Trainer Willie Mullins
Trainer Willie Mullins

Navan Sunday review: Reports, reaction and free video replays


A review of the rest of the action from Navan on Sunday as Grangeclare West won his maiden hurdle with consummate ease.

West with wicked display first time back

Grangeclare West defied a 547-day layoff to stylishly win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Willie Mullins, the six-year-old point-to-point and bumper scorer made no mistake at the first time of asking over timber, justifying 2/1 favouritism in the hands of Paul Townend.

Townend was patient in the early stages, sitting in sixth for most of the wo and a half-mile journey, but Grangeclare West loomed up to challenge long-time leader Kudasheva (100/30) and eventual runner-up Firm Footings (7/2) between the final two flights and went on to win readily by 13 lengths.

The winner was cut to 6/1 from 14/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle by Sky Bet, while he's a general 8/1 for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

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Mullins is now tempted to test the son of Presenting in Grade One company, with the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle on January 8 identified as a potential target.

“He impressed me considering he was so keen early on and jumped a bit big during the race,” said the Closutton handler.

“Then he settled, and Paul got him together and got him balanced. Once he got down to gallop, he impressed me.

“I’m not sure he’s entered in the Grade One at Christmas and if he’s not then the obvious race would be the Lawlor’s in Naas.

“He surprised me in the manner he did it. As I said to the owner before racing, we could run well here and finish fourth or fifth. It looked a good race."

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Dawn Rising snatches win as American Mike flops

Dawn Rising scooped Grade Three honours when scoring at 10/1 in a dramatic renewal of the John Lynch Carpets & Flooring Monksfield Novice Hurdle.

Winning rider Mark Walsh was content to restrain the former Bahrain Trophy runner-up for the majority of the contest as 2/7 favourite American Mike and his chief market rival Affordale Fury disputed things up front.

In fact, that duo looked to have the race to sort out between them as the quartet taking part turned for home and it was Noel Meade’s charge in the hands of Bryan Cooper who was beginning to take control before crashing out at the final flight.

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That appeared to hand American Mike a fortunate victory, but Walsh and the O’Brien-trained Dawn Rising had been staying on strongly from off the pace and wore down the Champion Bumper runner-up in the closing stages.

The winner was handed a quote of 12/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by Paddy Power.

“I didn’t think three from home that we would be winning, but he was gradually closing them down,” said Frank Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus.

“It looked like they went quick up front and just paid the penalty for it. I’d say he would have won anyway (if the leader had not fallen at the last) as they got very tired up in front.

“He just kept galloping away and doesn’t mind the ground. It’s nice to win anyway. We’ll see where we go from here and maybe find something around Christmas.”

Kennedy said of American Mike: "He was very disappointing and ran very flat. He was beaten three out.

"I’ll be very surprised if something didn’t show up in a scope or something. From the third-last I wasn’t happy and he didn’t finish out his race. It’s been a mixed day, but any day you have two winners is a great day."


Degree of Comfort about McManus winner

Flat recruit Comfort Zone won the Bar One Racing 3-Y-O Maiden hurdle and was introduced into the antepost betting for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

The son of Churchill was rated 86 on the level for trainer Joseph O'Brien and made a smooth transition to obstacles in the colours of JP McManus with a six-length win under jockey JJ Slevin.

The winner was backed before the off and returned at an SP of 100/30, with second going to Jazzy Matty (5/1) and third to the supposed McManus first-string Tekao, who went off the 5/6 market leader under Mark Walsh.

The winner was added to the Triumph betting at 20/1 by Betfair and Paddy Power, with Sky Bet going 16/1.

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“He stays a mile and a half well on the Flat. His last run at Leopardstown when he was third to Zoffman was a good run,” said assistant trainer Brendan Powell.

“The idea today was to get him jumping and let him finish. He jumped great and travelled beautiful. JJ said three out he knew he was going to be thereabouts. He jumped the last well and kept galloping.

“He’s done plenty of schooling at home and jumped very well. Hopefully he’ll be another good juvenile.”


Jet-powered win in mares' bumper

Jessica Harrington had to settle for second with gallant front-runner Lifetime Ambition in the feature Troytown Chase, but the Moone-based handler picked up some compensation in the concluding Coolmore N.H. Sires In Swoop Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race.

Jetara, who is out of a sister to Harrington’s Champion Hurdle winner Jezki, was always doing enough to hold off Mullins’ Lily Du Berlais and claim Listed honours at 5/1.

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Harrington said: “It’s some family and you can’t beat breeding! She’s tough and we kind of got it wrong in Gowran where she stayed on really well and we didn’t make enough use of her.

“I was worried about the ground as most of the family like good ground, but she’s by Walk In The Park and she seems to cope very well with it.”

When asked about going hurdling, she added: “I don’t know. She’s still only four and we’ll see."


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