Katie Walsh: Arctic Bresil can continue to catch the eye
The Betway ambassador previews a busy weekend of racing at Sandown and Naas.
The first weekend back after the busy festive period is usually a quiet one in terms of top-class racing. This weekend we have two Grade 1 novice hurdlers, one in England (Tolworth at Sandown) and one in Ireland (Lawlor’s Of Naas at Naas) and they’ll both be interesting races.
Naas on Sunday
Telmesomethinggirl wasn’t beaten far on her debut over fences, and I think she’ll come on plenty for that. She was very good when she won the Mares’ Novice at the Festival in 2021 and things didn’t seem to go right for her last season, but she can start making amends now (12:50).
Appreciate It was in a different league to these over hurdles and is likely to be in a different league to these over fences. He’s a big fella who will clearly enjoys fences based on his debut at Punchestown three weeks ago. If he jumps around, it should be a formality for him (13:20).
The next race (13:50) looks to be between two men who are both close to me, the first of which is dad's runner, Kildorrey .
Ross has a runner, too, with Benefit Run , and they should both go well. I can’t actually split them, so I’m going to hope they dead heat!
The Lawlor’s of Naas Hurdle (14:20) is a Grade 1 that has been won by some fairly smart horses, most of whom end up staying three miles. I was looking through the history of the race and it’s usually won by a short-priced favourite and usually from Willie or Gordon’s yard. I’m not sure that’ll shock you! With those stats in mind, you can’t look too far away from Grangeclare West , can you? He’s always had a big reputation at home, but we haven’t seen much of him up until now. He’s a seven-year-old now but looked very good at Navan and will no doubt stay well, too. The Mullins’ yard are in savage form and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them have another few winners on this card.
Saturday at Sandown
There has been plenty of talk about Gary Moore's Bo Zenith in the opener (12:05). He comes from France and on his only start he beat Blood Destiny, who has now moved to Willie’s yard and was very impressive on his first run for the stable. The third also won next time out in a race in France, so the form looks very strong. He’s got to give weight away to a few of his rivals, but that French form alone looks stronger than anything else in this race.
You couldn’t help but be impressed with Love Envoi on her first run back this season, which was also at Sandown in December. She won the Mares’ Novice at the Festival and wasn’t beaten far at Punchestown in a Grade 1 after that. She’s been put up 5lb for that Sandown win where the second and fifth have already been out and won since. She’ll take some stopping (12:40) if she’s still improving.
I think the Tolworth Hurdle (14:25) looks a really strong, although I’m not sure it should be a Grade 1 as it rarely produces future consistent Grade 1 performers, bar last year’s winner Constitution Hill, obviously. I’m hoping this year is different.
Gary Moore’s Authorised Speed has done nothing wrong over hurdles so far and was actually a good fifth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last March.
Tahmuras of Paul Nicholls’ has also done nothing wrong in two starts over hurdles. He was very good ay Haydock last time, although he didn’t beat a lot.
L’Astroboy bolted up on his first run over hurdles and it’s unlike his trainer Evan Williams to put them in a Grade 1 on their second start over hurdles, which tells you they think a great lot of him. He also beat Tahmuras in a bumper last season.
But I really do like Artic Bresil . He caught plenty of people’s eye when he was second in a Point-To-Point, and I know Ross mentioned him in a Betway blog last year when talking about horses to follow from the point scene. He made light work of a good field on his debut over hurdles, and I think he could be a very good horse in the making. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can back up that impressive rules debut.
Everyone enjoys watching the Veteran's Chase (15:00) and there is great prize money on offer for some of these horses who find younger legs too fast for them.
Venetia Williams usually does well in this and her two are the two I’d side with. Chambard has to overcome being pulled up last time but was very good in the Kim Muir in March.
Coo Star Sivola is looking very well handicapped on the best of his old form.
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