With the UK’s equine flu outbreak threatening to restrict action for a number of weeks, punters’ attention turns to other parts including Ireland and even Dubai for the next week while and as such our betting options remain as open as ever.
Naas then is our focus this Saturday as the cameras turn to the County Kildare track for an eight race card, four of which we think provide thoroughly decent punting opportunities all staring with a division of the Maiden Hurdle at 1.40:
1.40 Naas (Maiden Hurdle) - ALL FOR JOY
Having a touch of seconditis would put many a player off, but this horse is still among maidens and in this company All For Joy represents good value for the (hopefully) well named Keep the Faith syndicate and trainer Oliver McKiernian.
Despite not having won since his point to point days, this 7yo gelding has kept on improving and his seconds at Punchestown and Leopardstown read pretty well in the context of this race so he is taken to score in this contest at the main expense of Advantage Point and Royal Thief.
2.40 Naas (Novice Hurdle) - KONITHO
Joseph O’Brien looks capable of cleaning up in the racing game as a trainer; whether that happens within National Hunt or the flat scene remains to be seen, and while this horse may not be one we look back on with extreme fondness as one of his superstars he can at least bag us some profit this week.
Konitho showed great improvement to win his maiden easily last time out and although there may not be a ton of improvement to come from him he should have more than enough to score in this race.
The presence of Band of Outlaws means it could easily be a 1-2 for the County Kilkenny man too with Coko Beach also feared for place money.
3.10 Naas (Handicap Chase) - VELOCITY BOY
This is a tremendously competitive handicap chase, but one that may well provide us with a cracking value bet in the shape of Velocity Boy who has shown great versatility if nothing else and who may, on the balance of things, be the most likely winner.
Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown Stud as always are a threat and they have Roaring Bull in this who could give the selection most to do, but all things considered our boy looks good value to score for the first time since February 2017 at Punchestown albeit small stakes are advised.
3.40 Naas (Handicap Hurdle) - LEAVE YOUR MARK
If our last handicap was competitive then this one is on the impossible side of difficult, a veritable bookies’ benefit, or so we’re led to believe at least, but we think we have a cracking bet in the shape of a horse representing quality connections in trainet Joseph O’Brien and owner JP McManus.
Leave Your Mark ran well enough when third at Thurles last time out but it’s his form and ability overall that takes the eye in this race and off a mark of 107 he seems well enough placed to land a blow at the main expense of Empire Burleque and She’s Made It.