Thornton’s hopes for Wakea

Karl Thornton is hopeful of making the breakthrough in Grade Three company at Navan on Sunday where the trainer sends out the promising Wakea for the For Auction Novice Hurdle.

Wakea and Donagh Meyler on their way to victory at Down Royal.

Wakea routed his rivals when winning a Grade C handicap hurdle at Down Royal last weekend and while hit with an 18lb rise form the handicapper, Thornton believes the hike was somewhat justified.

County Dublin-based Thornton has been operating at a very healthy 13% strike-rate with 28 winners from initial first 213 runners in all codes, since beginning in 2012.

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He said "Noel O'Brien (Turf Club senior handicapper) isn't far wrong usually and I think he'll run a big race on Sunday.

"He seems fine and while it's not ideal to be running back so quick and stepping up in grade, there weren't many opportunities for him before the weather turns – he hasn't raced on winter ground yet and isn't tested on it.

"He was impressive at Down Royal and while it didn't surprise me he won, I thought his inexperience might have caught him out. Sunday looks a good opportunity and while he is he is still a little novicey, on ratings he looks the one."

Four horses oppose Wakea, with the Gigginstown House Stud owned Le Martalin bidding to complete a hat-trick of wins, having won his bumper at Listowel and a maiden hurdle at Galway easily while Gordon Elliott is represented by Labaik (a Charity Race winner at under Sheikh Fahad Al Thani recently) and Mick Jazz.

Jaime Sommers, out of top racemare Solerina, completes the five runner line-up.

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