A feast of high quality National Hunt racing is on offer at Navan this Sunday where the feature event is the Grade 2 Ladbrokes.com Boyne Hurdle.
Not surprisingly this €41,500 race has attracted a star-studded field headed by the classy mare Voler La Vedette and the highly progressive Shinrock Paddy.
An eight time winner, Voler La Vedette is stepping up in trip here and is certainly the one to beat having shown fine form against the best of horses in four runs so far this season.
Her Trainer Colm Murphy said: “She is in super form. It is a new trip for her, but she wasn’t stopping when third in the Hattons Grace Hurdle over two and a half miles and she looks as if she is crying out for a trip nowadays. She would probably prefer the ground a bit better, but she does seems to handle soft ground and it is case of all systems go with her.”
Shinrock Paddy, a Grade 1 winner at here last season, will also take his chance and Trainer Paul Nolan remarked: “He runs on Sunday and that’s the plan. He is in great form and it is a plus that he likes the track. He goes very well in soft ground. He has won over two and a half, so I wouldn’t have thought racing over two miles and five will be a problem. He won nicely the last day at Naas and he seems to have come out of that race very well.”
Berties Dream, successful in last season’s Albert Bartlett Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, is another intended runner and Paul Gilligan said of his eight year old: “We hope to run him, but I am still a bit concerned that some of my horses are just not right. They had a cough and it has taken them a while to shake it off, but he worked on Tuesday and I was well happy with him. He will love the underfoot conditions and the further he goes the better. After Sunday, he’ll go for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. We have decided that he won’t go back over fences until next season, so all those races over two and a half miles plus is what he’ll go for.”
The Grade 2 Flying Bolt Novice Chase has attracted a field of nine, but two of those, Mikael d’Haguenet and Quel Esprit are also declared to race at Leopardstown on Saturday.
The Tony Martin-trained Montan and Edward O’Grady’s Torphichen will head the betting market for this event but expect Saludos (Jessica Harrington) and Lastoftheleaders, trained by Arthur Moore, to give them a race of it.
The third graded race on the day is the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase. Colm Murphy again holds a strong hand here with Quito De La Roque who runs in the famous Gigginstown colours. However, this fellow looks to have a difficult task conceding weight to his five rivals, most notably The Hurl, a recent winner at Gowran Park.
Darren Lawlor, Navan Racecourse Manager said: “We are sharing the sporting stage with the big rugby international at the Aviva stadium and obviously full live coverage of that game will be shown throughout the racecourse. I’m delighted that the meeting has been so well supported by the trainers. There will be a number of very promising horses here on Sunday and hopefully this meeting will be a launch pad for further Irish success at the big Cheltenham, Fairyhouse and Punchestown festivals later this season.”
The ground at Navan ahead of Sunday’s meeting is described as heavy. The first of seven races goes to post at 1.50pm and the gates will be from 11.30am.