There’s some competitive racing at Naas this afternoon on a day that might just throw up some last-minute Cheltenham pointers. Gary O’Brien has a recommended bet for you to consider…
Sunday’s card at Naas was in the past referred to as “Cheltenham Trials Day”, but while there could still be a late pointer to next month’s big festival in the Cotswolds most of the raiding party will be ‘on ice’ at this stage.
Andy Dufresne, who was ruled out of travelling some time ago, is the highest-profile horse on show but he faces no easy task conceding 6lb and more to a clutch of promising rivals in the featured Grade 2 Novice hurdle at 15:10.
Indeed official ratings suggest Mt Leinster, third to Supreme Novice Hurdle fancy Asterion Forlonge at the recent Dublin Racing Festival, should comfortably have his measure on today’s terms but in truth it’s an easy enough race to sit out.
Yafordadoe looks on a fair mark and can go well
The four year-old handicap hurdle at 15:40 on the other hand looks a good race to focus on, and dual flat scorer Yafordadoe is the one who stands out.
Being by Zebedee, there might have been a stamina doubt for this horse over two miles but he has appeared to get the trip well on all four outings so far. Having shown promise on each of his three qualifying starts in maidens, patiently ridden on each occasion, I thought there was plenty of encouragement to take from his recent handicap bow over today’s course and distance earlier this month.
He looked a major threat when looming up towards the outer going to two out only to peck on landing there, from which point he was always on the back foot. It was an effort that certainly suggested he is at least on a fair mark and the experience gained against seasoned older performers ought to really stand to him back in his own age group this afternoon.
There has been just one race of this type run so far this season and it went to Gavin Cromwell courtesy of Bajan Excell, who got the better of a couple of today’s runners Nobel Joshua and Fassbender at Limerick just under a month ago. That should give my selection’s trainer a good handle on what will be required this afternoon.