A potentially very informative meeting at Naas this evening, where the nap goes to the Tommy Stack-trained Short Stacked in the Woodlands 100 Club Handicap.
After two promising runs as a juvenile, he was heavily backed to make a winning return at Gowran Park last month. For much of the seven-furlong trip he looked in control, and appeared to have his rivals on the stretch after turning for home. However, his stamina ebbed away in the final half-furlong, and he had to settle for fourth place, just a length behind Tony The Gent.
The return to six furlongs for his first foray into a handicap should suit, and he looks capable of leaving his mark of 82 behind. With improvement expected from his return, he can take this at the expense of More Than Munny. The latter represents trainer Johnny Murtagh, whose runners have been in great form recently. The booking of Pat Smullen catches the eye, and he should be hard to keep out of the frame.
In the seven-furlong Naasracecourse.com Apprentice Handicap Louis Leroy can secure back-to-back victories. The lightly raced four-year-old made his comeback in a 19-runner race at Naas, late last month, and was the subject of significant support, eventually being sent off 15-8 favourite.
Held up by today’s rider, Oisin Orr, he made rapid late progress and overcame a little trouble in running to win by three parts of a length, from Shinyhappyjohn. The handicapper saw fit to raise him 7lbs for that effort, but that shouldn’t be enough to prevent the Art Connoisseur gelding from going in again.
This is another competitive event, but he can show how progressive he is by accounting for a big field, headed by Bainne and Firecrown.
There are likely to be quite a few future winners in the first two races and, as such, being dogmatic about them is difficult. That said, Cuff and Oh Grace set a high standard in the opener, and the former can reverse the form of their meeting when fourth and second respectively behind Hyzenthlay. Aidan O’Brien’s filly was sent off an easy-to-back favourite, but caught the eye going on nicely at the finish. The step up to six furlongs should suit
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