Nice to get a winner on the Saturday Gowran card with Flat To The Max in the opener. The rain that fell on Friday morning really got into the ground but it seemed to suit my fella well as he rallied gamely and the first time blinkers applied by Gordon (Elliott) also seemed to do the trick.
It’s Troytown Chase day at Navan on Sunday – they haven’t had as much rain and it’s expected to ride good.
DEFI BLEU (12.00pm)
I’ve ridden him in work and he’s a grand big horse who should hopefully appreciate the step up in trip. He’s got the run under his belt this season and a good one it was too when he was second to Brace Yourself in Down Royal. His form so far has been with give in the ground so we’ll see how he handles quicker conditions here in what looks a competitive race. The Noel Meade trained Momus looks the obvious danger.
ASK NEILUS (12.30pm)
This is quite a big ask for her on her hurdling debut against some lightly raced sorts. She’s had four races in bumpers but after a promising effort at Listowel her form tailed off here at Navan and then at Tramore. We’ll need her to show more for the switch to hurdles as Gypsy Island, Put The Kettle On and Whatucallher all have big claims.
DINONS (1.00pm Monksfield Novice Hurdle)
It’s definitely a lot more competitive than last year when Samcro romped home in this! Dinons has been a revelation winning his last five races by wide margins and is unlucky not to be on six in a row as he fell at Bellewstown with the race in the bag at the start of the current sequence. He missed Cheltenham last week with this in mind and should again run a big race. The concern would be whether his busy summer will finally catch up with him in this good class race where he has to give weight away to his rivals. He’s also stepping back in trip but I’m not expecting that to be a problem. Felix Desjy is up in trip after a disappointing run here the last day. First Approach and Easy Game both come into this on the back of decent efforts last time out.
WESTERN HONOUR (1.30pm)
He just failed to catch Jimmy Rabbitte when I was on him the last day at Thurles – that was his first start for Gordon. He now starts off life in handicap company off a mark of 109 which looks no better than OK. He’s lightly raced and seems consistent so will hopefully run his race on quackish ground which he should like. It looks wide open though.
DUCA DE THAIX (2.00pm)
This looks a good race and my fella is learning his trade nicely over fences and has run well in all three of his races including over course and distance the last day. The huge danger to all though is Paloma Blue. I rode him in work a couple of weeks back and he jumped really well in his schooling session. He was good class over hurdles but always looked the sort to have a bright future over fences.
OUT SAM (2.30pm Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase)
Great to be re-united with Out Sam who gave me a great spin when winning the Cork Grand National the last day and hopefully will give me a fighting chance of repeating last year’s win in the race and keep up Gordon’s winning run. He’s up 8lb and you can’t really expect anything less for winning such a big race. It’s a huge ask to go back to back in these top class races as there are good horses left, right and centre. Young Turk off 10-2 and Minella Beau who was getting into contention before falling in the Cork Grand National are just two of the more interesting ones.
WESTLAND ROW (3.00pm)
No breakfast for me if I’m going to do 10-9 and it may mean I have to put up a bit of overweight. Westland Row is a grand horse who should make a chaser in time. That said, he’s achieved plenty over hurdles too and we’ll get a feel of where we are with him on his first race back after a long break. This is a good starting point for him.
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