2.15 Navan: Conditions Race. 3yo, 6f
This is a nice little race with some promising individuals going to post. Hot favourite Toscanini is already rates as high as 113 and therefore sets a clear standard. Is he for taking, though? I think so. Yes, he has some top class form to his name., particularly the runner-up effort behind Gleneagles in the National Stakes. But it remains to be seen if he has trained on. His only win came in a poor Dundalk maiden on his penultimate outing when he almost blew it while long odds-on. He looks a capable enough sort, but also quite quirky .
Prendergast’s Beach Belle and recent Cork maiden winner Father Frost are dangerous rivals, but the biggest challenge may well come from the filly Ainippe. She was an emphatic Listed winner last season and backed this performance up with two strong performances in Group company. She looked a bit rusty on her seasonal reappearance at Navan recently, which went along with what trainer Ger Lyons said beforehand. But she was far from disgraced as a 3yo filly first time out against some seasoned top class sprinters.
One would expect her to come on quite a bit for this run. The step up to 6f will surely suit while the ground won’t be an issue at all. Back against her own age she must have a much better chance in an easier race. Most intriguing is the jockey booking though. Highly promising apprentice Oisin Orr claims 10lb and is well worth it. In my mind this weight allowance is a huge advantage in a race like this here today.
Ainippe @ 9/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
3.20 Navan: Handicap, 5f
Wide open race and a chance is taken on Booker. This lightly raced Mastercraftsman daughter drops dramatically in trip as a campaign over further didn’t quite pan out as hoped last year. Thought to be smart after a nice maiden win at the Curragh, she wasn’t disgraced subsequently in the 1.000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown but didn’t seem right when comprehensively beaten in her final start last season.
She has performed well as a fresh horse the last two seasons, so some holidays may do wonders for her again. On pedigree 5f seems sharp enough, however she showed plenty of early speed in all her races. Fitted with a hood for the first time, she looks a big price in the context of this race.
Booker @ 16/1 Coral – 5pts Win