After a fantastic day of horse racing action on Saturday, attentions turn to Navan on Sunday, who host a brilliant card with several big-name horses taking up their entries. With the Festival in mind, I’ve taken a detailed look at some of the stars on show and given my verdict on whether they’re worth the hype! For our horse racing tips, check on site now.
The first race is a two-mile maiden hurdle and the exciting Blackbow looks to get off the mark for Willie Mullins. Hugely talented in bumpers, with bold showings at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals, he was having his first run for 563 days when second on hurdling debut at Naas.
He was too keen early that day and showed definite signs of freshness, including jumping poorly on multiple occasions. He’ll have learned a huge amount from that, however, and he remains a massively exciting prospect. With natural improvement, he’s worth his price to land the spoils.
There are plenty of ways connections could look to go with him at the Festival and if he does score impressively on Sunday, his price will likely crash for any of those prospective targets, including the Supreme.
Another at long odds on, Andy Dufrense is unbeaten in three starts and looks a potential superstar. Winning his point back in March 2018, he made a successful bumper debut at Down Royal in January when spread-eagling a useful field.
He confirmed the promise he’d shown in no uncertain terms with a very easy hurdling debut success over course and distance last month. Connections clearly think the world of him, as a £330,000 price-tag shows, and the sky is the limit for this son of Doyen.
The horses against him all need to improve to be landing a glove on him and with an impressive performance on the cards, his Festival price is likely to come crashing down. Second in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle market, if you’re thinking of having a potential antepost interest, before this race is likely your best time to strike.
Gordon Elliott’s bumper horses always need plenty of respect and Pencilfulloflead could be leading a path to the Champion Bumper. He made a taking debut at Down Royal in November, showing a smart turn of foot to scoot clear in the closing stages.
He beat six previous winners in a contest where the form holds up to any scrutiny you’d want to levy at it. He’ll need to be winning this to be considered for any Grade 1 target later down the line, but he looks promising and should be given close attention to see if he can build on that fantastic opening effort.
At a general 33/1 for the Champion Bumper, he’ll merit serious consideration if he’s able to maintain his unbeaten record.