Morning Assembly can strike in the afternoon
By Pat Keane
There are two Graded races on the card at Naas today - should the meeting survive an 8am inspection - but the opening 22-runner INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle may house the best betting proposition in the shape of Pat Fahy’s Morning Assembly.
He made his debut over flights at Leopardstown at Christmas, producing a very promising display that had future winner written all over it.
The selection finished three lengths second behind hot-pot, the smart Sizing Gold, and the fact the third, Hard To Swallow, was a further 26 lengths away was most encouraging.
Feature event is the Grade 2 Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase and Willie Mullins’ Aupcharlie is the logical choice.
He is already far better at this game than as a hurdler and was decidedly unlucky at Leopardstown at Christmas when beaten a head by stable companion Back In Focus after pecking badly at the final fence.
Aupcharlie had Tofino Bay almost 27 lengths behind in fourth spot then and it is probably hard enough to see such a gap being closed to any great extent.
But you’d wonder if a slog in the mud, over this stiff track, will play to Aupcharlie’s strengths and Tofino Bay is preferred.
He put up a terrific performance in the Troytown at Navan, in very testing conditions, to defy 11-4 and just might cause an upset.
Solwhit, in receipt of 7lbs, gets the vote ahead of So Young in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle. Charles Byrnes’ charge, returning from a long break, indicated he is far from a back number when second to Bog Warrior at Punchestown last month.
Un Atout, who appeared to have any amount in hand when taking his maiden at Navan, is hard to oppose in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Irish Racing Writers’ Novice Hurdle.
At Fairyhouse tomorrow, should the meeting get the green light, after a 2pm inspection today, Dessie Hughes’ Wise Oscar can land the nap in the Ward Union Hunt Gathering Raceday Handicap Chase.
He beat the subsequent winner, Miss Xian, by eight lengths over flights on this track on his latest appearance and runs here off a mark 23lbs below his rating as a hurdler.
The Listed Solerina Mares’ Novice Hurdle is best left to Willie Mullins’ French-import, Twigline, who created a big impression on her Irish debut when cruising to victory in an ordinary maiden at Fairyhouse in November.
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