Horse Racing Trader’s Tips: Naas Preview – Monday 23rd March
Who is our trader backing in today’s action?
We’re all missing the racing in the UK but there’s still some action over in Ireland to keep us entertained.
Our traders have outlined which trainers and horses to keep an eye on at Naas today.
It’s the first card of Ireland’s flat turf season and we’ve got some exciting battles to kick the campaign off in style, including the Group 3 Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express stakes at 16:30.
The left-handed track has a stiff, uphill finish but the circuit is relatively fair with no huge draw biases. The going for today’s card is heavy, soft in places.
Trainers to watch
Jim Bolger is no stranger to winning on Naas’ opening day, having landed a 5,354/1 treble on this card last year. He also enjoyed a winning treble on the Curragh’s opening day in 2009, as well as four winners on the season’s first card in 2013.
Ger Lyons has also tasted success at Naas having trained five winners in the previous three opening cards. Meanwhile, Fozzy Stack won on this card in both 2017 and 2019, following on from the success of his father Tommy, who impressed with the first four winners of the 2010 season.
Jim Bolger runners: Poetic Flare & Allagar (2.00), Sheer Bravado (2.30), Real Appeal (3.30), Halimi (4.00), Cerro Bayo (4.30), Fraterculus & Legal Reform (5.00)
Ger Lyons runners: Nickajack Cave (4.00), Even So & Lemista (4.30), Lough Cutra (5.00)
Fozzy Stack runners: Sweettasteoflove (2.30, Reserve), Starlite Dancer (3.00)
Horses to watch
Sir Dragonet (4:00)
Sir Dragonet is the clear star attraction on today’s card at Naas. He was sent off the 11/4 favourite when finishing 3/4 length fifth in last season’s Derby. He’ll likely be sent off odds-on thanks to favourable official ratings, despite shouldering a five-pound penalty for last season’s Chester Vase win.
However, he’s not run since a fourth-place finish in September’s St Leger and Aidan O’Brien has form for gradually bringing his horses along at this time of year, with one eye on targets further along in the season.
O’Brien has seen Somehow and Delphina beaten on this card before enjoying Group success later on and he’s unlikely to want Sir Dragonet to have a slog in testing ground, so he could be challenged at Naas.
Brendan Duke hasn’t yet trained more than three flat winners in a year in Ireland and he’s got a smaller string than any of the previous trainers mentioned. But he maintains a strong record in the season-opening five-furlong two-year-old maiden.
All runners are yet to race so there’s little to separate them heading into the contest, but Duke has previously won it with both a 12/1 shot and a 20/1 shot, as well as training last year’s second place. His filly this year will have been trained with today in mind and will be one to keep an eye on.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.