NAVAN Sat: Racing comes from Navan this Saturday, with the County Meath venue hosting a competitive eight-race card.
⭕ A maiden (1.20pm) over 5f begins proceedings. There are plenty of newcomers in here, but nothing really stands out, and perhaps Darren Bunyan’s Chandigah can build on his good second in a strong Curragh maiden last month. Others to watch are West Of Wichita and Buddy Batt, who finished second and third at Bellewstown last week.
⭕ A handicap (1.50pm) over 5f follows. Coolcalmncollected had a productive winter on the all-weather, winning twice from four starts, including off a mark only a pound lower than his current rating of 77. That makes this son of Ardad look well-treated, and while he hasn’t shown his best form on turf yet, he could be set for a big run with Colin Keane in the saddle.
⭕ Following, there’s a slight step up in trip to 5½f for another maiden (2.25pm). Darren Bunyan again looks to have claims here with his once-raced son of Aclaim, Wooden Head. This gelding ran well on debut over 6f at Cork, when having to be switched wide but still making up good ground to finish fourth. That’s form that has worked out too, with two of the three horses that finished ahead of him going on to win since, so he looks a likely candidate here on his second start.
⭕ Once again the trip is 5½f for a big-field handicap (3.00pm) of 22 runners. Jessica Harrington’s Yuzu appeals here on handicap debut having shown distinct promise in four maidens to date. She was beaten just over a length into second over this trip at Sligo on her penultimate start, and the horse that beat her there has since gone on to win at handicap off a mark of 80. Yuzu starts life in handicaps off a mark of only 67, suggesting she certainly has to potential to go well.
⭕ An EBF race (3.35pm) for three-year-olds over 1m2f comes next and it looks an intriguing contest, with several smart prospects colliding. Bright Legend looked a nice colt when winning over this trip at the Curragh in April, but hasn’t been since. He’s taken on with the Dermot Weld-trained Harbour Wind, who bumped into a classy rival in Pivotal Trigger when finishing a narrow second at Roscommon on his last start, with the two pulling clear of the field. That rival wasn’t disgraced in the German Derby when last seen either. Now equipped with first-time cheekpieces, Harbour Watch could go one better.
⭕ Race six on the card is an apprentice handicap (4.10pm) over 1m2f. Boher Road won a maiden over a mile on soft ground in October last year and since then hasn’t got his head in front in four starts. However, only one of his starts this year has come on the Flat, when finishing a respectable eighth in the Cork Derby last month. That was a much better race than this and, now dropped a pound in the ratings to 78, he could be ready to strike. Experienced apprentice Scott McCullagh takes the ride for trainer Jarlath Fahey.
⭕ The penultimate race is division one of a 1m2f handicap (4.45pm). This looks highly competitive with 20 runners set to take their chance and, as most of these horses have struggled to win, it’s not a contest that inspires much confidence. Glyde Ranger is more consistent than most, having finished in the places on three of his last four starts. He was a good second on his last start over 1m4f at Bellewstown last week and has only been raised a pound for that effort. This drop back in trip shouldn’t be an issue and he is an each-way selection to remain competitive.
⭕ Division two of the 1m2f handicap (5.20pm) may prove a bit easier to solve as top-weight Barretstown shaped well at Down Royal three weeks ago on his reappearance after a break of over 70 days. Conor O’Dwyer’s runner has gone close off higher marks than 60 in the past and everything looks set for a big run, with the only worry being a very wide draw in stall 21.