Storm Deirdre tipped down substantial rain throughout yesterday and racing at Fairyhouse had to survive an early morning inspection due to the winds. That track took its share of rain and as did Navan with the ground now changed from the declared good to yielding to yielding on the hurdle track and yielding to soft on the chase track.
Deeper ground will likely suit the market leaders Rhinestone and Defi Bleu in the featured Navan Novice Hurdle at 12:30, both bumper winners on softer going last season, but their potential is well found in the betting against the ones with proven if slightly suspect graded form. Magnium is another that might improve for some cut - connections have been saying so for a while - but this looks a race best left alone.
Navan 13:00 - Both Walk To Freedom and Golden Jewel have scope off their marks
Jessica Harrington did a fine job in bringing Walk To Freedom back from separate absences of 470 and 484 days to win a decent handicap hurdle over this course last month with the first time tongue tie (something that will be a theme this week) seemingly helping. The equipment is retained now and the form looks strong as he beat the thriving De Name Escapes Me, since the winner of a graded handicap chase, and a seven pounds rise looks lenient. Soft ground should not be an issue judging on previous form.
Golden Jewel has been chasing lately but there could yet be some meat on the bone of his hurdles mark and it looks significant that the tongue-tie is reapplied given it worked well when first used for his win at Tipperary in May. He was well-fancied for a race at Galway in August before disappointing but breaks pre and post that run suggests it wasn't his form while there was plenty to like about his last run over fences at Punchestown, making up significant late ground in the straight under tender handling.
Navan 14:05 - Side with chase experience of Sir Carno and Monotype
There are a few interesting chase debutantes in this rated novice, not least He's No Molly, but they will need to reach a decent standard to match Sir Carno. Rated 122 over hurdles, he already looks like he be a better chaser and after a promising debut behind Ben Dundee at Punchestown, he found only Game Of War too good at Thurles. It appeared as if the drop back to 18 furlongs was his undoing there and this extra distance combined with softer ground and a stiffer track should make him hard to beat.
Monotype is also worth backing at bigger prices. Seemingly brought along slowly over fences thus far, he has shaped well staying on from off the pace the last thrice in stronger races won by Discorama, Dr Mikey and Getabird and now finds himself against more suitable opposition. Again the tongue-tie looks an important addition - he won twice in three starts when it was used over hurdles - and this is the first time it has been used over fences, neatly coinciding with his first chase run where he has a meaningful chance.
Navan 14:35 - Well Tom on a good mark if making it round
It is possible that Well Tom will prove a one-win wonder after landing a gamble in Galway back in October but against that he is an unexposed six-year-old and that form is proving strong, both the second Se Mo Laoch and the third Gunfire Reef winning subsequently, the pair a combined 20lbs higher now. He unseated at the first next time though not all of that was his fault as he was bumped by a rival before falling when hunting for cheap black type in a graded race last time. His jumping isn't as bad as those pair of non-completions suggests and double-figure prices about a horse sent off a Betfair SP of 4.1 on his last handicap start look fair with this race not much stronger than that one.