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Navan preview

Updated: Sunday, 12 Jan 2014 17:26 | Comments

Racing at Navan gets under way at 12.40
Racing at Navan gets under way at 12.40

The Foxrock Handicap Chase is the pick of the action on a good quality seven-race card at Navan. 

With a decent pot on offer, it is no surprise to see the lightly raced She's Got Grit line up following her impressive Fairyhouse success last month, and she should have a good deal more to offer yet.

The pick of the opposition might prove to be the veteran Lion Na Bearnai, a good fourth on his reappearance, but the most interesting of these is Popcorn on his return from over two years off the track.

He looked a promising sort when beating Rathlin in a beginners chase in 2011 and connections have been very patient since.

Racing gets under way at 12.40 with the 2014 Navan Membership Maiden Hurdle and bumper winner Chancol takes the eye following his promising hurdling debut fourth at Leopardstown last month, while The Engineer is another interesting runner returning from a long absence.

All eyes will be on Un De Sceaux in the Follow Navan On Facebook Hurdle following his three mightily impressive offerings over hurdles so far. Willie Mullins' French import looks destined for bigger things and can take another step up the ladder.

The trainer's son, Patrick, explained the reasoning behind this latest assignment.

"This would be by far his toughest race and dad is trying to get as much experience into him as he can before he has to step him up in grade," he said.

"We'd obviously be disappointed if he got beaten but this is another step up on what he's beaten so far.

"He's a lot more relaxed this year, at home anyway. In his races he has a high cruising speed which puts other horses out of their comfort zones.

"He's very exciting to watch and I'd imagine he's the same to ride, but this is another step up the ladder."

Another with a bright future is Wounded Warrior, a taking winner of a course bumper last month, and he is expected to go off a warm order as he tackles hurdles for the first time in the www.navanracecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle.

Mad Brian takes a marked drop in class in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase having cut little ice in Grade One company last time. His runner-up effort in a hot handicap here previously reads very well and suggests he could prove a tough nut to crack.

Bonzo Bing and Lord Valentine have both shaped with promise so far, but Willie Mullins takes the wraps off point-to-point winner Milsean in the closing Trim (Pro/Am) Flat Race and he is sure to know his job ahead of his debut under Rules.

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