12:20 Navan

J P McManus has two in this and Mark Walsh rides French import TEKAO, who makes his first start for Willie Mullins. The Doctor Dino gelding won his sole outing on the Flat in his native land and is a half-brother to a Group 2 winner on the level. Described as a 'lovely horse' by Mullins in a recent stable tour it wouldn't be a surprise if he was good enough to strike first time for the yard. New Year Honours should be a big player having shaped well on her jumping debut at Down Royal earlier in the month. The Nathaniel filly chased home a smart looking sort in Cougar then and is entitled to improve from the experience. Comfort Zone is another interesting jumping debutant for McManus. The Churchill gelding showed a decent level on the Flat and was placed off a mark of 84 in a competitive contest at Leopardstown last month.
Prediction : 1st Tekao 2nd New Year Honours 3rd Comfort Zone

12:50 Navan

GRANGECLARE WEST has presumably had his issues but it was interesting to note Willie Mullins say recently that he felt he could be an 'outstanding staying novice hurdler'. The Presenting gelding cost 430,000 pounds after his point-to-point win and has only made one start for his new connections since, winning a Punchestown bumper in May 2021. He was very impressive that day and can hopefully start to make up for lost time now. Kudasheva also cost plenty after her point-to-point win at Ballycahane in March (370,000 pounds) and is an interesting rival. She is still only four and gets a nice chunk of weight from the older horses. Recent Galway bumper winner Firm Footings is another for the shortlist while his trainer Gordon Elliott also introduces an interesting newcomer in My Trump Card, who is a full-brother to Airlie Beach.
Prediction : 1st Grangeclare West 2nd Kudasheva 3rd Firm Footings

13:20 Navan

This looks like a lovely stepping stone for Cheltenham bumper runner-up AMERICAN MIKE. He did what he needed to do on his hurdling debut at Down Royal earlier in the month, quickening away late on to beat Letsbeclearaboutit comfortably enough. He did make a couple of mistakes that day and hopefully that experience will have sharpened him up a bit as he faces tougher opposition now. The unbeaten Affordale Fury could be the danger after a good performance to open his hurdling account at Galway late last month. He beat Monbeg Park that day and the runner-up franked the form in good style at Punchestown last weekend. Three Card Brag, stablemate of the selection, ran well when third in another Grade 3 contest, the For Auction Novice Hurdle, here a fortnight ago and should appreciate going a bit further now. He should be involved at the business end again.
Prediction : 1st American Mike 2nd Affordale Fury 3rd Three Card Brag

13:50 Navan

There is a standout name in this 23-runner field, with JUNGLE PROSE the one they all have to beat. The Yeats bay has been a revelation since joining Gordon Elliott and from a mark of 85 on her Irish debut at Gowran in September, she is now rated a massive 40lb higher after three convincing wins. Her latest success came at Punchestown just last weekend and it was undoubtedly her most impressive performance to date, easily dismissing a field of 22 by nine lengths. Rebellious Gale finished second to the selection at Down Royal earlier this month and there is now a significant swing in the weights. Still relatively unexposed, the Califet gelding should give a good account of himself. Harry Rogers saddles both Lord Erskine and Yenillik and they both have solid claims. The former is a dual winner at Proudstown Park and was a fine fifth to Shewearsitwell in a similarly competitive contest at Punchestown last weekend. Handicap debutant Lady Rita is of definite interest with Rachael Blackmore booked to ride, while others of note are Bodhisattva, Shanwalla and Enjoy D'allen.
Prediction : 1st Jungle Prose 2nd Rebellious Gale 3rd Lord Erskine

14:20 Navan

A typically competitive renewal of this prestigious contest and in truth, a case can be made for all 19. A runner-up 12-months ago, Farclas could prove to be the best of the eight Gordon Elliott-trained representatives. He also saddles other leading contenders in the shape of Irish National second Frontal Assault, the mount of Jack Kennedy, and dual-Grade 1 winner Death Duty. Willie Mullins, who last won this race in 2009, is triple handed, with Fighter Allen, Rambranlt'jac and Egality Mans the Closutton hopes. Paul Townend is on the former, a disappointment at Down Royal on his return to action, while Bryan Cooper will be aboard Egality Mans, who appears well-treated on a mark of 135. For a selection it might be worth taking a chance on the locally trained REGINA DRACONES. Successful three times from seven starts last season, she was second in a valuable contest over the course and distance in March. Still in contention, she was pulled up after making a bad mistake at the third last on her most recent start at the Punchestown Festival. Off a featherweight here with Gavin Brouder claiming 5lb, she can make an impact. Tom Gibney trains the selection and is also represented by another leading candidate in the shape of Velvet Elvis. Flash De Touzaine, Lifetime Ambition and recent Munster National winner The Big Dog are others for the shortlist.
Prediction : 1st Regina Dracones 2nd Farclas 3rd Egality Mans

14:50 Navan

A quality contest that revolves around SAINT ROI and Fil Dor. Performing at the highest level over flights, the selection is an exciting recruit to fences. Fourth to Honeysuckle on three separate occasions earlier this year, he was disappointing when dropped in class at Tipperary on his most recent start, finishing third to Santa Rossa. Fil Dor also starts off over fences and is in receipt of a weight allowance on account of his age. A runner-up three times in Grade 1 company, he was again second on his return to action at Naas last month. A bad mistake at the second last there virtually ended his challenge. Percy Warner, Sea Ducor and Slip Of The Tongue are the most interesting of the remainder. The former is three wins from four starts but hasn't been seen since January of last year and starts off for Henry de Bromhead now.
Prediction : 1st Saint Roi 2nd Fil Dor 3rd Percy Warner

15:20 Navan

In against mostly geldings on debut, MISS AGUSTA ran a cracker to finish second in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival and had plenty of subsequent winners in behind. Since snapped up by Gigginstown House Stud and now in the care of Gordon Elliott, the Well Chosen bay will carry less than the majority of her rivals here on account of the fact she has yet to win a race. Elliott is also represented by Mollys Mango, who is sure to have plenty of supporters. She got off the mark at Cork earlier this month and beat Stormalong and Shoe String, who both re-oppose now. A surprise winner of a competitive Grade 2 contest at the Dublin Racing Festival, Lily Du Berlais is given second preference. She had no less than seven subsequent winners in behind at Leopardstown and is sure to go close here. Williamstowndancer was successful on debut, beating Mollys Mango into third. Her most recent effort at Cheltenham can be ignored, as she ran out a long way from home. A runner-up in a Listed contest at Gowran in September, Jetara is another leading contender.
Prediction : 1st Miss Agusta 2nd Lily Du Berlais 3rd Williamstowndancer