A 6/4 winner on Friday means it’s now eight winners from our last 10 NAP selections. Can we extend that to nine from 11 on Saturday?
For an eight-year-old, Noel Meade’s Flanking Maneuver is very lightly-raced. Clearly, he’s had his issues – and clearly he’s held in high regard, for connections continue to be extremely patient with him.
The son of Beat Hollow was a good novice hurdler in 2021, finishing fourth in the G1 Lawlor’s Of Naas won by subsequent two-time Cheltenham Festival hero Bob Olinger before spending a whopping 760 days on the sidelines.
He reappeared last term with, under the circumstances, an excellent third in a warm Grade 2 at Navan, but he disappointed subsequently when tried down in trip and grade at the same track. That performance can easily be excused though. Not only do we have to consider the bounce factor, but he jumped poorly that day. Put a line through it, I reckon.
What he has shown throughout his interrupted career, aside from plenty of ability, is that he goes well fresh. That’s a huge positive in regards to his chances in this beginners chase over an extended 2m5f at Fairyhouse on Saturday.
He should be more than up to winning this on seasonal reappearance. His main market rival is Enda Bolger’s Genois, who despite a fitness edge is only rated 128, and it’s a big ask for Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old So Des Flos on not only his first attempt over fences but just his fifth ever start.
I’m relying on the selection running to form, or at least something like, after a break, but that’s highly-possible given his aforementioned excellent record when fresh – and that would make him hard to beat in this company under the brilliant Michael O’Sullivan, on ground that’s nice and safe.
I see his price is already shortening with other firms, so it’s fair to say I don’t see the 6/4 that remains available with Betfred lasting too long.