NAVAN Sat: We look over to Saturday’s racing at Navan, which has a seven-race card featuring the Listed Yeats Stakes, worth €52,000. Testing ground will likely throw up some unanticipated results and could allow some unlikely candidates a chance to show a better side.
⭕ A two-year-olds maiden over 5½f (1.45pm) kicks off the action with a decent field size of 13 runners, the vast majority of which are racecourse debutants. Having run third on the All-Weather on two occasions this year, Excel In Space looks a likely improver for his first run on the Turf. From a American family of Black Type performers, his pedigree suggests that he can cope with slower going and could be the one to get his head in front today. Dermot Weld’s Jalaybee ought to be in the running for another place having gone nicely for third place a week ago. This may, however, have come around too quickly for him to improve and win.
⭕ An apprentice handicap follows, again over 5½f (2.20pm). Inthepoorhouse, who was disappointing on the All-Weather when reappearing in April, redeemed himself when handling heavy ground well to finish fourth of 23 over six furlongs at the Curragh four weeks ago. With his preferred conditions and a comfortable handicap, he could be the one to beat. Sin E Shekells, who has reappeared in good form this year, has claims for the placings given seven pounds by Oisin Enright.
⭕ Next is a maiden over five furlongs (2.55pm). Jessica Harrington’s Yuzu may a chance having kept on well to finish second at Sligo last month when stepping down from seven furlongs. Now sent over her better trip with Shane Foley in the saddle once again, she can go well on the softer ground and could break her maiden here. This race offers a fairly weak field and, in these conditions, she should be the one to chase home.
⭕ The fourth race of the day is a five furlong handicap (3.30pm), which hosts a competitive field of 16 runners. Edward Lynam’s Jon Riggens (pictured below right), who typically improves for a run, performed well for third place over six furlongs on comparable going last time out at Naas and – this time having dropped four pounds – has a strong winning claim. A decent draw in stall five will help his chances. Dun Na Sead, a good second on slower ground in April, also has each-way claims.
⭕ The feature race of the afternoon, the three-year-olds’ Listed Yeats Stakes over 1m5f (4.05pm), follows. A tight-looking contest, Joseph O’Brien trains three of the six runners, the most likely of which is Nurburgring. A course and distance winner when racing here last month, this son of Zoffany powered home in heavy ground, winning by a startling 4½ lengths, and should have no reason not to reproduce that form here. Stablemate Etna Rosa mustn’t be forgotten having won nicely over 1m3f lately, and has a shout at the placings.
⭕ A 1m5f handicap is next (4.35pm) with a good sized field of 20 runners. Kevin Coleman’s Red Vermillion could have an each-way shot having run a decent race at Gowran Park last month for third place over 1m5½ on better ground, but could be hampered by a wide draw. Contrapposto is well placed to get back to winning form here, with a nice inside draw and some very good early form on Soft to Heavy ground this time last year. Now a nine-year-old, he demonstrated that he has not succumbed to age yet when keeping on well for sixth over 1m1½f in April and will likely benefit from stepping back up in trip.
⭕ Navan’s final race of the day is a three-year-olds’ maiden over 1m2f (5.10pm). Valiant King looks to be a serious contender for the win here, with the innermost draw and a close second place to Signora Bellissima on his reappearance in testing conditions six weeks ago. Unlike the majority of his rivals, he has racecourse experience and good form to boot, having never finished behind fourth place in three runs so far. If in the same form here, he could be the one to beat.