Tuesday’s racing at Navan looks an excellent, compelling card. Two Grade 2s are the highlight, with the Ten Up Novice Chase looking more informative in terms of Cheltenham Festival clues. We’ve looked at each runner and assessed their chances for the race.
The Grade 1 penalty is going to make this very tricky for BEACON EDGE and he comes here off the back of a fall at the Dublin Racing Festival.
That was only two weeks ago, so the fact Noel Meade has him declared again so quickly points to his wellbeing. He was up against the formidable Galopin Des Champs anyway, but previous form, both over hurdles and fences shows that Beacon Edge is a class animal as well.
His Drinmore Novice Chase victory came despite significant adversity in-running. Having been outpaced and jumped sloppily, he came with an incredible late charge, strongly suggesting that he needed three miles.
There is talented opposition against him and conceding 7lb all round might prove a tiny but much for him here, but improvement is definitely expected.
A third season novice, this is surely much beyond ANTEY’s capabilities.
He showed some promise for Willie Mullins, but often failed to complete or faded badly late on in his races. It is also telling that he left Closutton and he cannot be trusted on any known form.
One of the two second season novices in the field, BRAESIDE may be more cut out for handicaps, but this is not a totally forlorn entry for him.
His belated first victory over fences came in the Cork Grand National on Halloween last year. That came after a sizeable step up in trip and he’s clearly going to be a dangerous stayer in the right races.
He followed that up by finishing fourth at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, but he was disappointing in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park most recently. It could have been that they wanted to protect his mark for a Grand National tilt and that would not be affected by victory in this race after the weights were published on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, he would need to improve to catch up with the three Gigginstown horses.
FAROUK D’ALENE was a talented enough novice hurdler, but he looks an even better chaser.
He won on his first start despite the intermediate trip and good ground probably being on the sharp side for him. Thereafter, Grade 1 victory was denied in the dying strides by Master McShee at Limerick before he was outstayed and outgunned by Stattler at Naas.
He is a Graded quality horse at least and soft ground will only aid his cause here. Once again, good ground probably wasn’t ideal in the aforementioned Naas defeat.
Relatively, he is still very unexposed and he looks to be the only one in the field who could make it at the top level rather than battling around in handicaps.
Another for Noel Meade, the grey LIEUTENANT COMMAND looks up against it here on soft ground.
His three wins in National Hunt racing have come on his seasonal debuts in the last three racing years. Thereafter, stronger opposition has regularly caught him out and there is a suggestion that he may be better on good ground.
Soft ground would ask a question anyway and though Rachael Blackmore is an eyecatching jockey booking, he has been beaten to the tune of 50 lengths at Graded level the last twice.
Run Wild Fred
RUN WILD FRED has still not won an open chase. Indeed he has just one win in ten starts over fences so far.
He only got off the mark at the ninth attempt, but he did so very comprehensively in the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan. That saw his mark rise to the high 150s, as well as go off favourite for a Grade 1 at Leopardstown.
There was one genuinely alarming mistake in which he breasted a fence halfway through the race and that may have impacted upon his finishing application. He is an out and out stayer though and looks a much improved horse from last season.
It is difficult trusting him to win this, but the National Hunt Chase, which he will surely go for at the Cheltenham Festival, may be a very realistic prospect if his trial here goes to plan.
Big Race Verdict
Beacon Edge could be a danger now he’s expected to improve for this trip, but FAROUK D’ALENE has his ideal conditions here and it would be disappointing if he could not win this after his last two efforts. Run Wild Fred is not a regular winner, but is useful and could challenge if erasing any big errors.