Many of the best national hunt horses in Ireland may be being primed for next week’s Cheltenham Festival Sunday, but the Toals.com Leinster National Chase Day at Naas Racecourse on Sunday (March 10) provides punters with some cracking jumps races.
As the name suggests, the main race is the Leinster National and we’ve free tips for that race as well as the Irish Racing Writers Kingfurze Novice Hurdle and the Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase.
Irish Racing Writers Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle (3.15)
Last year’s winning trainer Gordon Elliott poses punters with a conundrum by saddling three runners. Chosen Mate is the most fancied of his trio most according to the early markets, but last year’s winning jockey Jack Kennedy is aboard hurdles debutant Thunder Down Under who won a bumper last time. Elliott also saddles Retribution, but the best rating he achieved on the flat was only 64.
However, none of the Elliott runners are favourite, as the bookies have installed Hearts Are Trumps at the head of the market. He’s s already rated 137 and sets quite a standard for the others to aim at. He does look beatable though, having already been beaten five times over hurdles.
That means the one to be on could be Mister Blue Sky, who was rated as high as 84 on the flat and took to hurdling really well on his debut for trainer Willie Mullins. As a winner at 10-furlongs on the flat, he should be ideally suited to two-miles over hurdles and is fancied to make it two from two over hurdles providing he runs as well for Paul Townend as he did for Ruby Walsh last time.
Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase (3.45)
Camille De Cotte will have plenty of supporters, as she has won five of her six races this season and jockey Paul Townend, who has been on board for all those victories, didn’t ride her when she was beaten. However, that defeat came on her only venture into grade one company and she finished over 11 lengths behind La Richebourg.
That suggests she may struggle to keep tabs on Kaiser Black, who ran a mighty race when only just beaten by La Bague Au Roi in a grade one last time. That was also his first run for eight months and, as he’s usually improved for his first run after a break in the past, there’s every chance he could be better again here. He’s also rated higher than all his rivals, yet gets weight from three of them here.
Toalsbet Bookmakers Leinster National Handicap Chase (4.50)
De Name Escapes Me flopped last time after the handicapper hit him with a heft rise in the ratings, after his win on his previous start, and he could be a favourite worth taking on. Last year’s favourite Pairofbrowneyes also has a lot on his plate from a 9lb higher mark and his two runs this season have been poor. His mark of 146 also looks too high, with the last nine winners rated no higher than 137.
That looks a pointer to the chances of Wishmoor, who is on a mark of 135, and ran a cracking race to be second to the re-opposing Dounikos last time. He has also run three cracking races here earlier in his career, including two wins in handicap chases. That means it would be no surprise if this race has been a long-term plot formulated by his astute young trainer Joseph O’Brien.