SHAMROCK Sat: Preview of the Navan card on Saturday which fingers crossed is expected to survive the elements.
⭕ A seven-race card from Navan gets underway at 12:00pm, with a rated novice hurdle over 2 miles. Intranet faced an impossible task when taking on stablemate Facile Vega last time out and is likely to go close here. He does face a rapidly progressive rival, though, in Landrake, who beat a classy rival in Corbetts Cross on his first start over hurdles and looked to improve again when winning last time. This son of Martaline went close over this course and distance in a bumper on heavy ground last season and, despite having to carry more weight than his five rivals, should go close again.
⭕ A 2m4f maiden hurdle (12:32pm) comes up next. Willie Mullins appears to hold the key to this contest with both the Paul Townend-ridden Shanbally Kid and Aime Desjy lining up. Interestingly they have already met this season, when the second mentioned got the upper hand over 2 miles at Limerick in December. Testing conditions may suit Danny Mullins’ mount better and it might provide a bit more value to overlook the supposed stable pick.
⭕ The feature race is the Grade B Navan Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f. This looks a competitive event with 15 set to line up and plenty holding chances. Au Fleuron caught the eye staying on well for fourth at Punchestown in a similar event last month. He should be suited by this stiffer finish at Navan and remains on the same mark of 131. He’s the each-way selection in a tight heat.
⭕ Over the same trip of 2m4f there’s another big-field handicap hurdle (1:42pm) next up. This is a much weaker race though, so it could pay to take a chance on Patrick Downey’s progressive handicapper Penny Jar. He was a ready winner over a slightly longer trip at Punchestown in November – a race that has thrown up a few winners since – and, if returning in the same form, may have what it takes to defy an eight-pound rise.
⭕ It’s hard to oppose It’s For Me in the 2-mile bumper at 2:17pm. An impressive winner of a point at Loughanmore for the Stuart Crawford yard, he has since transferred to Willie Mullins. The form of that win has a good look to it, with two horses that finished third and fourth going on to run well under rules since. Expect to see him make a winning introduction under rules here.
⭕ The 2:52pm is a beginners’ chase over 3 miles. It’s likely Tenzing bumped into a high-class rival last time out at Thurles in the shape of Ramillies, a horse that’s well fancied for the National Hunt Cup at Cheltenham. That is probably the best form in this field and he can get the better of Mahler Mission and stablemate Aione.
⭕ The finale is a handicap chase (3:27pm) over the same trip of 3 miles. Legacy Of Dreams makes his first chase start under rules, but it’s interesting that he was a good winner of a Point-to-Point back in October. His third-place finish in a 3 mile Fairyhouse hurdle most recently is decent form, with the two horses that finished ahead of him going on to place since, and provides hope that he’s in the required form to make a mark over fences. Philip Rothwell’s runner is chanced each-way in a competitive race.