competitive event of the day could be the ten-furlong handicap, with 19 runners, quite a few of them looking well-treated. Course-and-distance winners The Nutcracker and Dysios may both be well-treated, with preference for Dysios. He won this race in 2013 and looked a big price for this last night at 16/1.

The opening sprint maiden should go the way of Anania, as her mark of 77 looks good enough, but she has not run since a tame effort at Naas in June. Billy Lee can provide the answer here with Grainne's Dream, which has a mark lower than that of A Likely Story but which beat that one last time.


Harry Rogers attacks the apprentice handicap with both Acroleina and Suburban Sky, both of which have a chance. Suburban Sky, which has ample course form, is a tentative pick under Sean Davis.

Jim Bolger may strike with the New Approach-bred Clongowes in the mile maiden. One always tries to decipher whether a newcomer's name is of significance and this one is named after Ireland's oldest Catholic school.

Earlier in his life, Bolger used to drive all his apprentices to Mass of a Sunday. He is a proud Catholic, but what is in a name? All will be revealed.

Stablemate Tipstaff is tempting in the finale. The Street Cry-bred looked a solid type of horse when second to the 94-rated Pacodali, with the 96-rated Ample Sufficiency, third on debut at Gowran. He is flattered by the bare details but should be hard to beat under Kevin Manning.

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