SHAMROCK Sat: We head to Co. Kildare this week for a competitive eight-race card from Naas.
The action begins with a maiden hurdle (11:50pm) over 2m. Willie Mullins’ impressive Aintree Grade 2-winning mare Ashroe Diamond makes her debut over hurdles here. She’s sure to have had plenty of schooling and could prove up to the task in what looks a competitive event.
Another maiden hurdle (12:20pm) follows, this time over 2m3f. Santonito looked ready for a step up in trip when finishing fourth on his recent reappearance at Punchestown, so expect to see him in a better light over this extra 3f.
Five runners are set to line up in the Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle (12:55pm), a race Gordon Elliott has won for the last three years. He looks to have a good chance of making it four from four with the talented Fil Dor. While Brazil gets a healthy weight allowance from his main market rival, the Elliott runner found only Vauban too good on three occasions last season and could prove hard to beat.
Next up there’s a competitive 2m4f Grade B handicap hurdle (1:30pm). One at likely bigger odds that could be worth chancing is Jiving Jerry. This seven-year-old was a winner of a competitive Galway handicap off a mark of 111 last season. He stayed on strongly that day to lead in the final strides of that 2m6f contest, so he clearly stays well. His reappearance came over an inadequate trip of 2m and he should be much more suited to this 2m4f on testing ground. Cathal Landers, who has won twice before on him, takes the ride.
A chase over 2m (2:05pm) sees the return of Aintree Grade 1-winning novice Gentleman De Mee. This ground may be easy enough for him but he has the class to be better than his rivals, with Coeur Sublime the clear danger.
Race six is a beginners chase (2:40pm) over 2m4f. Three Stripe Life will be difficult to beat if transferring his excellent hurdles form to the larger obstacles, but Grand Jury looks the type to make a far better chaser than hurdler. This point-to-point winner was second in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice hurdle last year, so clearly has plenty of ability, and might offer a bit of value against the likely favourite.
A novice handicap chase (3:15pm) over 2m4f is next up. Both Majavango and Happy Dreams won easily last time out and are sure to be popular. However, Martin Hassett’s Solomon Lane ran a huge race in a high-quality beginners chase at Gowran Park, won by Banbridge, and off an opening handicap mark of 100, he may be worth chancing each way.
A 2m mares’ bumper (3:50pm) concludes the card. Gordon Elliott’s Halka Du Tabert was a impressive in her sole point-to-point in December last year, winning by 30-lengths, and may be capable of getting the better of the Willie Mullins-trained Coole Cherry.