Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

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When I awoke on Friday morning I was anxious to establish the state of the weekend fixtures. With so much rain all three Irish meetings were in jeopardy. The 8am inspections at Naas (for Sunday) and Limerick (Saturday) confirmed my fears. Both had been called-off because of the dreadful ground. We’d earmarked Limerick as a back-up plan should the other meeting, Navan, fall to the weather. Although we were staying in Dublin, it would have been feasible to race at Limerick thanks to a regular direct train service from Heuston.

Navan was due to inspect at 2pm. I was on my Heathrow flight to Dublin while this was happening. As soon as I landed my phone’s Twitter feed gave me the good news: it was on! Not a wasted journey.

At the Harding hotel the manager had taken on board my displeasure of being moved to the Handel hotel the last time I “stayed” here. I had been compensated with a huge room on the fifth floor. Well done Jonathan!

Navan Sor-ted

7th April 2018: admission charges 15 euro (10 euro seniors/students) < 18s free

There is no train station at Navan. The only way to get there on public transport is a bus which takes an hour from Dublin to the town centre. There is an “express” service (NX), which appears to take the same time as the 109 does from Busaras. In any event the NX we'd planned to catch had inexplicably been cancelled. So, it was the 109 and then a taxi for the remaining four miles to the track.

We arrived about an hour before racing to a very quiet place. Even as the first approached it was not busy. Surprising perhaps with Limerick off. 

I’d not been here since 2011 however the facilities had improved since then, a comfortable café run by Bewley’s was a new feature we enjoyed.

Having studied the card, the night before, we had one horse in mind for the 5f handicap. This was Sors who we’d backed on his seasonal reappearance at Naas a couple of weeks earlier. He’d run credibly that day from a high draw when those closest to the far rail (low) seemed to have an advantage. Here he was drawn one, potentially against the far rail. He remained very well handicapped on his best form. 

Before the Sors’ race there was a non-handicap over the same trip. I backed two in this race including the heavily backed Urban Beat from the Murtagh stable. The money proved to be inspired, double figures early it was returned 7/2. I thought the tote might pay bigger so I was very disappointed with my 4.40 dividend!


Urban Beat winning for Shane Foley/JP Murtagh  

In the first they appeared to favour racing towards the far side so that augured well for our “nap” in the next which also featured ten runners.

In the paddock Sors looked cool ahead of his ordeal


It all turned out rather nicely as Sors raced prominently by the far rail and won comfortably at 11/2 (8.00 on tote). 

I topped up with an Exacta combo on horses drawn 1-2-3. The finishing (draw) order was 1-3-9-2. The Exacta paid 81.80 against the CSF of 47.88.

The Sors’ team celebrating: Andrew Slattery x 2

A terrific start to the afternoon but that’s where it ended from a punting perspective with the following five races drawing a blank including losing jackpot and trifecta combinations. 

A winning day though thanks to Sors.

After racing it was a taxi ride into Navan and a few pints at the BRU House (see my Trip Advisor review - by “Mike Punter”).

Sunday was a no betting/racing day and a chance to explore Dublin again.

I’d definitely recommend a visit to the National Gallery. This was fully re-opened last summer following a seven-year refurbishment plan. 

A quite remarkable place now – if you’ve not been before take one of the frequent free tours of the collection. My highlight? The Jack Yeats’ room.

Later it was Searson’s Jazz featuring Felim Gormley (of The Commitments fame) to bring the weekend to a close.  

Galway Festival next…

April 2018