Grade Two Boyne Hurdle Guide 2022

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Alan King

Titan Jack

J: Alan King
T: Gearoid Patrick Brouder
Age: 14
Weight: 11-3
OR: 80
Days: 122

A 14 year old trained by Gearoid Brouder, he’s a strange addition to proceedings here having poor form and not winning in any of his runs in bumpers, point to points or under rules.

Coming here with a lowly rating of 80 gives him bundles to find and he was last seen being beaten 130 lengths in a handicap hurdle in October at Thurles.

Refusing to run in a point to point before pulling up in his next start between the flags doesn’t inspire confidence and he’s been beaten out of sight in all of his starts over hurdles.

Unlikely to play any part.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Simon Torrens


J: Simon Torrens
T: Noel C Kelly
Age: 8
Weight: 11-3
Days: 530

This 8 year old gelding hasn’t been seen for a mammoth 530 days so has clearly had some issues over the past couple of years.

Making his stable debut here for Noel Kelly, Conron spent the bulk of his career with Jessica Harrington. Despite being unable to win any of his first seven outings on the flat, he garnered a move to the Harrington yard where he won his maiden at huge odds of 66/1.

He failed to uphold that form and only won once more all season when in handicap company. His last season was much the same.

Despite gaining a first win on the flat in a 2 mile handicap, he failed to sparkle over hurdles and only managed to score once when winning a handicap off a lowly looking mark of 126.

Unable to win on the flat or in a chase over the summer of 2020 he pulled up in his last outing at Punchestown and hasn’t been seen since.

You’d be taking it on blind faith that he returns to racing in any kind of form and hasn’t tackled this level of race before in his career.

He’s best watched for now.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Keith Donoghue

Darver Star

J: Keith Donoghue
T: Gavin Cromwell
Age: 10
Weight: 11-3
OR: 152
Days: 28

Gavin Cromwell’s 10 year old failed to win a race in his first season over hurdles to come back as a second season novice when winning a handicap off a mark of 106.

He went through an impressive run in handicaps winning three in a row before taking a Listed novice race over 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

Unable to live with Envoi Allen and Abacadabras in the Royal Bond, he finished the season with two outstanding runs to be 2nd in the Irish Champion Hurdle and 3rd in the Champion Hurdle.

A spell over fences didn’t quite go to plan despite a very impressive debut win over the larger jumps. that ended up being his only win over fences so he’s found himself dropped back to hurdles half way through this season.

Winning on his first run back over hurdles, he was a runaway winner on deep ground over 2.5 miles.

Last seen at Lingfield he was just gotten the better of late on by Brewin’upastorm but ran creditably in defeat to a smart rival.

He’s much better over hurdles and has put in two very good outings already. Well worth a chance at this level and he should go well.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
L P Dempsey


J: L P Dempsey
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 9
Weight: 11-8
OR: 155
Days: 1

Starting life over in France, Durasso won listed events over hurdles and picked up a couple of victories over fences during his time south of the channel before moving to Joseph O’Brien.

Winning a Grade 3 hurdle and a Grade 2 chase over 2 miles showed his diversity for his new connections in his first season over in Ireland.

But he struggled subsequently and went nearly 2 years before notching another win. Moving up to 2.5 miles brought about some improvement and he quickly notched up a brace of wins over both obstacles.

Darasso has been in decent form again this season winning the Lismullen Hurdle when Flooring Porter fell 2 out.

No match for Honeysuckle in the Hattons Grace, he did win the Limestone Lad Hurdle when last seen.

Not quite of Grade 1 quality, this is certainly his level and he arrives in good form.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
J J Slevin

Early Doors

J: J J Slevin
T: Joseph Patrick O'Brien
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
Days: 51

Another runner in the gold and green of McManus under the tutelage of Jospeh O’Brien, Early Doors is best known for his win in the 2019 Martin Pipe at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival under Jonjo O’Neill Jr.

A decent novice hurdler a few years ago, Early Doors easily won a maiden and a group 3 but found himself out of his depth in Grade 1 company multiple times.

Seemingly at his limit in terms of his handicap rating and unable to get competitive in deeper races, connections sent him chasing.

He has a similar profile to many rivals in this race who tried their hand over fences but failed to sparkle over the bigger obstacles and have had to revert back to hurdles.

His first four outings over fences failed to yield a win but he did manage to seal a handicap win when taking the Galway Plate in 2020.

