The flat season in Ireland begins today at Naas with former Epsom Derby contender Sir Dragonet set to make an appearance and he features in our lucky 15 betting tips for today.
Two handicaps are also included in this preview while the leading contenders for the first Group 3 race of the campaign are also discussed. All four races are set to be televised on RTV.
Naas 3.00 – Dark Varer
Naas 3.30 – Justina
Naas 4.00 – Sir Dragonet
Naas 4.30 – Blissful
Staged over 6f, this handicap has attracted Dark Vader from Joseph O’Brien’s yard. A regular competitor on the Dundalk all-weather surface, he has won three times in his last four starts at the course and was very unfortunate recently at Lingfield when finishing second. The saddle slipped in the closing stages.
Sendmylovetoyou will provide worthwhile opposition after winning at the first time of asking in a Curragh maiden last August. He was then fourth in a handicap on the same course before disappointing ten days later. A break from racing may have been beneficial.
Stablemate Arcanears could also be worth watching after beating Tommy Taylor in a Dundalk handicap back in January. He is a consistent performer but does not appear to be so productive on the turf, although two second places at Naas last season are worth noting.
Tip – Dark Vader to Win.
This 7f handicap for 3-year-olds could be an opportunity for the Jessica Harrington trained filly Justina who won on her first start last season. She was a consistent performer in two subsequent outings and seems to be well-treated at the weights.
Opposition includes Hong Kong from the Aidan O’Brien yard and who was not disgraced when finishing eighth in a Group 3 contest at Newmarket back in November. He had previously won a maiden race at this course after another promising effort at Limerick.
Take note also of In From The Cold who finished last season by winning over course and distance while Lustown Baba won two of his last three races during the previous campaign and carried top-weight into third position in his final start.
Tip – Justina to win.
Following his easy victory in the Chester Vase last season, Sir Dragonet was touted as potential Epsom Derby winner. Those hopes never materialised in a subsequently disappointing campaign culminating with a fourth position in the St Leger. Aidan O’Brien is now targeting this Listed 1m2f as a seasonal debut for a horse which could improve as a 4-year-old.
Among his expected opponents is Brogue from the Dermot Weld yard who has raced just once when winning at Cork last May. That victory over 1m2f was a promising performance for this son of Frankel but his subsequent absence from the racecourse is a concern.
Joseph O’Brien will also be saddling Numerian for this race and he has finished a narrow second in his last two starts. However, he last won a race back in February 2019 at Dundalk.
Tip – Sir Dragonet to Win.
For this Group 3 race staged over one mile, Even So should be a leading contender after she was an easy winner over this distance at Gowran Park last September. The 3-year-old filly had raced just once previously when beaten into third place by Blissful over a similar distance at Tipperary.
The winner that day is likely to re-oppose but after narrowly winning her subsequent race, she failed to sparkle in the Rockfell Stakes at Newmarket when facing Group 2 contenders. The Aidan O’Brien filly may be more comfortable at this level.
Among the older horses in this race, Kiss For A Jewel won for the first time in five attempts when scoring at Tipperary back in August and then followed up at Fairyhouse before a poor performance in her final race over course and distance. She seems to race better when fresh.
Hamariyna could also be a contender after running well during Spring last season which included two victories.
Tip – Blissful to Win.
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