News & Community Articles

Horse racing tips and previews: Three to watch at Naas on Sunday


It's a quiet day at the races on Sunday, but racing pundit Jake Russell has still managed to pick out three eye-catching fancies from the jumps meeting at Naas

By @ Jake Russell

1.25pm - Grade 3 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle   

I can't make head nor tail regarding how they are campaigning Wodhooh as it is still unclear whether she is going to any of the big UK Festivals later on in the year or not, but connections are really enjoying her, and why not as she will look to land another contest over hurdles, making it six wins in just six runs over obstacles this season. 

She has danced every dance as yet, and has even come over to the UK and mopped up in a few Listed races over here, winning some nice prize money and giving the owners some good days out. 

She was a winner by a little under 3 lengths at Newbury in December before then going on to put in a career best to land the Listed Fillies Juvenile Hurdle just 29 days ago, winning the contest by 6 and a half lengths, really pouring it on in the closing stages. 

She takes a little step up in class here, contesting in Graded company for the first time over hurdles, but given her only real rivals in this contest either haven't run over hurdles yet or only had one run over obstacles, which was a fourth-placed effort, I think this could be another excellent bit of placing from Gordon Elliott and connections. 

What she has shown so far over hurdles suggests she should win this nicely, before connections really decide what they want to do with her for the rest of the season, whether they will plot a route for a big festival either in Ireland or the UK, but at this stage their eyes will firmly be on this Grade 3 contest at Naas on Sunday. 

A nice spin around Naas for Jordan Gainford, who hasn't ridden this horse in public yet, but she seems the uncomplicated sort who just clearly loves to win races.

1.55pm - Naas Racecourse Business Club Maiden Hurdle

In typical maiden hurdle fashion over in Ireland, this looks a competitive affair on paper with 25 runners heading to post, but in reality, as the betting may well show, it is likely to become a two-horse race between Tounsivator for the powerhouse Willie Mullins and Shoot The Blues for the every growing Barry Connell and Michael O'Sullivan combination.

It is the latter I will be siding with here, purely on the fact he has had a run already over hurdles, coming a very nice 2nd at Fairyhouse last time beaten by another nice-looking Willie Mullins horse in Western Diego by 7 lengths. 

Shoot The Blues did show a little bit of inexperience that day, but it was only his 2nd ever time on the racecourse (he was a nice bumper winner at Limerick in October 2022) so he would have learned plenty from that experience last time. 

The Willie Mullins horse is sure to go off favourite, and given the fact he was a decent French horse who operated on the Flat for previous connections, you would imagine that since Willie has taken over the reins he will mould into a nice hurdler. 

However, in a race of this nature, jumping experience is key and Shoot The Blues has that in abundance. He looks likely go off the 2nd favourite on Sunday, but I am pretty confident he can put that experience to good use and win his first race over hurdles, before maybe going onto bigger and better things as the season progresses.   

2.55pm - Grade 3 Newlands Chase

There will obviously be an element of risk attached to picking Ferny Hollow, who is running for the first time in 791 days after being off with various injuries, but the fact connections have been persistent with him and kept him in training suggests he still wants to race, plus there is no one better in the game to get a horse backfiring after a long lay off. 

Mainly because we don't see him run that often, it is easy to forget how much promise he showed in his early days, with the main piece of form being the 2020 Champion Bumper where there were some nice horses in behind that day. 

Ever since that very good performance he has only raced on three different occasions, a disappointingly low output for the horse and connections, as he has had so many different injury issues which have kept him off the track, and with the early promise, it feels like there was potential wasted at no one's fault. 

He has 5 wins in just 7 runs under rules, which would usually be an excellent return for a younger horse, and his 2 wins in just 2 chase starts makes for quite good reading, as he won nicely on chase debut in a beginners race at Punchestown back in December 2021, before going on to land the Grade 1 Racing Post Novices Chase at Leopardstown later on in the month over the 2021 Christmas period, looking a really nice prospect for the Arkle later on in the season. 

Unfortunately, that did not materialise, and he does really lack the experience compared to the rest of the field at Naas on Sunday, but all being well in terms of fitness and himself, he should be winning this contest quite nicely, before hopefully staying for and challenging at Grade 1 level as the season goes on. 

As mentioned the fact connections have persisted with him and kept him in training speaks for something, and Willie Mullins is one of the best at getting a horse fit and ready to go after a break.

Treble Selections:

  • 1.25 - Wodhooh (4/9)
  • 1.55 - Shoot The Blues (Evens)
  • 2.55 - Ferny Hollow (8/13)


As a treble it pays around 15/4 at the time of writing (prices subject to change).        

Previews and tips provided by @ Jake Russell

Want to see older articles? Visit our articles page to keep reading.