LAST Saturday’s Naas card has previously been the launch pad for Cheltenham success with City Island, Band Of Outlaws and Aramax grabbing some festival limelight after completing their preparation at the Co Kildare track.

I am not certain I would be predicting the same this year.

Having skipped the Dublin Racing Festival, Journey With Me (120+) headed the market for the Breeders Fund Auction Novice Hurdle as he completed his preparation for the Ballymore Hurdle.

It was mission accomplished in terms of winning the race but, as proof of his festival credentials, we are none the wiser as the contest was run at a crawl for the most part.


Rachael Blackmore eventually seized control of the race heading out on the final circuit and the son of Mahler went on to record the fastest final circuit time in workmanlike fashion, stopping the clock at 3m 22.8secs.

The fastest hurdle race on the card was the maiden hurdle won by Meet And Greet (138), his comparable final circuit time when adjusted for the absence of the two hurdles in the straight was 3m 24.4secs.

The closing sectionals from the fourth last hurdle show Journey With Me to be the quickest finisher as he stopped the clock at 81.4secs with Meet And Greet covering the same ground in 84.8secs, again adjusted for missing two hurdles.

If there was a future graded winner on the card it was Padraig Roche’s Brazil (133+), who won the opening novice hurdle in a canter with plenty in hand.

The son of Galileo completed the reduced race in 3m 26.1secs and the closing sectional in 85.0secs in showing a real liking for the softer underfoot conditions.