Weekend racing tips: Joyeux Machin can deliver for Paul Nolan

The selection ran a fine race behind Facile Vega at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting 
Weekend racing tips: Joyeux Machin can deliver for Paul Nolan

Trainer Paul Nolan. Picture: Healy Racing.

Paul Nolan has a promising sort in the shape of Joyeux Machin, who can wrap up this afternoon’s meeting in Navan by taking the Slane Bumper.

The then four-year-old held every chance until departing at the second-last in a point-to-point in May at Punchestown and made his track debut at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting. Contesting a traditionally hot race, he moved well throughout and ran on strongly to the line, even though he was no match for impressive winner Facile Vega.

Thirteen lengths clear of the third-placed runner, he is clearly an above-average sort, and while this is a good race, he can come out on top. Tag Man finished third to Redemption Day on his bumper debut and can improve, while Don Chalant makes his debut for Willie Mullins having finished third behind Iron Bridge on his only start for Aidan Fitzgerald.

Ash Tree Meadow can take the second division of the Graigs Lane Maiden Hurdle. On his second outing in point-to-points, he won very easily and the runner-up, Since Day One, is now three from three in hurdle races in Britain.

The selection made his track debut in November, at Fairyhouse, and was noted staying on well into third place behind Gringo D’aubrelle and Adamantly Chosen. He filled the same spot next time, in the Leopardstown maiden won by Sir Gerhard, and both of those efforts suggest he is more than capable of winning a maiden.

Connections have reached for a tongue-tie and a hood today, which is a minor concern, but back on better ground and stepping up to two and a half miles he will take a great deal of beating. Gracchus De Balme, who also won a point-to-point, ran well on his hurdling debut, in which he finished third behind Whatdeawant and Harald Hardrad. A small step up on that will ensure a bold bid there.

Of the remainder, Stuart Crawford’s two runners, Hollington and Leitrim Chief, have shown promise, while Mouse Morris’ newcomer Franciscan Rock is worth noting in the betting.

Gerri Colombe can maintain his perfect record when he contests the BetVictor WT O’Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle on tomorrow’s card in Thurles. Gordon Elliott’s point-to-point and two-time bumper winner made his hurdling debut almost a month ago and ran out a comfortable winner.

It wasn’t the strongest of races, but he moved well and picked up under late pressure to win as he liked. That was over two miles and he looked as though a step up in trip would be right up his street. He is a fine prospect and can take another step up the ladder with victory here at the expense of Ida’s Boy, The Goffer and Churchstonewarrior, who is giving a minimum of 7lbs to each of his rivals.

The Grade Two Coolmore NH Sires Mogul Irish EBF Mares’ Novice Chase is a fascinating contest, particularly with Minella Melody making her chasing debut, but Jeremys Flame has been a different prospect in her second season over fences than she was in her first and can add to her recent success.

Useful in bumpers and over hurdles, she began her chasing career with a couple of mishaps and the season never really got going for her. However, she improved for a long break and deservedly got off the mark over fences on her most recent start. There is more to come from Gavin Cromwell’s mare, and she can make her experience count against Minella Melody.

The highlight of the day is the Grade Two Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase in which Allaho bids for back-to-back successes. Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old made a winning return to action in the John Durkan and has been given plenty of time to get over the exertions of what turned out to be a war of attrition. On that occasion, he had his chief rival here, Fakir D’oudairies, three places behind him and should have little trouble confirming the form provided the race hasn’t left a lasting mark.

NAVAN (Saturday) 

Tommy Lyons 

12:00 Ebasari 

12:30 Glen Wyllin 

1:05 Ash Tree Meadow (NB) 

1:40 Palace Rock 

2:15 Macs Charm 

2:50 Aint That A Shame 

3:25 Routine Excellence 

4:00 Joyeux Machin (Nap) 

Next best 

12:00 Au Fleuron 

12:30 Belle Metal 

1:05 Gracchus De Balme 

1:40 Bread And Butter 

2:15 Never Off Duty 

2:50 The Bosses Oscar 

3:25 Go All The Way 

4:00 Don Chalant 

THURLES (Sunday) 

Tommy Lyons 

1:00 Pinkerton 

1:30 Gerri Colombe (nap) 

2:05 Whatsnotoknow 

2:40 Jeremys Flame (nb) 

3:15 Allaho 

3:45 Fakir D’alene 

4:15 Billaway 

Next best 

1:00 John Cannon 

1:30 Idas Boy 

2:05 Aarons Day 

2:40 Minella Melody 

3:15 Fakir D’oudairies 

3:45 The Chapel Field 

4:15 Winged Leader

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