JP McManus: has a strong hand in the €50,000 handicap hurdle at Naas

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

2.50 Naas
Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Brown Lad Handicap Hurdle (Grade B) | 2m4f | 4yo+ | ATR

Green and gold the dominant colours

Three of the past four runnings of this €50,000 handicap hurdle have gone the way of JP McManus, and with five of the 14 declared runners set to carry the famous green and gold hooped silks the leading owner is suitably well represented once again.

Of the last ten winners of this race, only two were priced at 4-1 or shorter, and while Mark Walsh has opted to ride the Noel Meade-trained De Name Escapes Me, the owner’s racing manager Frank Berry believes cases can be made for all of their runners.

He said: “De Name Escape Me has always promised to win one of these but he’s been a bit unlucky at times. Noel’s horses are in great form but it was a toss-up as to what Mark would ride. He went for him and we’re just hoping for a good run.”

On the remaining McManus runners, Berry added: “Plinth ran a lovely race at Tipperary and Joseph [O’Brien] has been very happy with him since.

“Sire Du Berlais is having his first run back and, while he’s in good shape, we’ll be hoping he can improve from the run.

“Air Supremacy is a good young horse and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares with the handicapper. He’s been very consistent.

“It’s a nice race to get Fitzhenry started in and hopefully it will leave him right for a chasing campaign down the road.”

What they say

Paul Nolan, trainer of Rooster Byron, Fitzhenry and Chisholm Trail
Rooster Bryon is a hard horse to get fit and he hasn’t been on grass yet so I’d imagine he’ll need the run. I’d also be hoping Fitzhenry can improve from whatever he does here as well. I took a chance in declaring Chisholm Trail so soon after Thurles but the ground looks as though it will be much more suitable for her at Naas than it was there. Bryan [Cooper] looked after her at Thurles and, with the rain coming down, hopefully she’ll run well.

Philip Dempsey, trainer of Mr Diablo
He severed his carpal bone at Killarney last year and Gerry Kelly [vet] did a great job on him. He seems to be back going well again. We’re hoping he can run well and maybe we’d look at the Troytown if he does. All this rain will help.

Edward O’Grady, trainer of Slippery Serpent
The Friends of Maria [the ownership syndicate which comprises friends of O’Grady’s late wife Maria] would be very happy if he were to win it. It depends on how ground dependant he is – up until this morning the ground was good at Naas but we have had rain. If the ground was to turn very soft that would be a worry, but the horse is in very good form. 

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