For two meetings so close to Cheltenham, Gowran Park and Naas host two decent cards this weekend. The Kilkenny venue is first up and From Eden can follow up last week’s success when he lines up for the second division of the Xenon Security Handicap Hurdle.
That run, at Navan, was his first for trainer Gordon Elliott and a rise of 7lbs to a mark of 100 leaves the former maiden hurdle winner with plenty in hand. Suited by the ground and the trip, he can take this at the expense of Thereisnodoubt, who is in good form and hails from a stable which is going very well – that of Shane Crawley.
Ex Patriot can make take the Holden Plant Rentals Shamrock Handicap Chase for trainer Ellmarie Holden and jockey Derek O’Connor.
Decent on the flat and as a young hurdler, he made it third time lucky over fences when winning a beginners’ chase early last month at Thurles and now makes his handicap debut over the larger obstacles off a mark of 136. That figure is 9lbs short of his current hurdling mark and, with the more testing ground sure to help bring out the best in him, he can prove to be well treated by accounting for R’evelyn Pleasure and Doctor Phoenix.
Gypsy Island gets the nap to take the final race on tomorrow’s card at Naas, the Toalsbet Casino Mares’ Bumper. Winner on debut in August, Peter Fahey’s mare was arguably a little unlucky when runner-up to Put The Kettle On on her hurdling debut in November.
She hasn’t been seen since, but that break isn’t of much concern for the promising five-year-old and, with the value of Darragh O’Keeffe’s 7lb claim to aid her cause, she can take this at the expense of Coromandel Lady.
Wishmoor was a little unlucky in the Irish Grand National Trial at Punchestown and can gain some compensation the Toalsbet Bookmakers Leinster National Handicap Chase.
He was caught late by Dounikos that day but is 6lbs better off with the winner this time. He looks well treated off a mark of 133 and, with just 10-1 to carry and the assistance of Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, he should be in the firing line from the outset and can fend off all challengers.
Kaiser Black will be very hard to beat in the Grade 3 Naas Directors Place Novice Chase. Pat Doyle’s horse was progressive last summer, culminating in his Connacht National victory at Roscommon. But he was much better than ever on his return, running La Bague Au Roi to a length and a quarter in a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival.
That form stands out in the context of today’s race and he can notch up the fourth victory of his career, this one at the expense of Camelia De Cotte and Jetz.