Smoking Big Cigars can stub out rivals in Navan

Navan hosts a national hunt card this afternoon and the Sandra Hughes-trained Smoking Big Cigars can recoup some of the losses from his defeat at this track in late January.

The lightly raced six-year-old was the subject of quite a gamble on that occasion, but it came unstuck as he trailed in a modest fourth behind Edvardo.

That was over two and a half miles, and the drop in trip, to two miles, for today’s race should prompt improvement. In a modest and winnable race, he is preferred to Spacious Sky, for whom market support would be very significant.

The Grade Two Webster Cup is the feature race on the card, and Road To Riches can land the spoils for Noel Meade and jockey Davy Russell.

The nine-year-old was below his best when a well-beaten second behind Carlingford Lough in the Irish Gold Cup, but ran a super race when third behind Vautour in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Had he not tried to match strides with the winner, he would probably have finished second on that most recent outing, and this race provides an ideal opportunity to bounce back to winning ways.

At Limerick tomorrow Avant Tout can take the four-runner Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

The six-year-old is unexposed over fences and comes here after a fine effort back over hurdles in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham. If that hasn’t left its mark, his stamina for the three-mile trip should prove too much for Lord Scoundrel.


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