Navan preview: Andy Dufresne strongly fancied on Sunday

14th September 2021

This 2019 Navan Novice Hurdle preview includes Blackbow in the maiden hurdle that opens the card

Unbeaten JP McManus owned horse Andy Dufresne is one of the hottest prospects in Ireland, so can continue his undefeated streak in the feature 2m 4f Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle on Sunday (12:00).

Trained by Gordon Elliott, this five-year-old is a point winner who has also bolted up in a bumper and maiden hurdle company over this trip last time out.

Andy Dufresne beat Faustinovick by six lengths before switching to racing under Rules.

The son of Doyen took a very keen hold in his Down Royal bumper, but only needed pushing clear approaching the final furlong and stayed on very strongly to score by 10 easy lengths.

This taking performance meant he had a big reputation when sent hurdling this season.

Andy Dufresne justified his promise over course and distance on reappearance last month with another facile success.

He made most of the running and jumped well with jockey Mark Walsh only needing to push him out before easing him down close home.

Andy Dufresne was value for tons more than the 11-length winning margin.

Alpine Cobra, the third home, has since run well in two subsequent starts – winning his next outing and finishing runner-up in a Cork Grade 3 over 3m. That gives the form a good look.

Stepping Andy Dufresne up markedly in grade is the only way to go. He looks the class act in the Navan Novice Hurdle that attracts just three rivals in opposition.

With the prospect of plenty more to come, he is a strong fancy and worthy 2/5 favourite with Unibet. Andy Dufresne is the standout horse on show at Navan here.

Blackbow worth a bet on Navan Novices Hurdle day

In the 2m maiden hurdle that opens proceedings (11:30), Blackbow can go one better than his return to action.

Trained by Willie Mullins, this six-year-old son of Stowaway landed an Irish point before joining the County Carlow handler in December 2017.

After scoring on his Rules debut at Leopardstown, Blackbow followed-up in a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival around the same venue.

He then went to Cheltenham and was a fine fifth giving a 7lb sex allowance to stable companion Relegate.

Blackbow was far from disgraced in going down 5 3/4 lengths off those terms. He rounded off the campaign when a 1 1/4 lengths runner-up to another Mullins inmate, Tornado Flyer, in the Grade 1 Punchestown Festival bumper.

Based on his form in those National Hunt Flat races, Blackbow clearly had the scope and potential to make a jumper. He missed the entire of last season, however, so is now making up for lost time.

After a racecourse absence of 563 days, Blackbow returned to action with a 2m maiden hurdle at Naas last month.

As he only got headed close home and beaten half-a-length by Embittered, who ran fifth in a Grade 1 behind Envoi Allen, he is sure to have learned plenty for his hurdles bow and come on for the run.

Blackbow, who now wears a first-time hood, is the sole Mullins runner in this.

So, with stable jockey Paul Townend again in the saddle, he is 4/7 with Paddy Power to win the race before the Navan Novice Hurdle.

Uhtred appeals in Listed finale

In the Listed bumper that closes proceedings (15:10), Uhtred returns to National Hunt Flat races in search of some black type.

Trained by Joseph O’Brien for Gigginstown House Stud, this four-year-old Fame And Glory gelding won on his racecourse bow over Easter.

That was in a Fairyhouse bumper where Uhtred ran on strongly under Tom Hamilton to lead close home and score by three-quarters of a length.

It was a taking debut and he was far from disgraced when runner-up on his first start over hurdles at Cork last month. Uhtred stayed on well to take second behind stable companion Front View.

The winner had previously chased home subsequent Grade 1 scorer Envoi Allen, so that form is strong. It also reads well in the context of this Listed affair.

Uhtred hails from a yard on a 20 per cent strike rate in the last 14 days going into the weekend, so his claims in this seven-runner event are obvious.

He also gets a handy 3lb from dual bumper winner Dewcup and Gordon Elliott’s Pencilfulloflead.

With the weights in his favour, Uhtred is 6/4 with Bethard to resume winning ways in the finale of Navan Novice Hurdle day.

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