Two lights and a Thousand Stars
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from Navan's top-class card on Tuesday.
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A strong start to a brilliant card with CITY SLICKER taken to get the champion trainer off to a winning start. The easy winner of a Fairyhouse bumper in December, he started favourite on his hurdling bow over 2m4f at Leopardstown but faded in the straight after being prominent throughout.
That will have brought him on and he can see off the challenge of Some Drama, who led from two out until the closing stages over 2m4f at Fairyhouse and will be better suited by today's trip. Irish Thistle won a bumper here last March and ran well for a long way behind Don Cossack over this track and trip in November but Maple Lady may need the run as she hasn't been seen since landing a Cork bumper almost two years ago.
RUBI LIGHT has won this for the past two years when run at Gowran but has never run over fences on this track. He had a lung infection when last of three in the John Durkan but bounced back with a cracking effort behind the brilliant Sizing Europe in the Dial-A-Bet at Leopardstown and a return to this longer trip should see him complete a three-timer in the event.
Foildubh was also behind Sizing Europe last time and is another suited by further. He's closely matched with Hidden Cyclone on their run at Naas in October though the overall form of both doesn't quite match that of the selection. Chicago Grey finished runner-up a year ago but was beaten a long way and his most recent form leaves plenty to be desired.
THOUSAND STARS generally sees the back of his illustrious stablemate Hurricane Fly disappearing in front of him but is a really smart performer in his own right, especially when stepping up in trip. He's taken his time to find his form since his two brilliant victories in France early last summer but should now be at his peak and has to be the selection.
Un Beau Matin is a very nice prospect who probably would have won a Grade 2 here in December but for falling two out and is still on the upgrade. Whatuthink was well beaten in that event but had earlier won a similar race here and can never be discounted despite his advancing years. On His Own is having a warm-up race before the Grand National for which he has attracted very strong support.
Gold Bullet makes his hurdling debut but has shown enough in bumpers to suggest he should do well while Mullaghanoe River, a winner between the flags and of a Leopardstown bumper, made a perfectly satisfactory hurdling debut in what looked a strong maiden there last month.
Appletime and Clar Na Mionn have both shown ability over timber and Totally Couture looked very promising on his debut over hurdles here in December but didn't quite run up to that form at Down Royal three weeks later. PERFECT GENTLEMAN hasn't quite done as well as expected over timber so far but he's been given a break and with today's longer trip certain to suit he's expected to provide the Mullins family with another winner.
World Citizen bounced back to form at Punchestown on New Year's Eve but didn't run up to that form here last month. He can do better but it's the consistent HAZARIBAN, who makes his handicap debut from what looks a fair mark after several decent efforts in maidens, who is given the nod in a very open contest.
Stop The Clock is another having her first start in a handicap and there was plenty to like about last month's victory at Thurles where she was well supported. There's more to come from her and she is on the short-list as is Thepartysover, who battled to victory at Naas last month and still looks reasonably treated. Raven's Feather is still a maiden and was runner-up in a four-horse race last time.
TWINLIGHT hasn't been seen since landing a Grade 2 over the minimum trip at Punchestown in November but Willie Mullins has always considered him likely to do better over today's trip and he's progressing enough to defy his penalty.
Buckers Bridge was obviously nowhere near his best when tailed off in the Grade 1 Drinmore at Fairyhouse in December and is better judged on his previous form. Dedigout finished runner-up in that latter event and has since been well beaten at Leopardstown where his jumping let him down. Cootamundra and Prima Vista are useful performers but don't look quite up to this class.
Tofino Bay has a Grade 2 penalty to carry for his victory over Aupcharlie at Naas which may just hand the initiative to TERMINAL. The latter has been taking his time to find his feet over fences but there was much to like about his victory at Cork last time and, though facing a much tougher opponent, is progressing fast enough to gain his biggest victory so far. He's A Delight made a pleasing start over fences at Limerick but faces a couple of class acts here and Tillahow hasn't done enough to suggest he'll be good enough.
MADE IN GERMANY was purchased for 100,000 euros after finishing runner-up on a point-to-point at Largy last April and looks yet another potentially very useful performer for Willie Mullins, who can complete the day with another success. Quickpick Vic hasn't done much wrong but looks in need of a stiffer test and Kandinski looks more of a threat as he's been up against several useful performers and hasn't been beaten far. Gaius Marius has more pace in his pedigree than most of these and should be noted in the betting on his debut.