Welcome to my weekend blog and what a week it has been in the racing world. It’s obviously concerning what’s going on with the equine flu in the UK. We can only hope the authorities have caught the outbreak early enough and it’s now fully under control. Fingers crossed racing can resume, as normal, in the middle of next week.
Naas keeps the show on the road on Saturday and it’s great news that the meeting will get much wider exposure thanks to ITV now covering five races live.
Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s card and I’ll be back, as usual, on Saturday evening with a new blog looking forward to Sunday’s card at Punchestown which features the BoyleSports Grand National Trial.
There’s been plenty of rain about, so at last we are starting to see the going starting to ease.
SKY MARSHALL (1.10pm)
25 runners and very competitive. My fella really stepped up on his Cork debut over hurdles to finish second the last day at Fairyhouse behind Authorizo who remains unbeaten and has entries for Cheltenham. Hopefully that form is above average and if Sky Marshall continues on the upgrade he should be thereabouts. Debuchet is a very talented horse and it’s really only a sign of the times that he remains a maiden over hurdles given the racing is so competitive these days. He certainly hasn’t done much wrong and brings plenty to the table.
No ride here in the second division but I’m keen on the chance of Advantage Point. I’ve liked him for quite a long time and he brings vital experience to the race including a couple of promising starts over hurdles at Galway and Naas.
2.10pm (BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase Listed) (ITV)
Mrs Lovett, one of two runners for Gordon (Elliott), might bounce back to winning form in this Listed race for mares. She has been in good form this season with a couple of wins for me at Thurles and Fairyhouse and then found life a bit tougher at Warwick in December over 2m 4f. She’s back after a short break and back to two miles which could be the key.
Just the seven runners for this novice hurdle but there’s plenty you could could argue a case for. Gordon and Joseph (O’Brien) both saddle two runners and the field is completed by Maze Runner trained by Willie Mullins. Elysian Prince ran very free before unseating at the first at Gowran back in October and if forced to pick here I’d probably just side with Konitho who looked good when winning over course and distance on his first start since joining Joseph from France.
Very competitive handicap chase in which Scoir Mear could run well. JP also has Close Shave entered but I prefer Scoir Mear who is edging down the weights and both distance and ground should be perfect. There are so many dangers. Roaring Bull, trained by Gordon, usually runs solid races but needs to bounce back from a Thurles run in January whilst Bilbo Bagins and Nellie Pledge can also be given good chances on the formbook.
It doesn’t get any easier here with this 23 runner handicap to close off the ITV races. Leave Your Mark, trained by Joseph, has only had the four starts and there could well be further improvement to come with him coming back after a break on his handicap debut. Empire Burleque won on heavy ground on debut so any further rain would help his cause but he might just still be in the grip of the handicapper.
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…