Tuesday rematch plans if frost stops today’s Naas card
Pont Alexandre set to continue spectacular return to form
Naas racecourse faces an 8am inspection today following overnight frost. Photograph: Caroline Norris
Provisional plans are in place for Naas to switch its Grade 2 card to Tuesday should the course fail to survive an 8am inspection, but officials remain “hopeful” of getting a green light for today.
Overnight frost threatens the Woodlands Park Novice Chase programme, with Pont Alexandre’s much-anticipated second start over fences a particular highlight.
“We would have raced after the latest frost but it all depends if it freezes harder into Saturday morning. If it gets down to minus three or lower, we could run out of time for it to thaw out,” said Naas manager, Tom Ryan.
“It’s real wait-and-see territory, but we’re still hopeful even though we’re provisionally looking at Tuesday if we come out the wrong side of the inspection. That way things will only be upset for a few days for those pattern horses,” he added.
Most notable among those looks to be Pont Alexandre who returned in spectacular fashion from a 1,000 day layoff to win at Punchestown last month.
The former Grade 1 winning hurdler currently tops betting lists for the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham but also remains a prime RSA candidate and it will be disappointing if he can’t get the better of his stable companion Roi Des Francs should racing go ahead.
Ruby Walsh also has a prime Grade 3 candidate with Sempre Medici in the Limestone Lad Hurdle, although a switch to Warwick could yet be in the offing for the champion jockey.
Willie Mullins has tasted success at Warwick before and gives Black Hercules his own second start over fences in a three mile Listed chase.
The Graham Wylie-owned star could hardly have been more impressive at Navan a month ago and is currently pencilled in to be ridden by the trainer’s nephew, Danny.
Both he and David Mullins are on standby to ride in Warwick’s novice hurdle, aboard Thomas Hobson and Open Eagle respectively.
Thomas Hobson had the form of his Punchestown win boosted since by Jetstream Jack, while there will also be Irish interest in the Classic Chase with Mouse Morris’s Dromnea.
Barry Geraghty is pencilled in for a handful of Naas rides, including Plinth in the Limestone Lad Hurdle, but the most intriguing of them may be Edwulf.
The JP McManus runner is having a first start over flights but belied 33-1 odds at Navan a month ago and had a Beginners Chase at his mercy, only to crash out at the last.