Through The Card: Naas, Monday 23 March

Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien has a strong team heading to Naas on Monday

Timeform take you through the card at Naas on Monday...

"...fancied to make her presence felt at an even higher level than this as the season progresses..."

Timeform on Even So

14:00 - LIPIZZANER (2) cost $650,000 as a yearling and it's easy to see why on pedigree; he is by Uncle Mo, a top-class sire in the US, and out of the Australian Group 1 winner Irish Lights. Aidan O'Brien had his two-year-olds unusually forward in 2019, with his first four runners all winning, and Lipizzaner ticks the right boxes to suggest he can do likewise here. The main danger looks to be Poetic Flare, who has attracted support this morning for the Jim Bolger yard that won three consecutive renewals of this race between 2011 and 2013. He is bred to need further than this in time but has clearly been showing all the right signs at home.

14:30 - KNIGHT OF MALTA (11) showed ability when fourth on his debut over C&D last October, displaying bright early speed before weakening late on to be beaten five lengths, possibly needing the run in testing conditions. That form is just about the best on offer in this line-up, and, with further improvement on the cards, this looks a good opportunity for him to open his account at the second attempt. Grizzly similarly shaped well on his sole start as a two-year-old and looks best of the rest after a gelding operation, leaving the newcomer Eshtiya and Woodford General to complete the shortlist.

15:00 - MOKHALAD (5) enjoyed a productive season in 2019, with two of his three wins coming over this C&D. The seven-year-old wasn't beaten far on his final two starts of the campaign, either, and the handicapper has given him a chance since, now back down to his last winning mark. The booking of Colin Keane is also a plus, and he looks sure to give a good account if fully wound up after five months off the track, representing the Damian English yard that has proven profitable to follow when sending only one runner to a meeting (£33.33 level stakes profit). Arcanears and Dark Vader are others to consider.

15:30 - CAMACHITA (3) could be worth chancing here at rewarding odds, having shown how well she handles testing conditions in five two-year-old starts. She was beaten just a head on her only previous outing in handicaps, with the first two that day pulling six lengths clear of a subsequent winner, and a mark of 92 should prove workable now making her reappearance as a three-year-old, representing the Johnny Murtagh yard that continues in good heart (two winners and four seconds from last 12 runners). Hong Kong also boasts some strong juvenile form and can give the selection most to do on handicap debut.

16:00 - SIR DRAGONET (1) came a long way in a short space of time as a three-year-old, with his fifth in the Derby coming barely five weeks after he had made a winning debut at Tipperary, with a wide-margin win in the Chester Vase sandwiched in between. He also ran creditably on his final start in the St Leger at Doncaster, when seemingly finding the test too much, and the drop in grade here presents him with an excellent opportunity to get his four-year-old campaign off to a winning start, very much the one to beat on Timeform ratings. Brogue is a fascinating contender on the back of his debut success last May and can battle it out with Numerian for the minor honours.

16:30 - EVEN SO (6) looked promising in two juvenile starts, catching the eye when third on her debut at Tipperary in August and showing the benefit of that experience with a ready success at Gowran Park four weeks later, drawing clear in the final furlong to win by three and three quarter lengths. She looks sure to go on improving as a three-year-old and appeals as a filly to follow during the months ahead, one who is fancied to make her presence felt at an even higher level than this as the season progresses. Blissful and the selection's stablemate Lemista are others to note in a Group 3 that could be dominated by the classic generation.

17:00 - RUSSIAN EMPEROR (15) was easy to back on his debut at the Curragh last July but ultimately produced a performance full of promise to take third, doing his best work at the finish to be beaten only two furlongs by his better-fancied stable companion, Iberia. That form could hardly have worked out better, with several winners coming out of the race, and he certainly showed enough to suggest he was a banker for a similar event such as this, before going on to bigger and better things. Emiyn and Lough Cutra were others to go in the notebook in the autumn after promising starts.

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