This is the first card of the Irish flat turf season to be held at Naas since 2017.
We have some decent contests there on Monday to get the season up and running including the Group three Lodge Park Stud Irish EBF Park Express Stakes at 4.30.
Naas is a left-handed track with a stiff uphill finish, but it’s a relatively fair circuit with no huge draw biases. The going for Monday’s card is heavy, soft in places.
Trainers To Follow
Jim Bolger landed a 5,354/1 treble on this corresponding card last season with winners at 20/1, 16/1 and 14/1. Bolger also had a treble on the opening day of the season at the Curragh in 2009 and had a four-timer on the opening day in 2013.
So, he’s clearly someone whose runners should be paid close attention to. Ger Lyons is another who tends to have his string forward at this time of year having trained five winners across the three previous meetings of this card at Naas.
Fozzy Stack had a winner on this card in both 2017 and 2019. Since having taken over the training licence he’s continued the good record of his father Tommy who trained the first four winners of the season in 2010 at this time of year.
Jim Bolger runners: Poetic Flare & Allagar (2.00), Sheer Bravado (2.30), Real Appeal (3.30), Halimi (4.00), Cerro Bayo (4.30), Fraterculus & Legal Reform (5.00)
Ger Lyons runners: Nickajack Cave (4.00), Even So & Lemista (4.30), Lough Cutra (5.00)
Fozzy Stack runners: Sweettasteoflove (2.30, Reserve), Starlite Dancer (3.00)
Horses To Look Out For
The star attraction on the card is Sir Dragonet who was sent off the 11/4 favourite when finishing 3/4 length fifth in last season’s Derby.
He’s well clear on official ratings in this company, despite having a five-pound penalty to shoulder for last season’s Chester Vase win and is likely to be sent off odds-on as a result.
However, he hasn’t been seen on the track since finishing fourth in the St Leger back in September and Aidan O’Brien is a trainer who likes to bring his horses along steadily at this time of year with targets further into the season in mind. O’Brien horses Somehow and Delphinia have both been beaten on this card before going on to better things in Group races in recent years. So O’Brien is unlikely to want Sir Dragonet to have a slog in testing ground here, so it could be a good day for punters to take the horse on.
Brendan Duke has a far smaller string than any of the trainers mentioned above and he’s yet to train more than three winners in a year on the flat in Ireland. But he does have a particularly good record in the five-furlong two-year-old maiden that opens the season.
With all the runners unraced there is little for punters to go on in this contest and there are some top yards represented. But given that from just five previous runners in the race, Duke won it with a 12/1 shot in 2007, again with a 20/1 shot in 2018 and trained the second horse home last year, his filly is likely to have been trained with this day in mind and is therefore one to keep an eye on.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication