Alderwood should prove class will tell
RACING:Conditions are set to be gruelling at Navan tomorrow but Alderwood can prove class will tell when he tries to make it third time lucky over fences.
The horse that memorably scored a Cheltenham festival success in the County Hurdle last season, and progressed to a Grade One success at Punchestown, is returning to the scene of his fencing debut in November when he enjoyed a lucky escape.
Alderwood was going to finish third behind Sword Of Destiny when hitting a piece of false ground on the run-in and came down. He emerged unscathed and showed no ill-effects when subsequently running third to Canaly at Fairyhouse. There is no doubt Tom Mullins’s star is better on much quicker going but he can act on heavy and his quality could give him a vital edge over Spring Heeled.
Just four line up for the opening conditions hurdle but the quartet includes Cause Of Causes, the 25 to 1 Ladbroke winner last month, who is prominent in ante-post betting for both the County Hurdle and the Coral Cup at Cheltenham. His 149 rating is the same as Midnight Game, who has looked a different proposition in two runs this season compared to the novice of last term.
Ruby Walsh will team up with Suntiep on his hurdling debut in the near-three mile maiden and the Limerick bumper winner is bred to relish the jumping challenge. This stamina test will be a gruelling task, however, and the experience edge Casablanca Lily holds could be decisive.
Charlie Swan’s mare is also a Limerick bumper winner and returned to the same track over Christmas when putting in a noteworthy effort in a hurdle. Casablanca Lily looked set to be well beaten at one stage but ran on noticeably well in the closing stages behind Caoimhe’s Delight in a manner that suggests this longer distance will suit her well.
Harpsy Chord was another horse to run at Limerick and looked desperately unlucky when coming down at the last fence in a race ultimately won by Jack Absolute.
He has top-weight in the handicap chase and could come up short again against a potent lightweight like Saoirse Dun who threw away a chance at a four-timer when falling at Cork last time.
Another Challenge didn’t even get over the first flight at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day but the bumper winner might be worth another shot in the first maiden.
Snow may be forecast tomorrow but no problems are expected for Navan’s card going ahead.
Weather watch No snow for Navan
“It looks like whatever snow is coming will arrive after we finish up. It looks like Sunday evening and into Monday morning that it will snow,” said Navan manager Darren Lawler.
“There is some frost forecast but even that is expected to clear early and there’s nothing else of any consequence so the weather looks like being kind to us for a change,” he added.
The going at both Navan and Punchestown today is expected to be heavy.