Horse Racing Tips

Sunday Irish Racing Tips: Thedevilscoachman the value in cracking Boyne Hurdle

Ireland stages some excellent jumping action on Sunday

"I suspect the switch back to timber could well spark a revival and he's also proven in testing conditions, which could be crucial given the aftereffects of the recent storms that have battered the UK and Ireland"

Irish expert Mark Milligan is back with three selections on an excellent Sunday card at Navan, including one returning to hurdles from fences...

We may be only four weeks away from the Cheltenham Festival but that hasn't stopped some quality horses turning out at Navan on Sunday for a card that has a really interesting look to it.

The field sizes have held up remarkably well too, with no less than 123 runners (not including reserves) declared across the eight races, with a good mix of handicaps and several classy graded contests.

Expect a good Display from Lunar

The 2m 5f mares listed hurdle at 13:45 looks a good opportunity for Joseph O'Brien's consistent Lunar Display to record a third win of the season having previously been triumphant at Wexford and Thurles.

She did turn in a rare poor effort last time when beaten a long way at Leopardstown in handicap company last time but she holds a sizeable form advantage over these rivals even allowing for the 7lb penalty she has to shoulder.

Presumably none the worse for that poor showing, it's going to take an improved performance from one of these rivals to lower Lunar Display's colours, particularly as the majority are established as a little below this sort of level.

Coachman can drive Meade to success

The Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle over 2m 5f at 14:20 looks an absolute cracker, with the classy Ronald Pump likely to be popular against a host of decent rivals.

A good second to Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse on his reappearance in November, it has to be said that Matthew Smith's charge has been disappointing on his last couple of starts, finishing well held behind Champ at Ascot in December and running even worse behind Klassical Dream last time.

Given those last two showings, it's hard to recommend Ronald Pump as a betting proposition, for all he holds the best overall form. I'll be looking elsewhere in a race that seems likely to throw up plenty of value.

Darver Star's chase form was very much in and out during the first half of this season but he's regained a decent semblance of form since being switched back to hurdles, winning at Punchestown in December before chasing home Brewin'upastorm in a three-runner affair at Lingfield last time.

Gordon Elliott's 10-y-o looks sure to have his supporters, but we pretty much know all there is to know about this one nowadays and he's also likely to be well found in the betting.

I'd rather look to a younger, less exposed runner and am prepared to take a chance on Thedevilscoachman.

Noel Meade's charge kept some fair company over hurdles last season but hasn't really cut the mustard as a chaser in a couple of starts over the bigger obstacles so far this term.

I suspect the switch back to timber could well spark a revival and he's also proven in testing conditions, which could be crucial given the aftereffects of the recent storms that have battered the UK and Ireland.

In terms of official ratings, Thedevilscoachman does have a bit to find with a few of these rivals, though as a 6-y-o, he's definitely got more scope for improvement than most. I'm taking him to bridge the gap against some more established opponents.

Elliott and Mullins to go home with a winner?

It looks tough to find any sort of value in the other Grade 2 contest on the card, the 3m novice chase at 16:05, with Gordon Elliott fielding the two short-priced market leaders, Run Wild Fred and Farouk D'alene.

The former is much more exposed than the latter having taken the Troytown Handicap over this C&D in November. However, he was a bit below that form when chasing home another stable companion Fury Road in the Neville Hotels Chase at Leopardstown last time.

Farouk D'alene was only narrowly touched off in Grade 1 company when going down by a short head to Master McShee in the Faugheen at Limerick on Boxing Day. He then found only the progressive Stattler too good at Naas last time.

In the same ownership as Run Wild Fred and Farouk D'alene, Beacon Edge is not without a chance either.

Noel Meade's charge is a Grade 1 winner - and therefore has to shoulder a penalty here - but isn't entirely ruled out.

He fell behind Galopin Des Champs last time, with that tumble coming too far out to suggest whether he'd have threatened that classy rival.

The market is likely to have these three pretty much bang on, so I won't be getting involved with this race from a betting perspective, though it's certainly one to watch from a purist's point of view.

Willie Mullins is hitting at a 33% strike-rate with his bumper runners this season and I'm taking him to continue that run by taking the closing 2m NH flat race (17:15) with Madmansgame.

This one is well related being a half-brother to the useful hurdler Gentlemansgame and was an expensive purchase having won a point-to-point at Boulta in December. He should take plenty of stopping as he makes his first start under rules for top connections.

Recommended bets

Mark's P/L

Staked: 98
Returns: 117.42
P/L: +19.42

Get a £5 Free Bet on Multiples - Every Day!

Place £20 worth of Multiples or Bet Builders over the course of a day, and, after the bets have settled, you'll get a free £5 bet to use on Multiples or Bet Builders. Bets must settle within 48 hours. No opt-in required, T&Cs apply.


New customers only. Bet £10 on the Betfair Sportsbook at odds of min EVS (2.0) and receive £40 in FREE Bet Builders, Accumulators or Multiples to use on any sport. T&Cs apply.

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.