Sunday’s racing tips – 7/2 shot our NAP of the day at Navan with Virgin Bet

Fakir D'Ourdairies (right) narrowly loses out to Pentland Hills in a Grade One at Aintree.Fakir D'Ourdairies (right) narrowly loses out to Pentland Hills in a Grade One at Aintree.

Our expert takes a look through all of Sunday’s races and highlights a strong challenger in a Beginners Chase at Navan as his NAP of the day with Virgin Bet.

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3:15pm Navan Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase 2m1f

Even though he has twice managed to place at the Cheltenham Festival, Melon didn’t reach the heights many expected he would over hurdles. I’m sure he will take well to chasing, like many of Willie Mullins’ horses do, but I’d rather side with the hugely progressive FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (NAP), who will be gaining a stack of weight from his older rivals.

Joseph O’Brien’s charge made it onto my list of tracker horses for the new season, after showing plenty of class and resilience during his novice hurdling campaign. The strength of ill-fated stablemate Sir Erec saw O’Brien thrust his juvenile into the Supreme, instead of an expected tilt at the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. Mark Walsh’s mount looked well-beaten coming down the back straight, but Fakir D’Oudairies responded to his rider’s urgings, plugging on gamely to finish a staying-on fourth.

A couple of runner-up finishes followed in juvenile Grade Ones Aintree and Punchestown, where Fakir D’Oudairies was simply beaten by slicker hurdlers in Pentland Hills and Fusil Raffles. Fakir D’Oudairies looks like he’s built to jump a fence and boasts some useful experience over the larger obstacles too, having run twice in chases as a three-year-old during his time in France.

We all saw how A Plus Tard used his weight-for-age claimer to great effect last season, romping to victory in the Close Brothers at Cheltenham. I really like Fakir D’Oudairies and I have no doubts that he will be even more effective over fences than he was over hurdles. A victory on Sunday would be the perfect way to begin what promises to be a fantastic novice chasing campaign.

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