Encountering some kind of fitness issues he wasn’t seen for over 500 days until making a recent return to be well beaten behind Darver Star at the end of last year.

With a run in the books he should shape better but it remains to be seen if he retains the talent he had before his long lay off.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Sam Ewing

Ronald Pump

J: Sam Ewing
T: Matthew J Smith
Age: 9
Weight: 11-3
OR: 156
Days: 54

Even though this 9 year old hasn’t won a race since November 2019 he has run incredibly well in defeat multiple times since then in some very hot races.

It wasn’t until contesting handicaps quite deep into his career that he managed to notch his first win, defying a mark of 102 narrowly before managing to back that up despite a rise to 108. He rounded out his 2019 season with a brace of impressive handicap wins before going chasing.

Only seen twice over the bigger obstacles he ran well both times but connections saw fit to drop back down to hurdles. It was a sound decision as he put in a career best to be 2nd in the 2020 Stayers Hurdle.

Ronald Pump has been lightly raced over the last couple of seasons with his two most notable runs being 2nd place finishes to Honeysuckle in the last two renewals of the Hattons Grace.

He’s not looked himself over 3 miles this season being well beaten by Champ and Klassical Dream so a drop back to 2.5 miles will likely suit.

He carries no penalties and his best runs in the last few years have been over this trip.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
B J Cooper

Commander Of Fleet

J: B J Cooper
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 8
Weight: 11-3
OR: 151
Days: 24

Another for Gordon Elliott, 8 year old Commander Of Fleet has been frustrating to follow over the years.
Twice a winner between the flags, he quickly racked up some decent runs for connections.

Winning a maiden in impressive fashion over 2.5 miles, a move down in trip failed to suit him but he improved for going further and secured a Grade 1 win.

Winning a big pot in only his third start over timber saw him go off favourite for the 2019 Albert Bartlett only to be beaten by subsequent Gold Cup winner Minella Indo.

A poor attempt in his only try over fences saw him immediately drop back to hurdles where he tasted success once last season in a short campaign.

This season has seen him horribly out of form. Unable to make any impression on seasonal comeback, he then fell in a handicap hurdle when going well enough at Punchestown.

He did manage to defy a mark of 144 to win a handicap hurdle on his next start before floundering in grade 1 company in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Last seen beating only one rival home in the Galmoy Hurdle, it’s interesting that he drops back in trip but he hasn’t shown a great deal this season and has looked out of place in graded races.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Ambrose McCurtin

No Memory

J: Ambrose McCurtin
T: William Coleman O'Brien
Age: 8
Weight: 10-10
OR: 128
Days: 98

An 8 year old mare for William O’Brien has only won twice over hurdles, taking a maiden for mares and a low grade race over 2.5 miles.

This season she’s been busy mixing it between the flat and jumps but has failed to get her head in front in the national hunt code.

A win in handicap company over a mile and half on deep ground came on her penultimate start between two decent enough outings in listed mares races.

Coming 2nd to the impressive Mrs Milner at Limerick was a smart performance before being soundly beaten last time out behind Dysart Diamond.

She’s only rated 128 and was probably flattered by how close she got to Mrs Milner. She’ll have to improve markedly to get involved here.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Darragh O'Keeffe

Longhouse Poet

J: Darragh O'Keeffe
T: Martin Brassil
Age: 8
Weight: 11-3
OR: 144
Days: 24

This 8 year old claimed a notable scalp when beating Monkfish in a bumper back in 2019.

Winning a maiden hurdle saw him then go on to be 3rd in the Lawlors Of Naas behind Envoi Allen.

However he didn’t manage to kick on from there and found himself beaten in 2 Grade 1 races to round out his season as a novice.

He’s since spent all his time over fences and has been running well as a staying chaser recently. Despite being beaten in his first three runs over fences, he put in a very creditable performance to beat the smart Run Wild Fred on deep ground at Punchestown at the end of 2020.

Shaping like he needed his first outing this season, he kicked on from that and handily won over 3 miles when last seen at the end of January in a handicap chase.

It’s strange he drops back in trip and down to hurdles, he’s certainly looked more at home over 3 miles recently and might lack the pace to get involved.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Paul Townend

Dreal Deal

J: Paul Townend
T: Ronan M P McNally
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
Days: 78

Ronan McNally’s Dreal Deal was unable to win between the flags and floundered majorly in his first season under rules.

