NAVAN Sat: We’re looking over to Navan this Saturday, where the seven race-card features three Listed contests; the Committed Stakes, the Salsabil Stakes for fillies and the Vintage Crop Stakes. With the official going currently ‘Yielding’ and more rain due on Saturday morning, conditions will be testing and may bring about some unexpected winners.

⭕ The first race of the afternoon is a two-year-olds maiden over an extended five furlongs at 2.20pm. Each of the eight declared runners are racecourse debutants, which could make it anyone’s race, but the pedigree of Jessica Harrington’s The Bear Trap suggests the ability to go well on softer ground. Own brother to dual winner in the UK, The Kodi Kid, who proved versatile on ground for Charlie Fellowes, and coming from a yard in great form, this Kodi Bear colt could be the one to beat on the softer ground.

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⭕ An Apprentice Handicap follows at 2.55pm, again over an extended five furlongs. Eddie and Patrick Harty’s Queen’s Pardon showed to have improved over the winter, going well fresh to win a handicap at the Curragh on Soft to Heavy last month and thus awarded a 7lb penalty. Having been in the prize money over this course and distance as a two-year-old, and given her preferred going here once again, she’s in with a chance even when carrying near top weight. She may get the better of the consistent Tawaazon, given a couple of pounds, whose sole start at this course last year was an average performance. He may have a shout at the placings on soft.

⭕ A small field of just five runners lines up for the first of our Listed contests; the Committed Stakes at 3.30pm. Both of Aidan O’Brien’s runners are looking persuasive, with last year’s Prix de Cabourg winner The Antarctic currently the short-priced favourite, yet course and distance winner Aesop’s Fables looks poised to upset the apple cart. This No Nay Never colt had an excellent two-year-old campaign, placing on soft and heavy ground, and is the more proven of the two in these conditions.

⭕ The Listed three-year-old fillies’ race is next at 4.05pm over 1m2f. Having proved to be an effective miler on softer ground as a two-year-old, Lumiere Rock looks a likely candidate for the win here. The step up in trip will suit her and, as she holds an entry for the 1m4f Oaks and the Irish Oaks, we can expect that she is considered to stay and be pacey enough for this. With long odds at 12/1, Drummin Life is in with an each-way shout having also proved herself on soft ground as a two-year-old.

⭕ The most eagerly awaited race of the day, the Vintage Crop Stakes, follows at 4.35pm. Emily Dickinson will be hard to beat, stepping back down in trip to 1m6f on her preferred going. Never out of the prize money in seven Group races last year, she will find this easier and, with an innermost draw to boot, should have no reason not to win. Course and distance winner French Claim should be her main challenger, but is likely to be outpaced in the closing stages.

⭕ The penultimate race at 5.10pm is a Handicap of 20 runners over 1m5f. Six-year-old Boola Boola unexpectedly broke his ever-present maiden at Dundalk earlier in the month on his sixteenth start, beating higher-class rivals, so is capable of making the frame this time against a similar field. Belgoprince, however, a course winner by 3¼ lengths in September in similar conditions, is a more reliable sort and, having been consistent both on the Flat and over hurdles in the winter, should be well primed to strike again from a yard in good order.

⭕ Finally, the 5.40pm maiden over 1m5f rounds up the day with a field of five runners. Joseph O’Brien’s Nurburgring is the only runner with form having been well beaten over a mile at the Curragh in September. A significant step up in trip will help him show his best, but the pedigree of Galileo’s Compass – own brother to last year’s King Edward VII Stakes winner, Changingoftheguard – suggests that he will be the one to beat. A son of Galileo, softer going should not disadvantage him and we should expect a big run from this most interesting debutant.

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