Alan Dudman returns for the Sunday action at Naas, and he previews the card with three win selections and a lay bet for the day....
"The drop back to 2m with a positive ride looks the right thing, and he does tend to race up with the speed. Good and yielding seems to suit, and he could be a potential improver in an open-looking affair."
The good to yielding surface at Fairyhouse yesterday didn't stop Rathvinden winning the Bobbyjo Chase. How we could do with more of that yielding for Sunday's action for a good card at Naas. The ground continues to make things tricky, but it didn't stop the Willie Mullins' chaser winning quite impressively. He is now 12/1 on the Sportsbook as the second favourite for the National behind the 10/1 leader Tiger Roll. Rathvinden trades at 16.015/1 on the Exchange market.
What a remarkable little horse Tiger is.
We have a couple of Graded races coming up for the day and it looks more of a punting card than last weekend with the handicaps - including 13 and 15-runner races. Not quite each-way nirvana, but with this good ground, I'll take it.
Blue to travel well in open-looking handicap
The first handicap of the day at 14:00 isn't particularly easy as established form is thin on the ground. I expect better from Lignou switching to a handicap for the first time, and he could be interesting from a mark of 117 judged on his Punchestown second on New Year's Eve. That was on a good surface back then (and nothing has changed since), but that's one fair run (beaten five lengths) in three outings (the other two being moderate). The 4.10 price is a little tempter.
Gordon Elliott has two and you can click here to read what the trainer has to say, but this is certainly winnable and Grand Vizier has a new combination of headgear on for the first time.
My idea of a trade is Coral Blue who travelled quite well last time behind Joseph O'Brien's Eviscerating over course and distance. That was also on good ground and he was beaten in-play at 1.101/10. He is the favourite at 3.1085/40, so there isn't masses of scope for the trade. Or there could be the chance to lay him in-running, but it's a race with too many unknowns to offer up a bet.
Monatomic a potential lay but Impact can be a factor up in trip
Talking of trades, there will be a few looking to get Monatomic at a short price in the run for the 14:30. And this is more like it - a Grade B Handicap over the fences with the top weight off 134.
Monatomic runs from 125 and he can travel like a horse who looks ahead of that mark. His trainer says he makes mistakes at crucial times, and that was the case when last seen when falling at the final fence at Punchestown. It was the error at the penultimate one that put him on the back foot, as he was tanking through the race prior to that fiddly mistake. The pressure was on after that and he had to play a bit of "catch up" to get to the leader.
He is a tricky horse to assess, because at times his jumping is good. That was the case when winning at Down Royal when he took it up before the straight. However, he gave the runner-up that day a chance to get back into it, and that could be his thing and he could be a weak finisher.
Trades in defeat at 1.101/10, 1.162/13, 1.061/18 and 1.9110/11 suggest so.
The solid option in terms of a bet at around 7.06/1 is Impact Factor, and he hasn't done an awful lot wrong as he usually bumps into one. He needs to reverse Fairyhouse form with Joseph O'Brien's Uisce Beatha over 2m1f, but there's every chance he can with today's new yardage of 2m4f. He was closing all the way to the line when running in a novice at Punchestown recently, and he could be interesting on his mark of 134 considering he was rated 139 as a novice hurdler. Good ground appears not to bother him either.
Jetez is largely considered a good ground horse, and for that reason he is worth a punt given the way the weather is at the moment. Back him at around 5.04/1.
We have to forgive a disappointing run last time at Leopardstown. That was a hot 0-150, but his jumping probably isn't quite up to the pressure the hustle and bustle of those sorts of races can apply to the technique. Mind you, he was beaten a fair way from home having raced on the inside.
Previously he finished runner-up to Felix Desjy in the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer at Punchestown. That might not have been a vintage renewal, but this Grade 2 might not be the strongest either. His winning form earlier in the season came in a competitive handicap hurdle.
Jockey Robbie Power has previously mentioned 2m4f as an optimum distance, and whilst he gives the impression he'll be winning races and staying well over that trip, his best form at the moment is over 2m.
The ground however is the clincher, and a smaller field will put less pressure on his jumping.
Let The Heirs Walk to do the talking
The 2m handicap hurdle boasts the numbers for the day with 15 declared at the time of writing. Quite a few hold no chance and it's clearly a race that lacks depth, so it's no surprise the last-time-out winner Curious Times topped the Sportsbook betting at 5/2.
I was initially drawn to Cristal Icon as she has been racing in some competitive affairs and has dropped down in the weights to a mark of 116. She was 20/1 last night.
The bet, though, is Let The Heirs Walk - who goes handicapping for the first time from 115 and he most certainly has ability.
Last time he tried to make the running over 2m4f at Punchestown but he didn't quite last home. The winner was the impressive Dallas Des Pictons - who subsequently landed a 0-150 at Leopardstown from 130.
The drop back to 2m with a positive ride looks the right thing, and he does tend to race up with the speed. Good and yielding seems to suit, and he could be a potential improver in an open-looking affair.
Lay Monatomic in-running @ 1.211/5 in the 14:30
Back Impact Factor @ 7.06/1 in the 14:30
Back Jetez @ 5.04/1 in the 15:00
Back Let The Heirs Walk @ 9.08/1 in the 16:05