Only five go to post in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle on Saturday afternoon but it’s an intriguing little heat and Slade Steel is fancied to come out on top.
The Telescope gelding was impressive on his hurdling debut at Naas last month and that form has had a significant boost.
He beat King Of Kingsfield in fine style then and that rival has gone on to run a cracker when finishing second in the Grade One Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle last weekend.
Slade Steel was a bumper winner at Punchestown last December and only appeared one more time, when finishing a fine third in a hot winners’ contest at the Festival meeting there behind Ballyburn.
Connections didn’t over-race the point-to-point recruit last season, presumably with an eye on his novice hurdling campaign, and he looks the type to do better over jumps.
He showed gears to win over two miles the first day at Naas but going up in trip looks like it can only help him now.
It’s a strong little race and Stellar Story looks like an obvious danger in the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
The dual bumper winner was good on his hurdling debut over course and distance three weeks ago and it looks significant that Jack Kennedy takes the mount on him again.
His trainer Gordon Elliott has a strong hand with Better Days Ahead also in the field.
The Milan gelding gained a confidence-boosting win at Fairyhouse last time, after a fall at Down Royal previously, and is another nice staying prospect over timber.
Willie Mullins relies on Lecky Watson, who had some smart bumper form but he needs to improve from his first outing over hurdles having made hard work of winning in Thurles.
It’s an interesting little heat but Slade Steel is a classy prospect and gets the vote.
Elliott is often the man to follow at Navan and he saddles six in the valuable €100,000 handicap hurdle sponsored by one of his main backers, Bective Stud.
They don’t actually have a runner in the three-mile-one contest and the Gigginstown gelding Will Do can continue his winning ways.
He was pulling away late on when scoring at Thurles last time and really seems to relish a proper test of stamina.
The Walk In The Park gelding doesn’t look harshly treated off a mark of 128 for his handicap debut and there is scope for further improvement.
Elliot can also collect in the two-mile maiden hurdle with Caldwell Potter. He ran well to chase home It’s For Me on his debut over jumps at Punchestown last month and can go one better now.
The opening four-year-old event could be another informative contest and Milo Lises is a nice prospect for Willie Mullins.
He shaped with promise on his debut when second to stablemate Predators Gold in the Goffs Bumper at Punchestown and that form looks strong with the winner impressing on his jumping bow recently.
12.00 Milo Lises
12.32 Caldwell Potter
1.07 Slade Steel (Nap)
1.42 Will Do (Dbl)
2.17 Mars Harper
2.52 Saint Felicien
3.25 My Trump Card