Latest Exhibition is primed and ready to go in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors ‘50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff’ Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Paul Nolan’s lightly-raced seven-year-old was a convincing Grade 2 winner at Navan last time out, and his trainer expects the step up to two miles and six furlongs on Saturday to suit even better.
With his form boosted too, by the subsequent success of Navan runner-up Andy Dufresne, he heads to the Dublin Racing Festival with strong claims.
“We’re very pleased with how he’s going,” said Nolan.
“I was delighted with him the last day, and hopefully he continues to improve.
“I think the step up in trip will be a plus rather than a minus for him.”
The County Wexford trainer ackowledges nonetheless that Latest Exhibition will face a tough task this weekend.
He added: “It will be a very good race – it’s a Grade 1 with some real good horses in it, (so) he’ll need to continue to improve. Hopefully he’ll run a respectable race.
“I hope the fact that he’s stepping up in trip will mean that he won’t need the ground very soft. He won his bumper at Naas on nice ground, and it won’t be any quicker than that – obviously he’s taking on a different class of animal, though.”
Nolan has two other major contenders at the Festival in Quamino, a winner at the meeting last year, and Fitzhenry – second in two of the biggest handicaps of the season, the Troytown and the Paddy Power Chase.
“Quamino has a couple of options and is still a young horse,” he said.
“I thought he ran OK the last day.
“He finished ninth in the Paddy Power but didn’t really get home. There’s a possibility he’ll run in the two-mile race he won last year (Matheson Handicap Chase).
“We’d stepped him up in trip, looking for improvement, but he needs nice ground. He needs to improve off his mark.
“As for Fitzhenry, (in the Gaelic Plant Hire Leopardstown Handicap Chase) he is going up the weights for not winning – which is always annoying.”
Nolan is nonetheless hoping the consistency can be rewarded this time.
“He last won off 123 and he’s now 141,” he added.
“We’ve only won two races, both by small margins.
“He does seem to have improved but still hasn’t managed to get his head in front.
“He was unfortunate the last day though – everything went perfect until the last 10 yards when your man (Roaring Bull) came from nowhere.”