Sunday best bets: Johnny Ward's top tips for Naas

By Johnny Ward
Sun 29 Jan 2023

Our presenter and Irish racing expert Johnny Ward looks four runners on a good card at Naas on Sunday. Enjoy dedicated coverage of all seven contests live on Racing TV.

It was unexpected, his winning a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle with a relatively exposed runner rated 84, but talking to Michael Bowe this week was lovely.

I was getting into racing around the time of Limestone Lad, who – Michael happily reported – is thriving well into his 30s, which was once the case with yours truly. Sadly, Solerina has passed away, he politely informed me, and one of her sons (Linden Arden) runs in the bumper today at Naas.

The main man, Limestone Lad, is honoured in a fascinating feature. Were he there pre-racing, it'd be a hard job keeping him in the parade ring.

Be lucky.

2.07 Naas: Almuhit

It has been a good jumps season for Denis Hogan and his Flat runners are thriving also. It seems significant that he ran the useful Zofannien in this in 2021 and Almuhit looks a massive player here.

Quite smart on the Flat for John and Thady Gosden, his hurdling debut (just ahead of Zanndabad) was encouraging and he backed that up at Punchestown. I think he’ll relish the stiff finish here and he is surely only going to get better.

2.42 Naas: Echoes In Rain

I wouldn't be this mare's biggest fan but this should pretty much fall into her lap.

Meet And Greet and Bob Olinger surely have to be ridden forward over this trip but it's hard to see how they will have her pace, and surely the same applies to Darasso - especially given his weight.

She is a typically keen Authorized and can flatter a bit but she should win this. I really can't have Bob Olinger at this stage.

3.17 Naas: Canal End

I was chatting to Tony Mullins during the week about who might get the honours to get sent Princess Zoe when she retires and, in conversation, he mentioned that Walk In The Park stands for €25,000. Has a National Hunt sire ever been remotely as expensive in these parts?

Even so, JP McManus seems to have every second one on the ground - including the evocatively named Canal End - who was massively eye-catching at Leopardstown, and can only win one of these sooner or later.

3.52 Naas: Neveradullmoment

It's worth looking back at this race 12 months ago when Sam Ewing gave the tough Bigz Belief a superbly timed steer from the front, with Neveradullmoment a pretty tenderly handled third. He was the JP McManus second-string on the day, Wednesday's Fairyhouse scorer The Tack Room sent off favourite.

McManus only has one runner in this, the horse is only a 1lb higher 12 months on and he ran a blinder in a hot race at Leopardstown last time, flashing home after being caught well out of his ground, so I can only envisage a big run here at an each-way price - especially as he had a pretty messy trip out ride last year and still nearly won.

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