THE PUNTER'S EYE: Three horses to back this weekend
At Navan on Saturday afternoon, the 14:55 race looks competitive but last year's winning trainer Gordon Elliott could have another strong hand. MASTERSON (9/2) has been in excellent form in 2017, winning four times. Lately, the horse has been looking very consistent. He finished second behind POLYMATH at Downpatrick and FABULOUS SAGA at Galway in August. He sparkled on his most recent start at Clonmel, beating VINNIE LUCK by a clear eight lengths. That was on good ground, conditions that won't be at play on Saturday, but this horse has shown good form with a deeper cut in the track. Both of the runner-up runs mentioned above came on yielding ground, and with Jack Kennedy on his back, all the signs point toward a bold show.
The soft ground at Navan will be right up the street of A SIZING NETWORK (3/1) for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power in the 16:05 race on Saturday. He's finished second on two recent starts at Kilbeggan and this could be his opportunity to get his head in front. He's fairly consistent on all grounds to be fair, but when he faced into a yielding track in Thurles in December, he came home a strong second behind subsequent Cheltenham winner TULLY EAST. This horse is exceptionally difficult to win with, and indeed has never won over fences. He's had 14 attempts and placed on five of those, so he does have ability. BEL AMI DE SIVOLA is the main danger here, but he is making his chasing debut and could find conditions a little testing for his first crack at the larger obstacles.
In the Group 3 six-furlong event at 16:00 on Sunday, DOWNFORCE (6/1) is the one to side with on soft to heavy ground. He's run well on his last two visits to a racetrack. He was fourth, just two and a half lengths behind GORDON LORD BYRON, at the Curragh in May, and following a break, was second behind TOMMY TAYLOR at York on September 10. The likes of MOBSTA and STEADY PACE were behind him that day. Going into ground specific ground, it is fair to say that DOWNFORCE will enjoy the deep ground, having beaten PENNY PEPPER by 12 lengths on a similar surface in Cork in April. He also run on heavy ground at Sligo in May 2016. He'll lap it up and will strip fitter for his latest York run.