McNamara in two minds over Exit’s Slaney bid

ERIC McNamara will study the entries for the Slaney Novice Hurdle before deciding whether to commit Emergency Exit to the Grade Two contest at Naas on Sunday.

The County Limerick trainer reported his charge to be in good form following his victory in a maiden hurdle at his local track on St Stephen’s Day, but does not want to over face him at this stage.

“It depends on what’s going to run, I need to look at it. There are a couple he shouldn’t be running against,” said McNamara.

“Obviously Willie Mullins’ horse (Mikael d’Haguenet) stands out and maybe Noel Meade’s (Fisher Bridge).

“If horses like those are likely to run I would say it would be unlikely he’d go.

“I may find a handicap for him instead. He’s 100% and I would say two and a half miles is probably his ideal trip.”

Mullins’ giant five-year-old left the previously unbeaten Pandorama in his wake in the Barry & Sandra Kelly Memorial Hurdle at Navan.

He is as low as 5-1 with Paddy Power for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle in March for which Mullins has a very strong hand with Hurricane Fly also a possible for that.

“The horse worked this morning and worked very well,” said Mullins.

“It’s more than likely that he will run on Sunday.”

Paul Nolan is another who is not overly keen on taking on the Mullins machine with Clan Tara.

“We’ll have to decide whether or not to take on Willie’s horse,” said Nolan.

“He looks very good, he certainly looks the best staying novice in Ireland at the minute.

“But he is having to carry a Grade One penalty which brings him back to us a bit.”

Meanwhile Whatuthink is to be aimed at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham after his near-miss at Leopardstown last week.

The Oliver McKiernan-trained seven-year-old went down by only a head against Catch Me in the Christmas Hurdle.

He had earlier run well behind Duc De Regniere in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

“We were delighted with him, it was the aim since Newbury were we found a lot out about him,” said McKiernan’s assistant Adrian Keatley.

“He has to be handy, he needs a good, fast pace and he likes nicer ground.

“In hindsight we probably didn’t go fast enough from a mile out but he looks like he could be a real good horse over three miles.

“There’s not that many options before Cheltenham for him but there’s a Grade Two in a couple of weeks at Gowran.

“If Nicky Henderson’s horse (Punchestowns) turns up (at Cheltenham) in the same sort of form as he did at Ascot – he’ll be very hard to beat, he looks a machine. We’ll think about Aintree also with him but he’s entitled to go for the World Hurdle.”

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