Hopes remain high Navan will go ahead
RACING:Despite a 7.30 inspection taking place this morning, hopes remains high that tomorrow’s rescheduled Navan card will go ahead, with a potential plentiful supply of Cheltenham and Aintree hopefuls appearing.
The card originally scheduled for yesterday was called off on Saturday morning due to water-logging but dry weather looks to have come to the aid of the track.
Nevertheless an early inspection will be made today, although course manager Darren Lawlor stressed it is precautionary.
“We want to make sure everyone’s happy and make sure everything is boxed off,” he said yesterday.
Earlier, Lawlor reported: “The forecast is for a dry couple of days so, touch wood, we should be okay. At this stage, while you hate to say you’d be confident, and you never really know what the weather might do, we don’t foresee any problems. We should be fine.”
Tomorrow’s card contains four Grade Two races including the re-routed Red Mills Chase, which could see Rubi Light attempt a hat-trick of victories in the two-and-a-half mile heat.
Tofino Bay, winner of the Troytown at Navan in November, and winner of a Grade Two at Naas on his last start, remains in line to run in the Ten Up Chase over three miles while the Grand National favourite, On His Own, is an eye-catching entry for the Boyne Hurdle.
The weekend cancellation caught many by surprise but Lawlor reported that over 50mms of rain fell on the course after declaration time on Tuesday. “We were then forecast to get some more rain on Friday night into Saturday, so we decided the most prudent thing to do was give everyone plenty of notice and go with Tuesday,” he said.
“We were conscious that there were other meetings on and similar types of races. It gives us our best chance of putting on a cracking card, and there should be plenty of Cheltenham pointers to be had,” said Lawlor.
“Admission will be €10 for everyone which also includes a racecard,” he added.
Small Steps Back on form
Steps To Freedom was an expensive failure at Cheltenham 2012 but Jessica Harrington is considering giving her versatile star another shot at festival glory in the Champion Hurdle next month.
Unplaced when well-fancied for last year’s Supreme, Steps To Freedom warmed up for a possible Cheltenham return by winning on the all-weather at Dundalk on Friday night. That didn’t budge his ante-post Champion Hurdle odds of 50/1 but Harrington was pleased with the performance, saying: “He had course form and we went back there as there was nowhere else to go with him the way the ground is.
“He did it well and has come out of the race well. I was concerned that the trip may have been a bit short for him but he was the class act in the field and that showed. He has given us something to think about now in regards to the Champion Hurdle.”