Johnny Ward's Irish Angle: Watch Felix fly home at Navan

By Johnny Ward
Fri 9 Nov 2018

For Jumps fans, this weekend is something to salivate over. Naas and Navan, two of our best tracks, stage excellent racing and we see the return of such as Footpad and Apples Jade.

Significantly, there has finally been some rainfall in the green isle, and we can only hope that we get some soft ground now and the top horses come back into action. This is a couple of days’ racing to savour.

Saturday selections:

1.05 Naas: Saldier

With Saldier, Espoir D’allen and Mr Adjudicator in the line-up, this is a cracking race, and Ruby Walsh takes the steer on Saldier, who had three different riders when campaigned as a juvenile.

I see this horse maturing into a major contender for the Champion Hurdle.

Given his Flat class, it was always going to take time for him over hurdles, and he looked a far better horse at Punchestown than he did when so raw at Cheltenham.

2.15 Naas: Stowaway Forever

Kilkeaskin Molly ran an eye-taking race for Philip Dempsey earlier this week and is one to keep an eye on but stablemate Stowaway Forever ticks plenty of boxes.

He travelled well in his hurdle races and most memorable is that he was second off the same mark as he has here at Naas in February, travelling easily. He won his only point to point and is likely to make a better chaser.

Granted, this is not a bad race, with Ballybrowney Jack feared after falling at Down Royal when quite well-fancied. JP McManus also runs three.

Sunday selections:

1.05 Navan: Felix Desjy

This is a belter of a race and the weight Felix Desjy receives off Quick Grabim really ought to make the difference.

Both can be free-going types but Felix Desjy looked to have matured, either because of time or because he had something to jump, when winning in Galway; gone was the tearaway in bumpers – hopefully for good. He is very exciting.

2.40 Navan: Dolciano Dici

Dolciano Dici could certainly have started off chasing in easier company than this but it is a race that Willie Mullins targets and I have a feeling this French recruit could be smart.

He only ran once for the stable last year, shaping much better than the bare result at Naas, and he seems to have a nice cruising speed. Taking on Jetz and Campeador, he may just offer some value in the market.

3.15 Navan: Wonder Laish

Wonder Laish must be really well-handicapped on the basis of his Flat exploits and he could rock up in a hot handicap later this season.

Davy Russell rides a horse who has plenty of progress in him for the masterful Charles Byrnes and expect him to step up in trip in due course.

It is fascinating that Byrnes was the most recent trainer of Ange D'Or Javilex, who now switches to Gordon Elliott and is a dangerous lurker off a long layoff.

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