It's a big weekend for Cullentra House Stables with six runners on Sunday - including the hugely exciting Don Cossack in the grade one Navan Novice Hurdle...
12.25 Navan - Dont Back Down
It goes without saying that Willie Mullins' Boston Bob is the one to beat here. Our lad was hampered last time out at Clonmel; although he looked beaten at that stage and was probably unsuited to the drop in trip. He's back up to two and a half miles here and he loves the soft ground so all going well, he might be able to fight it out for one of the places.
12.55 Navan - Un Beau Matin
He has a good bit to make up on ratings with some of these but he did beat a couple of them before including Simenon at Punchestown last time out. Simenon might have been out of sorts that day and can't be ruled out here but our horse will love the ground and is in good form at home. It would be great to get something out of this race and while it looks competitive enough, we are in with a good each-way chance.
13.25 Navan - Don Cossack
I can't say much more about Don Cossack other than repeat the praise I've already given. He's hugely exciting and it's fantastic to have a potential big star in the yard like this. We think the world of him and we are looking forward to this immensely although we are taking nothing for granted as he faces some of the best novices around at the moment. The step up in trip will suit him no problem and he's entitled to his place at the top of the market - although all grade one races are very hard to win and this will be no exception . He's a very good horse and I've been asked quite a bit about the novice races at Cheltenham but I'm just taking it one step of a time and we will know a lot more about him after this weekend.
13.40 Hereford - Oscar Hill
We've entered him in a couple of races across the water but a number of fixtures have succumbed to the weather and he hasn't had a chance to run since he won a selling hurdle at Taunton last time. As I've noted before, he likes going right handed so the course should suit and it would be a big disappointment to see him come home without a win. It's been suggested that he could go back into the handicaps but for the moment, I'm happy enough to continue as we are and try to raid some more prizes where we can.
14.25 Navan - Rocky Wednesday
This lad has plenty of ability but he just won't show it on the racecourse and it's now nearly a year since he won over hurdles. We tried him out in a few chases but he didn't show too much so hopefully another hurdle race can give him a bit of confidence back. The ground will suit him well enough but he's definitely up against it here. His work is going well at home so it's frustrating to see him perform poorly of late.
14.55 Navan - Plan A
He showed some ability when third in a beginners chase at Punchestown in his penultimate race but was disappointing last time at Thurles a couple of weeks ago when ninth of 16 runners. I'm not quite sure what was wrong with him, he just didn't seem to travel well but he's not the worst sort in the world and I think he still has scope to improve. He's carrying a good bit of weight here but he's in with a chance and I'd be happy to see him land a place.