NAP of the Day: Stellar Story to star in testing conditions at Navan

 | December 08 | 

2 mins read

Owen McMahon's NAP of the Day

On a Saturday threatened by more weather-related abandonments, we go to Navan - which, touch wood, looks set to go ahead - for my NAP of the Day.

NAP of the Day

  • 13:07 Navan - Stellar Story13/8

Don't get me wrong, conditions are still going to be pretty desperate at the County Meath venue - which is a test in itself.

The ground is currently soft to heavy and there's up to 10mm further rain in the forecast, so it's going to take plenty of getting.

That's ideal for Gordon Elliott's Stellar Story, who I'm backing to land this G2 Navan Novice Hurdle over 2m4f.

I thought the six-year-old, who fetched £310,000 at the sales in March last year, was excellent in a handful of bumpers last season, despite looking like a three-mile chaser in the making.

He found things much too quick on good ground first time out at Fairyhouse in December, but then made amends over course and distance a month later on soft going.

But it was his superb effort at Naas back in February, when he beat the highly-regarded Ile Atlantique for Willie Mullins, that marked him as an exciting prospect going forward.

I was very taken by his attitude that day - and on his his hurdling debut over Saturday's C&D exactly three weeks ago. That form is yet to be tested, but the selection found generously and was going away at the line to win by a widening 4¾L.

Jack Kennedy, who has opted to ride Stellar Story over stablemate Better Days Ahead, said he took a good blow afterwards, so I'm expecting a fair amount of improvement too.

Of his other three rivals, I fear Slade Steel the most. His maiden hurdle win at Naas has been franked big style, but this is his first attempt at the trip on deep ground and I'd much rather opt for the proven stayer.

Meanwhile, Lecky Watson has to improve on his laboured effort at Thurles - while Ballystone would rate a shock winner in my book.

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