Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle Guide

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RUNNERS:

As many as nine names head to Naas on Sunday for arguably the feature race in Ireland this weekend, the Grade One Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle.

The field are headed by the unbeaten Battleoverdoyen for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown. A perfect record so far, and impressed when winning a maiden at Navan prior to Christmas. Prominent already in the supreme market, he can consolidate his claims there with a good performance here as he steps into graded company for the first time.

The 6yo is joined by his stablemate Commander of Fleet, who had a simple task on his hurdling debut, but failed to cope with the big jump in class in the Royal Bond. Was last of four that day and lots to improve on from that effort.

Willie Mullins has one extra runner than his main rival Gordon Elliott, and sends three to post - all under different ownerships. His leading chance is the 6yo Tornado Flyer, who had such a great record in bumpers last year; third at Cheltenham before winning the Grade One Conyngham Cup at the Punchestown Festival. With Ruby aboard, he looks to have ample scope for improvement after his easy maiden hurdle win, and looks an obvious contender.

Ireland's Champion Trainer also has Come To Me, who won a Cork maiden by a huge margin, and worth a shot here as a back-up for Tornado Flyer, along with Getareason, who got his campaign back on track with a creditable second in a Grade Two at Navan about three weeks ago.

Joseph O'Brien has a runner in the colours of JP McManus with the name of Lone Wolf, who showed much promise in bumpers last term and on his sole hurdles start, and can now build on that Fairyhouse win - albeit that this is tougher.

Noel Meade had First Approach - who was a beaten favourite in a Grade Three event at Navan most recently, and this looks a tough task against that background.

Sams Profile for Malf Morris and Magnium for Jessica Harrington completed the field, and both hold outside chances.

TRENDS:

The Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle - also registered as the Slaney Novice Hurdle is run over a distance of about 2 miles and 4 furlongs, where there are eleven flights of hurdles to be jumped.

The race is often contested by horses who go on to compete at the Cheltenham Festival - in particular the two-and-a-half mile novice hurdle event known at the Ballymore (prev. Neptune Investment).

Last season Next Destination won this from Cracking Smart and Duc Des Genievres. Next Destination in the colours of Malcolm Denmark went onto finish third to Samcro indeed in the Ballymore, before boosting the form in a Grade One at Punchestown a month later. Much was anticipated ahead of his novice chasing career, however an injury ruled him out for the season.

Other previous winners include Grand National sensation Rule The World, Bellshill - a leading fancy for that very contest this year, along with Death Duty twenty-four months ago, who was on a roll when landing this contest.

In the last ten years, all ten winners had won on their last completed start. Nine of those had raced within the previous month, with just one less running in no more than three previous races over hurdles. Seven of the last ten had also previously won a hurdle race over at least two-and-a-half miles.

Other things to note, is that five previous winners of this contest had already won a Graded Hurdle, whilst the exceptions had yet to win over obstacles other than in Maiden company. Willie Mullins has saddled 5 winners during the period, including the last 3 renewals.

Both Noel Meade and Mouse Morris have trained 2 winners during the period.

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