Grade 1 Action! Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle Runner-By-Runner Preview

Bob Olinger is one of the star attractions on Punchestown's Sunday card.Bob Olinger is one of the star attractions on Punchestown's Sunday card.

Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle Runner-By-Runner Preview

The festivities may be over, but the top-class racing action is far from finished, with the first Grade 1 of the year taking place on just the second day of 2022, with Naas playing host to the prestigious Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. With a recent roll of honour including the likes of Envoi Allen and Bob Olinger, this tends to unearth a star, and our expert has delved through the current state of play to identify their idea of the winner.


2.10 Naas (Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle)

1. Churchstonewarrior (T: Jonathan Sweeney)

Hurdles form figures currently read a more than respectable 32112, scoring at Sligo and Thurles earlier this season before a Cork Grade 3 second when sent off the 6/5F. Up in grade here which clearly demands more, and the drop back to this intermediately distance looks no obvious plus for his chances.

Verdict: Beaten favourite in a weaker race latest and this drop-in trip no obvious plus.

2. Ginto (T: Gordon Elliott)

€470,000 purchase after hacking up in an Irish Point back in October 2020. Behind Whatdeawant in a Fairyhouse bumper on rules debut, but he is 3-3 since, impressively scoring over hurdles the last twice. Latest Grade 2 Navan win franked by the second and third home since (The Little Yank beaten almost 20l in fourth). Looks a Grade 1 winner in waiting on that evidence.

Verdict: Impressive Grade 2 winner latest and that form has received boosts since.

3. Grand Jury (T: Henry De Bromhead)

Justified favouritism to score on bumper debut at Punchestown in March, yet only fourth when sent off at odds of 5/2 at the Festival back there in April. Sent off at odds of 2/7F on seasonal/hurdles debut back at Punchestown in November and landed the odds in workmanlike fashion. That form has been franked since, however, and the extra yardage on offer here will suit.

Verdict: More needed on hurdles debut win but step up in trip a plus; represents last year’s winning connections.

4. Hollow Games (T: Gordon Elliott)

Has justified favouritism to land all five starts so far (including Point to Point), being sent off 2/5F for a Navan Grade 3 last time out. The good ground on offer was probably not ideal that day and these conditions look more suitable, whilst the form is a little in and out the runner-up has since gone in at Listed level.

Verdict: Powerful sort who is 5-5 under all codes and will appreciate forecast conditions.

5. The Little Yank (T: John Ryan)

A little long in the tooth for a novice nowadays, with this remarkably his 33rd hurdles outing. Off the mark over timber at the 22nd attempt when going in at Ballinrobe over the summer, and he has since gone in at Sligo. Winless from eight subsequent starts, however, and has finished well beaten by Ginto and Hollow Games during that period.

Verdict: Thirty-five race novice who stands little chance in this company.

6. Whatdeawant (T: Willie Mullins)

Claimed the scalp of Ginto in a Fairyhouse bumper on debut 12 months ago before going on to finish a distant third in a Grade 2 at the Dublin Racing Festival. Sent off the 5/4F for a Navan maiden on hurdles debut latest and he stayed on resolutely for pressure to ultimately land the odds in comfortable fashion. Should have learnt plenty for that initial experience and is certainly one for the shortlist.

Verdict: Had classy Ginto behind on debut and made victorious hurdles debut latest.

7. Angels Dawn (T: Sam Curling)

Comes into this an eleven-race maiden but she has snippets of smart form to her name which includes a close second in a Navan Grade 3 back in February. Has finished third on both hurdles outings this season, the latest run in a Grade 2 at Limerick on Monday. Should find little trouble getting off the mark in this sphere but it won’t be coming at this level.

Verdict: Eleven-race maiden who finished third in a Limerick Grade 2 on Monday.

Big Race Verdict

Hollow Games has an unblemished career record and must be respected but he rates as more of a staying type and preference instead goes to his stablemate GINTO. The selection finished behind the reopposing Whatdeawant in a Fairyhouse bumper last year but has won all three starts since, impressively landing the spoils in a Navan Grade 2 latest which has since seen the form franked by the runner-up and the third. The Bective Stud recruit has a lofty reputation and that can be warranted with an impressive victory here, probably at the hands of old adversary Whatdeawant.

  1. GINTO

  2. Whatdeawant
  3. Hollow Games