• Navan - Saturday

    Step up in trip to suit Elliott youngster

    Back in handicap company, the Gordon Elliott-trained Coko Beach could be one of the bets of the day under Jack Kennedy at Navan on Saturday.

    The four-year-old faces 15 rivals in the eCOMM Merchant Solutions Handicap Hurdle and this should represent a drop in grade for the classy four-year-old after he came up against probable Champion Hurdle contender Coeur Sublime at Down Royal at the beginning of last month. Although out of the handicap proper, Tout Est Permis could emerge as a leading danger if able to run anywhere close to his current ‘chase mark of 155.

    Elliott and Davy Russell should have the winning of the opening Kells Maiden Hurdle with Festival D’ex which was the runaway winner of the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown festival at the end of April. He goes jumping for the first time here and looks the one ahead of both Pure Genius and Tiger Tap Tap.

    Wide Receiver was an expensive purchase at the Cheltenham sales in February and he will be expected to make a winning debut in the Club Active Gym INH Flat Race. He won on his sole point-to-point start a few days earlier and possibly has most to fear from Willie Mullins’ French import En Beton.

    Another full field of runners is set to line up for the Hotel Park St Johann Tirol Austria Maiden Hurdle and Martin Brassil could have the winning of this one with another Punchestown festival bumper winner, Longhouse Poet. He showed plenty of promise on his jumping debut when second to Elixir D’ainay at Naas a month ago and can step up.

    The Grade 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Klairon Davis Novice Chase has attracted just five runners and Willie Mullins might take top honours with Tornado Flyer. He won with a little in hand from Choungaya and his own stable companion Voix Des Tiep on his first start over fences and is entitled to improve on what was his first start since early May.

    Voix Des Tiep runs in the earlier John Lynch Carpets Beginners Chase and looks the one to beat. His Naas run behind Tornado Flyer was full of promise and a repeat should be enough to see him home in front.

    Those at the foot of the weights might have the advantage in the €50,000 Foxrock Handicap Chase and Everlastingpromise could be the answer to a tricky affair. Recent wins at Clonmel and Thurles have shown the five-year-old in a good light and he might just cope with a significant rise in class.

    Selections: 12.05 Festival D'ex; 12.35 Longhouse Poet; 1.05 Coko Beach (NAP); 1.35 Voix Des Tiep; 2.10 Tornado Flyer; 2.45 Everlastingpromise; 3.20 En Beton. 

    Cork - Sunday

    Ballyoisin to outgun Cilaos Emery in Cork’s Hilly Way

    A brilliant winner of TheTote.com Fortria at Navan a month ago, Ballyoisin can land the Grade 2 Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday. 

    Enda Bolger’s star performer added to his growing reputation when making all the running to account for Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard in great style last time and might well be too strong for Willie Mullins’ Cilaos Emery which scored a wide margin success at Naas on his reappearance. 

    Jockey Mark Walsh can also add the Grade 3 Kerry Group Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase on the Mullins-trained Elimay which rounded off last season with a runaway victory at the Punchestown festival and was then a winner at Killarney a week later. She goes over fences for the first time here and can put it up to the recent Thurles winner Sinoria. 

    The earlier Grade 3 Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle can go the way of the Noel Meade-trained Battle Of Midway which held on to win narrowly over a shorter trip at Fairyhouse last month. He ran well when runner-up to Zola over this course and distance in the middle of October and should be up to defying his 3lbs penalty. 

    The opening Galtee 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle looks like another for Joseph O'Brien who can take the honours with Pasley. He was a winner on the Flat at Thurles in October and was unlucky to run into Sacchoandvanzetti on his first jumping start at Punchestown last month. 

    There is an open look to the Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle and perhaps the Gordon Elliott-trained Elusive Rebeldom is the safest option on his jumping bow. He didn’t win a bumper but ran with some promise when third to the smart Hollow Sound at Galway in early October and might do better on the less testing ground here. 

    Recent Punchestown runner-up Scheu Time looks best in the Low Low Handicap Hurdle while Willie Austin’s The Chapel Field can add to last month’s success at Fairyhouse and Thurles in the concluding Kerry Maid Novice Handicap Hurdle. 

    Selections: 12.35 Pasley; 1.05 Elusive Rebeldom; 1.35 Battle Of Midway (NAP); 2.05 Scheu Time; 2.35 Ballyoisin; 3.05 Elimay; 3.35 The Chapel Field. 

    Punchestown - Sunday

    Min the choice in Durkan Chase thriller

    The action on a seven-race card at Punchestown on Sunday gets underway at 12.20pm and there is a real cracker of a race to look forward to in the featured Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

    Last year’s winner Min is the highest rated at 171 and sets a high standard but the return to action of Presenting Percy will be one of the main talking points after Pat Kelly’s charge disappointed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

    Snow Falcon and Shattered Love are both very smart performers at this two and a half mile distance and can get involved while Anibale Fly was runner up to Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup before finishing a creditable fifth in the Aintree Grand National behind Tiger Roll in April and is another that must be considered in a mouth-watering contest. All in all, this is a race to savour and old favourite Min gets the vote to score for the second year running as he goes well fresh and this is his ideal trip.

    Earlier on the card, the Listed Voler La Vedette Mares Novice Hurdle can go the way of the promising Minella Melody which recorded a smooth victory on her first hurdles start at Cork early last month with Mount Ida likely to be her biggest threat while the Gain Supporting Laois GAA Beginners Chase could see Dunvegan make a winning start to his career over fences after showing good form over hurdles last season with Breaken likely to be his main threat.

    The opening rated novice hurdle at 12.20 is a tight affair with slight preference going to Tiger Voice which was successful in a maiden hurdle at Cork last time. The Blackrock Insurance Kilmacud Crokes Handicap Hurdle is a very open event with the improving Burleque Queen put forward as the selection after winning two of her last three races for trainer Liz Doyle.

    The other handicap on the card is the Join The Best Club In Town Handicap Chase and here Down Royal winner Castafiore Park will be popular with punters despite a 9lbs rise in the ratings but perhaps Roxboro Road, still very much in contention when slipping up in a similar race to this one here last month, can gain compensation.

    Selections: 12.20 Tiger Voice; 12.50 Minella Melody; 1.20 Burlesque Queen; 1.50 Min; 2.20 Dunvegan  (NAP); 2.50 Roxboro Road; 3.20 Grangeclare Native. 

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