Irish Horse Racing Tips – Sunday, January 2
Sunday’s Irish horse racing action comes from Naas, which plays host to a competitive meeting that features the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. Our Irish horse racing expert has identified his top bets on the cards which you can check out below.
Fighting Fit (1.35 Naas)
Philip Dempsey’s FIGHTING FIT stepped forward markedly on a trio of beginners’ chase runs when chasing home the reopposing Arahecan at Fairyhouse last month.
He meets that rival on 5lb better terms here, which could be enough to reverse the form, and considering that both wins to date were gained on heavy ground conditions, the holding surface should, if anything, work to his advantage.
The yard has had a slow time of things but did send out a winner at Navan last month and they have a good record with their chasers here at Naas in recent seasons. If getting a suitable pace to aim at expect to see the 6yo finishing fast and late under pilot Luke Dempsey.
Ginto (2.10 Naas)
The market favours Hollow Games over stablemate GINTO in this traditionally strong Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle Grade 1 contest, but that could be a mistake.
Odds compilers are presumably looking at the booking of Davy Russell on the former as an angle of preference, yet Russell hasn’t ridden Ginto under rules, whereas he has been aboard Hollow Games the last twice, which may suggest why the bookings read that way.
Ginto’s Grade 2 Navan win last month looks far and away the best piece of form on offer here, with the 11l runner-up Eric Bloodaxe subsequently going in at the same level at Limerick over Christmas. With the possibility of even more to come, Ginto rates the best bet on the Naas card.
Hardwired (3.20 Naas)
The Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle looks an open affair and a chance is taken on Ted Walsh’s HARDWIRED.
This Flame And Glory gelding comes into the race a fourteen-race maiden but he has snippets of smart maiden hurdle form to his name, which includes a pair of third places at Wexford and Limerick.
Those runs came on ground similar to that he experience here, and it’s probably best to put a line through his recent seventh at Tramore, which came over fences and over a trip a little further than ideal.
He drops back down to 2m here, and although on the face of it fourteen races without victory looks poor, only two of those starts came in handicaps in this sphere, with a Limerick November fifth suggesting that he should have races in him over hurdles off a mark of 102 – especially with claimer Shane O’Callaghan removing a further 4lb from his back.