An Tobar bidding to emulate Bob Olinger for de Bromhead and Robcour in Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle
Some of the leading novice hurdlers in Ireland remain in contention for the opening Grade 1 race of 2024 with 10 potential runners among the entries for the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle.
Naas Racecourse’s flagship day has attracted another strong field for the feature event with Gordon Elliott indicating Sunday’s contest is very much the target for his unbeaten hurdler Croke Park.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old is one of three Elliott entries in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle, while also under consideration for the two and a half miler are the Bective Stud-owned duo of Firefox and Jigoro. Elliott has enjoyed success for both owners in this Grade 1 race previously with his four previous triumphs coming courtesy of Ginto, Envoi Allen, Battleoverdoyen and Death Duty.
Henry de Bromhead will bid to win the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle for a second time as An Tobar is set to carry the 2021 winning colours of Bob Olinger in Sunday’s renewal for owners Robcour.
An Tobar was third in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December and connections are hoping that he can build on a successful festive period for the owners.
“An Tobar is in good form and goes to Naas on Sunday, all being well,” said de Bromhead’s race planner Robbie Power.
“He ran very well in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse on what was only his second ever start over hurdles so with that experience and the step up to two miles and four furlongs, this looked a good race to go for with An Tobar. The ground won’t be a factor for him so it looks a nice target.”
Power added: “The Fairyhouse race looked a strong Grade 1 as the winner, Farren Glory, looked like he was going to win another Grade 1 at Aintree over Christmas and the runner-up, King Of Kingsfield was very impressive winning at Leopardstown so it is strong form.
“It has been a great Christmas for An Tobar’s owners, Robcour and the Acheson team. We had An Tobar and Slade Steel kept over Christmas for this race at Naas but it is just going to come a bit soon for Slade Steel so An Tobar will go and try to emulate what Bob Olinger did in 2021 before he went on to win the Ballymore Novice’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
While seven-year-old An Tobar is the oldest runner in the line-up, champion trainer Willie Mullins is responsible for Mystical Power, one of just two five-year-olds who stood their ground at today’s forfeit stage.
Mystical Power a fascinating inclusion as the Ballinrobe bumper winner who opened his account over hurdles at the Galway Races, would be looking to become the first five-year-old winner of this race since Mullins scored with 33/1 shot Mckinley in the first year the race was run with Grade 1 status.
Mystical Power is by Galileo and is out of the exceptional racing mare Annie Power, herself a Grade 2 winner at Naas as a novice. The exciting novice runs in the colours of owner JP McManus who owns the five-year-old alongside John Magnier and Rich Ricci.
Chapeau De Soleil, Ile Atlantique, Lecky Watson and Readin Tommy Wrong are the other acceptors from Closutton, while his brother, Tom Mullins, has left in Fascile Mode.
Sunday’s supporting card could see recent Fairyhouse beginners chase winner Mister Policeman try to make it three wins from three appearances in the BetVictor Irish EBF Novice Chase against 2021 Triumph Hurdle winner Quilixios, while Grade 1 winner Brandy Love is entered in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
The first on a seven-race card this Sunday is due off at 12:30pm with further details available at naasracecourse.com.