Another busy Sunday for Gordon with loads of runners across the cards at Cork and Navan and he likes the look of Farouk D'Alene at Navan...
"Farouk D'alene is a lovely horse who I think quite a bit of. He showed good form to win two bumpers last season and produced a nice performance to win first time out over hurdles at Down Royal last month. He has come on for that Down Royal run and I'm hoping he will make up into a quality staying novice this season."
My runners at Navan...
Wide Receiver could win
Wide Receiver & Folcano, 11:40
Wide Receiver has made an encouraging start over hurdles. I was happy with his maiden run at Punchestown when he was possibly a shade unlucky not to win and last time he ran well in a Grade 3 over two miles at this track. At one point in the straight it looked like he was going to drop away but he finished strongly to suggest that this trip is what he wants. We are going to keep at this trip or even a little further this season and I'd like to think he will go close to winning this.
Folcano came to us from the point-to-point field where he fell on his first two starts before winning at Tinahely. I think he will improve on what he showed in points and his work has suggested that he should be competitive in a maiden hurdle so hopefully he will run a solid race but I'm expecting him to improve plenty from this run.
Farouk can figure prominently
Farouk D'alene & Fakiera, 12:10
Farouk D'alene is a lovely horse who I think quite a bit of. He showed good form to win two bumpers last season and produced a nice performance to win first time out over hurdles at Down Royal last month. He has come on for that Down Royal run and I'm hoping he will make up into a quality staying novice this season.
This is a step up from Down Royal but I'll be disappointed if he doesn't go close to winning.Fakiera
is a grand sort. He ran some decent races in defeat in maiden hurdles last season and he came back to win at Fairyhouse earlier in the month when he just got the better of quite a nice horse of Gavin's (Cromwell). He must improve for this but I think he has come on since he made his comeback and he will enjoy moving up to this trip.
Jumping must improve
Elite Trooper Grey, 13:10
He won nicely at Cork last month when he didn't jump great and that was again an issue for him here a couple of weeks ago when he finished third in a handicap over this trip. If he had jumped better last time he would have gone close to winning so I'm hoping that if he tidies that up he will be closely involved at the finish.
Defi will need the run
Defi Bleu, 13:45
Defi Bleu was a decent enough staying novice a couple of seasons ago when his form included a third in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham. He sustained a nasty injury next time at Punchestown which meant that he had to have all of last season off so he is going to need this run. He is as fit as I can get him at home but there is no substitute for a run on the track so whatever he does here he will improve on and he will be at his best over two-and-a-half miles or further this season.
Ground a concern
Ravenhill won the National Hunt Chase for us at Cheltenham last season. He has struggled in a couple of decent races this season and looks up against it here but his rating just makes him tricky to place and he is lining up here in the hope that he will pick up some of the minor money. He does want better ground and in the spring time I hope he will develop into a contender for one of the Nationals but Minella Indo is going to be impossible to beat with a clear round.
Last Minute Man has each-way claims
Last Minute Man & Multifactorial, 14:55
Last Minute Man has the ability to win a race like this but his jumping can let him down and I didn't think he jumped great on his comeback at Punchestown although he did need that run and he will improve for that run. He has run some of his best races at this track and if he comes back to form that he showed in a couple of maiden hurdles here last season he would have an each-way chance.
Multifactorial has been a disappointing horse since he has gone hurdling. He was a useful enough bumper horse but just hasn't reached the same level as a hurdler and he is another whose jumping seems to let him down. I wasn't convinced that he was giving his all when he ran here a few weeks ago so have fitted him with headgear and hopefully that will help him step forward. I know he has the ability to go close in a race like this.
Party Central could figure in closer
Party Central, 15:30
She looked a nice filly when she made a winning debut in a bumper at Tipperary last month. Jamie Codd rode her that day was very impressed with her and she has come well recommended. We haven't asked her to do too much since she came to us but she looks a nice, straight forward filly with a good attitude and I think she is a nice addition to the yard. I think she could run well in what looks a fairly open race.
My runners at Cork
He's been a hard horse to keep right and spent almost two years off the track at one stage but he has come back in good shape and I was quite pleased with his second run for us in a flat handicap at Thurles last month.
I think there are more races to be won with him over hurdles and I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up well here.
Lots to like about Ida
Mount Ida, 14:35
She is quite a useful mare. I know she didn't really get to show it on her final two runs last season but she won a maiden hurdle in good style at Galway last October and she also ran very well against a quality mare of Henry de Bromhead's (Minella Melody) in a Listed race at Punchestown just under a year ago. She has schooled well and should make a nice mare over a trip but I also think she will be competitive at this distance as well and I'm hoping she will give a good account of herself.
Dakota probably best watched
Dakota Moirette, 15:10
He has the ability to win one of these but he is on a long losing run over fences and unfortunately his jumping tends to let him down as it did last time at Thurles when he was running a nice race. If he puts in a decent round of jumping he should be involved but that is a big question and he is probably best watched.
Axiomatic will have come on plenty
He is an honest horse but is just a bit limited which is why we have gone chasing with him even though he wasn't able to win over hurdles last season. His maiden hurdle form is respectable and would suggest that he could win a rated novice chase at some stage and I know he will have come on plenty for his comeback at Tramore where he did get quite tired and the tight track there wouldn't have played to his strengths either.
My Best Chance - Farouk D'alene (12:10, Navan)