2.35pm Naas Tips & Betting Preview 28/01/2017

Graded action is on the agenda at Naas in their fourth race of the day, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: A tricky Grade 3 can go the way of Henry De Bromhead’s BALKO DES FLOS. He has ran well on his two chase starts to date including a comfortable win at Fairyhouse on his latest start, and he should relish this step up to the three mile trip. He does need to improve again but still has scope for further progress and is likely to do so. He can see off the attentions of Haymount, who beat subsequent Grade 1 scorer Coney Island on chasing debut.

1 BAY OF FREEDOM – Twice a winner over fences thus far, winning a beginners chase at Listowel in September on chasing debut before sauntering home in a listed race the time after at Wexford (2m 7f, Good). Not so good on his latest start at Doncaster in a Grade 2 (2m 7f, Good) and this doesn’t look any easier, if not even harder. Ground versatile and likely to give his running, but is likely to be found wanting in a field like this.

2 A GENIE IN A BOTTLE – Thrice raced over fences and won on his third start at Fairyhouse when upped to this distance in December (3m, Soft to Heavy). That was a competitive looking race and is entitled to go well again here at his optimum distance. If given a soft lead he’ll be highly dangerous as he’s a tough nut to crack and has to be respected.

3 ANIBALE FLY – Grade B handicap winner back in April (2m 4f, Yielding) over hurdles and looked to be progressing nicely over fences, finishing a good second in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse in December on his second chasing start (2m 4f, Yielding). However he ran no soft of race at Kempton in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, struggling from an early stage and not jumping particularly fluently either. Likely to be capable of much better back on softer ground and cannot be dismissed easily on the back of his penultimate run, but does have something to prove at present.

4 ARKWRISHT – Useful hurdler in his own right including a Grade 3 winner at Clonmel in February (2m 6f, Heavy), but has struggled over fences this season and was well beaten again on his third attempt at Punchestown two weeks ago (2m 4f, Soft to Heavy). Likely to struggle on these terms and impossible to recommend.

5 BALKO DES FLOS – Fifth in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and a good fourth in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle a month later (3m, Soft). Has made a seamless switch to fences when a good second behind Bellshill on chasing debut in November (2m 4f, Yielding) and went one better to win on New Year’s Day at Fairyhouse with a comfortable success (2m 5f, Soft). Likely to enjoy this step up in trip with the ground to suit and still has scope for progress over fences, so has to be respected for Henry De Bromhead with David Mullins on board.

6 BRIAR HILL – Smart hurdler at his best though inconsistent at times, and hasn’t been disgraced over thus far. He finished third in a Grade 3 on his third run over fences and may well have won for the extra distance, though he did fall when in the rear at Leopardstown in December in a Grade 1 (3m, Yielding). Likely to be capable of much better over fences if his hurdling form is to go by and if staying on his feet, this extra distance should help eek out further progress from him. Likely to be in their pitching though others do have more pressing claims, and may be fighting for places only.

7 HAYMOUNT – Very consistent performer, finishing out of the places only twice out of ten runs under rules and even on those runs he still finished close up. Made a great start over fences when beating the subsequent Grade 1 winner Coney Island at Pucnhestown in November (2m 4f, Soft) in a brilliant display. He had to settle for second behind Bellshill on his latest run at Limerick on Boxing Day in a Grade 2 (2m 3f, Heavy) though there was no disgrace in that effort. Hard to see him running a bad race for Willie Mullins with Danny Mullins taking the ride and still remains with potential over fences. This extra distance is likely to suit as will the ground and has to be respected.

8 MARTELLO TOWER – Quirky horse who only seems to do just enough to get the job done, though he was a gritty winner of the 2015 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2m 7f, Soft). Has stamina in abundance and hasn’t been disgraced thus far over fences with a win at Fairyhouse (2m 5f, Yielding), holding A Genie In Abottle at bay by a neck. His latest effort was quite poor in Grade 1 company at Leopardstown (3m, Yielding) and this doesn’t look much easier, as the extra distance really should have helped him that time around. Needs this to turn into a true stamina test and seems unlikely today.

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