SHAMROCK Sat: Navan takes centre stage on Saturday with a seven-race card, including the Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novice Chase.


⭕ A maiden over 2 miles (2:00pm) gets things started, and it should be an informative contest with 26 lightly raced contenders lining up, with several from powerful yards. Gordon Elliott’s newcomer Golden Nugget and once-raced Media Naranja must be of interest, but it may be notable that trainer Gavin Cromwell has sent out the winner of this race for the last two years. The locally-based handler saddles four here, with the most interesting being He Picked Us, the mount of Keith Donoghue. This son of Yourgunnabelucky ironically lacked fortune after being hampered by a faller at a crucial stage on debut, when finishing fifth at Fairyhouse, and should be capable of an improve showing on his second start.

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⭕ Following the opener is a mares’ maiden hurdle (2:35pm) over the same trip of 2 miles. Tony Martin’s Young Lucy represents the same Fairyhouse form as the selection in the opening contest, so it will be interesting to see how that works out 35 minutes prior to this contest. This looks a weaker contest than when finishing sixth on debut and she could be the one to focus on here.

⭕ At 3:10pm we have a 2m4f handicap hurdle, which looks fiercely competitive with 26 set to take their chance. Coolmane Park is interesting on handicap debut after winning a decent maiden over what looked like an inadequate trip last time at Thurles. The second and fourth from that race have since gone on to win maidens, suggesting it is respectable form. Off an opening mark of 114, Ellmarie Holden’s son of Walk In The Park should improve for this step up in trip and is capable of being involved in the finish.

⭕ There’s a smaller field for the 2m6½f maiden hurdle (3:45pm), with 11 set to go to post. Jimmy Chou Pecos AA catches the eye after finishing second behind a promising rival when last seen at Down Royal in December. John McConnell’s seven-year-old looked to lack a change of gear in the run to the line that day, so should be happier over this extended trip and on this more galloping track. There should be plenty more to come from him on only his third start under rules.

Flame Bearer and Ha D’or are Willie Mullins’ only runners on the card and they could be the two to concentrate on in the Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novice Chase (4:20pm). There wasn’t much between these stable companions over hurdles, with Flame Bearer getting the best of the argument on both occasions, but on the second of those only by a neck. However, Ha D’or is worse off at the weights now and while Flame Bearer will have to jump much better than when finishing tailed off in the Irish Arkle last month, this lesser race should allow him to get into a better rhythm and he has the class to prevail.

⭕ A 3-mile veterans chase (4:50pm) for horses aged 10 or older is next up. This is a drop in class for many of these, including Milan Native and R’evelyn Pleasure but the form horse coming into this is Robert Tyner’s Sir Bob. This 11-year-old son of Morozov hasn’t seen a huge amount of racing after 25 starts, and has looked good when winning over fences the last twice. It probably wasn’t much of a race he won last time at Limerick and this will require more, but he must have a chance if turning up in the same form.

⭕ A 2m4½f mares’ handicap chase (5:20pm) concludes the card. Gordon Elliott’s Motown Maggie has run well in defeat so far this season, including when not disgraced in Listed company last time out at Thurles. While she has to shoulder top-weight here, five pounds of that is offset by the useful claim of Ben Harvey and it would be disappointing if she couldn’t go close.



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