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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Mark your Card: your best bets for today’s Grade racing

Declan Smyth picks us a winner from this afternoon’s three Grade races at Navan.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Navan Novice Hurdle (Grade 1)

THERE ARE THREE Graded races on the card at Navan this afternoon where the feature is the Grade 1 Navan Novice Hurdle over 2m4f at 1.25pm.

Willie Mullins is two-handed here with Pont Alexander, the mount of Ruby Walsh, his most intriguing runner. He won a three-horse race in France on his only start back in May. The two horses beaten that day have not appeared since so it is hard to evaluate the form, other than the fact that he appeared to quicken well to win his race.

Busty Brown won a Grade 2 over course and distance three weeks ago beating Seefood and should confirm that form, while Rule The World reappears quickly after winning a novice hurdle over course and distance last week.

It will be a major upset though if DON COSSACK gets beaten. Winner of three bumpers in impressive fashion last season, he reappeared at Navan three weeks ago where he beat the highly regarded Sizing Gold impressively over 2m. The step up in trip won’t be a problem  and the 9/1 available about him for the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham might not be there later today.

Tara Hurdle (Grade 2)

The Grade 2 Tara Hurdle over 2m4f is due off at 12.55pm. Seven have been declared and it is a tricky little contest.

Whatuthink beat an off-colour Voler La Vedette in the Lismullen Hurdle back in November. He undoubtedly used his race fitness to advantage and built up a big lead, but he won’t be allowed the same latitude today.

Owega Star, Simenon and Un Beau Matin raced against each other at Punchestown back in mid-November. Omega Star finished runner up by just over two lengths to Un Beau Martin, giving the latter 8lbs, while Simenon was well-beaten in fourth when making a bad mistake at the last and was eased right up.

Oswego Star is 4lbs better off today but UN BEAU MATIN is a progressive sort. Prior to that last race he was beaten eight lengths by Jezki over 2m, and the latter went onto frank the form in no uncertain manner at Fairyhouse.

Future Champions Flat Race (Grade 2)

The final race on the card at 3.25pm is the Grade 2 Future Champions Flat Race over 2m. Seven have been declared and there is a bit of quality in it.

Hilltop Tommy‘s win in Cork doesn’t look good enough for here while Shark Hanlon throws Rare Legend in at the deep end having won his maiden point-to-point at Boulta at the third time of asking.

Champagne James was hugely impressive over course and distance back in November and connections think very highly of him. Gilt Shadow quickened impressively at Down Royal at the beginning of November to win his only start while the Willie Mullins-trained Union Dues had a comfortable win on his only start back in July.

In a race like this with no correlation between form we can only go on the evidence of our own eyes. CHAMPAGNE JAMES was the most impressive of these when winning; add in the fact that he acts on the course and going and he will be hard to beat.

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About the author:

Declan Smyth

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