Tony Keenan

There is graded action at Navan on Sunday and our Irish expert has two bets - accompanied with analysis - now online.

Updated 9.29 - all selections online.

There is a case to be made that the front two in the betting for the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle (2:20) could be shorter in what shapes up like a match, Coquin Mans with one standout effort on unraceable ground and Cracking Smart showing little on his return.

Off You Go impressed with how he quickened to win a second Ladbrokes Hurdle last time, doing well to win from a disadvantageous position, but his sharp closing sectionals suggest he might be better suited by shorter trips and the Mullins team are in position to dictate the pace here with the front-running Coquin Mans.

BACHASSON himself did well to win from a poor position last time at Punchestown, form that belatedly worked out with Darasso in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle on Saturday, and he should improve plenty for that, his trainer commenting afterwards that he “didn’t think he was straight enough to win.” A classy novice hurdler in his youth, he has more substance to his form than his main market rival and seems a touch overpriced.

The second graded race on the card, the Ladbrokes Acca Boosty Ten Up Novice Chase (3:25), is difficult to solve. Champagne Classic is the horse with most potential after an excellent chase debut in graded company but there is a strong possibility he could bounce; he returns three weeks after big effort following a 641-day absence and is running on ground connections spent most of the winter avoiding.

Good ground apparently doesn’t suit Chris’s Dream either and he must prove his stamina for three miles. The solid option may be Any Second Now who has produced a series of 140-type efforts over fences and is suited by conditions having run up to his best under similar last time. The concern is that he hasn’t won since January 2017 and doubts about his attitude persist.

A better betting medium might be the opening Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Maiden Hurdle (1:50). Raya Time failed to build on a promising run over Christmas at Fairyhouse, again not looking the easiest ride, while Milan Native was staying on in a strongly-run two-and-a-half mile bumper on debut and now cuts back in distance so should find this trip too sharp.

Behind The Curtain seemed to improve for soft ground last time but now reverts to a sound surface and lacks hurdling experience. That leaves DUMHACH TRA who was clearly well-regarded as a bumper horse, sent off 5/1 on debut in a race that contained Hollowgraphic, Dunvegan and Not Many Left, before easily winning a Tramore summer contest.

His first run over hurdles last month at Naas was eye-catching; a big drifter in the betting pre-race, he over-raced a little on the outside but travelled well into the straight and was not knocked about in the finish. Down in trip and on better ground with a recent run under his belt, it will be disappointing if he doesn’t go close in what looks a winnable race.

Tony Keenan’s next tipping column will be on Saturday, February 23rd.

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Navan 13:50, 17 February 2019

Navan 14:20, 17 February 2019

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