Johnny Ward's Irish Angle: Make a note of Final List at Navan

By Johnny Ward
Sun 16 Feb 2020

After nearly a full week decimated by the weather, Gowran Park and Navan stage meetings this weekend.

This is a classy weekend of racing and here are my best bets for Saturday and Sunday.

Tune into the latest On The Wire podcast where myself and Brendan Duke preview this weekend's racing action in Ireland

Sunday selections:

2.55 Navan: Blanketontheground

This mare is a half-sister to a winning pointer and the chance of her progressing further for this trip renders her all the more appealing.

Not only does her maiden hurdle fourth at Cork read well, her run at Gowran Park on her handicap debut was a cracking run, with the winner thrown in and the third likely well-handicapped. She is the bet of the weekend.

4.35 Navan: Final List

Lame post-race when joint-favourite at Down Royal, he is a course maiden hurdle winner and has a big chance on his previous Punchestown second.

5.05 Navan: Ballyadam

Bought for a cool £330,000 at the sales in November, this Fame And Glory gelding looks potentially very exciting. He is as short as 6-1 for the Cheltenham bumper.


1.10 Gowran Park: King Pellinor

The Triumph Hurdle picture lacks clarity, although some may be gained at the weekend as French recruit Solo makes his debut for Paul Nicholls at Wincanton.

King Pellinor may be more of a Fred Winter candidate and, to be that, he would need to win this contest.

A winner on the Flat at this track, he shaped really well on his hurdling debut when easy to back, and can get the better of the more exposed Saint D'oroux.

1.44 Gowran Park: Darasso

Darasso must concede 7lb to Cilaos Emery here, which will be difficult, especially as he was a shade disappointing on his return, but he should come on from that and last year's winner remains a horse of considerable potential.

2.19 Gowran Park: Encore Lui

Encore Lui has been given a chance by the handicapper as he has only gone up 5lb despite two seconds and a big-field Leopardstown third when sent off 5-1.

He is doing little wrong and deserves success now.

2.54 Gowran Park: Chris's Dream

This horse seems to rely on a light campaign and bad ground. This will put emphasis on his stamina and Real Steel is flattered by his performance at Thurles, given how Footpad stopped to nothing.

4.04 Gowran Park: Conright Boy

One of the talking points here is the inexplicable mark given to Arverne, but J P McManus has a better chance with The Long Mile, the likely favourite.

It might be worth opposing him though with Conright Boy who was just three parts of a length behind him over course and distance in December but is now 9lb better off.

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