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Joshua Webb holds strong claims on last season’s form with that experience in his favour, but perhaps GRANGECLARE NATIVE has more potential. He had jumped well until his departure at Gowran Park last month on what was his second start over timber and he can make it third time lucky here.
The race appears to rest between this pair, though the long absent Lucky Ranger would have claims on his earlier form for Tony Martin, and Noel Meade’s second runner Sellarbridge is one to keep an eye on for future maidens.
An intriguing renewal with virtually all of these entered in the Royal Bond in three weeks time. ESKYLANE looked as if the run would bring him on when narrowly holding on to win his maiden recently and, having the best bumper form of these, gets marginal preference here over the very promising Jesse Evans and stablemate Wide Receiver.
Both trip and ground make for a good case here for the chances of SUPASUNDAE (NAP), with the likes of Sire Du Berlais and Ronald Pump ideally wanting further. Sixshooter is the dark horse upped in grade.
This looks like a typically competitive renewal and most have some sort of chance. FITZHENRY bumped into a very well handicapped rival in this race last year, but he finished a long way clear of the remainder before going on to finish an agonising second in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown. As an eight-year-old, he may be capable of further progress this term and he’s probably got a big race in him from this sort of mark.
The Jam Man is rated higher than this over hurdles and has been in decent form on the Flat of late, so it would be no surprise to see him run a big race. Gigginstown have a strong hand in this and the progressive Aforementioned looks like their best chance.
Hard to look beyond A PLUS TARD, versatile in terms of trip and who likes it soft. Eclair De Beaufeu and Castlegrace Paddy look the most likely to follow the selection home.
Some potentially high-class novice chasers on show here, chiefly the Gigginstown pair Easywork and EMBITTERED, the latter marginally favoured here over this trip – though the market could tell us a lot. Of those with chasing experience, Le Musigny, a half-brother to Grands Crus and Le Richebourg, looks the best, while in the same colours, Donkey Years is worth a look for future reference.
Plenty of these have claims, but PIKE COUNTRY would appear to be on a nice mark for his handicap debut and he’s been running okay on the Flat in recent times. Spruced Up looked like a progressive mare last season and may be able to resume progress. A 12lb rise for Gordon Elliot’s Elite Trooper Grey could be on the lenient side from the handicapper.
Another wide-open race to end the card. EIMEAR gets the tentative vote after another solid effort at Clonmel last time and she might have won that with a slicker jump at the last. Multifactorial probably needed the run on return at Tramore last month and should be able to build on that.
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