Alaivan set for winning return

THE classy Alaivan should make a winning return to action in the featured Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas today.

A listed winner on the flat, when trained by John Oxx, the Edward O’Grady-trained Kalanisi took to hurdling instantly, recording wide-margin victories at Gowran Park and Fairyhouse in his juvenile campaign.

Sandwiched between his maiden win at Gowran and a 17 lengths victory in a Grade 2 event at Fairyhouse in February was a defeat by the useful Carlito Brigante at Leopardstown over Christmas.

But Alaivan’s best effort over hurdles was his solid third to Soldatino in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, form boosted a few weeks later when runner-up Barizan landed the Grade 1 juvenile event at the Punchestown Festival.

The selection finished his campaign by disappointing at Auteuil in May, probably the result of a long season.

But, rated 140, he’s undoubtedly a smart young hurdler and, should take plenty of beating in today’s listed event, despite a six months absence.

Son Amix, beaten by the very smart Shinrock Paddy over a longer trip at Naas last time but enjoying a fitness edge over the selection, looks the chief threat.

The combination of Edward O’Grady, Andrew McNamara and owner Thomas Barr might also strike with 149-rated Osana in the earlier Become A Naas Member Chase.

Consistent in his novice season, when scoring at Navan twice, he finished a good third to Sizing Europe in the ‘Arkle’ at Cheltenham and runner-up to the same horse in a ‘Grade 1’ at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Osana, which wears cheekpieces, made his seasonal debut at Down Royal three weeks ago and, having taken the lead four from home, had been headed and was apparently 'emptying’ when blundering badly at the second last before fading to finish nineteen lengths third behind The Nightingale.

Returning to the minimum trip here, Osana has excellent prospects in a five-runner affair, with Tony Martin’s Psycho a big danger, on the back of a quiet return to action behind Captain Cee Bee over the course and distance.

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend might continue their good run with C'Est Ca, an eye-catching fourth to Saludos on his fencing bow at Navan, in the beginners chase and seasonal debutant Skorcher, a dour stayer, in the opening maiden hurdle.

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