Unable to win in his first eleven starts between jumps and the flat, things suddenly clicked into place for the 7 year old when winning a handicap off a mark of 84.

He then went over to the flat and won a brace of handicaps with ease. Returning to hurdles he defied the handicapper another two times with wins off revised marks of 106 and 111. Winning over distances of 2 miles to 2 miles and 6 furlongs.

Pitched into Grade 2 company he continued his progression to win the Moscow Flyer at Punchestown. Starting the season rated 84 over timber, he signed off his novice campaign rated 145.

Only seen once this season in a graded novice chase at Navan, he couldn’t find his feet in the other sphere and finished a well detached 4th.

He likes to be held up well off the pace and come with a late challenge so he’ll be hoping those in front over race.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Denis O'Regan

Grand Roi

J: Denis O'Regan
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 6
Weight: 11-8
OR: 147
Days: 54

Unable to win in a couple of starts in bumpers over in France, Grand Roi moved to Nicky Henderson. Winning a bumper and a couple of hurdle races before moving over to Gordon Elliott’s yard for the 2020-2021 jumps season.

Unable to win on his first start for Elliott, he did however cut through the mud well to secure a Grade 2 win over 2 miles at Limerick.

A 2nd in the Limestone Lad followed, seeing him go off favourite for the Coral Cup at Cheltenham but he only managed to finish mid division.

He failed to win in either of his starts this season but looked smart behind Darasso in the Lismullen Hurdle, shaping like he needed the run.

He seemingly didn’t stay 3 miles when last seen in the Christmas Hurdle and was a well beaten 4th behind Klassical Dream.

Coming back in trip will help and having fitness on his side might see him get closer to Darasso this time.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Mark Walsh


J: Mark Walsh
T: Noel Meade
Age: 6
Weight: 11-6
Days: 42

Wearing the silks of J P McManus, Thedevilscoachman comes here off the back of a failed stint chasing for Noel Meade.

A successful first season over hurdles last year saw him pick up his maiden with ease but he couldn’t live with Appreciate It and better company when contesting a Grade 1 in his second start over timber. Dropping back in grade however saw him pick up a novice race despite a penalty and follow that up with a smart Listed win.

Seemingly most at home on rain softened ground, he was sent off joint favourite for a Grade 2 to round out the season but weakened quickly in the closing stages to finish a poor 7th.

Chasing hasn’t gone to plan this season and he goes up in trip for the first time and drops back down to hurdles.

The going will suit and switching obstacles will likely suit him better.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Rachael Blackmore


J: Rachael Blackmore
T: M F Morris
Age: 6
Weight: 11-3
OR: 141
Days: 24

A very lightly raced sort, 6 year old Gentlemansgame was an impressive point to point winner over in Ireland beating the well touted Balco Coastal.

A prolific winner in his maiden hurdle over 2 miles, he then jumped right up in trip to 22 furlongs where he came 2nd to Gaillard Du Mesnil at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Unable to get the better of the likes of Ashdale Bob and Galopin Des Champs in his last two outings as a novice, he still ran well in defeat both times.

This season hasn’t shown him in the best light and he was well beaten on comeback in handicap company before a poor run in the Galmoy Hurdle when last seen.

Both of those outings came over 3 miles so dropping back in trip will likely help him as he didn’t look to stay the long distance on either of his starts.

You’d be taking it on faith that dropping in trip will give him the improvement necessary to get involved here but he did have some smart form last season as a novice.

Navan - February 20 2022
Navan 14:20
Robbie Power

Ashdale Bob

J: Robbie Power
T: Mrs John Harrington
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
Days: 24

Representing Jessica Harrington, Ashdale Bob rose to prominence as a novice last season. Unable to win any of his three outings as a juvenile hurdler, he retained his novice status going into last season where he made a splash immediately.

Winning a maiden beating Wide Receiver, he then won a Grade 2 event at Navan over 2.5 miles with relative ease. This teed him up to be well fancied to take on Bob Olinger in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle, only to fall at the second flight.

He finished his novice campaign picking up another Grade 2 event.

Starting this season as a novice chaser, things didn’t go to plan over the bigger obstacles and he failed to get involved in any of his three attempts chasing.

His time over fences has been shelved and he was last seen in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park where he ran well to pick up 3rd ahead of Klassical Dream.

Arguably a career best last time out, he returns back down to 2.5 miles where he looked his best as a novice and will probably kick on now dropped to hurdles.