Solwhit continues on the comeback trail in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.
Racing kicks off at 1:00pm where Expanding Universe, a costly failure over the festive period, has a chance to redeem himself in the opening INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle. Fahy’s Morning Assembly is sure to go off at small odds after his recent run behinf Sizing Gold, but Dermot Welds Expanding Universe if runs to form is the clear pick of the race at 8/1 and can get punters off to a good start.
Charles Byrnes’ six-time Grade One Solwhit winner returned from almost two years on the sidelines when chasing home Bog Warrior at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.
He is sure to be popular with favourite backers today as that proved much of the ability remains, but exactly how much will be tested by Willie Mullins classy horse So Young, who was third when upped to three miles in Leopardstown’s Christmas Hurdle. Mullins charge represents value at 2/1 as Solwhit could possibly need another run after so long off the track. Whatuthink finished ahead of So Young in Leopardstown but the drop in trip will suit So Young more than it will suit him.
Aupcharlie is expected to have too much quality for the opposition in the Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase. Willie Mullins’ seven-year-old made stablemate Back In Focus pull out all the stops in a Grade One over Christmas and can book his Cheltenham ticket here.He has the beating of Texas Jack and Tofino Bay on that evidence, so the fences could be the biggest threat to him going one better.
Mullins gives the well-regarded Un Atout his second outing of the season in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Irish Racing Writers Novice Hurdle. After hacking up in a bumper here last season, the French-bred gelding confirmed his ability when scoring readily first time over timber at Navan six weeks ago and, the classy sort is open to endless improvement the sky is the limit for him at present and could very well book his place for Cheltenham after this. Front-runner Rory O’Moore rates his biggest threat.
Tony Martin’s Matsukaze 2/1 sprinted clear of his field when making his handicap debut at Navan last month and the handicapper has hit him with a stone for that effort. He looks capable of defying that rise given the style of his victory and the fact that he looks open to more improvement. Speed Dial merits close consideration having won three of his last four visits to the racecourse, Beneficial Spirit could also be a danger off a nice mark back over hurdles.
In the finale it could pay to side with Lot’s of Memories 6/1 who bids to get off the mark after finishing runner-up on three consecutive times now. The danger seems to lie in Super Mix as he is open to much improvement after a very nice run the last day, where he showed he has ability.
|Aupcharlie (2.10 Naas) & Super Mix (4.20 Naas) both to win|