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Sunday Stars – Five Horses to Note at Navan

Horse racing Navan

The aftermath to Saturday’s fireworks comes at Navan on Sunday. We’ve picked out five runners who have caught our eye among the declarations, along with a superb offer from Bet365 where you can receive up to £100 in bet credits.


AU FLEURON (1:20 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle)

Bought for £220,000 by Bective Stud for Gordon Elliott, Au Fleuron changed hands at the Tattersall’s Cheltenham March sale.

That money was deemed worthy due to a comprehensive bumper success at Tipperary the week prior, in which Jamie Codd rode him. There was a touch of greenness in the time it took him to assert that day, but once he did, he put a good distance between himself and the rest.

While this might not be the strongest maiden hurdle run this season, he’ll have to be on his game up against a pair of runners who were second on their most recent starts in Bust Or Bray Dee and Hans Gruber. It will therefore be enough of a test of his burgeoning ability and hopefully he can show what he’s capable of.


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GINTO (1:50 John Lynch Carpets & Flooring Monksfield Novice Hurdle)

Ginto returns to the track after his cosy maiden success earlier this month and it is a statement of intent that he reappears as quickly as this.

He was the winner of his only point-to-point last October and found only Whatdeawant too good in bumpers. That horse finished third to Kilcruit at the Dublin Racing Festival, so that form is solid enough. He subsequently got off the mark in that sphere, also at Navan, as an odds-on favourite in February.

He clearly has a fair amount of ability as evidenced by his trainer suggesting his maiden win was “like a piece of work”. It just so happens that he’s up against an equally precocious stablemate in the same colours…


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HOLLOW GAMES (1:50 John Lynch Carpets & Flooring Monksfield Novice Hurdle)

There’s more hype about Hollow Games than there is Ginto. A lot of that will be down to his hitherto unbeaten record.

He won two bumpers towards the end of 2020, one of which came at the high-profile meeting at Leopardstown after Christmas. In both of those he started odds-on and he’s yet to be seriously hassled by a rival, for all that second effort wasn’t won by the widest of margins.

Nevertheless, he was sent off 1/9 for his hurdling bow at the end of last month and won as his price suggested. That was after a significant step up in trip, which he handled with aplomb. He might well go over three miles this season, but this two-and-a-half mile journey is still within range and he is a horse to be excited about.


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MT LEINSTER (3:20 Boardsmill Stud Irish EBF Beginners Chase)

Much was expected of Mt Leinster earlier in his career and while that hasn’t quite materialised, there is still time for this seven-year-old to come good over fences.

Trainer Willie Mullins has always embraced this horse’s versatility and he was sent off favourite for the Ebor from a flat mark of 105. Converted to a jumps mark (add between 45-50) and that would put him on the cut of Graded level.

Danny Mullins possibly set too furious a pace when this horse made his chasing debut last month. He was collared late on to finish third, beaten by Cayd Boy, who he faces again today. That rival was rated 144 over hurdles and so is a good yardstick, but there should be confidence that the race will be run more in Mt Leinster’s favour.

Ultimately, if there is a horse in this race who could compete among the higher echelons in novice events this season, it would be Mt Leinster.


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THE MODEL KINGDOM (3:50 Coolmore N.H. Sires In Swoop Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race)

This could be an informative bumper, with the most intriguing runner being Noel Meade’s The Model Kingdom.

Few of these have form which can be confidently relied upon at this stage, but a line through the runner-up from this mare’s bumper debut reads well. That horse was Kilbarry Chloe, who ran a highly-regarded horse of Gordon Elliott’s much closer than she did The Model Kingdom.

She is also related on her dam’s side to the likes of Johns Spirit and Hardline. As a four-year-old, she’s from an excellent National Hunt family from which to improve with age, but she’s already made a flying start and could go on to better races even this season.


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