Navan to inspect steeplechase course on Saturday morning

More than one role for jockey Patrick Mullins in Saturday’s bumper

Despite the two chase contests being pushed back to the end of Saturday’s Navan card, the cold snap’s lingering impact means there’s an element of doubt about them going ahead, with the Co Meath track to hold a 7.30am morning inspection of its steeplechase course.

On Friday, clerk of the course Paddy Graffin said: “The hurdle course is raceable today and is soft ground, but parts of the chase course remain unfit for racing due to some frost still in the ground.

“We’ve had four nights of heavy frost at Navan but the temperatures have risen today and do have a favourable forecast overnight.

“The chase course is in great condition overall and thanks to the co-operation of everyone we moved the chases to the last two races on the card so that will give every chance even if we have to take another look after 7.30.”


Earlier on the programme, should Patrick Mullins wind up losing the bumper he could still end up a winner.

Even the most successful amateur rider in the sport’s history can’t ride two horses at once but Mullins has more than one iron in this fire.

He teams up with his father’s No 1 hope It’s For Me who is making his racecourse debut but is already as low as 8-1 in some ante-post lists for the Cheltenham bumper.

So, it’s ironic that perhaps his biggest danger, My Trump Card, was bred by It’s For Me’s jockey and races out of the Gordon Elliott yard.

Despite jumping poorly at times, My Trump Card showed up well in a maiden hurdle at the track in November.

That racecourse experience is an obvious plus but It’s For Me brings a hefty home reputation into this.

He won a point-to-point for Stuart Crawford in April and might yet prove the one to supply Willie Mullins with a remarkable ‘Lucky 13th’ success in Cheltenham’s bumper in March.

A decisive success could certainly put him top of a market that has yet to see any horse decisively put their stamp on matters.

Stable companion Chapeau De Soleil currently tops most lists despite being beaten by Better Days Ahead on his debut.

Saturday’s €40,000 feature is the Navan Handicap Hurdle where Spyglass Hill has a first start over flights in 16 months.

Henry de Bromhead’s runner failed to fire on his recent return to action over fences at Limerick but dons first-time cheekpieces here and a significantly lower hurdles mark could be exploitable at his best.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column