Horse racing tips for Saturday's card at Naas
Naas Racecourse stages an eight-race National Hunt card on Saturday, with 116 horses entered on what is currently described as soft ground.
The first race gets underway at 1.05pm, with the eighth and final race at 5pm - find all the latest odds at My Betting Sites.
Five are declared for the feature race of the afternoon, the BAA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase - with the two-mile Listed contest due off at 4pm.
Elimay, the JP McManus-owned eight-year-old won the race last year for Willie Mullins and is a warm favourite to defend her crown. She finished a half-length second in last year’s Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham, as well as boasting form behind subsequent Ryanair Chase winner Allaho. Her latest showing came in the form of a half-length second to Mount Ida and given her winning form at the track, she will prove hard to beat and is the 1/8 favourite to do so.
Court Maid won two of her Chase starts last term and finished behind Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Klassical Dream back over hurdles on her latest appearance - although she still has a fair bit to find with Elimay. La Chanteuse, That’s Lifebouy and Caddy Shack make up the small field.
The 1.40pm Irish EBF Auction Novice Hurdle - over 2m 3f - consists of nine runners, including four last-time out Maiden Hurdle winners. Henry de Bromhead’s Journey With Me beat the likes of Minella Crooner and Kilcruit at Leopardstown in December and was an impressive Bumper winner on his first start under rules. That form has been boosted since with Minella Crooner tasting Grade One success at the Dublin Racing Festival and Kilcruit winning a novice event.
Hi Ho Phoenix was an impressive winner at Fairyhouse in December and on that run warrants major respect in this field. Another fascinating runner is the Stuart Crawford-trained O’Toole. The six-year-old was second in a competitive bumper at the Punchestown Festival last term and made the perfect start to life over hurdles at Downroyal in December. Crawford feels O’Toole could be the best horse is ever trained and he therefore warrants respect along with Pinkerton who is unbeaten in two starts under Rules, backing up a debut bumper success with victory at Thurles in January.
Another small, but seemingly competitive field line up in the opening race of the afternoon - the Rated Novice Hurdle (1.05pm) over two miles.
Ben Siegel comes here off the back of a run in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown - with little shame in finishing behind Vauban and Fil Dor. Before that, the four-year-old ran away with a Punchestown Maiden Hurdle, beating Brazil - who could only manage sixth. Feigh finished second subsequent Black Type filly White Pepper at Fairyhouse last time out, whilst, Delante ran well on very soft ground in France and Ebasari was good on heavy ground at Cork and can be forgiven his latest run.
24 runners compete for the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle (3.25pm) which looks a very open race and preference goes to the two winners last time out, Uncle Gerhard and Whiskey Lullaby. Age is catching up with 14-year-old Josies Orders, but this huge step back in trip may just rejuvenate him and if he can dictate the pace, he looks an interesting each-way contenders in one of the most competitive races of the afternoon.
Another horse to watch on the card is Billaway for Patrick and Willie Mullins in the Hunters Chase at 4.30pm. The 10-year-old already boasts course and distance winning form at this track and has finished second in the last two runnings of the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He is a current 9/2 chance for that event at Cheltenham in March and he seeks a confidence boosting victory here.
1.40pm Journey With Me
2.15pm Harald Hardrada
2.50pm A Fortune Out West
3.25pm Whiskey Lullaby
5.00pm El Capitaine
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