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Friday 24 November 2017

Old favourite Mareek can strike gold in Navan opener

Compass Hill is chosen for the 3.0 at Navan today
Compass Hill is chosen for the 3.0 at Navan today

It was hard to believe that we had to wait until the last race yesterday for either Colin Keane or Pat Smullen to get among the winners at Fairyhouse but it was Keane that landed the lucky last and opened up an advantage of five on Smullen and under the circumstances that looks significant.

Attention turns to Navan this afternoon where both men again unsurprisingly have a full book of rides but away from the championship race an old favourite Maarek might be able to get his head back in front in the opener.

The 10-year-old has been harshly treated by the handicapper who stuck him up 7lbs for his course and distance effort in a listed race last time and given that he hasn't won in over two years or for four years in Ireland, a more lenient approach might have been expected but with Killian Hennessy taking off 5lbs he might just nick this.

The extremely testing conditions may have robbed us the opportunities of seeing some nice maidens line up but Cheering did enough on debut to suggest she could be one of the bankers on this card, while Lone Voice made an encouraging start behind Saracen Knight at Gowran Park and if stepping forward from that effort Ken Condon's charge might take a bit of beating in the mile maiden.

Sarah Lynam is one of Ireland's youngest trainers and she makes the short trip to Navan today in search of a first winner under rules and Musical Jewel with former champion jockey Declan McDonogh could be it in the Arkle Bar Handicap. She has been consistent and is off a fair mark of 54 in what looks an open race.

The title chasers may exchange blows late on with Great Tango one of the picks of the card for Harry Kelly in the 1m5f maiden and a tentative nod is given to Dermot Weld's Espoir D'soleil in the finale.

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