Katie Walsh: There are a few horses I think will go well at Naas
The Betway ambassador reveals her fancies for a busy weekend of racing at Newbury, Warwick and Naas on Saturday and Punchestown on Sunday.
We were spoilt at the Dublin Racing Festival last weekend.
The highlight for me, as it was for most racing fans, was seeing Faugheen win. It was a lovely performance and it was great to see everyone rush to the winners’ enclosure to cheer him in.
Asterion Forlonge was also very impressive, and wherever he goes, he’s going to be a tough nut to crack. He just gallops and stays.
Sunday at Punchestown
There’s a good card at Punchestown on Sunday, starting off with a Cross Country Chase (13:45) that I think Yanworth will win. He was a top-class horse on his day and has shown a new lease of life in these sorts of races. A clear round should make him very tough to beat.
The Listed Novice Hurdle (14:15) looks competitive, but I loved the way that Cedarwood Road did it last time out and I’d be on him to follow up that success under Davy Russell.
He took time to get the hang of things but did just that last time out when bolting up by 11 lengths, showing he clearly has an engine. You’d imagine Davy will just tuck him in and let him find his rhythm in a race that won’t be short of pace.
The Novice Chase (15:50) has only attracted four runners, but it’s a good little field. Zero Ten should be able to get the better of Dunvegen, who looks as though he needs a step up in trip now.
Zero Ten jumps well, will love the ground and is a consistent sort who you could almost set your watch to.
Newbury on Saturday
While they won’t be the biggest prices, I can’t see past Altior in the Game Spirit Chase (14:25) and Native River in the Denman Chase (15:00).
Winning these races should be a formality for them both en route to bigger targets at the Cheltenham Festival.
I’d love to see Altior return to his electric best and return to the head of the betting in the Betway Champion Chase.
Native River has had just one run so far this campaign, with a view to the bigger spring festivals and another crack at the Gold Cup on the cards. I imagine he’ll jump them into submission here.
The Betfair Hurdle (15:35) is always a very good race and is a good test for young horses.
I’m a big fan of Ciel De Niege , who should have won at Limerick last time out. I know they think a lot of this horse in the yard and, with Aidan Coleman riding so well at the minute, it’s only going to be a positive to have him on board.
It’s a competitive race, so you need a lot of luck in running, but you can almost picture him being hunted around the inside by Aidan before making his move coming to two out.
Elsewhere on Saturday
The biggest tip in itself is the fact that Daryl Jacob is going to Warwick to ride Torpillo in the Kingmaker (14:05).
He went off favourite for a Grade 1 chase at Sandown in December and, at only five years old, will keep learning and improving with racing. He has good hurdle form in the book and won his novice chase at Warwick in good style. Horses who win at Warwick often go well there again.
Ross [O’Sullivan] saddles Bythesametoken at Naas (15:22) and he’s got a good chance – we’d certainly be disappointed if he wasn’t in the top four. He’s in grand form, has a good racing weight and, with conditions to suit, we’re hopeful he’ll have a nice spin.
It’s a good card at Naas on Saturday and there are a few other horses I think will go well over the course of the afternoon.
Cut The Mustard won’t be a big price, but should take all of the beating in the 13:37, as should Velocity Boy m who was a good winner last time out, in the race before (13:05).
It looks as though Willie [Mullins] will have a short-priced favourite in Aione, but I’m going against him with Russian Diamond in the 15:57. Trained by Emmet Mullins, his bumper form looks better to me and, as a winner of his last two, I strongly think he’ll complete the hat-trick.
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