All Hell To Let Loose At Naas
With a Hall of Fame consisting of Annie Power, Go Native and Newmill, it is clear Sunday’s Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Naas (3.20pm) is a race that can produce a real top-notch performer – the question facing punters is: who could it be?
Well, with Willie Mullins having trained three winners of this race during the last 10 years, his runners should be the first port-of-call for punters looking to solve this weekend’s puzzle. Mullins had four entered in midweek, including Totally Dominant, who arrives having scrapped home in an average maiden last month.
Then there is Max Dynamite, who won his maiden before being put in his place by Kitten Rock to the tune of 14l in Listed company over Christmas, while Aminabad has a similar profile having won a maiden prior to being well held in a 2m Listed event earlier this month (beaten 12l).
Over 8l in front of Aminabad at Punchestown was Sandra Hughes’ 6yo, All Hell Let Loose, who kept on all the way to the line when beaten over 3l by Bentelimar.
Also placed when a 5l runner-up in Grade 1 class back in November, All Hell Let Loose has a touch of class, and could be the one they all have to beat if repeating his Punchestown form.
Mullins’ final entry, Killer Crow, also has a bit to prove having been hammered 28l in a Grade 1 last month. Given a 49-day break since that flop, Killer Crow obviously has potential and it will be interesting if the market speaks in his favour.
Overall, it appears the Mullins runners have a bit to prove, unlike Oliver McKiernan’s, Lean Araig, winner of his last two outings in handicap company. Both victories came over 3m at Punchestown (soft), so there has to be a slight concern about this drop back to 2m, especially as his trainer stated he would stay further than 3m following his last win.
Lean Araig is officially the best horse in the race, however, and is also a 6yo, an age group that fared well down the years…
Of the last 10 Novice Hurdle winners since 2005…
9 were 6-7yo’s
9 won 31% or more of their career hurdle runs
9 made the top three last time
W Mullins won it 3 times (3-8)
The fact 6 and 7yo’s dominated this Grade 2 event may count against Jessica Harrington’s, Modem, who takes a step up into Graded company having been a 3l second in the valuable Boylesports Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown last month (2m, soft).
Another 5yo is Ridestan, who was last seen 159 days ago when finishing last of 11. A maiden winner nine months ago, he has questions to answer on this return.
There are ifs and buts surrounding some of these, including the Mullins runners, but Sandra Hughes’ All Hell Let Loose, arrives in from, has placed Graded form and will handle Sunday’s conditions.