Mullins And Elliott Set To Battle It Out In Navan
The last few weeks have seen the emergence of some big names of the National Hunt world but also a few shocks as well so punters will be threading carefully on the short priced favourites at the moment. That said, two likely ‘shorties’ at Navan today can oblige for punters with runs under their belt.
Felix to Grabim
The top two in the betting in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan are trained by Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott which is sure to be a common theme over the coming weeks and months and both have already had runs so it really will make for interesting viewing between Mullins’ Quick Grabim and the Elliott-trained Felix Desjy.
Quick Grabim is a second season novice who won at Listowel in September and then obliged in a Grade 3 at Tipperary last month but as a result of those wins has to give 7lbs away to the talented Felix Desjy who can swing this race on those terms.
Felix Desjy may easily develop into a Grade 1 contender this season and could even have the beating of Quick Grabim off level weights so the allowance for winning just once so far is a big advantage to Jack Kennedy’s mount.
A well fancied runner in the Champion Bumper last March, Felix Desjy was hard on himself then and lost his form at the latter stage of the season but could hardly be more impressive when starting off at Galway.
He looks a horse that could be a prime candidate for the 2m4f Grade 1 at Naas later in the season but for now, he is likely to race prominent today and fend off his rivals in the maroon and white of Gigginstown over 2m.
Bolger holds the key in the Fortria
It was another JP McManus runner in Great Field who looked the likely favourite for the Fortria Chase earlier in the week but his absence has made the Grade 2 a very winnable opportunity for Ballyoisin.
Enda Bolger’s charge is still only a seven-year-old and could easily still be progressing through the ranks despite already managing to obtain a rating of 157.
From 16 starts on the track Ballyoisin has won seven and failed to complete in four, just once finishing outside the frame when completing and that was in a competitive handicap hurdle at Punchestown last April.
Since then he has won good chases at Killarney and Punchestown, bolting up when having subsequent Grade 1 runner-up Woodland Opera behind in that Punchestown outing, and he made good use of his hurdle rating to win a valuable prize at Listowel last time out.
He deserves a crack at this company and it would be disappointing if he can’t land this Grade Two as he could even be a horse that could hold his own in Grade 1’s later in the season with the Ryanair Chase a possible long term target.
The ground at Navan was still good yesterday after 15mm of rain so Ballyoisin will relish the conditions and is a confident selection to go with Felix Desjy in a Sundayt double.
Felix Desjy (EVS) – 1.05 Navan
Ballyoisin (10/11) – 2.10 Navan
*Prices correct at time of publication