Lawlor’s Of Naas Weekend | Romay searching for Glory

Grand National Trial

This weekend isn’t vintage for racing, but betting propositions around the intriguing Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle on Sunday look fruitful.

As of this morning, Wincanton has passed its inspection to add to Newcastle on ITV Racing, while Plumpton and Naas tomorrow should be worth a watch.

With that in mind, here are my best plays over the next two days.


Win Bets

12:20 Wincanton – Heros De Romay @ 5/2 with William Hill

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My heart will always have a soft spot for Espoir De Romay, who never quite progressed after his crashing fall in the 2021 Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase, so it’s understandable why his half-brother, Heros De Romay, is one I want to keep onside.

The seven-year-old has clearly taken time to come to hand, as his half-brother was already jumping fences by the time he was six, but he made the wait worth it when landing the spoils on his debut at Exeter in January 2023.

He beat a well-regarded Paul Nicholls horse called Pentire Head that day, something he did again 11 months later on his hurdling debut at Chepstow when putting 31 lengths between himself and Hurricane Danny.

The form of that race received a boost recently as the third, Minella Blueway, bolted up on Welsh Grand National Day and the second, Livin On Luco, was running well on his next start before falling three out.

Today’s heavy ground and step up to 2m5f should suit, so hopefully his progression through the ranks can continue.


1:30 Wincanton – Fakir @ 4/1 with William Hill NAP

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Plenty have their eyes on a few horses in the 1:30 who could be on a ‘dangerous’ mark, but few have looked at Fakir off 101.

The former Gigginstown-owned gelding has dropped like a stone through the handicap over the last 15 months since his victory at Fontwell in September 2022 off a 22-pound higher mark.

Despite this, he has shown enough to suggest his relative engine is still there, notably when second on his penultimate start.

In his time for Joseph O’Brien, the nine-year-old bolted up in a competitive handicap hurdle off 121 on heavy ground, so today’s official rating, plus Bradley Harris’ five-pound claim, looks lenient.

If this is the case, he should be race-fit following his run at Bangor last month and could cause a small upset in first-time cheekpieces.


1:57 Cork – Da Capo Glory @ 4/1 with BetVictor

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A fellow horse whom I’ve backed in the past, much like Espoir De Romay, is Da Capo Glory who is running in 1:57 over in Ireland.

Padraig Butler’s seven-year-old has nice form in the book, notably when second to Grangeclare West, a subsequent Grade 1-winning novice chaser, at Punchestown last year as well as a fourth to Fil Dor and Sharjah in a Grade 3 at Gowran Park in February.

Today will be his first run of the season, which shouldn’t be a worry as he is 2/3 when running after a break of 100+ days, and although a good deal of his form comes on decent ground, he has won on both heavy and soft before.

He has to carry top weight today, but a helpful seven pounds is taken off thanks to the jockey’s claim and he should go well.


Each-way Bets

2:40 Wincanton – Honneur D’Ajonc @ 12/1 with William Hill (three places)

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Starting the each-way plays at Wincanton today, Jane Williams is operating at a 40% SR over the last two weeks and will be hoping that Honneur D’Ajonc can continue her good run of form.

The seven-year-old has been disappointing since his victory at Hereford less than a year ago, but because of that he is now four pounds below his last winning mark and the third from that race, Super Six, bolted up on his next start.

Testing ground is something he enjoys based on his handicap hurdle victory in January 2022, a race that has seen Blackjack Magic improve 19lbs, and his novice hurdle success at Wincanton when giving seven pounds away to a subsequent winner Thanksforthehelp.

As with many each-way plays, the reason they are this price is they may need to bounce back, but he’s still young enough to do so and is on a really competitive mark.


2:00 Naas (Sunday) – An Tobar @ 17/2 with William Hill

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Firefox has had a nice boost in form from his success over Ballyburn at Fairyhouse last month, but I’m keeping faith in proven Grade 1 form with An Tobar.

He’s not a horse I’ve latched onto so far this season, but his third in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Chase is hard to ignore as Farren Glory was running a good race at Aintree in the Grade 1 Formby Novices’ Hurdle before falling and King Of Kingsfield has won a nice maiden hurdle since.

He’s proven he handles heavy ground and having won a three-mile PtP over three miles, the step up in trip to two-and-a-half miles should suit him well.


2:50 Plumpton (Sunday) – Rose Of Arcadia @ 13/2 with William Hill

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In the Sussex National, I have good respect for the favourite, Dom Of Mary, but I don’t want to leave Rose Of Arcadia alone at 13/2.

Her run at Cheltenham in November was weird as it looked like she didn’t stay over 3m3f but three victories over 3m2f during her career would beg to differ.

Furthermore, she handles testing conditions well and she has no issues in carrying slightly higher racing weights.

The nine-year-old is four from eight in handicap company since her two runs in the PtP scene in early 2022, though a few of those losses can be forgiven due to quick ground.

Add to the fact that she finished a good third to Pink Legend (142) and Galia Des Liteaux (145) on her last start, so as much as I think the favourite has an attractive profile, Rose Of Arcadia’s mark of 128 could be lenient.


(2pt win on the NAP, 1pt win on win fancies, and 1pt each-way on the each-way fancies.)

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